OVERVIEW OF SEAMLESS STEEL TUBE PRODUCTION PROCESS:             The raw material(steel) is first cut into cylindrical bars of required/suitable dimensions. The bars are then heated in a Rotary Hearth Furnace(RHF) to temperatures of 1255 deg. Celcius to improve the workability on the steel bar. The bars are then calibrated and descaled. Hole is made in the hot bar by the piercing press. The material is then elongated and rolled and passed through pushbench and reelers using a mandrel bar(a bar for pushing the hot metal). The front end which has no piercing is cut by hot saws and the material is passed through a Walking Beam Furnace(WBF). The material coming out of WBF is descaled, cooled and cut and straightened. The tubes are tested by Non-Destructive Testing(NDT) methods like Eddy-current testing and Stray-flux testing. The tubes are segregated as per defective or non-defective and stored. HotFinished tubes are got by just beveling them followed by NDT by Hydrostatic ,Eddy-current ,and Ultrasonic method. The above processes are done at the hot mill. Cold Finished tubes are got by series of following additional steps .These processes are carried out in the cold mill.  The tubes from hot mill are pickled in the pickling plant(Alkali-cleaning,Acidcleaning,Phosphating,Soap-Lubricating)  Pickled tubes are passed through Push pointing machine and drawn through the Draw bench.  They are again heated in hearth furnaces for normalizing and tempering.  The tubes after the above process are then straightened and end cutted.  The Finished tubes are checked by NDT methods. The finished tubes are then spiral fin welded if needed. This enhances the heat transfer capacity of the tubes.

INSTRUMENTATION AND CONTROL SYTEM USED IN THE FURNACE:  The RHF has five zones .Each zone has fuel supply valve, combustion air supply and thermocouple temperature detectors.  There is an additional thermocouple in each zone to detect over temperature.  The thermocouple used here is the K type thermocouple.  The fuel is atomized and sprayed into the furnace so that it is automatically ignited.  The control system employed here is a multi-loop process control system based on PID logic and making use of Programmable Logic Controllers(PLC).  The required process temperature is set in the PLC. The actual temperature is then measured every instant and compared with the set point and required action like opening or closing the valve is obtained.  The current output from the controller is converted to pressure by a I/P converter to actuate a ratiotrol valve that is controlling the fuel input to the furnace.  The ratiotrol valve consists of a diaphragm which moves in a direction depending on the pressure applied so as to open or close the supply.  The combustion air inlet is also controlled in asimilar way.  Whenever excess temperature about 15-20deg greater than the process temperature is detected the excess temperature controller will close the valve that controls the oil input to all the zones.  If the ratiotrol valve is not functioning then we can make use of the by pass valve and still retain control through excess temperature control.  The setpoint temperature , actual temperature of zone ,status of valve(% opening ),excess temperature are displayed online on the control room PC and the data also can be logged .

PLC-PC BASED AUTOMATION SYSTEM: The control actions implemented by PLC are 1. Sequence control 2. Combustion process control. Sequence control:  Operations regarding the charging ,discharging of furnace, and controlling the opening and closing of the hearth doors are taken care of either in the AUTO or MANUAL mode.  In the AUTO mode, just PUSH button on the screen has to be pressed provided the preconditions are satisfied.  In the MANUAL mode, each and every step of the sequence shall be initiated by hardware control by people. Safety interlock for respective operations shall prevail. Combustion Process control:  Measure parameters for AIR flow and setting their ratio as per demand in the ratio regulator.  Furnace zonal temperature shall be automatically controlled as required by process set point. If required to be raised the zonal air line valve will open followed by zonal fuel flow and vice-versa.  Furnace temperature and pressure control shall be in the PID mode whereas dilution air flow control and hot air bleed control is in the ON/OFF mode. HARDWARE OF THE PLC:  The main component of the PLC is the panel which does all the processing and control actions . The PLC panel has two processors. Both processors are in ON state. One of the processors is in the running mode doing all the control actions at the present instant. The second processor is in standby mode and it will take over control actions in the event of failure of the running mode processors.  The PLC panel has in-built ADC and DAC to convert from/to analog or digital form.  The PLC panel also has local indication of the various analog parameters taken as input or sent as output.  The PLC panel is connected to a workstation computer through a communication port (LANcable).This allows us to program the PLC. The data received ,decision taken ,data sent are logged in the workstation for reference.

AUTOMATED NON-DESTRUCTIVE TESTING SYSTEM: NDT methods like Eddy-current testing and Ultra sonic testing are done.  The finished tube is placed on rollers that bring it closer to testing section. The overhanging end of tube is detected by a proximity switch(transducer) which then lifts the tube and places it into the tester. The proximity switch consists of a optical object detection type. Whenever a obstruction is detected a signal is sent to energize the solenoid thereby lifting the tube and feeding it into the tester.  The tube is sent into tester which has number of transducers (and signal-generators) circumferentially on a circular section through the centre of which the tube is passed. The transducers are fed and signals are taken by carbon brushes since they are in rotation about the axis section.  When a defect is detected ,a signal is sent and this actuates a paint marker that marks the location of the defect after it comes out of the tester.  There is a proximity detector on the other side of the tester. Depending on whether defective or non-defective the tubes are segregated into different trubs .The segregation is initiated by a signal similar to paint marker signal. ULTRASONIC TESTING:  Ultrasonic waves are sent towards the tube surface at angle of 45deg with normal and reflected wave is also observed at same angle. The reflected signal is different for a tube with defect and a tube without defect.  The method can detect both outer surface defects and internal defects like voids.  It is mainly used for testing longitudinal defects EDDY-CURRENT TESTING:  Eddy current is induced on the surface of a material when it is moved in a magnetic field. The eddy current magnitude and phase is altered whenever there is a defect and this change is detected to find the position of defect.  This method can detect mainly transverse defects.  It can detect only outer surface defects. STRAY(LEAKAGE) FLUX TESTING:

 The tube is subjected to a magnetic field. If the outer surface has defects the magnetic lines of force change direction and come out of the tube surface (leakage flux). This flux is detected and the position of defect is thus found.  Used for finding surface defects mainly.  Only longitudinal defects can be detected.

OTHER TESTING METHODS : HYDROPIPE TESTER:  A High pressure water jet is allowed to impinge on the tube and the tube is inspected for any wear.A pass or fail in the test is fixed as per industry standards.  A pressure transducer senses the pressure of the water jet. The information regarding whether the tube passed the test along with other details like manufacture date etc. are logged in a recorder. MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS EMPLOYED IN FUEL STORES SECTION: o o The fuel used for the furnaces are Super Kerosene Oil (SKO)[2-furnaces] and LPG[1-furnace]. The SKO from the trucks is pumped into the storage tanks whish are kept insulated over a bend of sand and with a powere electrical winding so as to keep the temperature constant. Event the feeders to the burner are kept insulated and at constant temperature .This prevents any clogging in the pipes and at the same time care has been taken to prevent self ignition. As the SKO is unloaded from truck, it is first passed through a flow quantizer and then to the pump. The flow quantizer is basically a positive displacement flowmeter and the number of revolutions of the blade is calculated and amount of fuel taken to the tank is calculated and displayed using electronic counting techniques. The LPG storage tank is kept isolated from other areas of the plant. Special safety arrangements are made to prevent accidental fire. These include nozzles which are kept surrounding the tank and spray water immediately when the temperature exceeds a particular value due to melting of the material covering the nozzle.There is also arrangement for water curtain for preventing heat wave from spreading to other areas . The liquid level measurement in boyh SKO and LPG is done by dipstick method while observing certain precautions. A non contact method of level measurement using ultrasonic waves has been proposed to replace the existing system.



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NON-CONTACT TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT BY PYROMETER:  The energy emitted by a body depends on its temperature.The light energy from the body is allowed to fall on a photodetector an electrical output signal is generated proportional to the energy source .Thus an indication of temperature can be obtained. But interference of the environment shall also be taken into account for calibrating. This method is known as Total radiation pyrometry.  The Pyrometer consists of optical focusing systems having lenses which focus radiation from body whose temperature has to be found on to photodetector like a thermocouple or bolometer or semiconductor optoelectronic devices.The entire setup is kept facing the body .This method is employed in the section following elongator in hotmill area.Both local and remote indication is possible. EXHAUST GAS OXYGEN LEVEL MEASUREMENT:  The measurement of oxygen levels in exhaust gas is essential for two purposes. 1. It indicates whether combustion air is completely utilized. 2. It indicates presence of excess oxygen in furnace which causes scaling on the surface of the material.  The sensor installation consists of an electrochemical cell known as the Zirconia-Oxygen Sensor. It has two electrodes of platinum one coated with Zirconia and lime.One electode is exposed to exhaust gas and the other is exposed to a standard gas of known oxygen level(air/atmosphere).The emf of the cell is proportional to negative of the logarithm of the partial pressure of oxygen in exhaust gas.It is sensitive to low oxygen levels.The output increases with temperature.Signal processing circuits are provided to give the reading as a % of oxygen.A current output is also provided by the setup which can be used for control purposes.  Suppose there is excess oxygen in the furnace,the scaling of the material can be prevented by admitting nitrogen gas to the furnace which makes the furnace atmosphere inert. LPG FLOW RATE INDICATION USING ROTAMETER:  Rotameter is a variable area flowmeter.It is installed vertically and it tapers from top to botteom. The flow is from bottom to top. The position of floating bob is an indication of the flow rate.  This has been installed in the fuel supply line to the coldmill furnace for local indication.