Electric Furnace Steelworker

Metalworker directing the technological process of steel casting in the electric furnace.

History of the Profession

The electrometallurgy of steel and ferroalloys emerged as a stand-alone field in the industry as early as the late 19th century, but it was only in the 1960s that its development received a new impetus. For instance, at OEMK, the first industrial smelt in an electric arc furnace (EAF 1) took place in 1984.
Steel smelting is the second most significant process in the production of steel. This process has been development due to relatively low costs of EAFs, including large furnaces, short construction times and the usage of scrap metal. The construction of a large number of small factories resulted in a boom in the production of electric steel. As such, steel smelting proved to be financially beneficial (electric steel makes up 33% of steel produced around the world).
The widespread introduction of steel-smelting technologies created a demand for specialists in directing the technological process of steel casting in the electric furnace.

The Electric Furnace Steelworker Today

Metalloinvest’s electric furnace steelworkers are highly qualified specialists. They study each stage of the technological process of steel casting for each steel type in great detail. Their duties include overseeing the correct fulfilling of the practical processes involved in maintaining the furnace, upkeep of the steel-production equipment, adherence to the casting schedule, and keeping to the timetable for the production of the required steel type or special casts. At least one year of practical experience as the first assistant to a steelworker, and at least five years of experience in a steel-smelting plant are required for the role of electric furnace steelworker.

Knowledge and Skills

The role of electric furnace steelworker involves the application of knowledge of the technological process of casting various steel types and alloys, the equipment specifications and manuals, the basics of electronics, methods for the intensification of casts, the types of electrode holders, and mechanisms for moving electrodes. The steelworker should understand the physical and chemical characteristics and composition of charge and priming materials, deoxidants, alloying additions, as well as the nominal capacity and permissible load of furnace transformers. The electric furnace steelworker is in charge of team of assistants. The specialist in this role must be aware of the regulations of occupational safety and health and be able to provide first aid assistance.

Personal Qualities

This profession demands a high level of responsibility, self-discipline, attentiveness, concentration, and physical endurance. Steelmaking technologies are constantly evolving and it is therefore vital that the steelworker is willing to master and apply new working methods.


With sufficient work experience, a higher vocational education, and leadership qualities, the steelworker can be transferred to the position of technical engineering overseer, managing particularly challenging areas of production. Further promotion up the career ladder depends on the accrual of professional skills, and suggestion of innovative ways to increase the efficiency of production. Many managers of steel-smelting plants were steelworkers at the earlier stages of their carriers.

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