Technology Committees

Refractory Systems Technology Committee Activities

The RSTC met 5–6 November 2014, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA - Xin Zhang, RSTC papers chair, finalized the AISTech 2015 technical session structure for the RSTC.
The group reviewed the RSTC’s description for the AISTech 2016 Call for Papers.
It was decided that the RSTC will establish an annual best paper award to be presented at AISTech. Several members volunteered for this year’s evaluations.
Joe Malchar of Gerdau Long Steel North America Midlothian Mill gave a presentation on historical refractory consumption, current refractory projects, and process key performance indicators that are evaluated relative to refractory performance.
The RSTC agreed to add a section on tundish refractories to its 2015 technology training conference. On Thursday, 6 November, the group toured the Gerdau Long Steel North America Midlothian plant.

The RSTC held its meeting on 11–12 March 2014 in Milwaukee, Wis., USA.
There were 24 out of 33 RSTC members in attendance. Albert Dainton, RSTC papers chair, presented the updated list of RSTC papers at AISTech 2014.
Nominations of RSTC officers took place during the RSTC meeting at AISTech in May.
A few ideas were discussed to promote the activities of the RSTC and increase attendance: invitation to plant tour personnel during future meetings, increased promotion of the plant tour, distribution of a newly designed flyer or Web link, and promotion of the technical presentations or discussions held during the meetings.
Kyle Kingsbury created a task force to develop a new specialty training conference on tundish refractories/continuous casting. Members of this task force include: Jim Barrett, Bill Drake and Albert Dainton.
The group toured the Charter Steel – Saukville, Wisconsin plant in the afternoon. They visited the meltshop and hot mill areas of the plant.
The second day of the meeting concluded with a technical presentation from Tom Connors, president of Connors Industrials Inc. He presented an overview of thermographic sensor solutions for managing safety and refractory maintenance for steel and iron ladles.  

The RSTC held its meeting on 25–26 March 2013 in St. Louis, Mo. This occurred during the second-worst snowfall in St. Louis’ history. More than 12 inches of snow fell over a 24-hour period, causing major travel problems and flight cancellations. Despite the weather, 10 committee members braved the cold and attended the meeting. Rob Doty, RSTC chair, conducted the meeting. Dawn Mandich, papers chair, reviewed AISTech 2013 paper and session chair responsibilities. Session chair assignments were reviewed and finalized. The main agenda item included discussion regarding the 2013 Ladle Refractory and Secondary Steelmaking Short Course. The course will be held 30 September–2 October in Charleston, S.C., with the RSTC meeting to follow on 3 October. Additions to this year’s course will include a session on plant safety and process modeling. A discussion followed on possible future additions to the course schedule. Topics were discussed for future RSTC meetings. All RSTC members were asked to submit a recommendation that would not be considered “ethics” issues. On Tuesday, 26 March 2013, the RSTC toured the SunCoke Energy facility in Granite City, Ill. The tour was organized and conducted by Gary West, refractory technology specialist at SunCoke Energy.

The Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) met on Monday, 7 May 2012 at AISTech 2012 in Atlanta, Ga. Yong Lee, RSTC chair, introduced himself and the other members and thanked everyone for attending the meeting. There were 15 members in attendance. Some RSTC members could not attend due to conflict with other committee meetings. Lee reviewed and discussed the last meeting at United States Steel Corporation Research and Technology Center, where the RSTC compared testing methods of magnesia carbon brick at U. S. Steel vs. ArcelorMittal. The results of testing were extremely close at both locations. Rob Doty handed out “Proposed Recommendations for Datasheets.” The discussion regarding the datasheets ended with the decision to send a digital copy of recommendations to all committee members and have them each talk with their respective companies to see what the response will be to the recommendations. The RSTC mission statement was approved by all in attendance. The results of the 2012–2013 election were: Rob Doty, chair; Kyle Kingsbury, vice chair; and Dawn Mandich, papers chair.

The Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) met on 28 March 2012 in Munhall, Pa., at the U. S. Steel Research and Technology Center. There were 11 committee members in attendance. The committee’s mission statement was reviewed and discussed. The AISTech 2012 sessions were reviewed, and there was a discussion pertaining to the AISTech 2013 Call for Papers. The group discussed the possibility of a joint Specialty Training Conference with the Ironmaking Technology Committee to cover refractory systems utilized in ironmaking. In addition, the group discussed developing a standard data sheet for refractory. When completed, the data sheet would identify standard data and conditions to be reported for all types of refractory in order to make proper comparisons.
Results of the tests on magnesia carbon brick performed at ArcelorMittal and U. S. Steel labs were discussed to see how the results compared between the two facilities.
The meeting concluded with a tour of the U. S. Steel Research and Technology facility. The tour included areas within the facility that conduct material testing, water flow modeling, rolling and refractory testing. The group was impressed with the facility’s testing and evaluation capabilities to solve problems with existing products, as well as to develop new grades of products.

The Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) held their fall meeting on 26–27 October 2011 following the Ladle Refractory Specialty Training Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The meeting was called to order by chair Yong Lee. There were 12 attendees at the meeting. The meeting was a half-day with the full committee and a half-day with producers only. Topics of discussion included safety, refractory recycling programs, the Ladle Refractory Short Course, as well as producer-only discussions on the Tundish Refractory Survey. The next RSTC meeting is tentatively scheduled for mid-March 2012,  with the location yet to be determined.

The Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) met on 2 May 2011 at AISTech in Indianapolis, Ind. There were 14 committee members in attendance. The election of 2012 committee officers resulted in Yong Lee, chair; Robert Doty, vice chair; and Kyle Kingsbury, papers chair. The RSTC mission statement was presented and approved: “To promote forums for discussion and dissemination of the latest advancements and best practices in refractory technology worldwide as they relate to the entire iron and steel making process.” The Ladle Refractory Short Course will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, on 25–26 October 2011. The committee desires to work with the Ironmaking Technology Committee to develop a short course on blast furnace refractories. Interested members of both committees are welcome to plan future meetings to develop this topic. The next RSTC meeting will be on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio, in conjunction with the Ladle Refractory Short Course.

The Refractory Systems Technology Committee met in Auburn, Ind., on 30–31 March 2011. The members met on 30 March at Steel Dynamics Inc. – Iron Dynamics Division for a tour of the ironmaking facility. Craig Wiley and Conrad Fisher provided an overview of the facility prior to the tour. The facility uses almost entirely recycled iron material to produce liquid metal which is utilized by the Steel Dynamics Inc. – Flat Products Division for steel production. The raw material is briquetted and processed into Direct Reduced Iron (DRI) in a 50-m rotary hearth furnace. The hot DRI is then transported up a conveyor into the submerged arc furnace, which produces the liquid iron. The liquid iron is tapped into a transfer ladle and carried to the steelmaking facility via a rubber-tired carrier. Following the Iron Dynamics tour, the members toured the steelmaking facilities at the Flat Products Division. The members were taken through the ladle reline area, the tundish repair area and the actual steelmaking facilities, which included the EAFs, the ladle metallurgy stations and the continuous casting facilities. At the conclusion of the tour, Ricky Rollins, manager — melt/cast facility — Flat Products Division, answered any questions the attendees had concerning the facility and its operations.
On 31 March, the members held their technical discussion and business meeting in Auburn, Ind. The technical topic for the meeting was the recycling of refractory products. Joe Quigley, BPI Inc., presented “MgO and Alumina Refractory Brick Recycling,” a refractory products recycling program. Dean Daenens, GH&A Associates, and Sebastion Capogna, RHI AG, presented their technology entitled, “Thinking Green — The Benefits of Recycling Refractory,” which showed the benefits of recycling refractories and how their companies handle spent material. The committee then discussed the tragic and unfortunate events that have occurred in Japan and if any impact was felt in the refractory industry. The members also discussed the current status of the two refractory sessions that were sponsored at AISTech 2011. Text was developed for a refractory topic for the AISTech 2012 Call for Papers, and a committee mission statement was developed. Officer nominations were discussed, and the slate was voted on during the 2 May 2011 meeting at AISTech 2011. The March meeting ended with a discussion on the future direction of the committee. The members agreed that the committee should continue to have technical presentations and plant tours to elevate the value of the meetings. They will also be looking to involve younger members of the industry in the meetings and to look at co-locating the refractory meetings with some of the steel producers’ corporate refractory meetings. The technical topics for the fall 2011 meeting will focus on raw materials and presenters will be organized to present on that topic.

The AIST Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) held their fall meeting on 13–14 Oct 2010, in Merrilville, Ind. The meeting began with a joint tour including the RSTC members and the AIST Ladle Refractory Short Course attendees. The tour was hosted by ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor, and the attendees were taken through the BOF facility, the ladle lining area, the secondary refining facility and finally the continuous caster. On 14 Oct the RSTC held their business meeting. Following introductions, a review of the AIST Anti-Trust Guidelines and staff announcements, the RSTC held a roundtable discussion on safety incidents in the steel industry. A technical presentation was then given by Rob Doty, RSTC vice chair, on Nucor Steel–Indiana’s ladle refractory program. Mr. Doty gave another presentation on a similar program, started by member Jorg Peter at Cascade Steel, that was used to determine the necessity of metals in slagline brick at Cascade Steel. Xin Zhang, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor, concluded the technical presentations by explaining that company’s efforts to improve the ladle sand practices at their facility. The program and schedule for the AIST Ladle Refractory Short Course was then reviewed, and it was suggested that the course be held again next fall in Cleveland, Ohio, with potential tours at ArcelorMittal Cleveland and/or Charter Steel Cleveland. The members also discussed the viability of an international refractory committee meeting in Europe, which would include tours of refractory producers and steel facilities in Austria and Slovakia. For the next RSTC meeting, companies will be identified as possible tour hosts and an agenda will be developed to determine the level of support from the committee membership for this international endeavor. The next RSTC meeting will be in Butler, Ind., on 30–31 Mar 2011. The technical topic of the meeting will be “Recycling of Refractories.” Following lunch, the RSTC Producer-Only Subcommittee held their meeting. The members in attendance presented information on their current ladle sanding procedures, describing their equipment used, the steps taken prior to sanding and their free-open performance. A review was also given on the Reheat Furnace Refractory Survey, as well as a brief overview of the contributions to date on the Tundish Refractory Survey. A summary of the Tundish Refractory Survey will be completed at the March 2011 meeting in Indiana.

The Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) met in Burlington, Ont., Canada, for their spring meeting. The meeting began on April 14 with the RSTC Producer-Only Subcommittee. Following a review of safety-related incidents in the industry, the attendees reviewed the status of the Reheat Furnace Refractory Benchmarking Study. The final summary for the study will be provided at the fall RSTC meeting. In addition, a Tundish Refractory Survey will be sent to the producing members of the RSTC and the Continuous Casting Technology Committee to benchmark current tundish refractory practices. The next meeting will be held in October in northwest Indiana and will be co-located with the Ladle Refractory Short Course, the AIST Ladle & Secondary Refining Technology Committee meeting and the AIST Midwest Chapter Kickoff Dinner. On 15 Apr the complete RSTC met, beginning with a review of safety and environmental issues in the steel industry. The RSTC technical sessions at AISTech 2010 were reviewed. Two sessions were sponsored by the RSTC: ladle refractories and slidegates, and blast furnace refractories. Plans were then discussed regarding papers for AISTech 2011, with suggestions being metal-free MgC refractory, MgC degasser linings, recycling practices for spent refractory and MgC castable refractory. Aivars Pupols of ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. and Paul Saffrin of Vanocur Refractories LLC then presented information on the progress of the coke oven throughwall project at ArcelorMittal Dofasco and the technology behind the BigBlock Coke Oven Brick produced by Vanocur. Following the meeting, the committee toured the ArcelorMittal Dofasco No. 1 Coke Battery throughwall replacement project. Ken Blake of ArcelorMittal Dofasco provided the tour, which showed how the blocks were being installed as well as the obstacles that were overcome in conducting the project. The next RSTC meeting will be 14 Oct in Merrilville, Ind., and the technical subject for the meeting will be well blocks and ladle sand practices.

On 15 Oct the Producer Only Subcommittee of the Refractory Systems Technology Committee (RSTC) held their fall meeting in northwest Indiana. Following introductions and a review of the AIST Anti-Trust Guidelines, the group began the meeting as they do every meeting: by discussing any safety incidents in the steel industry. The Reheat Furnace Refractory Survey was then reviewed. Adjustments were made to the criteria, and the survey was sent to all the producer members of the RSTC to complete by 30 Nov 2008. The results will be compiled and discussed at the next meeting. The Tundish Refractory Survey was reviewed, and adjustments were made to the criteria and layout of the survey to be similar in appearance to the Reheat Furnace Refractory Survey. When the Reheat Furnace Survey has been completed and compiled, the Tundish Refractory Survey will be sent to the RSTC producers. ArcelorMittal’s Xin Zhang, refractory engineer, and Yong Lee, senior research engineer, presented their feasibility study on steel ladle insulation board trials at Indiana Harbor No. 2 Steel Production. It was a study on determining the insulation that would be needed if the high-alumina lining in the ladle barrel was replaced with alumino-magnesite carbon refractory. Following the meeting, a tour for the RSTC was hosted by North American Refractories Co. Gary Iron and Steel Production Services. The facility maintains and repairs ladle and degasser shells as well as other steelmaking vessels and, through its proximity to U. S. Steel – Gary Works, maintains the refractory linings in the vessels for Gary Works. The facility has full fabrication and engineering capabilities for these projects. On 16 Oct the full RSTC met to discuss business matters. The abstracts that related to refractories for AISTech 2009 were reviewed, and it was determined that the committee should co-sponsor the Ladle Refractory and Slidegates session with the AIST Ladle & Secondary Refining Technology Committee (LSRTC). A co-chair was named from the committee. As the committee members are new to AISTech session planning, they will be co-sponsoring a session for 2009, with plans to sponsor independent sessions for AISTech 2010. The committee will also be assisting the LSRTC with the AIST Technical Report No. 9 refractory section information as needed. The last item of business was to determine future meeting structure and activities. The technical portion of the meeting will continue to be the main focus of the meeting, and they will look to increase the value of the content through presentations and additional benchmarking reviews. The RSTC next meeting will be 21–22 Apr 2009, with the site to be determined.