Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Job Description video

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High impact bars inside a car door…steel girders supporting skyscrapers…even that piece of foil around your sandwich…have one thing in common. All were once ore or scrap metal that was melted down and carefully mixed with additives, before being shaped. Metal-refining melters, furnace operators, blowers and keepers monitor and control vessels and furnaces that melt and purify metal so that it can be poured into a mold to make a product. They may work in various types of metal refineries, foundries and scrap metal recycling facilities. In integrated steel mills, they control the process that makes iron, which is subsequently refined into steel. The steel furnace operators and furnace keepers are among the highest paid production people in the mill. While they may spend part of their time in the hot and noisy furnace area, the steel furnace operators are usually found in an air-conditioned pulpit control room, operating computers and monitoring visual displays. The furnace operator, using computerized charge models, watches over the amounts of scrap, hot metal, and additives used and makes adjustments as necessary. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the proper ratio of raw materials is maintained, and for adjusting the furnace temperature. Then the furnace operator uses the controls that allow the iron to be purified into steel. Once this is completed, the molten metal is tapped into a ladle, which is used to pour the steel into a mold. The mold will cast a slab of steel.. All of the data generated in the iron- and steel-making process is captured into a computer system. A good grasp of basic mathematics, a high school education, and on the job training will help you advance from an entry-level position to the control room. Being adaptable and willing to keep up with technology could heat up your prospects for a career in this field.

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