The Graftech company located in Calais produces graphite electrodes, mainly used in electrical arc furnace steel production.
The graphite bar is extruded, cut to dimension : each length measures about 3.0 meters and is profiled to a certain diameter grade between 500 and 800 mm, each semi-finished electrode weights is in a range of 1 to 3 metric tons.
The handling is an important step of the process. Electrodes are handled and palletized by 2 or 3 pieces depending on the size, or by unit only if it’s needed to fulfill a partial pallet… Handling operation must be safe and damage free for the electrode.
Graftech found the solution while using vacuum technology to get rid of handling issues where scraps were generated thru manual & mechanical handling. The rubber touch of the vacuum pad is so soft, the handling is so smooth and remote that no more electrode will be chipped. Graphite material is so expensive that raw material saving will pay for the vacuum technology investment.
The base unit is delivered with different pad kits: single pad or three pad tool that enables to lift three electrodes at once.
Commissioning took place by the end of November this year and staff was trained to vacuum technology, safety and preventive maintenance.