09.02.2014

Radio smartens up fireproof plate

Refractory components have always been in the hot seat. SAW sensors now ensure that they also transmit valuable information by radio even under the most extreme conditions.

It all started with one great aim, which was to monitor the state of casting slide gates automatically at all times. What sounds simple was

however to turn into quite a hot project.

Like valves, slide gates are wear parts in the refractory industry used for controlling the flow of molten steel in continuous casting plants. They have to withstand temperatures of up to 1,540°C, mechanical loads from several tons of hot steel and chemical attack, e.g. from alloy elements. As a result, the slide gates have to be replaced as soon as a critical degree of wear has been reached, depending on the steel grade, casting parameters and casting time.

Under control by radio

But how can the state of the slide gates be clearly detected under such extreme conditions and the metal flow controlled? The answer was the surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors developed by CTR that are completely passive and provide information under the toughest conditions (e.g. heat, dust, vibrations, radiation). Integrated in the slide gate, the wireless sensor will not only automatically detect the unique identification number but also temperature and other physical data in the future, thus enabling complete documentation.

Measuring during operation allows important conclusions to be drawn regarding the casting process and condition of the slide gate, ensuring that the components are replaced regularly. Definitely a hot innovation, as there are no comparable solutions on the market to date.

During the development work, the system was successfully tested several times in production at the steel works. Together with the partner company, CTR has applied for two international patents.

Source picture 1: RHI AG
Source picture 2: CTR AG

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