Sovereign Tec, an associate company of local steel merchant Sovereign Steel, has gone global, owing to a new technology that will, according to the company, significantly alter thermal processing in various industries around the world.
Sovereign Steel chairperson Anthony Nathan revealed the technology, known as the Thermal Kinetic Energiser (TKE) system, to the media and various local industry stakeholders, at the company’s heat treatment facilities, last month.
TKE technology, which changes the heat transfer properties of thermal processing from radiant heat to kinetic energy, which presents itself as a clear stream of heat-producing energy, replaces conventional gas burners entirely.
The TKE system produces a molecular jet speed of 220 m/s and significantly reduces processing times and heat loss, ensuring a gas saving of up to 80%.
TKE was developed by South African inven- tor Carl Mörsner in Europe in 2006, and was initially developed as an incineration method with the idea to oxidise and destroy waste contents placed in an industrial chamber using heat.
Mörsner realised his invention could also be generally used for heat-transfer technology in kilns, furnaces and boilers, because of its heat transfer properties. Five years later, he had perfected the TKE unit, including the safety and quality features, and began marketing the technology to the local forging, heat-treatment and steel industries.
However, these industries were initially reluctant to believe his claims of the benefits of installing a TKE system. Nathan still recalls the day Mörsner approached Sovereign Steel in July last year with what Nathan describes as “outrageous claims” about the new product offering, which he perceived to be beyond scientific possibility.
“The developer walked in, spoke to our GM and told us we would be able to cut off all our existing burners and replace them with one of his energisers, which would then reduce the company’s energy costs by up to 80%,” recalls Nathan, listing guaranteed heat uniformity, a significant reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions and zero maintenance as some of Mörsner’s “crazy” claims.
“Initially, we threw him out the office – what he was claiming was scientifically and metallurgically impossible. He was challenging conventional wisdom about the laws of science as we knew it,” he says.
However, the steel merchant decided to have another look at the technology and, after visiting TKE installation sites and seeing it first-hand, Nathan believed the developer’s claims were justified.
Sovereign Tec has subsequently been awarded the global rights to the technology. Today, Sovgas, a new company representing the joint venture between Sovereign Tec and Mörsner’s company, Gastrim International, has installed 40 TKE units around the world in a variety of markets, and has maintained a zero-recall record so far, says Nathan.
With regard to the locally based Sovereign Steel, Nathan confirms the technology has significantly lowered costs, increased capacity and positively impacted on the company’s quality and bottom line.
TKE System Features
The primary performance characteristics of Sovgas’s heat-transfer technology include complete temperature uniformity, which eliminates workpiece distortion and required straightening; no cold or hot spots in the charge, furnace or boiler; and high-speed natural heat ramp-up time, which dramati- cally reduces the cycle time in preheating preparation and further reduces a manufacturing plant’s gas and electricity consumption by up to 80%.
This cost saving is significant, considering that the general cost of energy in the steel industry makes up a significant portion of a company’s total manufacturing costs, says Nathan.
Further, he says the system promises zero maintenance, as no major change or modification to the vessel is required – be it a furnace, boiler or chamber. “The system also runs cold and without moving parts, so wear and tear is absent,” he adds.
A TKE system will yield improved metal- lurgical results not only in less time but also at a lower temperature than traditional burners. “There is no need to overheat the containment to achieve the target temperature and you are able to come near to the energy stream,” says Nathan.
He adds that the technology extends to all industries using direct-fired, forced-draft heating apparatuses such as boilers, kilns, furnaces, incinerators, preheaters and refractory heaters. He also states that TKE systems are being installed in many applications worldwide, including power stations, oil refi- neries, and gas, cement and ceramic plants, as well as refractories, and even at chemical, mining, brewing and paint factories.
Mörsner and his team are now based in the Dubai free zone, having set up a global manufacturing plant for Gastrim. Together with Sovereign Tec’s global network of marketing partners around the world, Gastrim establishes TKE heat-transfer technologies all over the world.