Process Control and Automation
Intelligent combination of process automation, information technology and connectivity enables the digitalization of steel production that goes far beyond conventional automation of industrial production. Smart sensor technology combined with advanced digital models as well as quality and production planning and control systems provide huge potentials along the entire production chain. The result is quality improvement and production cost reduction together with process flexibility. This paper drafts a vision of the intelligent steel production of the future and shows a stepwise approach to reach this ambitious target.
Limitations in the existing control hardware and concerns about long-term maintainability of a machine installed in 1988 led to the decision to perform an upgrade to the system. The decision was made that the controls would go above and beyond regulatory safety requirements. This paper discusses the safety system design, including the risk assessment, functional specification, design procedure, component selection, design verification and system validation.
Steel manufacturers must cut costs while improving product quality and customer satisfaction in order to maintain their market positions. One of the tools in this effort is improved planning and scheduling systems. This paper describes a decision support system that integrates the customer order selection and the planning and scheduling of the continuous casters, which then allows for synchronized production.
Ergolines integrated a dedicated optical sensor that measures the upper powder profile directly into a new-design powder diffuser. This configuration combines pneumatic powder feeding and optical powder thickness control in a non-invasive installation, requiring no mold machining nor suspended sensors. Field testing demonstrated the system reliability and sturdiness, even in the presence of dust and flames. Superior performance of the triangulation-based laser line approach with respect to traditional point laser meters based on time-of-flight measurements was also proven.
A width measurement system based on radar technology for hot rolling mills has been developed. A prototype system operating at 30 GHz was installed in the hot rolling mill of Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH. During these tests, the high robustness and measurement accuracy under rough environmental conditions were demonstrated. Afterward, a 60-GHz system was developed. After field tests in the hot rolling mill, the system will be used for accurate width control at the roughing stand.
This work explores the applicability of the quenching and partitioning (Q&P) process to plate steel, considering through-thickness thermal profiles and associated microstructural gradients for different plate thicknesses. A one-dimensional numerical model was used to simulate temperature evolution in a flat plate. Simulated cooling and heating media were selected to represent a wide range of potential industrial processes. Through-thickness microstructures associated with the 1D thermal gradients are considered in the context of alloying and Q&P process design.