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An ironworks or iron works is an industrial plant where iron is smelted and where heavy iron and steel products are made. The term is both singular and plural, i.e. the singular of ironworks is ironworks.
Ironworks succeed bloomeries when blast furnaces replaced former methods. An integrated ironworks in the 19th century usually included one or more blast furnaces and a number of puddling furnaces or a foundry with or without other kinds of ironworks. After the invention of the Bessemer process, converters became widespread, and the appellation steelworks replaced ironworks.
The processes carried at ironworks Steelers are usually described as ferrous metallurgy, but the term siderurgy is also occasionally used. This is derived from the Greek words sideros - iron and ergon or ergos - work. This is an unusual term in English, and it is best regarded as an anglicisation of a term used in French, Spanish, and other Romance languages.
Ironworks is used as an omnibus term covering works undertaking one or more iron-producing processes.Such processes or species of ironworks where they were undertaken include the following:
From the 1850s, pig iron might be partly decarburised to produce mild steel using one of the following:
The mills operating converters of any type are better called steelworks, ironworks referring to former processes, like puddling.
After bar iron had been produced in a finery forge or in the forge train of a rolling mill, it might undergo further processes in one of the following:
Most of these processes did not produce finished goods. Further processes were often manual, including
In the context of the iron industry, the term manufacture is best reserved for this final stage.
The notable ironworks of the world are described here by country. See above for the largest producers and the notable ironworks in the alphabetical order.
The largest Japanese steel companies' main works are as follows:
Pig iron is an intermediate product of the iron industry in the production of steel, also known as crude iron, which is obtained by smelting iron ore in a blast furnace. Pig iron has a very high carbon content, typically 3.8–4.7%, along with silica and other constituents of dross, which makes it very brittle and not useful directly as a material except for limited applications.
Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content in contrast to that of cast iron. It is a semi-fused mass of iron with fibrous slag inclusions, which gives it a "grain" resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion resistant, and easily welded.
Steelmaking is the process of producing steel from iron ore and/or scrap. In steelmaking, impurities such as nitrogen, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and excess carbon are removed from the sourced iron, and alloying elements such as manganese, nickel, chromium, carbon and vanadium are added to produce different grades of steel. Limiting dissolved gases such as nitrogen and oxygen and entrained impurities in the steel is also important to ensure the quality of the products cast from the liquid steel.
The cementation process is an obsolete technology for making steel by carburization of iron. Unlike modern steelmaking, it increased the amount of carbon in the iron. It was apparently developed before the 17th century. Derwentcote Steel Furnace, built in 1720, is the earliest surviving example of a cementation furnace. Another example in the UK is the cementation furnace in Doncaster Street, Sheffield.
A steel mill or steelworks is an industrial plant for the manufacture of steel. It may be an integrated steel works carrying out all steps of steelmaking from smelting iron ore to rolled product, but may also be a plant where steel semi-finished casting products are made from molten pig iron or from scrap.
In American Colonial history, the Iron Act, short-titled the Importation, etc. Act 1750, was one of the legislative measures introduced by the British Parliament, within its system of Trade and Navigation Acts. The Act sought to increase the importation of pig and bar iron from its American colonies and to prevent the building of iron-related production facilities within these colonies, particularly in North America where these raw materials were identified. The dual purpose of the act was to increase manufacturing capacity within Great Britain itself, and to limit potential competition from the colonies possessing the raw materials.
The Cyfarthfa Ironworks was a major 18th- and 19th-century ironworks in Cyfarthfa, on the north-western edge of Merthyr Tydfil, in South West Wales.
Puddling is a step in the manufacture of high-grade iron in a crucible or furnace. It was invented in Great Britain during the Industrial Revolution. The molten pig iron was stirred in a reverberatory furnace, in an oxidizing environment, resulting in wrought iron. It was one of the most important processes of making the first appreciable volumes of valuable and useful bar iron without the use of charcoal. Eventually, the furnace would be used to make small quantities of specialty steels.
A finery forge is a forge used to produce wrought iron from pig iron by decarburization in a process called "fining" which involved liquifying cast iron in a fining hearth and removing carbon from the molten cast iron through oxidation. Finery forges were used as early as the 3rd century BC in China. The finery forge process was replaced by the puddling process and the roller mill, both developed by Henry Cort in 1783–4, but not becoming widespread until after 1800.
JFE Steel is the second largest Japanese steel manufacturer. The company was created in 2002 through the merger of the steel manufacturing business of Kawasaki Steel and NKK. It is owned by JFE Holdings, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Ferrous metallurgy is the metallurgy of iron and alloys. It began far back in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, were made from meteoritic iron-nickel. It is not known when or where the smelting of iron from ores began, but by the end of the 2nd millennium BC iron was being produced from iron ores from at least Greece to India, and more controversially Sub-Saharan Africa. The use of wrought iron was known by the 1st millennium BC, and its spread marked the Iron Age. During the medieval period, means were found in Europe of producing wrought iron from cast iron using finery forges. For all these processes, charcoal was required as fuel.
Oregrounds iron was a grade of iron that was regarded as the best grade available in 18th century England. The term was derived from the small Swedish city of Öregrund, the port from which the bar iron was shipped. It was produced using the Walloon process.
The Lancashire hearth was used to fine pig iron, removing carbon to produce wrought iron.
Ebbw Vale Steelworks was an integrated steel mill located in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. Developed from 1790, by the late 1930s it had become the largest steel mill in Europe. Nationalized after World War II, as the steel industry changed to bulk handling, iron and steel making was ceased in the 1970s, as the site was redeveloped as a specialised tinplate works. Closed by Corus in 2002, the site is being redeveloped in a joint-partnership between Blaenau Gwent Council and the Welsh Government.
The Fitzroy Iron Works at Mittagong, New South Wales, was the first commercial iron smelting works in Australia. It first operated in 1848.
The Yahata Steel Works is a steel mill in Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Imperial Steel Works was established in 1896 to meet increasing demand from the nation's burgeoning shipbuilding, railway, construction, and armaments industries. The site chosen was the former town of Yahata, now merged into Kitakyūshū, near coal mines and with easy access to the sea.
Nippon Steel Corporation, was formed in 2012 by the merger of the old Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. The old Nippon Steel Corporation was established in 1970 by the merger of Fuji Iron & Steel and Yawata Iron & Steel.
Kakogawa Steel Works is Kobe Steel, Ltd.'s ironworks in Kakogawa, Hyogo, Japan, established in 1969. It is responsible for about 80 percent of the company's iron and steel production.
Kimitsu Steel Works is an ironworks in Kimitsu, Chiba, Japan, established in 1965 by Nippon Steel Corporation (新日本製鐵), part of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation after its 2012 merger with Sumitomo Metal Industries.
Fuji Iron & Steel was a major Japanese steel-producing company that existed from 1950 to 1970.
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