Fully automated converter operation

At the steelmaking stage, more and more tasks that used to be done by human operators can today be executed automatically. For a while now, most converter-based measurements have been taken without the involvement of manual labor, yet some of them have proven to be harder to automate. Primetals Technologies has developed solutions to digitalize those trickier yet essential processes. One example of a more challenging task is taking samples at the tilted convertor prior to tapping. Not only is this job potentially dangerous to staff, it also needs to be executed in a well-controlled and precisely reproducible manner. The horizontal measuring manipulator of Primetals Technologies takes care of exactly that. It can be installed at either the charging or the tapping side of the converter, and respectively takes measurements before tapping.

The manipulator introduces the advantage of precisely determining factors such as the position and the depth at which measurements are taken and the speed of the evaluation process. This allows for extensive customization of the sample-taking operation. In some steel plants, dedicated robots are the method of choice for the handling of probes. At voestalpine’s Linz-based plant, for example, Primetals Technologies was commissioned to install robotic solutions on three 180-ton converters, with the goal of automating probe handling at the sublances. The resulting system has now been in successful operation for almost two years and has proven to be capable of maintaining the highest standards in terms of process reproducibility and reliability.

In general, fully automated converter operation covers all process steps from the initial charging of the converter to the blowing control to the final tapping. Depending on a production facility’s preexisting equipment, customized modernization packages can propel converter operation into a fully automatic operation mode, improve process consistency and safety, and vastly increase both transparency and efficiency.

Main Benefits

  • The next step in converter steelmaking
  • Fully automatic charging and tapping of the converter
  • Manipulator for measurements at the tilted converter
  • Robots for fully automated handling of probes at the sublance
  • Frees up operators to focus on process supervision and process ­optimization