JFE Steel Starts Relining of No.4 Blast Furnace at Fukuyama

JFE Steel started to reline no.4 blast furnace at Fukuyama area of the West Japan works on Wednesday. The firm expands the output capacity one after another including expansion and relining of no.5 blast furnace at Fukuyama to meet higher demand for high-quality steel products. The firm tries to expand the raw steel output capacity by around 2 million tonnes to annual 22 million tonnes at the works through relining blast furnace and expansion of coke oven under the mid-term plan starting April 2006. The firm relines the furnace with the original large-block ring construction method with short term works. The method is to build up prefabricated rings to make furnace body. The working with the method is 5th times for the firm. The firm expects the working finishes in around 70 days starting the operation in early May though the traditional relining takes around 120 days. The relining costs around 25 billion yen.The West Japan works has 7 running blast furnaces. The firm expects the works produces around 18.3 million tonnes of raw steel for the year to March 2006 keeping high level as record 19.39 million tonnes in the year to March 2005. With the relining, the works will have 3 furnaces with more than 5,000 cubic meters of capacity each though the works already is the world only works with 2 furnaces with 5,000 cubic meters. The East Japan works has blast furnace with more than 5,000 cubic meters of capacity each in Chiba and Keihin areas. The firm will have total 5 large furnaces. The firm will be able to produce annual 30 million tonnes of raw steel with total 9 blast furnaces.