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Research AND Development Near Burmamines Gate, 831001 Jamshedpur
Telephone +91 657 6648915, +91 92 04651390

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METEC 2019 hall map (Hall 3): stand F10

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METEC 2019 fairground map: Hall 3


Balamurugan Srinivasagan

+91 9204651390


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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

1) Copper Stave Thickness Measurement for Blast Furnaces

Blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for the production of industrial metals like iron, copper, lead etc from their respective ores. Due to the high temperatures inside the furnace, cooling members are utilized to maintain the temperature of the outer shell within allowable limits. This ensures that the steel shell retains its structural integrity. Most large blast furnaces are utilize copper staves as part of cooling systems for maintaining the shell temperature.

These staves usually form the inner-most lining of the blast furnace. The inner surface of the staves are prone to severe erosion due to various factors such as: motion of raw material inside the blast furnace, alkali attack due to the smelting reactions or splashing of hot material causing puncture of staves. Severe wear in staves can cause massive water ingression, which can lead to catastrophic failure in blast furnace. Such stave failures have been reported worldwide. Due to this, it is essential to monitor the remnant thickness of copper staves routinely for assessing their condition.

Tata Steel R&D has developed three technologies for monitoring the remnant thickness of copper staves.

1G - Offline single point measurement

2G - Online single point measurement

3G - Offline full channel measurement

Offline single point measurement (1G)

This technology employs sensors mounted on customized fixtures which position the sensor precisely inside the copper staves for measurement. The sensors are inserted through the inlet and outlet pipes of the copper staves. This allows upto 8 point measurements per stave. Upto 50 measurements can be made during an 8 hour shutdown.

Online single point measurement (2G)

This technology employs embedding sensors permanently on inspection bolt inserts inside the copper staves. The inspection bolts are made of copper and are inserted through the thickness of the stave from the outer blast furnace shell. The sensor data is transmitted to a terminal in the control room where thickness measurements are displayed on a continuous basis. The sensors enable continuous monitoring of thickness at one point per stave from the comfort of the control room.

Offline full channel measurement (3G)

This technology employs a robotic crawler which carries a sensor mounted on its head inside the cooling channel of the copper stave. The robotic crawler is inserted through the outlet pipes of the copper staves. The sensor continuously scans along the entire length of the cooling channel for making thickness measurements. A large number of measurements are made along the cooling channel with a spacing of upto 5mm between two successive measurements. Measurements in each channel consume upto 30 minutes during a shutdown. A continuous thickness profile of the stave thickness is generated. Similar profiles can be obtained from every cooling channel of the stave to obtain a thorough thickness profile of the entire stave.

Monitoring the copper stave condition on routine basis will enable blast furnace operators to know about the condition of their staves. This will enable controlling operating parameters for safe operation and enhancement of campaign life of the furnace.

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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

2) Hearth Refractory Thickness Measurement for Metallurgical Furnaces

Blast furnace is the core of steel industries, where iron is smelt from iron ore. The hot metal produced is collected in the bottom of the blast furnace, known as the hearth area. The hearth region is composed of the blast furnace wall consisting of thick layers of refractory material. These refractories are vulnerable to wear due to bulk motion of hot metal and alkali attack. The health of the refractory in the hearth dictates the remaining campaign life of the blast furnace. Continual wear of the hearth refractory therby, severely deteriorates the campaign life of blast furnace. Hence, periodic measurement of refractory thickness enables and ensures safe operation of blast furnaces and simultaneously maximizing the campaign life.

Tata Steel R&D has developed a technology incorporating state of the art analysis tools for assessing the remnant refractory thickness in the hearth of the blast furnace. The measurement can be done from the outer shell of the blast furnace even during operation without the need of a shutdown. Systematic measurements are made along a grid which covers the entire hearth area. This provides a comprehensive 2D visualization of the condition of the hearth. In addition to the remnant refractory thickness, the accretion layer formed inside the furnace can also be visualized.

This measurement technology provides a valuable feedback tool for the management to take comprehensive steps to maximize campaign life of the blast furnace.

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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

3) Online Thickness Profiling System for Ductile Iron Pipes

Ductile Iron pipes are commonly used for transmission and distribution of potable water and sewage. These pipes are manufactured using centrifugal casting of cast iron. The pipes are usually coated with zinc on the outer surface with a final layer of bitumen coating and lined with a layer of cement on the inner surface. It is imperative to control the thickness profile of the cast pipes as required to meet customer requirements or technical standards.

The customer requirements or technical standards usually prescribe a nominal wall thickness for the ductile iron pipes. However, due to inadequate control over the centrifugal casting process, manufacturers unintentionally cast pipes having localized regions sometimes having thickness lower than nominal or sometimes with much higher wall thicknesses. This results in utilization of excess raw material and corresponding losses to the manufacturers.

In addition, technical standards allow for some error margin below the nominal thickness. This margin can be tapped into to achieve an “Under weight gain” while still satisfying the technical standards and customer requirements. Achieving under-weight gain requires controlling the centrifugal casting process which necessitates continuous feedback on the thickness profile of the ductile iron pipes being manufactured.

Tata Steel R&D has developed a measurement system which enables the thickness profiling of every pipe manufactured online. The measurement system utilizes a proprietary sensor design for highly reliable thickness measurements even over the rough peened surface of the ductile iron pipes. The system is totally automated to allow scanning at speeds that can be matched to the production rate of the factory for seamless operations. Significant underweight gain can be realized by effective use of feedback from thickness profile data of ductile iron pipes produced. This would in turn save significant costs in the manufacturing process.

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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

4) Mash Seam Weld Inspection System for Cold Rolling Mills

Continuous galvanizing lines are an integral part of any cold rolling mill complex producing automotive grade steels. Steel coils are welded end to end for processing in continuous galvanizing lines. It is crucial to ensure the quality of these welds to ensure reliable operations of the mill. The quality of these welds is generally estimated based on the welding parameters used or sometimes through crude methods like manual hammering on the weld seam. Such methods however, are not quantitative and hence not fool-proof. There are several instances when these welds break apart in the mill during processing. The breakages are caused due to physical defects in the weld such as lack of fusion, undercut or softening of weld zone. Such breakages result in long shutdowns as the sheet must be retracting and rethreading into the mill. This leads to significant production loss for the manufacturing facility.

Tata Steel R&D has developed an online non-destructive testing system for detecting physical defects in the seam welds. The inspection system utilizes a sensor array to scan the entire volume of the weld zone for the presence of any physical defects. Live scan images are shown on the operation control desk to enable swift action by the operators if any defects are detected in the weld. The entire scan cycle can be completed within 30 - 40 seconds which is fast enough to synchronize with the production speed of the mill. The physical footprint of the entire system is extremely small, allowing it to be incorporated in any existing mill without necessitating any major modifications.

Effective utilization of the inspection system can ultimately prevent any weld breakages due to defects in the mill.

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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

5) Bulk Density Measurement of Stamp Charge Coal Cakes

Many modern coke plants utilize stamp charged coal cakes for production of high quality blast furnace coke. Crushed coal blends from a coal tower are fed to Stamping Cum Pushing machines where it is physically stamped and compacted to a certain bulk density. Achieving an optimal bulk density is extremely critical to both the quality of coke produced and the efficiency of coking operation. The coal cake should be dense enough to achieve sufficient strength and at the same time have sufficient porosity for minimizing energy consumption in the oven during coking operation. A very high bulk density will result in excessive swelling of the cake during coking operation within the oven. This will exert pressure on the side walls of the coke oven and damage the inner linings resulting in huge capital loss. On the contrary, a low bulk density will reduce the operational efficiency of coking oven and may even result in loss of stability of the coal cake causing it to collapse under its self-weight. It is of paramount importance to control the stamping operation to achieve an adequate bulk density profile in SCP machine. The stamping process can be controlled through measurement of bulk density of the stamp charge coal cakes.

Tata Steel R&D has developed a proprietary sensor system for measurement of bulk density of the coal cakes. The measurement can be done offline after stamping as the cake is pushed through the discharge hatch. A 2D bulk density profile can be obtained and used to optimize the stamping energy. The measurement can also be done online in the SCP machine during the stamping process by installing the sensors permanently in the stamping box. This will enable live feedback on the bulk density which can be used to achieve closed loop control over the stamping process.

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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

6) Condition Monitoring Sensor for Tie Rods of Coke Oven Batteries

In steel industries, coke oven batteries play a crucial role of producing high quality coke for blast furnaces. The coke oven batteries experience thermal cycling during their operation. This results in severe bending stresses on the structure of the coke ovens. The coke ovens are typically concrete structures with refractory linings in the inner surfaces. Concrete structures are inherently weak in resisting bending and tensile loads. They are thus embedded with tie rods as post tensioning members in the side-walls of the coke ovens for enhancing their tensile load bearing capacity. The tie rods run along the length of the coke ovens and are encased within ducts known as buckstays. The buckstays are generally steel ducts which are embedded within the walls of the coke oven.

During the coking operation various gasses rich in ammonia are produced which may creep through the concrete structure and cause corrosion to the tie rods. Seepage of rainwater from the oven top combine with the ammonia rich gases which accelerate the corrosion of the tie rods. Since the tie rods are embedded within the coke oven walls and enclosed by buckstays, their condition become unknown from the outside. Unexpected failure of tie rods during the furnace operation poses a grave threat of collapse of the oven walls. It is thus of primordial importance to monitor the condition of the tie rods during service to avoid such unexpected and catastrophic failures.

Tata Steel R&D has developed a technique for non destructive assessment of tie rods. This technique employs sensors which can be easily used from the outside of the ovens. The sensors can also be permanently mounted on the tie rods if required for enabling continuous online monitoring. This will enable the operators to diagnose the tie rods which are severely eroded and plan their replacement well in advance.

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Product category: Measurement of physical properties and quantities

7) Non-consumable Sensors for Liquid Metal Temperature Profiling

Metals are extracted from their naturally occurring ore. After undergoing various processes, the extracted metal is finally poured into mold, where it solidifies and forms slabs or billets as desired. The quality of the metal casting process decides the quality of the product. Temperature is one of the crucial parameters, which defines the quality of metal casting process. Hence, it is highly important to measure the temperature of the molten metal for a better control of the process.

Conventionally thermocouples are used for the measurement of molten metal, which are inserted into the molten metal through the slag layer. But it is an expensive process, as in every dip of the thermocouple for the measurement, it gets burnt after a momentary reading. However, continuous monitoring of the molten metal temperature is unavoidable, hence large numbers of thermocouples are consumed in this process. Tata Steel R&D has developed an alternate non-consumable sensor to measure the molten metal temperature. This sensor also provides continuous temperature measurement of the molten metal. A single strand can accommodate multiple sensors in it and thus provide a temperature profile within the molten metal bath.

This technology is an effective alternate to the conventional thermocouples, is cost efficient as it is no-consumable and it enables continuous measurement with a provision to achieve multi-point temperature profiling.

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About us

Company portrait

Tata Steel Group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 33 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). It is one of the world's most geographically-diversified steel producers, with operations and commercial presence across the world. The group (excluding SEA operations) recorded a consolidated turnover of US $22.67 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2019. In 2018, Tata Steel acquired Bhushan Steel Ltd (now renamed as Tata Steel BSL Ltd). A Great Place to Work-CertifiedTM organisation, Tata Steel Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures, is spread across five continents with an employee base of over 65,000.


Tata Steel retained the Industry Leader position in FY18 and ranked second overall in the DJSI assessment, 2017. The Company has been recognised as the Climate Disclosure Leader in ‘Steel category’ by CDP (2017). Besides being a member of the World Steel Climate Action Programme, Tata Steel has won several awards including the Prime Minister’s Trophy for the best performing integrated steel plant for 2016-17, ‘Corporate Strategy Award’ by Mint (2018), Golden Peacock Award for Risk Management (2018) and Best Risk Management Framework & Systems Award (2019) by CNBC TV18. The Company also received the ‘Most Ethical Company’ award from Ethisphere Institute for the eight time (2019), Steel Sustainability Champion (2018) by the World Steel Association, Dun & Bradstreet Corporate Awards (2019), Golden Peacock HR Excellence Award by Institute of Directors (2018), ‘Best Companies To Work For’ recognition by Business Today, 'Asia's Best Integrated Report' award by the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards (2017), among several others. In 2018, the Company launched a corporate brand campaign #WeAlsoMakeTomorrow.  (