What are the advantages of continuous casting?

Continuous casting technology is an advanced casting method. Its principle is to continuously pour molten metal into a special metal mould called a crystallizer, and the solidified (crusted) casting is continuously pulled out from the other end of the crystallizer. This process can produce cast pieces of any length or specific lengths. This method, where liquid steel is directly cast into shaped steel products through a continuous casting machine, significantly shortens production time and increases efficiency compared to the traditional method of casting and then rolling.


Continuous Casting Technology

What is continuous casting >>

Advantages of Continuous Casting Technology

Continuous casting technology has developed rapidly due to its significant technical and economic advantages over traditional ingot casting. These advantages are mainly as follows:

1. Simplified Production Process

Continuous casting eliminates the initial rolling and blooming steps, saving the energy consumed by the soaking furnace and shortening the cycle time from molten steel to cast billet. It removes processes like mold casting, demolding, mold finishing, and billet soaking, which can reduce infrastructure investment by 40%, reduce the land area by 30%, save labour by 75%, and shorten the turnaround time from molten steel to billets. Especially with the emergence of thin slab casters, the process is further simplified. For example, traditional slab continuous casting produces slabs with a thickness of 150-300 mm, while thin slab continuous casting produces slabs with a thickness of 40-70 mm, eliminating the need for roughing stands, reducing plant area by about 40%, and decreasing equipment weight by about 50%. Continuous casting greatly shortens the production cycle from molten steel to thin slabs, saving energy and reducing costs.

2. Increased Metal Yield

Continuous casting eliminates the steel losses in the pouring pipe and ladle in mold casting and reduces the losses in head and tail cuts, thus increasing metal yield. The yield from molten steel to billets is about 84-88% for ingot casting, but about 95-96% for continuous casting, saving 7-12% metal. This is a significant amount. Japan’s steel industry, which has a competitive edge globally, extensively uses continuous casting. Since 1985, Japan’s national continuous casting ratio has exceeded 90%. For expensive special steels and stainless steels, continuous casting has even greater economic value. After Wuhan Iron and Steel Company in China replaced mold casting with continuous casting, the cost per ton of billets decreased by about 170 yuan, resulting in an annual benefit of about 1.35 billion yuan based on an annual output of 8 million tons. Thus, improving metal yield and simplifying the production process can bring substantial economic benefits.

3. Energy Savings

Continuous casting eliminates the reheating process in the soaking furnace, reducing energy consumption by 25-50%. Additionally, the improved yield also results in indirect energy savings. In the 1980s, the emergence of hot delivery and direct rolling processes for continuous casting billets opened up new ways to save energy. Hot delivery and direct rolling not only save energy but also shorten the production cycle. According to relevant information, producing one ton of continuous casting billets saves 627-1046 KJ of energy compared to mold casting, equivalent to 21.4-35.7 kg of standard coal. Combined with the energy saved from the improved yield, the comprehensive energy savings per ton of continuous casting billets are about 130 kg of standard coal in China.

4. Improved Cast Billet Quality

Due to the fast cooling speed, continuous pulling, and controllable casting conditions in continuous casting, the internal structure of the cast billet is uniform, dense, and less segregated, with stable performance. Plates rolled from continuous casting billets have better transverse properties than mold casting billets and good deep drawing properties. Other performance indicators are also better than mold casting. In recent years, continuous casting has been able to produce defect-free cast billets, which are directly hot delivered and rolled into steel.

5. Improved Working Conditions and Easier Automation

Mold casting workshops have harsh working conditions, with a lot of manual labor and high labor intensity, making them the most backward process in steelmaking. Continuous casting, due to its equipment and process characteristics, is easy to automate and mechanize, significantly improving the working environment. The mechanization and automation level of continuous casting is relatively high. The continuous casting process has achieved automatic control by computers, freeing operators from heavy manual labor.

In recent years, with the development of science and technology and the improvement of automation levels, computers have been used to control continuous casting production. Apart from steel pouring operations, everything is controlled by computers. For example, the slab continuous casting machine at Baosteel in China uses five PFU-1500 computers for online control, with 31 control functions, including cutting length calculation, compression casting control, electromagnetic stirring setting, online mold width adjustment, quality management, secondary cooling water control, process data collection, cast billet tracking, finishing line selection, flame cleaning, cast billet printing, weighing, and various report printing.

Continuous Casting Automation >>



Intelligent Continuous Casting Technology – Replacing 90% of Manual Operations with Robots

In steel casting production, converting high-temperature molten steel into qualified cast billets involves various raw and auxiliary materials, leading to high temperature, dust, noise, and other hazards at the production site. This position is known for high-temperature dust occupational hazards. Keeping molten steel “flowing” is particularly challenging. During the casting process, to improve the surface quality of the cast billets and avoid shell sticking, workers use a long rod to add protective slag while standing just a few meters away from the high-temperature molten steel.

How can we reduce the safety risks for employees? Robots have very high precision and stability in their operations, which is the biggest difference from manual work. Robots use advanced visual technology for positioning, with errors controlled within 5 mm. They have replaced 90% of manual operations on the continuous casting platform. The remaining tasks only require employees to perform auxiliary and supportive operations, keeping them away from danger and greatly reducing labour load.

DBM intelligent solutions for continuous casting >>

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