Why graphite electrodes are crucial for the steel industry
We are excited to announce that in the last weeks we have seen the first graphite electrode contracts being concluded over Metalshub. This milestone is just one example of our development from a ferroalloy-focused marketplace towards a purchasing platform for all steel mill raw materials.
Whereas the diligent validation, onboarding, and training of suppliers remains to be an important cornerstone of the Metalshub service offering, we have broadened the scope of products that are covered by the platform from the initial focus on ferroalloys towards a much wider assortment: Cored wire, recarburizer, scrap, pig-iron, fluorspar etc.. Before we go into more detail about this development, we want to share some insights into the graphite electrode market.
What are graphite electrodes and what are they used for?
The graphite electrodes market was estimated at US$5.5 billion in 2020 (IMARC: Graphite Electrodes Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2021-2026) and is becoming more and more important due to the ongoing decarbonisation of the steel and metals industry. As the largest steel producer in the world, China takes the largest share of graphite electrode consumption and production capacity in the global scenario. Even though the COVID-19 outbreak had a huge impact on global crude steel production, the Chinese steel industry showed a significant recovery in 2020. According to Mordor Intelligence (Graphite Electrode Market - Growth, Trends, Covid-19 Impact, and Forecasts 2021 - 2026), total crude steel production increased by 5.89% to reach 1,054.4 million tonnes in 2020 compared to 2019. China has furthermore introduced a new discharge permit regulation that came into force on 1 January 2021, which should further boost the development of EAF steel production and thus graphite electrode consumption in the country.
Graphite electrodes are large cylindrical structures consisting mainly of petroleum coke, needle coke and coal bitumen, which is used as a binder. It is produced by calcination, compounding, kneading, pressing, roasting, graphitisation and machining. The size of the electrodes varies widely, but can be up to 0.75 metres in diameter and 3 metres in length. Due to their high level of electrical conductivity and capability of withstanding the extremely high temperatures of up to 1600 degree Celsius, graphite electrodes are a vital input in Electric Arc Furnaces (EAF), ladle refinement of steel and the production of ferroalloys. In this process, graphite electrodes account for about 2-3% of the total steel production costs. Depending on the different raw materials used and the physical and chemical indicators of the final product, graphite electrodes can be divided into different types:
- RP (Regular Power)
- HP (High Power)
- UHP (Ultra High Power)
- SHP (Super High Power)
Greatest efficiency gains when Metalshub Platform is utilized for broad assortment
We have received numerous feedback from our customers that our platform provides the greatest efficiency gains when it is utilized for a large number of product categories. Companies like MAT Foundry Group and Friedrich Lohmann GmbH have also run big-spent items like scrap over the platform to take advantage of the platform's efficient processes and its broad business intelligence functionalities. In a recent press release we announced that SHS (Saarstahl and Dilliger AG) has moved a broad range of product categories on the platform which helps them to meet their increasing compliance requirements and drive operational efficiency.
Today around 30 product categories with a total of 130 different product types can be traded over Metalshub. Below you find a list of major purchasing categories in foundries and steel plants with information on whether they have already been traded over the platform.
Our team of industry experts, metallurgists and tech-experts will help our customers to shift even more categories on the platform while maintaining a convenient and structured listings and negotiation process. If there are product categories you would like to see being traded over the platform, please reach our business development team. We are more than happy to dive into the technical specifications and help you drive efficiencies in your processes.
If you want to learn more about how Metalshub can help your business, schedule a demo now.