An award-winning engineering solution at British Steel's Skinningrove-based Special Profiles rolling mill has been awarded three patents. A £2 million investment was made in 2017 to install a ground-breaking new descaling system which was developed and installed in partnership with Italian specialists INOXIHP (www.britishsteel.co.uk
The ‘state of the art’ system fires highly pressurised water through multiple nozzles at more than 200 bars, onto red hot steel blooms. This process efficiently removes the scale formed during the process of reheating the steel, with intelligent lasers ensuring the sprayer is in the optimum position to provide the highest quality finish.
Dominic Hill, British Steel customer quality and technical manager, said: “Being awarded three patents for our descaler system further demonstrates how we are leading the way in driving engineering advances in the global steel industry.
“The system’s unique design has increased the descaling effectiveness compared to our previous version by 300%. The chemical process that occurs during the part of our operation where we reheat the steel to temperatures of 1,280deg is extremely complex, as it is dependent on a number of factors which determine how easily the scale can be broken up and removed.
“What is unique about our system is the intelligent use of lasers and then dynamically positioning the system for optimum performance.
“The quality of the descaling is given a score by an innovative software system developed by our R&D team, to ensure the necessary level of descaling is achieved on each bloom.
“We manufacture a large range of products in different shapes and sizes, to cater for the complex needs of our customers. Having a descaler that automatically adjusts itself according to these dimensions is ground-breaking and gives our customers the perfect mirror-quality finish they can only get from British Steel.”
British Steel’s Special Profiles operation produces special-shaped steel sections for use in a wide range of industries. The steel blooms are made at its integrated steelworks in Scunthorpe before being transferred by rail to the Skinningrove site where the blooms are expertly processed according to the exact requirements of the customer.
The descaling process is an integral part of the operation, as it dramatically improves the surface quality of the steel. This improvement has been praised by our customers and has also earned us the engineering solution award at the prestigious PlantWorx Innovation Awards
Dr Gari Harris, R&D manager, heads up the British Steel R&D team based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham. He said: “This development is part of a wider drive in our business to enhance innovation, working closely with customers and partners to find breakthrough technologies in steel manufacturing.”