The electric arc furnace is mostly accepted by steel making companies, thus a large quantity of graphite electrode are consumed. Why is that? The first benefit is that the use of electric arc furnace allows steel to be made from a 100% scrap metal feedstock. This greatly reduces the energy required to make steel when compared with primary steelmaking from ores.

steel furnace

Another benefit is flexibility: while blast furnaces cannot vary their production by much and can remain in operation for years at a time, EAFs can be rapidly started and stopped, allowing the steel mill to vary production according to demand. During the peak of global financial meltdown in 2009, an estimated quantity of only 1 million tonne was produced in USA employing EAF technique. Although steelmaking arc furnaces generally use scrap steel as their primary feedstock, if hot metal from a blast furnace or direct-reduced iron is available economically, these can also be used as furnace feed. As EAFs require large quantities of electrical power, many companies schedule their operations to take advantage of off peak electricity pricing.

A typical steelmaking arc furnace is the source of steel for a mini-mill, which may make bars or strip product. Mini-mills can be sited relatively near to the markets for steel products, and the transport requirements are less than for an integrated mill, which would commonly be sited near a harbour for access to shipping.