Modern steel manufacturing is directly influenced by the quality of the equipment and instrumentation used. Selecting the best tools and equipment available improves product quality and further helps optimize the process. These tools can be separated into two groups: manufacturing equipment and measuring instrumentation. Manufacturing equipment consists of the actual machines being used to work, heat, shape and produce the product. Measuring instruments are things like infrared pyrometers which can be used to confirm critical aspects about the process by measuring the temperature of the product or the manufacturing equipment itself.
Primary Steel Making
To make steel, iron ore is first mined from the ground. It is then smelted in blast furnaces where the impurities are removed and carbon is added. Iron ore and other iron bearing materials, coke and limestone are charged into the furnace from the top and work their way down, becoming hotter as they sink in the body of the furnace. In the top half of the furnace, gas from burning coke removes a great deal of oxygen from the iron ore. About halfway down, limestone begins to react with impurities in the ore and the coke to form a slag. As the iron is formed, it is periodically extracted by tapping a hole at the bottom of the furnace to allow the molten metal to flow out.
The basic oxygen furnace process is a method of primary steelmaking in which carbon-rich hot metal, delivered by the blast furnace, is made into steel. Since steel delivered by the BOF may not meet the customer’s metallurgical specifications, it may require final refinement in a secondary metallurgical station and/or a vacuum degasser prior to solidification.
Ladle & Caster
Refractory vessels of various types are used in the melt shop/caster area to hold molten iron or steel, known as hot metal. Before hot metal is introduced to these vessels, the vessel must be preheated. If hot metal is introduced to a cold vessel, then the metal can pop and explode over the sides of the vessel, creating a serious safety hazard and poor product quality.
Selecting a high quality refractory material and accurately monitoring it’s temperature with an infrared pyrometer will ultimately maximize the shelf life of the refractory and help optimize your production process.
Hot Rolling Mills are used to reheat shapes of steel to soften them enough so that they can be rolled thinner and longer through a series of rolling stands. The finished product can be either a strip, plate, rod, bar, wire, or shape (rails and H-beams).After the hot rolling process steel is then cold rolled at much lower temperatures to increase the strength of the steel
The equipment used in these processes is directly responsible for forming the desired shape and mechanical properties as well as pre-heating, soaking, and cooling the steel. Tight process control is dictated by temperature and the best method in a steel mill is infrared pyrometers.
The steel mill is a demanding environment filled with interferences and other challenges that make reliable temperature measurement difficult. This is a barrier for many steel manufacturers, as temperature control is critical for creating the high-quality product that customers expect.
It’s vital to select the right technology for the job; you need steel infrared temperature sensors that are perfectly suited to your unique applications. That’s why Williamson offers a comprehensive line of industrial temperature sensors, as well as several innovative technologies for difficult-to-measure applications. Significant sensor features include:
- High-performance dual-wavelength compensates for misalignment, dirty optics, and emissivity variation
- Patented multi-wavelength technology with application specific ESP algorithms
- Unique narrow-band single-wavelength design
These (and other) unique features make Williamson steel infrared temperature sensors the superior choice for steel manufacturers. Our line of industrial pyrometers are accurate, reliable, and can be customized to your unique applications, making them ideal for any position in your steel mill.