Corus Process Engineering has been working with Lechler on a feasibility study so that Altos Hornos might upgrade its steel slab caster from water-only cooling to an air mist spray cooling system.
Corus Process Engineering (CPE), which is part of Corus Northern Engineering Services (CNES), has completed a detailed study into the conversion of a water-only cooling system on a steel slab caster in Mexico into an air mist spray cooling system, enabling the plant to produce higher quality grades of steel while providing a more efficient cooling method.
The work is being carried out on the number 3 slab caster at Altos Hornos' steel manufacturing plant based in Monclova, Mexico. While Lechler - a nozzle manufacturer and the main contractor for the study and spray system - was responsible for defining the new secondary cooling system on the caster including the air mist spray nozzles, CPE was responsible for sizing pipework, control systems, instrumentation, compressors, accumulators and dryers, and any hardware and software modifications.
Ian Ellis, Manager of Projects & Technology at CPE, comments: "The study was a two-stage process. The first stage was to visit the plant in Mexico and understand the potential issues that the conversion project might cause to the continuous caster process. Secondly, we had to make recommendations on what equipment and pipework would be required, size it all, price it and then supply and implement, if required."
Working closely with Lechler, who produced detailed process models of the caster plant and new air mist system, CPE had to determine whether the existing water pipework could handle these new flows. Once the existing piping had been surveyed, CPE then had to specify and size all of the new air and water pipework, specify the compressors, accumulator and dryer that would be required, recommend the location of all equipment, and review all valves and instrumentation equipment to see if it could control the water system within the ranges required for Lechler's new air mist system.
More efficient cooling
Ian Ellis continues: "Converting from water-only to air mist cooling provides a wider turn-down ratio and more efficient cooling for the caster. Although most steel makers now use air mist systems on their continuous casters, the study demonstrates CPE's knowledge and expertise in managing turnkey projects for clients, from the feasibility stage, through detailed design and engineering, right through to the actual supply, installation and commissioning of the new systems."
CPE is currently preparing budget proposals for Lechler for the supply of the new equipment. This includes: the recommendation of new operator interface displays; assistance in developing the new alarm system philosophy at the plant; and surveying the partially installed air system, including the specification and recommendation of new pressure and flow instrumentation where necessary for the isolation, control and monitoring of the air flows.
Established in the 1950s, CPE specialises in the refurbishment of continuous casting equipment, both within the Corus Group itself and for external customers. The equipment is used throughout the steel production industry, and CPE is helping companies develop and monitor the performance of their equipment, including mould equipment, Top Zone and segment equipment. CPE maintains a full inventory of spares that minimises turnaround times of these types of equipment. The company provides a range of engineering support services, including training, project management and a toolbox of condition monitoring and asset management tools.
CPE's portfolio of new development technologies includes: Castclean, an integrated approach to ensure optimum levels of steel cleanliness from ladle to mould; Castcoat ceramic-coated mould plates that increase the life of continuous caster mould plates by up to six times; Clinotec, which enables operators and maintenance staff to check the precise measurement of the vertical angle of the mould end plate; and the development, design and supply of 'periphery drilled rolls' that increase roll stability and life.
A significant proportion of CPE's revenues also come from the nuclear industry. Since the 1950s, CPE has been supplying plant and equipment to the nuclear industry world-wide, including nuclear waste transport and handling equipment, storage flasks, shield doors and gamma gates.