Stiff vacuum extrusion

— Innovative agglomeration


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About us

It is widely known that extrusion processes are effectively applied for agglomeration, e.g. in fuel briquetting. Attempts to use extrusion for agglomeration in steel industry were undertaken repeatedly but unsuccessfully. Only in 1994 the company Bethlehem Steel has constructed in the blast furnace unit the agglomeration facility based on so called Stiff Vacuum Extrusion – technology developed by J.C. Steele & Sons, Inc. – previously widely used for the brickmaking. But this very first experience did not become widely known, since shortly after the beginning of operation, the enterprise itself (together with a briquette factory) ceased to exist. Experience of the exploitation of this stiff extrusion agglomeration line was not studied systematically, which prevented its further popularity with metallurgists. Similar situation has arisen with the use of stiff extrusion of J. C. Steele & Sons, Ins. for the production of briquettes from the fines of the lateritic nickel ore. Mining companies, which have made the choice in its favor, knowingly concealed the results of operation line for fear of losing competitive advantage. Actually up to the year 2009 the stiff extrusion agglomeration technology remained terra incognita for ferrous metallurgy. Choice in its favor wasn’t based on the results of the systematic study of metallurgical properties of extrusion products.

This gap was eliminated as a result of research performed by A.M. Bizhanov together with the famous Russian scientists-metallurgists-I.F. Kurunov, V. Ya.Dashevskyi, Malysheva T.Ya. and specialist of the MISiS Department (Dean Podgorodetskyi G.S.) (see Contacts).

In the period 2009-20013 the stiff extrusion has been systematically studied and adapted to the conditions of most industrial processes for the smelting of iron, steel, ferroalloys and direct recovery of iron. The main results have been published in Russian and international journals and were reported at scientific conferences and served as the basis for patenting (link to publication).

Efficiency of the developed metallurgical technology has been confirmed by research, full-scale industrial experiments and by practical experience of the commercial use. The term - BREX (extrusion briquettes) – has been proposed by A.M. Bizhanov to distinguish them from the traditional briquettes; corresponding certificate of trademark registration has been issued a (link).

Currently, there is a growing interest in the agglomeration technology based on stiff extrusion, new factories were built and a set of the engineering studies executed in the frameworks of the briquetting projects for the largest steel and Ferro Alloy companies (link to list of Projects).

Equipment for stiff extrusion is produced only by J. C. Steele & Sins, Inc., therefore, we provide links to the official website of this company for all who are interested in the technical details of the equipment

On all matters related to the stiff extrusion you may contact the official representative of the company in Russia-Bizhanov Aitber Makhachevich.


International Brick Industry: Since 1889 JC Steele has been providing equipment into this industry. The proprietary JC Steele “Stiff Extrusion” process was pioneered for this industry. There are more than 600 JC Steele extruders currently operating in this industry worldwide.

Indian Company (Non-Disclosure Agreement): This company produces pig iron and DRI (directly reduced iron) products for sale into the Indian iron and steel industry. They have one small extrusion line capable of 10-12 mtph production of extruded briquettes (BREX) consisting of BF sludge and BF dust. These raw materials are procured from a local steel mill at little to no cost and the BREX are substituted for expensive iron ore feed stock in the blast furnaces for production of pig iron. The share of BREX in the blast furnaces charge amounts to 100%.

BHP-Billiton: This is currently the largest mining company in the world. They operate three JC Steele extruders at their Cerro Matoso mine and smelter in Colombia. This company processes Laterite nickel ore via the rotary kiln, electric furnace process (RKEF). The extruders agglomerate process dust for recovery in the RKEF process. Yearly production is excess of 700,000 mt per year.

VALE: This is currently the third largest mining company in the world. They have three JC Steele extruders at their Mineracao Onca Puma mine and smelter in Brazi. This company also processes Laterite nickel ore via the RKEF process and the extruders perform the same function as at Cerro Matoso. Yearly production is projected to be in excess of 700,000 mt per year.

Texas Industries, Inc. (TXI): TXI operates a number of lightweight aggregate (LWA) production plants. They use extruders to recover ore fines for recovery in their rotary kilns. TXI operates two extruders at two LWA plants, one in Texas and one in Colorado.

Bethlehem Steel: This company used an extruder to agglomerate steel mill wastes for recovery in their blast furnace. Waste feedstock consisted of: blast furnace dust, blast furnace sludge, and lime plant sludge. These materials were mixed with a cement binder and extruded into BREX. Yearly production from this plant was in excess of 60,000 tons per year. This plant ran for about three years and ceased operation when the plant closed.

Carolina Gypsum: This company uses an extruder to pelletize synthetic gypsum with a lignin binder to make fertilizer filler. Yearly production of this plant is about 20,000 tons per year.

COVOL Coal Synfuels: This company oversaw the construction of eight (8) synfuels plants that used JC Steele extruders for agglomerating coal fines with a proprietary binder developed by COVOL.

ECT (Environmental Coal Technology): This is an Australian company that has a proprietary process for converting low energy lignite coal into a higher energy fuel. They have a JC Steele extruder agglomerating the lignite feed stock in preparation for introduction into their beneficiation process.

CE Minerals (Andersonville, Georgia, USA and Xiuwen, China): This company pelletizes high grade bauxite through five of our extruders. The extruded bauxite noodles or pellets are dried and fired in order to make high grade alumina feed stocks which are used in making refractory products.

Universal Aggregates: Company pelletizes dry scrubber fly ash to make light weight aggregate out of this pozzolonic material. The pellets are cured like concrete in a special curing bin.

Minergy (Wisconsin Electric Power Company): Company made fired light weigh aggregate out of fly ash, paper sludge,and sewage sludge.

Equipment extruded noodles of this mixture which were fired to make hard, durable aggregates.

WyoBen: This producer of Bentonite Clay uses a Steele extruder to pelletize and beneficiate dryer dust into noodles of high quality clay through the use of additives and the shearing action of the extruder.

American Colloid: This producer of Bentonite Clay uses Steele extruders to pelletize and beneficiate dryer dust and low grade Bentonite clay into noodles of high quality Bentonite through the use of additives and the shearing action of the extruder. This company operates extruders at locations in Wyoming, South Dakota, China, and Thailand.

Marsulex: Company made synthetic gypsum rock out of synthetic gypsum and cement kiln dust. Rock product was used and a natural gypsum rock replacement for cement plants.

Japanese Company(Non-Disclosure Agreement): This company has obtained an extrusion line capable of 10-12 mtph production of extruded briquettes (BREX) of various mixtures of steel mill by-products and waste including BF sludge, BF dust, fine iron ore, BOF dust, coke, and mill scale.

ENRC Kazchrome: This company is under the commissioning of the 10-12 mtph production of extruded briquettes (BREX) line for the agglomeration of the chromium ore fines with the coal for the Direct Current Arc furnace.