Nickel Sintering

By Furnace Engineering

Furnace Engineering designed and built its first Nickel Sintering & Desulphurising Furnace in 1969. Since then, it has developed more sophisticated nickel sintering technology and became the leading furnace supplier to nickel refineries around the world.

In 2005, it  successfully designed, built and installed a 7 tonne/hour nickel furnace at a major refinery in Queensland (above). Currently it is constructing three nickel sintering and desulpurising furnaces for another large nickel refinery in Africa. The 8 tonne/hr nickel briquettes furnaces will be the largest ever built by the company. Furnace Engineering has accummulated huge amount of experience and knowledge in the design & manufacture of nickel sintering furnaces for large scale nickel refineries. Today it is the leader in this field.

The major improvements in the current nickel sintering furnace design are:

1. Hydrogen Disposal

In earlier designs the hydrogen burnt off was done at the entry door. Hydrogen burns at 10mJ/hour creating very high temperature and causing severe damage to the belt and the nickel briquettes. The high heat also quickly destroys dampers used to control the furnace pressure.

In the current furnace design, hydrogen is channeled away for burning allowing the pressure damper to control the furnace pressure more effectively. The channeled hydrogen is flared or burnt off in a temperature controlled combustion chamber.


2. Convection Cooling

Another significant improvement is the convection cooling method which replaces the obsolete quiescent cooler. The high specific heat and conductivity of hydrogen ensure that convection is highly effective, cutting the cooling period to a third that of the previous process. However, the high specific heat of hydrogen requires the energy input to be increased by 20% to heat the hydrogen as it enters the furnace. This extra heating requirement is neutralized by a heat exchanger that transfers heat from the exiting nickel to the incoming hydrogen.