DTI weighs risks, gains of induction furnace
THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is assessing the risks and benefits of the use of induction furnace for steelmaking, as it tries to come up with tighter regulations for manufacturing steel.
The Philippine Induction Smelting Industry Association (Pisia) in November presented before the DTI the advantages of employing induction for steelmaking, particularly on performance, power consumption, production cost, environmental protection, as well as pollution control.
Pisia President Benjamin Co
claimed the equipment was not prohibited in China as reported widely in the media, but said several induction furnace facilities were closed down on overcapacity and in violation of state regulations.
Further, Co said it is impossible for Chinese induction furnaces to be transported to the Philippines, as they are incompatible with the country’s existing energy infrastructure. He said Philippine power lines require 60 hertz of frequency, higher than the 50 hertz of frequency required in China power lines.
Trade Undersecretary Ruth B. Castelo, for her part, said what Pisia presented will be “crucial” in the final policy being formulated by the government on the use of induction furnace for steelmaking.
“The presentation of the Pisia about induction furnace is highly appreciated by the DTI for this will be part of the technical papers that will be studied and validated by the agency in aid of decision making and policy formulation relative to the induction furnace technology,” Castelo said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The department, as with all industries, is committed in studying the steelmaking industry, including all technologies at hand,” she added.
Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi) President Roberto M. Cola said in a text message to reporters the DTI should listen to his group’s appeal for a blanket ban on the use of induction for steelmaking.
As earlier reported in a BusinessMirror special report, Cola said the induction process is a “hit-or-miss mechanism” that has no refining process to remove impurities. As such, its output steel is inconsistent in terms of quality and could pose harm to users (See “House of Cards: Substandard steel finds way into PHL construction sector,” in the BusinessMirror, November 14, 2019).
“The DTI would need to monitor closely induction furnace products both in their plants, as well as the market, since this is a hit-or-miss technology for construction steel production,” he said. “The DENR [Department of Environment and Natural Resources] should also monitor induction furnace operations closely since they are highly polluting. We should learn and follow what China did to their induction furnace problem: ban!” Cola added.
The Chinese government in 2017 imposed a nationwide ban on the use of induction furnace for steelmaking, which regional steelmakers said resulted in the transfer of the equipment to Southeast Asian economies.