A coke oven battery usually consists of 45 to 69 coke ovens, and is served by one set of machines. Coke ovens are loaded with a so-called charge (a blend of coals) by means of a special loading car that is moved by an electric motor along the rails laid along the top of the ovens.
Each coke oven has a width of 400 to 450 millimeters, a length of 14 to17 meters and a height of 4.3 to 7 meters. Coke ovens comprising a coke oven battery are loaded with the coal charge from the top. After laying the charge into the oven and leveling the charge surface with the leveling bar, the oven is carefully made air-tight. Heating of the charge in the oven takes place by means of the heat transferred from the two side walls, inside which a mixture of blast furnace and coke oven gases is burned in the heating inter-wall chambers at temperatures of up to 1350-1400 °C. The gases released from the charge are immediately removed from the oven through special openings. The coking process in the oven lasts 13 to 18 hours.
Discharging coke from the coke oven battery is effected by a special ejector to the railway cars, where the coke is cooled down with the help of water or inert gases. Further operations of cleaning the doors, as well as cleaning coke spillages are carried out by a door tender. The side of the coke oven battery where coke is discharged is called the coke side of the battery, while the opposite side, from where the coke ejector pushes the coke, is called the machine side. Immediately before the coke is discharged, the oven doors are removed from both the coke and the machine sides. From the coke side, that operation is performed using a door-removing device, which is installed on a special door-removing machine that moves along the rails along the battery on the coke side. The door-removing machine is driven by an electric motor fed by the electric current through a trolley.
A coke battery usually works without stopping for a long time (at least 25 years). All that time, the lining of coke ovens is heated to high temperatures, subjected to friction by coke when it is discharged, to sharp temperature changes during the loading of a moist coal charge and the effects of steam-and-gas products. That is why coke batteries are made from special refractory materials that must withstand the mechanical forces produced by working machines, the pressure of expanding coke charge and that of the overlying structural elements under high temperature conditions.