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J. Schuurmans, Corus IJmuiden A.J.J. van der Weiden, Delft Center for Systems and Control
One of the plants where continuous casting is performed is called the Direct Sheet Plant. these will be discussed next. processes and distributes metal products and provides related services such as design.500 people are employed in IJmuiden. while coals and iron ore enter the site. France. 1. which produced 6.P. Germany.1 IJmuiden In IJmuiden. After that.2 Steel sheet production process The end-product of the IJmuiden site is mainly steel sheet. which is nowadays used in the production process for steel sheet.500 people in over 40 countries. Corus is organised into four divisions and employs 48. The manufactured products are highgrade and coated steels. 1 Corus Corus is an international metals group that manufactures. There are several production steps in between. Kuipers and V. that exit the plant as rolls. which will be discussed in section 3. continuous casting is discussed. Approximately 9. It is mainly occupied by the strip products division. the Netherlands. The coking coal is The plant description and the model is taken from J.H. Norway and Belgium and to provide local service.8 million tonnes crude steel in 2004. technology and consultancy.J. once it is shown that the process in the mould of the DSP caster is subject to time-varying dynamics and disturbances. the main site of the Netherlands is located. Corus also has sales oﬃces and service centers all over the world. IJmuiden. The raw materials iron ore and coking coal are ﬁrst treated such that they are suitable for production in the blast furnace. At the end of this section the necessity for robust control techniques will be revealed.A. 1. Beentjes ( see references) 1 2 . Corus has manufacturing operations in many countries with major plants located in the UK. the main product of Corus IJmuiden.Continuous casting and mould level control This plants discription 1 starts with an introduction to the Corus IJmuiden site and the company as a whole.
the liquid steels goes to the Direct Sheet Plant which incorporates the casting and rolling process into one operation.5 and 25 millimeters.5 millimeter. the liquid steel is then deoxidized and alloyed until speciﬁcations are met. thin strip casting is relatively new and has the advantage that the output of 3 . After solidiﬁcation of the steel. After the 1960s continuous casting became more common. Vertical machines are used to cast aluminum and a few other metals for special applications. Curved machines are used for the majority of steel casting. In the cold rolling mills the hot rolled strip is transformed into a ﬁnished product: cold rolled sheet with a thickness of approximately 0. It is the most cost and energy eﬃcient method to mass-produce semi-ﬁnished metal products with consistent quality in a variety of sizes and shapes. extra treatments can take place. Following the other route. Finally. such as annealing. the liquid steel was casted into blocks (a rectangular box). or chrome coating. This iron pig is very brittle and is therefore treated in the steel plant. the liquid steel can continue on two routes. These three components are charged in the blast furnace that melts the iron ore into iron pig at temperatures between 1000 ◦ C and 1200 ◦ C. Many diﬀerent types of continuous casting processes exist. From this point on. the operating costs are lower. The process works best when all of its aspects operate in this steady-state manner. where the slabs are reheated and rolled to a pre-determined thickness between 1. Afterwards. The produced slabs are then transported to the hot rolling mill. The essence of continuous casting is that the solidiﬁcation of the liquid steel takes place on a continuous basis. the steel was lifted out of the block and reheated such that it could be rolled to obtain steel sheet. Pure oxygen is blown over the steel bath and scrap is added. Iron ore is transformed into both sinter and pellets in two diﬀerent plants. although it has higher capital costs. 2 Continuous casting In the beginning of the 20th century.transformed into to cokes in the coke plant.5 centimeters. tin. The thickness of the sheet becomes approximately 1 millimeter. This enables an eﬃcient way to solidify large volumes of steel. The liquid steel solidiﬁes against the mould walls while it is simultaneously withdrawn from the bottom of the mold at a constant rate. coloring and applying zinc. which casts at the thickness of 22. It can go to a continuous slab caster.
In ﬁgure 3. To limit the scope of this report.the casting can be directly rolled to a thickness of approximate 1 millimeter. 4 . without the ineﬃcient transportation and reheating that is necessary for the other production route consisting of the continuous slab caster and the hot rolling mill. these remarks are restricted to the inﬂuence factors that come from the mould only. 3 Direct Sheet plant In this section the process that takes place in the Direct Sheet Plant (DSP) is discussed. The strand. 3.1.1 DSP process plant The DSP is a relatively young plant. that comes out of the caster. the process of the Direct Sheet Plant is explained in more detail. remarks are made with respect to quality. For this. Its building was ﬁnished in 2000. as explained in section 1.1. it uses the thin strip casting technique. Figure 3. Next. This strand can be rolled out at once. The DSP produces steel sheet out of liquid steel. output and process control. has a thickness of 70mm. Schematic overview of the DSP process.
The liquid steel comes from the steel plant in a ladle . The mould vibrates vertically to reduce friction between the solidiﬁed outer shell and the copper walls. further cooled and ﬁnally coiled . Heat is extracted from the liquid steel through the copper walls of the box which are water cooled. This nozzle is submerged in the mould bath. From this ladle it is poured in a tundish . pulling a strand of steel out of the mould. After a while the slabs come out of the furnace. This causes the outside of the liquid steel to solidify. Quality problems can be related to the rolling properties. because of that. Also. from above casting powder is poured onto the liquid steel bath. the tundish makes it possible that a second ladle can take over without having to stop casting. slabs are then created by cutting the strand . the end product of the DSP is tested for its quality which is done by unrolling a roll and inspecting its surface for pollution or cracks. The strand is bend from the vertical plane to horizontal plane using rolls . but can also be traced back to the casting section or the chemical composition. The tundish allows for replacing empty ladles without stopping the casting process. subsequently they are rolled out. which is essentially a buﬀer. The angular velocity of the driven roll determines the casting speed. The ﬂow rate trough the nozzle into the mould can be controlled by a stopper  in the tundish. it melts due to high temperatures and ﬂows in the gap between the mould and the solidiﬁed outer shell. such as temperatures and thickness. is still liquid. an outer shell originates. the strand proceeds trough a secondary cooling section . The core of the strand. as it exits. coiled steel sheet is the end-product of the DSP. As mentioned before. From the tundish the liquid steel ﬂows through a nozzle into the mould. The higher the position of the stopper. The mould  is a rectangular copper box without a top and a bottom. casting powder is poured on top of the steel bath. the higher the ﬂow rate and vice versa. At the end of the cooling section the cross-section of the strand is completely solidiﬁed.2 Quality After the coiler. In case the ladle is almost empty. It forms a lubricating layer which increases the heat ﬂux out of the liquid steel. 5 . the larger the area through which the steel ﬂows. The outer shell is being ’grabbed’ by a driven roll  just beneath the mould. These slabs are put in a tunnel furnace to let them homogenize . 3.
First. The output is aﬀected by mould ﬂuctuations for two reasons. Secondly. which will need much attention within the research project. This can happen 6 .Ideally. the raised standards have increased the prices level. it can be stated that a steady process and a constant casting speed are desired to ensure a calm initial solidiﬁcation of the steel. but lately. A higher casting speed will deﬁnitely worsen the mould level ﬂuctuation. At the moment. the temperatures in the copper walls near the top of the steel bath vary extremely. If the outer shell contains a weaker spot. high ﬂuctuations can make the operators decide to stop the casting which leads to longer non-production times and negatively inﬂuences the output. the molten powder (slag) pours down the walls of the mould. 3. the output is the subject of a discussion within Corus. However.3 Output The output of the DSP plant is of great importance from a business point of view. the more end products that leave the DSP. which causes the mould to crack. the casting speed is reduced by the operators. i.e. if small ﬂuctuations occur. Variations in the process disturb the initial solidiﬁcation and because of that the strength of the solidiﬁed outer shell will not be equal over the perimeter.4 Process control The quality and output issues mentioned above. 3. During casting the level of the steel bath. Occasionally. A crack in the mould is bound to form cracks in the outer shell of the strand. Simply reasoned. pieces break oﬀ and fall into the steel bath and pollute the steel. With these ﬂuctuations. In the beginning of the DSP the requirements were mild. A project under the name High Speed Casting is initiated to explore the possibilities of a higher casting speed. the approval or disapproval of the end product of the DSP depends on the requirements set. the mould level. above the steel bath. increasing output signiﬁcantly. In general. ﬂuctuates inevitably. a part of the powder solidiﬁes against the cooled walls. In the end. clearly show the necessity for good process control. the higher its earnings and eﬃciency. the enormous pressure of the molten steel inside can cause the shell to tear open.
This determines the ingoing ﬂow rate into the mould through the nozzle.either inside the mould. 4 Mould level control For the quality.1. This can all be seen in ﬁgure 4. This is seen as the outgoing ﬂow rate. who sets the casting speed. 7 . In that case the liquid steel pours out of the strand.1. which lifts and lowers the stopper rod. just under the mould causing a breakout. The parts of the caster that are under consideration for mould level control consists of a level sensor. Measurements of the mould level are feeded into a control computer. which is the angular speed of the driven rolls. the stopper. Afterwards. the conﬁguration of the mould level controller will be discussed. The outgoing ﬂow rate is almost completely decided by the operator. the output and the process control it is advantageous to keep the mould level as constant as possible. on the basis whereof control signals are sent out to the stopper. this is done by mould level control. Figure 4. the current control strategies are discussed. In this section. resulting in damage of the machine and a lengthy standstill. It pushes a lever. or even worse. the nozzle and the mould itself. At the bottom a strand of partly solidiﬁed steel is pulled out of the mould by driven rolls. Mould level control The control computer sends a signal to the actuator.
mould-width Also inside the mould liquid steel solidiﬁes and can form a solid shell. Based on control algorithms. The signal from the sensor is feeded into the control computer. 5 Robust control The current controllers are ﬁxed controllers. This control loop uses a sensor that weighs the tundish and acts on the position of the stopper. 8 . this is called clogging. On the other hand. the ﬁxed controllers are not designed for the higher process gain. However. the weight will do so as well and this increase is measured. During a cast diﬀerent mould level controllers are used. The parts of the process dynamics and disturbances. So. Additionally.e. a control signal is send to the actuator. i. Particles are not counted if they are sent into the liquid steel. A Berthold sensor consists of a collector that counts particles that have been sent out by a radioactive source. for instance. The higher the level in the tundish. Besides. If. the extreme hot ﬂow of liquid steel wears the stopper down. solidiﬁes on the stopper tip. The mould level is measured using a level sensor. This will lead to performance losses or. this gives a measure which can be related to the level of liquid steel in the mould. This eﬀect is compensated for by the ﬂow controller.The net eﬀect of the ingoing ﬂow rate and outgoing ﬂow determines the level of liquid steel in the mould. In the beginning these controllers were just classical PID controllers. On the one hand. a gain increases in the process. that are believed to be time-varying are listed here: Stopper During casting. occasionally. If the level of liquid steel in the tundish increases. the mould-width can change between casts. aluminiumoxide. ﬂow controller is used. they are designed and implemented in the control computer as a ﬁxed algorithm. stability issues. present in the liquid steel. The extent to which the stopper tip dimension changes depends on the temperature of the steel and its composition. parts of the process dynamics and disturbances change over time. For the DSP a Berthold sensor is used. liquid steel solidiﬁes on the stopper tip and in the nozzle. the stopper tip dimension changes. the higher the ferrostatic pressure at the bottom and the higher the ﬂow rate through the nozzle (for equal stopper positions).
No models are present that can predict that extent. The outer shell is still thin and the liquid still inside has an enormous pressure. If the strand has passed a roll. If one of the rolls is broken or for some reason not eccentric. other solutions are also possible. The nature of all of the above mentioned disturbances is time-varying. Whether the dynamics have a large inﬂuence on the mould level ﬂuctuations during the bulk is not clear. with regard to time-varying dynamics and disturbances. This issues are still under research. The ﬁgure is a modelling representation deduced from ﬁgure 4. it will start to produce vibrations. bulging and rolls. The standing waves dynamics are usually mainly seen at the mould level during start-up. The goal for this exercise is to design a H-inﬁnity controller. such that performance improves. These standing waves are assumed to be a sloshing eﬀect in an open surface. also during a casting session. Bulging Bulging is a the main disturbance in the outﬂow from the mould. stopper gain and mould-width variations. but the exact nature of the standing waves are unknown. Bad rolls Problems in the secondary cooling section can also cause mould level disturbances. moreover. 6 Model of casting process It is important to decide which parts of the process are incorporated in the model and which are not. 9 . The time-varying nature motivates the choice for resarch into other control methods. which propagate into the mould level. A choice has been made for standing waves.1. Not all time-varying elements can be taken into account. This means that the extent to which they occur depends between diﬀerent casting sessions but. Standing waves are currently being researched. it takes place in the secondary cooling section . This causes a pumping eﬀect in the liquid core inﬂuencing the outﬂow rate.1. the strand expands. standing waves in the mould perturb the mould level. Therefore a system boundary is deﬁned as shown in ﬁgure 6. especially during startup.Standing waves Other research has proven that. but the strand squeezes again when in has to pass the next roll. For the other two.
The manipulated variable is the stopper position. which does not include all phenomena yet. This block diagram will be extended. which is set by the operators. which can not measured and is considered an internal variable. These are the net ﬂow rate qn and ym which is the actual mould level that has to be measured by the sensor. denoted by u. The outﬂow is mainly determined by the casting speed vc . The stopper position determines the ﬂow rate through the nozzle into the mould. The cross-section of the mould is Am . Basic block diagram for mould process The block diagram reveals two more internal variables . qi . System boundary. From ﬁgure 6.2.1 a basic block diagram for the system can be derived.1.qi (t) Stopper System boundary u(t) Am y (t) Mould qo (t) Figure 6. The ﬂow rate of the strand that exits the mould is considered the outﬂow and is denoted by qo . qo u qi + − Stopper qn Mould ym Sensor y Figure 6. 10 . It is a ﬁrst conceptual block diagram. The controlled variable y is the measured mould level which is measured by the Berthold sensor. This can be seen in ﬁgure 6.2.
2 Sensor The mould level is measured from the bottom of the mould by a Berthold sensor. 7.3 Stopper and inﬂow The stopper gain varies in time. With respect to the block diagram in ﬁgure 6.7 Modelling of general process dynamics In this section.0. Am d ym (t) = qn (t) dt 1 ⇔ ym = qn Am s where s is the Laplace operator. Due to the use of radioactivity. the Berthold sensor is known to be inﬂuenced by noise n(t). The transfer function from reference stopper u position to the actual stopper position ua is reﬂected by Gs (s) = 1 (τs s + 1)2 11 (3) .1 Mould The mould can be regarded as a tank. the building blocks of ﬁgure 6. The transfer function from actual mould level ym and white noise n to measured mould level y is given by 1 Gb (s) = (2) τb s + 1 7. The net inﬂow qn is the volume entering per unit time which should be equal to the change per unit time of the volume Am ym of the mould. whereas the stopper dynamics does not.2 the noise signal n(t) acts before the sensor. as explained in section 5. The model of the stopper block in ﬁgure 6.2 is therefore divided in a transfer function for the stopper dynamics and a time-varying gain. It consists of a radioactive source and collector.0.0.2 are being described by transfer functions. The noise will be neglected for this excise. The resulting transfer function from net inﬂow to mould level is: 1 Gm (s) = (1) Am s 7.
5 Standing waves (6) Standing waves are the result of interference of surface waves. The outﬂow due to the casting speed. but is modelled by adding a disturbance ﬂow qd (t) to qc (t) qo (t) = qc (t) + qd (t) This disturbance ﬂow will be neglected for this exercise. Gw (s) = k1 2a1 b1 ω1 s 2a2 b2 ω2 s 2 + k2 s2 + 2b ω s + ω 2 s2 + 2b1 ω1 s + ω1 2 2 2 (7) The intensities of the standing waves can be altered by the wave gains k1 and k2 .875 · 10−3 vc (t) m3 /s 60 (5) The outﬂow is not just determined by the casting speed. Identiﬁcation experiments have led to a model for the standing waves.0. the controller should not excite those eigenfrequencies. they also appear if water is poured into a bucket.0. typical values are between 3 and 5m/min. qo . Standing waves occurs mostly during startup of the casting process. vc .1125 1 vc (t) = 1. qc . is calculated as follows: qc (t) = Am vc = 0. In order to maintain stability and good performance. Reasonable values for the wave gains k1 and k2 are between 0 and 2. Standing waves dynamics can be represented in the frequency domain by badly damped eigenmodes with eigenfrequencies at the standing waves frequencies. The casting speeds is set by the operators. 12 . For example. 7.where τs is the time constant. out of the mould is mainly determined by the casting speed. The actual stopper position is subsequently multiplied by the time-varying stopper gain ks (t) resulting in the ingoing ﬂow qi qi (t) = ks (t)ua (t) (4) 7. but it is believed that standing waves can also occur during the bulk of casting. The standing waves can be considered a dynamical system on top of the basic mould process and have eigenfrequencies that are dependent of the mould width.4 Outﬂow The outgoing ﬂow.
The standing waves are of second order.2 is extended with standing waves.mat. this can be seen in ﬁgure 7.1. the mould is a simple integrator and the stopper dynamics is second order. are considered as unknown disturbances. For the gains of the standings waves also nominal values are taken. The varying stopper gain (50 percent from experiments) and changing mould 13 . The stopper position u is the only input signal. The model is eight order: the sensor dynamics is ﬁrst order.The derived model for the standing waves can be included in the total model of the mould process. All these parts are combined into one nominal model. The model can be written into state space form as follows: d x(t) = Ax(t) + Bu(t) (8) dt y (t) = Cx(t) (9) The matrices A.B. Because of that the block diagram in ﬁgure 6. 8 Derivation of total nominal model In section 7 all the parts of the mould process were modelled separately. where also the noise n acting before the sensor is shown. qo u qi + − n qn ym + + Stopper ks Mould Sensor y Waves Figure 7. It can be seen that the block diagram in ﬁgure 7. The caster speed vc is known and the other two signals that enter the block diagram. Model of mould process with standing waves. qd and n.1. with nominal stopper gain and mould width will be included in the model. 9 Derivation of uncertainty model The known uncertainties can be used to test robustness of the controller.C are given in the matlab ﬁle olmodel.1 has one output: y .
Pp P wU - ∆U -? c - Figure 8.width (1000-1500mm) can be modeled as multiplicative uncertainty.2 shows the calculated radii of the perturbed system for 0. 14 . Block diagram of transfer function P with multiplicative uncertainty For ﬁnding the weighing function wU we look at the smallest radius lU which is a maximum to all the possible loop transfer functions Pp : lU (ω ) = max Pp (jω ) − P (jω ) P (jω ) (11) Pp ∈Π Then we choose the rational weight wU which satisﬁes: |wU (jω )| ≥ lU (ω ) ∀ω (12) Figure 8.1).5 and 1000 < M W < 1500 and the weight function wI . Which can be written in the form: Pp (s) = (1 + wU (s)∆U (s))P (s). wU a weighing function and ∆U any stable transfer function which at each frequency is less than or equal than one in magnitude (or in block diagram see ﬁgure 8.1. |∆U (jω )| ≤ 1∀ω (10) in which Pp (s) is the perturbed plant P (s) the nominal plant.5 < KS < 1.
H.A.  Beentjes.. J. Reducing Mould-Level Fluctuations during Liquid Core Reduction. The weighing function wU has to be used in the generalized plant model. Adaptive Mould Level Control for the DSP Caster.Bodeplot for finding weight w 100 50 0 −50 Magnitude (dB) −100 −150 −200 −250 −300 −350 −400 720 I 540 Phase (deg) 360 180 0 −180 10 −4 10 −3 10 −2 10 −1 10 0 10 1 10 2 Frequency (rad/sec) Figure 8. Msc report.J.5 < KS < 1. V. References  Kuipers. Msc report.5 and 1000 < M W < 1500 weighing function wU (thick black line). Radii of the perturbed system for 0.P.. 8-4-05. 24-9-04. 15 .2.
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