SMS group supplies continuous caster with Industrie 4.0 technology

by Hans Diederichs

Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co. Ltd., Rizhao, China, has awarded SMS group ( the final acceptance certificate, following the successful commissioning of its new continuous caster for ultrawide slabs.  The single-strand caster is designed for an annual production of 1.5 million tons of steel slabs with widths of up to 3,250 millimeters and a thickness of 150 millimeters. This means the casting machine can cast the widest slabs in the world. It processes structural steels, and micro and low-alloy steel grades. Peritectic grades make up more than 45 percent of the overall production output. The slabs are hot charged to the Steckel mill which rolls them down to sheet and hot strip.

Shandong Iron & Steel also ordered latest quality-enhancing digitalization solutions for the casting machine. The digital HD LASr (High Definition Laser Aligning System remote) alignment assistant, developed by SMS group, guarantees that the molds and segments are perfectly aligned. HD LASr (mold) and HD LASr (segment) systems constitute an intuitive operating concept for high-precision measurement and the optimal setup of the molds and segments in the workshop, using a 3D system – an important prerequisite for high slab quality.

SMS group uses HD moldTC (TC = thermocouples) technology in this caster. Additionally, the narrow sides are equipped with HD moldFO (FO = fiber optic sensors), Breakout Prevention Assist and Mold Temperature Assist systems. The Breakout Prevention Assist system reliably prevents breakouts resulting from stickers in the mold, ensuring high availability and the effective protection of the machine against damage. Mold Temperature Assist provides information in 2D or 3D about the distribution of the heat discharge, alignment of the submerged entry nozzle, stirring effect, and the contact between the strand shell and the copper plates. In addition, the mold features HD moldFO copper plates which are equipped with fiber optics for signal transmission. More than 500 measuring points are arranged over the complete mold surface, from the top to the bottom end of the mold. Only with HD moldFO can the local strand shell thickness and the thicknesses of the liquid and solid flux layers be directly visualized. This provides more in-depth understanding of the solidification process.

Additionally, the plant is equipped with Industrie 4.0 technologies developed by SMS group for smart plant data processing and process automation. Based on the steel grades to be processed, the X-Pact® TechAssist system automatically selects the optimal technological parameter settings for the metallurgical process.

X-Pact® Process Guidance provides automatically – whenever needed - all relevant process information, prompts and HMI screens. All plant control and maintenance functions can be conveniently executed from the operator's station. X-Pact® Business Intelligence combines the data from different systems, enabling interaction with dynamic applications and dashboards.

The continuous caster comes with a wide range of technologies that ensure very good internal quality of the slabs: the hydraulic-powered resonance oscillator, for example, and X-Pact® WidthControl, an online width adjustment system that sets the mold narrow sides during casting.  Other features are the width-dependent air-mist secondary cooling system and the technological process model  X-Pact® Solid Control (formerly DSC®).

Source and photo: SMS group

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