Sticker-related breakouts are one of the major reasons for high repair costs and production losses. Product defects can mostly be traced back to processes in the mold, but conventional detection tools do not offer directly accessible information.
Disturbances in the solidification process such as poor casting-powder performance, tilted submerged entry nozzles, improper taper settings, or bad steel-flow patterns are frequently overlooked due to the lack of reliable information from the mold. The Mold Expert system from Primetals Technologies collects exactly that information: comprehensive data on temperature, oscillation, primary cooling, mold level, and casting speed is fed into the Mold Expert server and interpreted. This allows for rapid alerts in the event of critical conditions. In addition to breakout prevention, the system provides an ever-increasing number of expert packages that are used to detect possible surface defects and inform operators about other challenging casting conditions. Mold Expert has become the world’s leading system for mold monitoring, and Primetals Technologies recently celebrated its 200th installation.
The cutting-edge incarnation of the system—Mold Expert Fiber—takes measurement accuracy and resolution to a whole new level. It builds on the technology of fiber Bragg gratings to integrate fiber-optic sensors into the mold. This dramatically increases the number of measurement points—from a mere 120 in the standard Mold Expert installation up to in excess of 2,000. The massive amount of resulting data allows for an astonishingly detailed, real-time “inside look” into the mold. Among other benefits, the system more precisely detects critical events such as stickers and longitudinal cracks, and it calculates meniscus flow speed. Mold Expert fiber has already been sold and is on track to be deployed in production for the first time.