The continuous casting of steel is a manufacturing process that is utilized to create sections of steel that can then be transported for use in the manufacture of a wide range of steel-based products. Casting was first developed during the middle of the 20th century and serves as a means of more efficiently preparing molten steel into a solidified material that can be transported and stored with greater ease. Along with aiding in making it easier to store the product, the process of casting can also help to enhance the quality of the blooms or slabs that are created, as well as increase the rate of production in comparison to older methods.
The general process used in the continuous casting of steel calls for heating the steel in an oxygen or electric furnace, producing the molten product for use in the casting. From there, the molten product is scooped into a ladle and transported to the casting machinery. The ladle is attached to a device known as a tundish and is slowly rotated into position so that the molten steel is poured into the tundish. The product then flows into a copper mold that is kept at a constant temperature with the aid of continual exposure to water.
While in the copper mold, the process for the continuous casting of steel moves on to the setting process. As the water surrounding the mold helps to gradually cool the molten steel, the product begins to solidify. At a certain point, the mold is moved through additional phases of the operation, continuing to allow the steel to cool under controlled conditions. When the desired level of solidification is achieved, the product can be extracted from the mold and then worked using several different types of devices. This may involve running the steel through what is known as a strand guide in order to straighten the steel into a long strand. At other times, the continuous casting of steel will involve tempering the billets with the aid of torches in order to allow further shaping and refinement of the billets. In some cases, the cast steel is subjected to a process known as hot charging, which makes it possible to feed the steel through a series of rollers to produce other basic steel materials for use in the creation of a variety of goods.
Several benefits are gained with the continuous casting of steel. The process makes it possible to extract impurities with greater precision, which in turn helps to produce a higher quality product. Today’s strategies also result in the ability to produce more product in less time, allowing manufacturers to make better use of resources and increase availability of the cast steel. The end result is a wide range of steel based products that are more durable and likely to withstand a great deal of use before they must be replaced.