Continuous Casting: Metal Hose and the Modern Steel Mill

By: Abby Svitana | On: August 28, 2019

Praise for the Continuous Casting Process

The steel industry has not always been how we know it today. Prior to the introduction of continuous casting in the 1950’s, steel was poured into a series of individual molds to make individual ingots – a very laborious and inefficient process. The introduction of continuous casting effectively revolutionized the steel-making industry. By making the process continuous, molten steel can now be processed into long lengths and cut accordingly without having to stop and re-start the process. The credit for continuous casting’s success is due to its ability to cool the steel through a well-controlled two-part process. Let’s explore these processes and their critical role in the continuous forming process.

Primary Cooling

Primary cooling begins as the liquid steel is slowly fed from the liquid reservoir above the casting operation into an oscillating copper mold. An outside layer begins to form, hardening and giving the steel strand some shape. At this stage, the internal part of the strand is still mostly liquid, but its external shell is hard enough that the steel strand can begin to be pushed through a series of rollers and cooling chambers in the secondary part of the cooling process that will continue to shape and treat the steel.

Secondary Cooling

The spray chambers for the secondary cooling process are a vital element of the casting process, and work in tandem with the rollers to produce steel of consistent and desirable quality. Properly cooling steel requires a delicate balance: too much cooling can over-harden the steel, making it difficult to roll and lowering its quality, whereas insufficient cooling may cause breakouts that release the liquid inner core, ruining both the cast and surrounding equipment. Corrugated metal hose assemblies ensure maximum water flow to the rollers and nozzles, as there are no barbed connections which can reduce flow.

Making Sure Your Process Stays Continuous

Fire jacket for use in continuous casting mills

A fire jacket can aid in a hose’s longevity in the continuous casting process.

A continuous forming mill’s spray chambers have an important job to do and a difficult environment in which to do it. Ultimately, corrugated metal hoses are best suited to handle both the ambient temperature extremes, while resisting corrosive attack from the combination of mold powders and cooling water that coat the inside of the spray chamber.

Because of this, utilizing hose and braid made from 316 stainless steel as well as the addition of a fire jacket in some instances will help to guarantee the maximum life of the hose assemblies.

Depending on what style of semi-finished steel is being cast, space may become an important issue. Larger strands like slabs take up more space and care must be taken when piping the surrounding equipment in spray chambers. Because metal hoses have a more compact end fitting configuration than non-metallic hoses, they provide value to a steel mill in their flexibility, allowing operators greater ease when providing connections to the surrounding piping system in an installation.

When planning a piping system and/or installing hoses of any type, it’s important to recognize the hoses’ operating bend radius. Most applications are known to have movements, which necessitates adhering to the dynamic minimum bend radius during installation so that the hoses do not fail prematurely. If additional bend radius is required due to space restrictions, utilizing a close-pitched hose construction will grant more flexibility as the corrugations per foot are increased in this style.

Because designing applications and solutions for steel mills can be challenging due to the extreme nature of the environment, all of the factors involved in an application can be hard to identify. If you’re having issues with hoses in a spray chamber, a steel mill, or any industrial application, contact the Hose Master Inside Sales team at 1-800-221-2319 so that our metal hose application experts can assist you in finding the best hose for your application.

 

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