In pyrometallurgical process management, prompt responsiveness is key, while at the same time maintaining a safe work environment and compliance with environmental regulations. Furnace management thus presents challenges in terms of process, safety and environment.

Currently, there is no academic training course to learn step by step how a pyrometallurgical facility works, due to lack of pyrometallurgical pilot facilities or because academic courses are more theory than practice oriented and require a certain level of education. As a result, new hires have difficulties to understand how to build and operate a furnace in industrial conditions, and are not directly operational, requiring in-house training.

Today, only companies with pyrometallurgical pilot facilities can offer new employees the opportunity to gain initial exposure. For this reason, the EIT RawMaterials-funded education project SPYRO: Share skills and good practices in PYROmetallurgy aims to bridge the gap between theory and the actual operation of industrial facilities through an interactive training programme designed especially for new employees in the field of pyrometallurgical process management. Employees working in the field of high-temperature processes, researchers, engineers, technicians and PhDs, will benefit from an up-to-date digital front door to the “pyrometallurgical environment”.

This project relies on attractive and dynamic digital tools, with the creation of 9 e-learnings and a virtual reality module. The training becomes available everywhere, putting the trainee in the center and in a self-paced way. The main topic is the electric furnace, which will be declined in several technical subtopics such as furnace control and electrical input, refractories or sampling, measurements and data collection.

In order to have the most relevant and field-oriented content, the consortium, led by Eramet, is composed of experts in the fields of steel, silicon or manganese, which allows a broad and global vision of pyrometallurgy, all members of the Metnet network:

  • Elkem, fully integrated producer with operations throughout the silicon value chain from quartz to silicon and downstream silicone specialties as well as specialty ferrosilicon alloys and carbon materials.
  • Materials Processing Institute (MPI) works with the global steel and materials industries, to carry out research and innovation in Advanced Materials, Industrial Decarbonisation and The Circular Economy.
  • Eramet: From mining to products for high-tech industries, Eramet is involved in all aspects of mining metallurgy and the production and processing of high value-added alloys.

This project has been carried out within the Metnet network. This network consists of several pilot plants in Europe, covering many different aspects of mineral processing, metallurgy and production of metals. Through Metnet the customers have access to a network of knowledge that can work cross-sectorial and innovatively by combining the expertise of all members. You can find more about the METNET network here.

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