Original Date: 08/26/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Caster Improvements
Weirton Steel Corporation (WSC) uses a four-strand continuous caster to produce the slabs, which are processed through various production steps and result in coils of thin strip material. The casting process is limited by the number of heats that can be put through the caster. Molten metal is poured into the caster through a device called a tundish. The tundish maintains a constant pool of molten metal that is replenished from bottom-pouring ladles. In the Weirton system, continuous casts can be run through the tundish for up to 16 hours. Ladle shrouds are fitted onto ladles and extend into the tundish when the ladle is lowered. A caster area team has been formed to develop improvements to the casting process.
The area team developed several improvements to the process. Slag inclusion can block the sliding gates or plug the holes, causing a break in the process flow. The team implemented a slag detection system to monitor the steel level in the tundish and to cut-off the draining before slag can carry over into the mold. A submerged pour method allows the pouring shrouds to be extended from the bottom of the ladle into the molten pool so that the pour emerges below the surface and is protected from exposure to the atmosphere. These changes have improved the process by keeping the openings free 97% of the time.
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