Past Events

Secondary Steelmaking Refractories — A Practical Training Seminar

Conference Details: 5–8 October 2015, Memphis, Tenn., USA, with Nucor Steel Memphis Inc. as host plant. 

Conference Highlights: There were 79 attendees at this eighth annual training seminar. Tony Faulds, plant metallurgist for Nucor Steel Memphis Inc., was the keynote speaker. He described the plant’s operating and safety principles. The facility’s primary product is special bar quality bar. 

Ruth Engel of Refractory Consulting Services presented “Refractory Raw Materials for Steel Ladles.” Raw material classifications and chemistries were presented, along with monolithics and castables. Next, Korey Skala from RHI US Ltd. presented “Refractory Brick Production.” This new topic for the seminar involved the manufacturing of unfired and fired bricks along with linings for degassers and steel ladles. 

Rob Doty, IMACRO Inc., followed with “Insulation and Ladle Construction and Design.” He discussed heat transfer, ladle shell temperatures and ladle brick design. Carl Corbin of Vesuvius USA presented “Stir Plugs, Lances, Slidegates and Tundish Gates,” which included slidegate usage, sizing the refractory bore, plate material, wear mechanisms and key points for failure analysis. 

Jimmy Barrett, Allied Mineral Products Inc. and Ladle & Secondary Refractory Technology Committee education chair, pre-sented “Steel Ladles: Preheating, Refractory Wear Mechanisms and Measuring Options.” He gave a bricklayer’s perspective about ladle usage, ladle dryout schedules, ladle lasering programs, ladle flexing and campaign life. Next, Harriet Dutka, Magnesita Refractories, presented “Tap-to-Cast Operations.” She provided an operations methology by explaining basic operating concepts that affect refractory materials. The first day concluded with a panel discussion with Jimmy Barrett, Harriet Dutka, Albert Dainton, Carl Corbin and Kevin Cotchen. 

The second day began with a presentation about safety. John Panconi of BISCO Refractories Inc. presented “Safety: Past/Present/Future.” Panconi highlighted past practices and expectations and just how far we’ve come with today’s safety standards. 

Next, Dawn Mandich of U. S. Steel Research and Technology Center presented “Refractory Materials Testing.” Refractory testing requires inspection from the raw material stages throughout the consumable life of the refractory being used. Material monitoring helps to regulate refractory performance. Helmut Oltmann, Nucor Steel–Berkeley, presented “Secondary Steelmaking Process — LMF.” The goal of the LMF is to process the heat at the correct chemistry, temperature and time for the caster to cast at optimum speed. 

Kevin Cotchen of SMS USA LLC then presented “Secondary Steelmaking — Vacuum Treatments.” He detailed the degassing process, various process designs, operating considerations and safety concerns. Brian Jurczyk and Chuck Prince of Prince Corp. presented “Improving the Free Open Rate — Ladle Sand Presentation.” The key concepts described were ladle nozzle cleaning practices, ladle sanding techniques, ladle sand amounts, hold times and argon stirring 


Albert Dainton, Vesuvius USA, presented “Total Tundish Technology,” which addressed primary functions of the continuous casting tundish, working tundish lining and tundish furniture. Darrell Sturgill of Imerys Metalcasting Solutions presented “Principles of Mold Flux Technology.” Sturgill described the function of the mold flux, the six varieties of mold fluxes with their key properties like viscosity, thermal breakpoints, melting points and rates, and thermal insulation. Kyle Kingsbury from Duferco Refractories presented “Ladle Shrouds and Gaskets.” He discussed different shroud designs, various gasket materials and qualities, and troubleshooting problems during casting. 

The final presentation was made by Josh Kaser of Flow Control Products, who discussed stopper rods and their purpose, potential issues and tundish shroud components. The next day the seminar toured Nucor Steel Memphis Inc.’s meltshop and caster. The scrap yard, ladle make-up area, EAF, LMF, degasser and caster were toured. 

The next Secondary Steelmaking Refractories — A Practical Training Seminar will be held in Birmingham, Ala., USA, in October 2016 with CMC Alabama serving as host plant.

1. Presenters on the first day of Secondary Steelmaking Refractories — A Practical Training Seminar included (left to right): Carl Corbin, Korey Skala, Rob Doty, Jimmy Barrett, Harriet Dutka and Ruth Engel. 2. Presenters on the second day included: (first row, left to right): Kevin Cotchen, Jimmy Barrett, Dawn Mandich and John Panconi; and (second row, left to right) Helmut Oltmann, Albert Dainton, Chuck Prince, Josh Kaser, Brian Jurczyk and Darrell Sturgill. 3. Attendees of Secondary Steelmaking Refractories — A Practical Training Seminar toured Nucor Steel Memphis Inc.