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Successful Start-up of First LiquiRob Robot System at Posco, Korea

Improved Safety in Continuous Casting

(PresseBox) (Linz, Austria, ) At the Gwangyang Steel Works of the Korean steel producer Posco, the first LiquiRob robot system was successfully started up on the caster platform of the new 2-strand Slab Caster CCM 2-3. Capable of executing all manual tasks required during casting operations, at Gwangyang, LiquiRob was designed to automatically carry out sampling and temperature measurements of the steel in the tundish as well as powder dosing. The unit can be upgraded to perform additional functions such as ladle-shroud handling and oxygen lancing of the ladle. With this solution operator personnel no longer has to work in hazardous casting areas, thus substantially contributing to improved safety conditions.

In June, 2006 Siemens Metals Technologies received a contract from Posco for the supply of a 2-strand slab caster capable of casting 3.5 million tons of steel per year. In order to improve production processes and operator safety, this project also included the supply of a LiquiRob system. The caster was started up in November 2007. Through the application of the LiquiRob solution, a high level of operator safety and process reliability could be achieved. Thanks to the systematic robotic procedures, new benchmarks in quality control and process optimization are offered.

In a steel works environment, particularly where liquid hot metal is produced or manipulated, operators are exposed to dangerous working conditions. For example, the caster platform is especially unsafe because of the large number of potential accidents that can occur. These include tundish or mold steel overflows, steel splashing, leakages and breakages or other material defects. For this reason, Siemens VAI developed a robot system named LiquiRob, which automatically carries out all manual tasks on the caster platform for the entire casting sequence. This allows operators to supervise casting conditions and operations safely from the control room.

Individual LiquiRob units were designed to perform a multitude of functions in various caster areas. In the ladle-loading position this includes handling of ladle slide-gate cylinders and media couplings, etc. In the tundish area temperature measurements and sampling, tundish-powder dosing, ladle-shroud handling and oxygen lancing of ladles, etc. can be carried out. In the mold area the LiquiRob is capable of mold sampling, casting-powder dosing, slag removal and insertion of steel-quality-separation plates.

The action radius of LiquiRob can be maximized through the installation of the robot on a moving unit, which can either be rotated or linearly shifted. A special feature of LiquiRob is that thanks to the use of a specially developed 3-D position-detection system, equipment such as ladle slide-gate cylinders, media couplings and submerged entry nozzles, etc., which does not have a fixed position, can be quickly located and accurately manipulated by the robot. The robot unit is well protected and designed for operation in the harsh environment of a steel mill (foundry-type classification), reducing maintenance requirements to a minimum.

The next LiquiRob installation will be started up at a South American steel producer in the Spring of 2008. Due to the flexibility of the system, LiquiRob can be employed in other areas throughout the entire iron and steel production route, including EAF- and BOF based steel mills. For example, at another steel works, a modified version of the system will be implemented at the steelmaking converters for sublance-probe handling.

LiquiRob is a registered trademark of Siemens AG in certain countries.

Further information on solutions for steel works, rolling mills and processing lines is available at: http://www.siemens.com/metals