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Sampling method of steelmaking changed for a century

The University of Swansea has won the 2018 "Innovation Award in materials science" by armorers and brasiers company for its new technology of monitoring molten steel temperature and composition, which can save up to 4.5 million pounds per year for steel plants. The technology, developed by a team of Szymon kubal and the University of Swansea, uses a laser that emits laser into a steelmaking furnace, which can continuously monitor the temperature in the furnace without requiring a one-time probe or stop production.

Szymon kubal is near a molten steel furnace in Port Talbot, Tata Steel, UK. Source: Tata Steel.

"Our new technology allows laser beams to be projected into the steelmaking furnace through a channel called" tuyers "on the wall of the furnace and protects the return data channel with the latest gas injection technology, commented Szymon kubal, a PhD at Tata Steel and a researcher at the University of Swansea. One of the difficulties is to test the running steelmaking furnace under normal production conditions, but we have been able to conduct a comprehensive test through cooperation with Tata Steel in the UK. "

The new technology won the material science risk award awarded by armorers and brasiers, with a £ 25000 prize. Swansea University is the first institution to win the award twice, both of which has made pioneering contributions to the steel industry.

At present, during the steelmaking process, production needs to be stopped temporarily and then the disposable probe is immersed in molten metal to measure the temperature. And it's very inefficient because it takes a long time, requires expensive probes, and is inefficient.

If new technologies can improve quality control without additional downtime, the potential savings for steel manufacturers can be considerable. The new technology could "save £ 4.5 million per year for steel mills" and could be applied to smelting other metals, such as aluminum, copper and nickel, Swansea University said in receiving the award. By using new monitoring methods, we can see the great changes in cost and production efficiency. In january2018, Swansea University established a new company, kubal Wraith Ltd, to commercialize and market the technology.

Change manufacturing process

The team is led by Dr. szymonkubal, including Dr. Cameron Pleydell Pearce, an expert at the University of Swansea School of engineering, and Dr. Adrian Walters. "This project shows how research and innovation can change the manufacturing processes that have been established for a long time, and our award is designed to encourage science entrepreneurship in the UK and to provide funding to help innovation like this develop to achieve its potential," said Bill bonfield, one of the jury members of the award

"In 2016, Swansea University won the 2016 entrepreneurship award with pioneering solutions to corrosion problems and improved steel products, while this year's winners improved the first stage of steel manufacturing processes, indicating that Swansea is providing innovative solutions to steel," said Dr. Adrian Walters, a royal social entrepreneur at Swansea University

"It's a prestigious and competitive award and provides a great deal of credibility for early start-ups," said Dr Gerry Ronan, head of intellectual property at Swansea University.

The monitoring of molten metal based on laser has been an important research topic. The current methods include the use of laser scattering to achieve non-contact temperature measurement, or by monitoring the growth of oxides in the melt and the change of the reflected light intensity caused by it, and the correlation between the reduction rate of strength and the temperature of molten metal.

Another method is to monitor the melting process of molten metal online by laser induced breakdown spectrum. The research of Szymon kubal in cooperation with Tata Steel at Swansea University has included many non optical development and redesigned structural elements to improve the treatment of molten metal, but he has discussed laser scanning technology to monitor metal smelting furnaces and refractories, which has exceeded its established use in monitoring the wall thickness of refractory.

In the paper of the 2017 international refractory technology conference, Szymon kubal commented on the impact of laser scanning technology application on the operation cost of steel enterprises. "Modern laser scanning technology provides information not only for safety purposes, but also for lining temperature, optimizing cycle time and production by assisting steel tapping, and helping to select materials to eliminate severe wear areas and optimize maintenance processes to maximize their performance," he said Use value. "

The second award in three years shows the professional strength of Swansea in materials science and the quality of business opportunities created by the University. It's also an honor for Dr. Adrian Walters, who has worked closely with the two successful teams. “


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