Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


e-Furnace Report Summary

Project ID: 672910

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - e-Furnace (Intelligent Hot Dip Galvanizing furnace for better energy use, low environmental impact and extended kettle lifespan)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2015-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The e-Furnace project is targeted at developing a new generation of hot dip galvanizing furnaces which would guarantee a sustainable performance, as well as a prolonged kettle life and improved process quality. The initiative springs from a profound need to make an energy intensive and environmentally challenging industry more and more sustainable in its approach to the most critical centerpiece in the industrial galvanizing process.
The main objectives of the project would be a new optimized design for e-Furnace, where choices made on geometry, shape and insulation materials are deeply intertwined with technological advancements on control algorithms, advanced sensors and refined combustion systems.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first semester, the work that has been performed has consisted of general as well as more specific tasks.

On a general level, there has been intense activity to build the knowledge base and the methodological foundation for the entire project. This has entailed a collection of the existing IP in possession of the Project Partners, as well as a very deep exchange with subcontractors on the state of the art in the respective fields of expertise. Fine analysis has been run on each desired objective, the role a Partner or Subcontractor would play in the pursuit of objectives and the roadmap that would lead to such results. This has often entailed discussion and exchange on available expertise, as well as serious work on binding agreements on IP treatment and exploitation.

On a more specific level, the first semester has seen the development of various lines of work in different Work Packages (WP). Below is a brief general summary for each of them, which is then expanded in Part B.

Work has been performed by Gimeco on the state of the art of widely used and accepted furnace technologies, running a full review of available data on their performance in the industry. Such analysis has then generated a choice in terms of the Best Available Technology, identified as the split or dual chamber end fired furnace, which has therefore been assumed as the basis of all subsequent optimization work. Work has been initiated on analysis of critical design factors such and these variables have been inserted in proper CFD modeling with the help of Zinco and Polibrixia.

Full simulations have been carried out on different existing concepts of hot dip galvanizing furnaces to collect more extensive data and knowledge on the heat transfer efficiency based on design features and control algorithms. An initial simulation has been executed on a standard and basic dual chamber furnace to outline critical design and control factors playing a role in overall efficiency.

Work has been carried out to refresh the state of the art of the existing installations, while also resuming the experimental work on the intelligent control algorithms developed by Zinco in collaboration with subcontractor Polibrixia in previous projects. A number of technical variables relating to indicative choices made in WP1 and observations deriving from WP2 have been brought into consideration when planning on full work to program a new generation of intelligent control software for e-Furnace. Specifically, deep analysis has been carried out on the interface between the on-board sensors system to be developed by Zinco, with its specific HW and SW, and the chosen PLC\Industrial PC components for the e-Furnace prototype.


After some initial analysis, with the support of qualified legal counsel, specific agreements have been signed with parties involved in the project to determine rules relating to generation and protection of existing or arising IP. Participation in industry and non-industry events has been used to tell about the project and its objectives, while collecting feedback from end users on their expectations and current priorities. A wide array of stakeholders have been involved in multilateral meetings and initiatives to discuss sustainability in industrial projects and the creation of a culture of sustainability as the grounds of a solid marketing of the e-Furnace concept. This has been done in close collaboration with the Post-Graduate School for Environmental Studies of the Catholic University of Milan and Brescia, as well as local entrepreneurial associations, the Engineering Department of the University of Brescia, the Industrial Materials Institute at the National Research Council of Canada and more.


Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected final results are:

• A new engineering concept for a viable and sustainable new generation of hot dip galvanizing furnaces
• Reduced environmental impact thanks to a …% reduction in CO2 and Nox emissions
• Prolonged kettle life, with elimination of potentially dangerous zinc spills and increased financial sustainability of kettle investment
• Improved process quality thanks to reduction of floating dross and other metallurgical phenomena relating to the undesired energy inefficiency and temperature variations in the bath
• Direct market share improvement for the two Partners of the Project
• Dissemination of advanced know-how among the supply chain within the European Union, with positive impact on subcontractors’ capability to carry out successful R&D
• Increase of qualified professional profiles needed by the Partners or the Subcontractors to manage the new IP and e-Furnace concept in the market

Related information

Record Number: 186569 / Last updated on: 2016-07-13