Liquirob: A tireless worker
for higher efficiency, quality, and safety

The LiquiRob robot system was specifically developed by Primetals Technologies for improving workplace safety and measurement quality under the harsh conditions encountered in the ironmaking and steelmaking industries. It has numerous applications in a wide variety of work activities across the entire production process.

For the hottest applications

LiquiRob is a highly flexible robot system that meets the challenges of a number of tasks that require working with—or close to—liquid metal. The system is installed to support plant equipment such as electric furnaces, converters, secondary metallurgy, and continuous casting machines. Fully automatic measurements and procedures increase process reliability and workplace safety as well as flexibility, productivity and—by extension—product quality. Every work activity performed automatically by the robot can be monitored from the control room, where operating personnel are kept at a safe distance.

In operation since 2007

LiquiRob is the world‘s first successful industrial-scale system of its kind on the market. It premiered in 2007 in the Gwangyang steelmaking plant of POSCO in South Korea. The robot system in that facility is responsible for sample taking, measuring steel temperature in the tundish, and feeding casting powder on the casting platform of a two-strand continuous slab caster.

Main Benefits

  • Increased workplace safety
  • Better reproducibility of measurements
  • Higher availability
  • Lower maintenance costs

A highly adaptable system

A standard industrial robot with six axes is used for all activities. An optional, additional axis extends the working area. The robot is equipped with different tools and components that allow it to perform a variety of tasks. This includes equipment such as tool changers, fire-proof protective enclosures, and position detection systems. Using a combination of these components, LiquiRob can be adapted to nearly all plant types and automation systems with a high degree of reliability and flexibility.

A range of applications

Semi-automatic manipulators are widely used at converters, at electric arc furnaces, and in secondary metallurgy. However, each of them performs only one specific task, and each requires special maintenance. A single LiquiRob can assume the responsibilities of several manipulators. At the converter, for example, the system provides a highly flexible solution for probe handling in combination with a sublance system, including cartridge exchange. With limited space availability in a harsh operational environment, the probes are rapidly taken from the storage rack and placed exactly onto the sublance, which then inserts it into a downspout for taking samples and performing measurements. Not only does this improve workplace safety, but it also increases the reproducibility of measurement results. A newly developed robot tool expands the range of applications to enable measuring and sampling at converters without sublance systems.

At the electric arc furnace, a newly developed LiquiRob feature makes the hazardous task of inspecting the furnace via camera system through the slag door fully automatic. LiquiRob can also open the tap hole, using a lancing tool with an oxygen lance. By means of a tool changer, the same robot can be used for deburring the tap hole. In continuous casting, the dangers to personnel can be even more acute. LiquiRob can substitute humans and take measurements and samples, charge casting powder, or do ladle preparation, stripping, and lancing. The latest addition to LiquiRob’s faculties in continuous casting is fully automatic shroud manipulation.

Lance guard—automatic diagnosis for measurement equipment

The precise acquisition of liquid metal parameters such as temperature, oxygen activity, and carbon content, is one of the most important requirements for delivering high-quality results at minimal production cost. However, measurement lances and their wiring are subject to high thermal and mechanical stress, thus requiring frequent testing to prevent unknown deviations­. Lance Guard from Primetals Technologies significantly speeds up and fully automates this process at minimal hardware cost. A lance adapter is attached to the lance contact block and Lance Guard starts feeding data to the system, emulating a typical one-way measurement probe. With closed-loop feedback from the automation system, all values are verified and checked for violations of the specified limits. The result is a seamless quality record of all components in the measurement chain. Lance Guard can be used with all lance systems; both with manual lance applications and fully automatic systems such as LiquiRob, which also enables automatic cleaning of the contact block.