Non-contact temperature sensors help Corus test new cooling methods for steel strip products

Non-contact infrared sensors are being used to monitor the temperature of steel strip on an experimental small-scale rolling mill at Corus' Swinden Technology Centre in Rotherham.

The rolling mill, which is approximately one-eighth the size of a conventional full size rolling mill, will incorporate four infrared temperature sensors from Micro-Epsilon to measure process temperatures at various positions along the process line. The rolling mill will enable Corus to make better, more informed decisions with respect to cooling methods for different steel strip products. This includes the simulation of different cooling techniques for various types and grades of steel.

Four Micro-Epsilon thermoMETER CTM2 temperature sensors will be positioned at various points in the rolling and cooling process. Two of these sensors are already in position and have been used to measure temperatures on the high temperature rolling side. The other two sensors will be located on the cooling conveyor, one at the start and another low temperature version of the sensor at the end of the cooling system. The process temperatures on the rolling side vary from 850 deg C up to 1,100 deg C, whilst temperatures on the cooling side are down to 600 deg C. The sensors located on the rolling mill housing are positioned so that they point straight down into the centre of a steel block from a distance of around 400mm.

As Garry Beard, Development Engineer at Corus Swinden Technology Centre states: "The scale model rolling mill is being developed to test different cooling regimes for Corus' steel strip products. In early 2009, we decided that we needed some new non-contact temperature sensors on the rolling mill. These sensors needed to be small, robust and accurate. At the time, we were using temperature sensors that were relatively large in comparison to the Micro-Epsilon ones. We also wanted dedicated sensors that we could fix to the rolling mill."

After evaluating Micro-Epsilon's range of non-contact infrared temperature sensors, Garry Beard selected the thermoMETER CTM2 version. "The compact size, accuracy and repeatability of the sensors swayed our decision. Micro-Epsilon was also happy to lend us a trial sensor to enable our engineers to try it out on the rolling mill. We also had an onsite demonstration of the sensor and excellent technical support from Micro-Epsilon when we needed it," says Beard.

Temperature measurement data collected by the four temperature sensors is fed into the rolling mill's software program where it is used to model and simulate the different cooling methods for the steel strip. "The sensors on the rolling stand have been installed for more than eight months now and are performing without any problems. As soon as our instrumentation team set up the sensors and controllers, it all seemed to work very well, with data being fed from the Micro-Epsilon controller to our own data logger. In fact, we are so confident in Micro-Epsilon's products that we have just ordered four similar sensors for use in plant process monitoring," says Beard.

Micro-Epsilon's thermoMETER CTM2 range of infrared temperature sensors measure process temperatures from 250 deg C up to 1,600 deg C and so are ideal for use with metals, metal oxides, ceramics and composites. The sensors benefit from double precision laser sighting and a 40:1 or 75:1 optical resolution. Sensor response times are from 1ms. The sensor weighs just 40g and the controller 420g.

The thermoMETER CT laser M1/M2 can be used in ambient temperatures up to 100°C without any cooling required and has an automatic laser switch off at 50°C. The sensor measures at very short wavelengths (1.0-1.6µm), which minimises temperature measurement errors on surfaces with either low or unknown emissivity.

A range of accessories and optional extras are available for the CTM1/M2 range, which protect the sensor in harsh operating environments. These include air purging accessories, K or J type thermocouples outputs and a range of integrated digital communications interfaces, including Profibus DP, CAN open, USB, RS232, RS485 and Ethernet.


April 2010

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