Ural Federal University: Representatives of the Ural School of Metallurgical and Heat Engineering Are Awarded the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation

Students of the Ural School of Metallurgical Engineering (Department of Thermal Physics and Computer Science in Metallurgy) completed the year 2021 with a remarkable event: they were awarded the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology. The award recognizes the contribution of the engineering company Torex (Ekaterinburg) in developing and implementing an innovative technology for the production of high-quality iron ore pellets at machine for pelletization No. 3 at the Mikhailovsky Ore Mining and Enrichment Plant (Kursk Region). The company was established in 1990 on the basis of the Ural School of Metallurgical Engineering.In Soviet times, their practical activities were concentrated in the All-Union Research Institute of Metallurgical Heat Engineering (Sverdlovsk), and the source of professional personnel was the Metallurgical Faculty of the Ural Polytechnic Institute (now UrFU).

One of the founders and leaders of the Ural School of Metallurgical Heat Engineering is Yury Yaroshenko (1927-2021), a graduate of the Faculty of Metallurgy and Metallurgical Science, later – Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor. Heading from 1979 to 1998 the department “Metallurgical furnaces” Yury Yaroshenko implemented the systems of continuous mathematical and ecological education, created modern laboratories of computer technology, automation, metallurgical heat engineering, electronics, provided the annual graduation of 40-50 engineers metallurgists-heat engineers, developed and strengthened relations with scientists from abroad, including the United States of America, Canada, Italy, Israel.

“Throughout its history, the Torex team has been energized by graduates of UPI and UrFU. Almost all of the company’s key specialists were trained at the university’s specialized department (it is now called “Thermal Physics and Computer Science in Metallurgy”). Yury Yaroshenko was a changeless teacher and mentor of several generations of specialists of the company, supervising a large number of candidates of technical sciences. As the scope of the company’s activities expanded, the company’s personnel was replenished by university graduates in other scientific and technical areas,” says Andrey Solodukhin, a laureate of the Russian Government Prize, project manager at the technology development stage, now the General Director of Torex.

The award-winning technology is economical, environmentally friendly, and has a high specific machine for pelletization capacity.

“As a result of implementation of the best technical solutions on the basis of national developments the energy-efficient thermal scheme of the new generation of machines for pelletization with capacity of 5 million tons per year was realized. The point of innovation is a high degree of recirculation of gas-air flows in the inner furnace space. This new regime is ensured by a developed overflow system, selective distribution of high-temperature coolant and optimal distribution of areas of the pelletization machine technological zones. In such a thermal scheme the energy losses of gas flows are reduced, the potential of the coolant is used to the maximum, the fuel combustion efficiency grows and the efficiency of the drafting machines reaches the highest values. And the need for natural gas, as well as for combustion air, is reduced to a minimum. As a consequence, dust and gas emissions into the atmosphere and formation of harmful nitrogen oxides are significantly reduced,” says Andrey Solodukhin.

According to Metalloinvest Holding, the owner of Mikhailovsky Ore Mining and Enrichment Plant, the basic indicators of the pelletization machine № 3 are superior to Russian and foreign analogues: electricity consumption is at the level of the best world practices, natural gas consumption is lower by 10% (after further modernization, the consumption of natural gas was reduced by another 10%, and the productivity of the machine was increased to 5.5 million tons per year). Thus, the introduction of the technology proposed by the Ekaterinburg company enabled Mikhailovsky Ore Mining and Enrichment Plant to increase production of high quality products, while having ample opportunity to reconfigure the new production to process raw materials of different composition and to manufacture products for different purposes. It should be noted that with the commissioning of the OM-3 more than 600 new workplaces were created.

The creation of the machine for pelletization No. 3 has become one of Metalloinvest’s largest investment projects. Design and technological solutions found during the project are used in the modernization of machines for pelletization at another Metalloinvest enterprise – Lebedinsky Ore Mining and Enrichment Plant (Belgorod Region).

“Torex specialists are the creators of the new thermal scheme, holders of a number of patents for inventions, which are used in the project. At the investment stage of its implementation the company performed a full range of engineering services, including laboratory research, engineering calculations, development of technological regulations and algorithms of production process control. At the stage of technological complex construction, installation of equipment and commissioning works we supervised the compliance with the requirements of the technology. In addition, the Torex employees were responsible for training the factory personnel, launching and commissioning of the constructed facility to warranty indicators,” explains Andrey Solodukhin.

Along with him, the the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology was awarded to Vladimir Bragin, technical director of Torex and project manager at the stage of launching the facility, as well as to representatives of Mikhailovsky Ore Mining and Enrichment Plant and Metalloinvest Holding.

It is important to note that the base for the created technology of iron ore pellets production, keeping the knowledge and achievements of the Soviet school of metallurgical heat engineering, was laid by the Torex company founders. Recognized leaders in this field, scientists and engineers, including graduates of the Ural Polytechnic Institute Vadim Abzalov, Boris Bokovikov, Sergey Evstyugin, Viktor Klein and Grigory Maisel, are among them.

“On the way to creating innovative technology for the production of high-quality iron ore pellets, for more than 20 years they have tirelessly developed experience in projects to modernize all pelletizing plants located in the Commonwealth of Independent States without exception. In doing so, they have brought up a new generation of engineers capable of bringing innovative ideas to life. The implementation of the project is the merit of the whole Torex team”, – points out Andrey Solodukhin.

This prize is the second on the account of the scientific-production implementation enterprise “Torex”. The first Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology was awarded to the team of authors-founders of the company for the completed by 2002 comprehensive modernization of the previous generation of OK-306 machines for pelletization at Lebedinsky Ore Mining and Enrichment Plant.

“As a result of comprehensive implementation of individual technological developments, our company managed to achieve a synergistic effect: natural gas consumption was reduced by as much as 60%, electricity by 25%, and flue gas emissions were halved. At the same time, productivity increased by 10 percent,” comments Andrei Solodukhin.

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