PR-DT0722-1 - 2022 Digital Transformations, July

Digital Optimization of Refractory Maintenance

N. Mutsam, F. Pernkopf, G. Lammer

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In steelmaking, refractory material is in use where structures are exposed to high temperatures, in particular where metal is in liquid phase, e.g., furnaces, ladles, torpedo cars and molds. In furnaces, a lining of refractory bricks protects the vessel hull from mechanical stress and from direct contact with its molten content. Due to abrasion, the lining wears over time and needs to be replaced before it reaches a critical thickness in order to prevent the vessel from damage or a hull breakthrough in worst case. In a furnace, particular areas underlie higher stress and therefore are worn out more rapidly than others. These areas, referred to as hot spots, are repaired from time to time, in order to achieve a balanced refractory brick thickness and subsequently to extend the life cycle of a lining. Since refractory maintenance usually means an interruption of normal operation and therefore a productivity loss, optimizing the maintenance procedure and schedule can help to minimize refractory cost and operational downtime. Usually, maintenance is scheduled based on experience and operational constraints.

Keywords: Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0