Metso Insights Blog Mining and metals blog The future of pelletizing is 3-meters wide
Metals refining
Dec 19, 2022

The future of pelletizing is 3 meters wide

Mining companies worldwide are showing a keen interest in plants with smaller capacities since it allows them to expand their value chain and support decentralized steel-making concepts like mini-mills. Metso Outotec’s recently launched Compact-sized Pellet Plant is one of the best solutions in this space.
Compact-sized Pellet Plant
Compact-sized Pellet Plant

In the beginning plant sizes were quite small: the first pellet plants had a machine width of as little as 2.5 meters and annual capacities in the range of one million tons. In order to respond to the growing demand for pellets and to reduce investment and operational costs, machine widths grew to four meters and reaction areas to 818 m². Today, the highest capacity plants can produce more than nine million tons of pellets a year in a single furnace. The last three-meter plant, built by Metso Outotec in 1976 for Peña Colorada in Mexico, remains in operation to this day.

In recent years we have seen increased demand for plants with smaller capacities, particularly in India and China. The specific cost per ton of pellets increases with smaller plant sizes, and in terms of capital expenditure, engineering and project management represent a larger proportion of the total cost.

In response to this development we have invested heavily in optimizing our design, engineering, and project execution procedures as well as our supply base. As a result of these efforts we can now offer competitive pellet plants that have a smaller footprint and production capacity while still incorporating all the process features of the world’s biggest and most efficient plants.

The main features of our Compact-sized Pellet Plant offering are:

  • highly standardized engineering

  • optimized layout

  • modular and flexible configuration

  • minimized CAPEX and delivery time

Our compact pellet plants are available in the following standard sizes and corresponding capacities:

  • Size: 189 m2 Capacity: 1.20 - 1.50 Mtpy

  • Size: 288 m2 Capacity: 1.75 - 2.30 Mtpy

  • Size: 315 m2 Capacity: 2.00 - 2.60 Mtpy

Metso Outotec has been leading the development of pelletizing since the technology was first introduced in the early 1960s and has remained as the undisputed market and technology leader, designing and delivering more than 120 travelling-grate pellet plants to customers around the world.

The schematic below shows an example of the smallest plant size with an induration furnace that has a 189 m² reaction area.

Plot plan of Metso Outotec’s smallest size plant with  an induration furnace of 189 m² reaction area
Plot plan of Metso Outotec’s smallest size plant with an induration furnace of 189 m² reaction area

In order to minimize plant CAPEX, Metso Outotec follows a standardized approach to design and project execution. Customers can modify the basic layout with add-on packages, the details of which could be found here.

All our plant designs include Metso Outotec proprietary equipment for the main process areas, which has been designed and developed based on decades of process engineering and project delivery experience. This equipment includes:

  • pelletizing discs

  • special conveyors at feed station

  • roller screens

  • indurating machine

  • pallet cars

  • burners (standard or low NOx)


Pelletizing will remain crucial in the future for steelmaking in general and it can support the transition to green, carbon-neutral steel production. With this new approach Metso Outotec is now able to offer efficient and modern pellet plants in a smaller size that incorporate the same process features as larger plants.

Key customer benefits

  • Market-leading pelletizing technology

  • Optimized plant layout with a standardized modular configuration that minimizes CAPEX and delivery time

  • The highest standards of process performance, product quality, safety, and efficiency

  • Unparalleled longevity

  • Latest technological developments with regards to emission reduction, capacity, availability, and digital solutions.

You can find out more about the Metso Outotec Compact-size Pellet Plant offering by watching our webinar recording.

Visit the Metso Outotec website to browse our list of live and on-demand webinars.

Issue 1/2022
Ferrous & Heat Transfer Newsletter
This article is part of our Ferrous & Heat Transfer Newsletter Issue 1/2022. Visit the issue front page for all articles and insights ...
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Metals refining