Foundry coke, also known as hard coal coke, is produced in non-recovery coke ovens. It is used for melting iron and other metals such as lead, copper, tin, and zinc in a cupola furnace at foundries. It has denser structure, high carbon, low ash, and high heating value. The size of the foundry coke is larger than metallurgical coke. The size specification depends on the size of the cupola furnace. Foundry coke is used as a supporting matrix, reducing agent, and energy carrier during the pig iron manufacturing process. The use of large sized coke offers advantages of lower blasting pressure, increased metal temperature, reduced breakage from handling, and reduced reaction with CO2.
The global foundry coke market can be segmented based on furnace size, process, type of metal smelting, and region. In terms of furnace size, the foundry coke market can be divided into 600-1200 mm, 1200-1800mm, and above 1800mm. In general, foundry coke is burned in cupola furnace. The size of the foundry coke is decided based on the inside diameter of the cupola furnace. The larger the size of the furnace, the higher the size of foundry coke used.
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In terms of process, the foundry coke market can be segregated into beehive process, by-product recovery process, and others. Under the beehive process, bended and crushed coking coals are placed in a kiln and burnt by restricting air flow. Most of the foundry coke in China is manufactured in a modified version of the beehive process. It takes eight to 11 days to produce foundry coke through the beehive process. Under the by-product recovery process, coking coals are heated in a retort oven until the volatile matter develops. This type of process is mostly used in developing nations. Form-coke and jumbo-ovens are the other processes used in the manufacture of foundry coke. Both these processes are economically non-viable due to the high capital and operating costs. The beehive process holds the major share of the foundry coke market. This trend is likely to continue throughout the forecast period.
In terms of type of metal smelting, the foundry coke market can be classified into pig iron, copper, zinc, lead, tin, and others. The pig iron segment accounts for the key share of the market owing to its vast production compared to other metals. The segment is followed by copper and zinc segments.
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In terms of region, the foundry coke market can be divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The foundry coke market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period owing to the increase in usage of pig iron for steel production in the region. Europe constitutes large share of the foundry coke market, followed by North America. The foundry coke market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is anticipated to expand at a sluggish pace during the forecast period.