Steel Industry Technologies: Direct Reduced Iron

By: Erik Kane | On: September 27, 2017

Why do I need a Chef’s Toque in a Steel Mill?

Because making steel is the industrial version of cooking. The steel mill is like a big kitchen, where the steel workers are the cooks, and the steel furnace is basically a Viking range on steroids. Depending on what recipe the cooks are preparing for the day: be it 321, 304, 316, carbon steel, or an advanced alloy, they must prepare and add the proper ingredients together and cook them with gasses like oxygen and argon and nitrogen in just the right way to end up with the product they’re looking for.

There are two main ways to make steel, and the main difference between them is how they get their raw ingredients. Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) steelmaking is the more traditional method, and makes new steel from processed iron. Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steelmaking is a newer, more compact and efficient technology that relies mostly on recycled metals as its main ingredient. Because steel is the most recycled product in the world, and EAFs provide an economic advantage due to their smaller size, they have grown extremely popular in the United States and around the globe. But steel demands are still increasing worldwide as more nations become increasingly industrialized; and the world still relies mainly on new steel production (BOF) to satisfy the global demand.

Where does Direct Reduced Iron come in?

One way the industry has begun to evolve with respect to this problem is through Direct Reduced Iron (DRI). DRI gives us the ability to take what were basically two industries (the mining and preparation of raw iron, and the subsequent refining of it into steel) and reduce the extremely large footprint associated with them. Most importantly, DRI functions as an excellent primary material source for EAF steelmaking. This means that we can translate the benefits of EAF steelmaking that we see when we recycle scrap metal, to the new-steel process by using DRI.

Why do we care?

The domestic steel industry has been facing an uphill battle from foreign competition for decades. Countries like China and India are becoming increasingly industrialized and skilled when it comes to producing affordable, quality metals. Because of this, increased offshoring and a reduction of domestic production has been slowly shrinking the once mighty steel industry in the United States. Yet the combination of the shift towards smaller more efficient steel mills over the bombastic dinosaur-foot-printed mills of old; along with the commercialization of DRI as a source of raw steel production in those mills offers the domestic steel industry the chance to use technology to its advantage to compete against foreign producers.

Hose Master’s Role

Because our products are manufactured using American-made metal components, the health of the steel industry is of special importance to us. Additionally, the environment in the DRI process is one of the most hostile in industry, and offers an array of applications for metal hose assemblies and metal expansion joints. We are well-versed in the applications seen in traditional steel mills as well as the emerging mills utilizing DRI. If you have a question or problem regarding metal hose or expansion joint applications, don’t hesitate to call us at 800-221-2319 or send us an e-mail at


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