Sinter Plant Essentials: Exploring Construction Types And Variations

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Sinter Plant Essentials

What is a sinter plant? Sinter plants are some of the most critical components of the steel industry. A sinter plant process transforms raw materials into sinters, fed into a blast furnace for steel production. Modern Sinter technology only emerged in the 1930s and 40s; however, the concept has been utilized in the steel industry since the early 20th century. Whether it’s the 20th century or the mid-90s, sintering involves heating and compacting fine particles to form semi-molten mass. Sintering applies to steelmaking and many other industries, but the technology’s emergence in steelmaking was fueled by the global demand for steel in the 30s and 40s. Today, sinter plants facilitate the production of high-quality sinters used in blast furnaces worldwide. This article will explore sinter plant design, including the different construction types and variations, and the use of sinter in steel plants. 

Sinter Plant Process And Sinter Production

Sinter production carefully converts various raw materials (in specific compositions) to create sinters. Sinter mixes are crucial for the production of steel. Steelmakers consider costs, efficiency, and environmental impact when producing sinter. Modern sinter production plants are tailored to use the best and most environmentally friendly raw materials while ensuring that the final product is top-quality.

How The Sintering Plant Process Works

Sintering turns raw materials like iron ore, fluxes, and recycled materials like sludges and iron dust into a semi-molten component suitable for a blast furnace. Sintering is one of the most crucial components in the steelmaking industry.  

Raw Materials Used In Sinter Production

Iron Ore Fines: These finely crushed iron particles provide the sintering process with the much-needed Iron Oxide and serve as the primary source of iron in the final sinter product.

Fluxes: Fluxes include limestone, dolomite, or other minerals that contain Calcium. Fluxes lower the melting point of the sinter mix, facilitating the conversion of the blend to a liquid state.

Recycled materials: Sinter mixes contain recycled materials like iron dust, steel mill scale, and sludges. Recycled materials help reduce waste, reduce operation costs, and positively impact the environment.

Fuel: Fuel is used for combustion in the sinter plant. Coal, natural gas, and coke breeze are some of the fuels used in the sintering process. Choice of fuel is determined by availability (some areas have more abundant fuels than others), regulation (federal or local government can ban the use of certain fuels), and affordability (some fuels are more expensive than others).

Additives: Steelmakers use additives to improve sinter quality and enhance process efficiency. Additives are like catalysts. They enhance or speed up different parts of the sinter production process. Additives like bentonite and organic polymers are binders (as the name suggests, they bind or agglomerate the sinter mix and desulfurize sulfur from the mix.

Construction Types For Sinter Plants

There are various sinter construction types, each with its mechanism, operation efficiency, and pros and cons. Understanding the different sinter construction types is crucial in steel production efficiency and sustainability. Let’s explore them:

Linear Sinter Plants

In a linear sinter plant, raw materials pass through each stage of the production process sequentially. A linear iron ore sinter plant is the least expensive to set up and is used in factories with moderate production demand.


1.      Easy to set up

2.     Affordable

3.     Excellent for low to moderate-level production capacity


1.      Production efficiency is relatively low

2.     It cannot be used for a high production demand

3.     Depending on raw materials and production efficiency, it can produce around 22 tons per square meter per day of grate area.

4.    Sinter quality isn’t as good as the quality from the circular and traveling grate sinter plants.

Circular Sinter Plants

Circular plants have a circular layout, allowing for continuous operation and efficient use of space. Companies with high-level production capacities use circular plants; hence, they cost a fortune more to construct than linear sinter plants.


1.      Excellent for high-level production

2.     The final product has uniform sinter quality.

3.     The layout allows continuous operation, hence improving operation efficiency.


1. It costs a lot more than linear sinter.

2.     Creating a circular sinter plant requires immense planning and should only be undertaken by professionals.

Traveling Grate Sinter Plants

The traveling grate system conveys or delivers raw materials to the sinter mix at different operation phases. This means materials will have uniform heating and efficient combustion, ensuring uniform sinter quality. Let’s take this analysis: Sinter production involves combusting different materials to make a semi-molten mix. In the traveling grate system, raw materials are delivered into the mix at the right or exact time. This means that, instead of pouring all the materials simultaneously, the traveling grate pours them in at the right time.

Variations in the Ignition Furnace

While there are several sinter plant designs, there are also several ignition furnace designs. The design depends on different factors, including fuel type (coke breeze, natural gas, coal) and combustion technique (conventional, fluidized bed combustion, or microwave heating).


In conclusion, understanding sinter plant process essentials is crucial for efficient steel production. Different construction types like linear, circular, and traveling grate plants offer varying efficiencies and quality. Variations in ignition furnace design further impact process optimization. As technology evolves, the steel industry seeks innovative solutions for sustainability and quality. Sinter plants remain integral to this pursuit, shaping the future of steel manufacturing worldwide.

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