Ircon Infrared Sensors in Metals and Steel Manufacturing and Processing
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Industry Applications - Metal Processing

IR Sensors in Steel Manufacturing
Infrared Temperature Measurement in Metal Processing

Accurate and reliable temperature measurement is a part of efficient metal processing and steel manufacturing. Incorrect temperature during the metallurgical process results in poor quality steel products, waste, extra energy consumption, increased refractory wear, surface defects, and time lost due to inaccurate temperature monitoring and control.

Ircon rugged and dependable noncontact infrared pyrometers, including two-color or single wavelength thermometers, allow accurate temperature measurement of metal processing even in the rough environmental conditions present during primary and secondary metal production, such as smoke, steam, dust or intermittent interferences, including scale or water. Factory operators can selectively control the temperature measurement of heat treated parts, resulting in significant energy and time savings, as well as increased safety, productivity and product quality.

Listed below are just a few examples of how Ircon IR sensors are used in several common applications. For additional applications and product recommendations, please contact our application engineers.

Raw Materials for Steel Production

The production of raw materials requires the use of temperature monitoring and control. The Modline® 5R is used to measure the coke as it is pushed from the coke oven. The Modline 52 series can measure the coke temperature in the quench car to insure proper cooling of the coke. The Modline 76 series is used to detect the hot clinkers on the coke belt as it leaves the coke wharf to prevent damage to the conveyor belt. The Modline 5R is ideal for the measurement of refractory in the stove domes and the molten iron as it leaves the blast furnace and moves into the torpedo car.

Recommended products: Modline® 5R and 52 Spot Pyrometer, as well as Modline 76 System IR Pyrometers.

Continuous Casting

Temperature control for continuous casting in the production of slabs, blooms and billets assures product uniformity and quality throughout the process. Once the steel has passed through the water-cooled mold and is making its way downstream, knowing the strand or slab temperature at the exit of the spray zone is crucial to insure efficient water cooling. Temperature monitoring with infrared sensors can alert operators to improper cooling and avoid catastrophic cracks and breaks in the slabs. To increase productivity, the slabs are often reheated with induction heaters before proceeding directly to the rolling mill. The reheat temperature is controlled with a two-color thermometer and controller.

Recommended product: Modline 5R two color thermometer and ScanIR®3 Linescanner and Thermal Imaging System.

Rolling Mills

Steel slabs are hot rolled into continuous coils or steel plates. Billets are hot rolled into bars, rods and wire. Blooms are hot rolled into structural steel I-beams and rails. Infrared temperature sensors accurately measure strip and plate temperatures, so that rolling mill stands can be efficiently set to match the steel’s temperature. Noncontact IR thermometers can also be used to detect the presence of hot metal to accurately time roll stand operation.

Recommended products: Modline 5R two color thermometer and ScanIR3 Linescanner and Thermal Imaging System.

Galvanizing and Annealing Lines

During the production of galvanized or annealed steel, the metal is heated to very critical temperatures to insure proper bonding of the galvanized coating or annealing of the metal. The steel is measured in the preheat, heat, soak and cooling zones to insure proper metallurgical properties. The suggested Ircon instruments are the Modline 5: 5G, 52 and 56 Series Spot Pyrometers and ScanIR3 Linescanner and Thermal Imaging System.

Tube and Pipe Mills

In seamless stainless steel pipe manufacturing, it is crucial to assure that the refractory in the rotating mold has been preheated to the correct temperature, or the refractory will crack and the pipe may have poor metallurgical properties.  The outside of the rotating mold is water-cooled to insure proper metallurgical properties and avoid cracks in the pipe. Overheating the mold destroys the refractory.  Cold refractory or the metal cooling too fast changes the properties of the metal and increases the chance that cracks will occur. You can avoid these problems with IR system thermometers. Preheating of the refractory is controlled with a Modline 75 series and the outer shell temperature is measured using the Modline 76 series.

Rod and Wire Mills

In a typical rod or wire mill, billets are heated in a reheat furnace and sent through a rolling mill to be reshaped as rods or wire. Infrared thermometers measure the temperature of the billet at the exit of the furnace, during the rolling of the billet and at the laying area where it is slow cooled. Sensors are used to control the slow cooling of the wire or rods to insure proper metallurgical properties. The Modline 5R two color thermometer is used for the rolling and the laying of the rod and the 56 series is used to control the cooling bed temperature.

Metal Coating

Metal used for building siding, roofing and gutters, as well as metal for appliances are all coil-coated. The paint is applied to continuous coils of metal using rollers and then heated in a hot air oven. The temperature is critical to insure proper bonding and color. In the production of reinforcing bars for the construction industry, the bars are preheated and then the coating is applied and cured. The proper temperature is critical to insure a correct thickness and good bonding of the coating. The coating temperatures are measured using the Modline 43 series and the Modline 74 series. The rod temperature is controlled with the Modline 56 series and ScanIR3 Linescanner and Thermal Imaging System.

Every step in the steel manufacturing process can benefit from the use of Ircon infrared thermometers. These benefits include:

  • Improved metallurgic properties of products
  • Increased productivity with instantaneous feedback of operating parameters
  • Reduced energy costs, scrap and downtime
  • Enhanced personnel safety and environment control in hazardous areas

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