We consider the numerical simulation of conjugate heat transfer, incompressible turbulent flows for multicomponents systems using a stabilized finite element method. We present an immersed volume approach for thermal coupling between fluids and solids for heating high-alloy steel inside industrial furnaces. It consists in considering a single 3D grid of the furnace and solving one set of equations with different thermal properties. A distance function enables to define precisely the position and the interface of any objects inside the volume and to provide homogeneous physical and thermodynamic properties for each subdomain. An anisotropic mesh adaptation algorithm based on the variations of the distance function is then applied to ensure an accurate capture of the discontinuities that characterize the highly heterogeneous domain. The proposed method demonstrates the capability of the model to simulate an unsteady three-dimensional heat transfers and turbulent flows in an industrial furnace with the presence of three conducting solid bodies. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.