- Slag transfer / hazardous dispersion of liquid steel at the industrial plant (breakout)
- Savings of around €490.000 to €670.000 yearly on re-melting
- Occupational safety for end-users
“We exploited cloud HPC to design a new product and to improve process control in steel casting”. - Ergolines
There is an increasing demand for new technologies that prevent waste and slag transfer from the ladle to the tundish in the domain of continuous casting. The challenge is that slag transfer may cause a breakout, potentially resulting in hazardous dispersion of liquid steel at the industrial plant. Currently, the monitoring of ladle-slag is typically performed by operators on an empirical basis. There is, however, a demand for an effective, automated system for ladle-slag monitoring, because of the economic and safety implications of breakouts. The development of an effective detection system requires correlating the vibrational signal with the system’s fluid dynamics.
Ergolines obtained insights about the physics of the system and the different ladle-emptying mechanisms through dedicated High-performance computing (HPC) based simulations. HPC offers a high-level of computational capacity and it enabled Ergolines to establish a correlation between the system’s fluid dynamics and a shroud vibrational signal. On the background of the obtained results, it became possible for Ergolines to develop a new slag monitoring technology based on complex and detailed simulation – that only is available through a HPC system - providing greater productivity and occupational safety.
Ergolines developed the monitoring technology with support from the company Arctur, an HPC provider. The technology development was part of an SME experiment under the Fortissimo project, which supports simulation services using cloud-based HPC infrastructure. Fortissimo falls under the I4MS programme, a European Commission initiative supporting ICT innovation for manufacturing SMEs.
In the course of the implementation process, Ergolines faced diverse challenges. The complex phenomenon to be simulated requires a very accurate discretization of geometry and time, which entails significant computational capabilities.
However, Ergolines did not have the needed computational infrastructure. In order to overcome this challenge, Ergolines opted for a cloud-based HPC solution.
The HPC resources helped to improve product design and to reduce time to market processes. The HPC-based fluid-dynamic analysis and findings facilitated the development of a new product for automatic slag detection in the area of steel continuous casting. The technology is expected to provide considerable benefits for end-users regarding occupational safety and productivity in steel making.
The Results and Benefits
The detection of slag helps a steel plant to better manage the closing of the ladle and, thereby, to increase the steel yield. Normally, around 0.5 to 1% of steel remains in the ladle for an average ladle size of 100 tons. Around 60% of the lost steel can be saved by the proposed slag monitoring technology. Compared to a production of 1 million tonnes annually, a factory could save around 6.000 tonnes of steel that does not need to be re-melted, also resulting in energy savings.