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Advanced Engineering 2021

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

Join us in our 12th and most important edition to date, as we invite engineers and management from all (more)

Airknives reduce energy costs on steel strip production line

Airknives reduce energy costs on steel strip production line During the manufacturing process of steel strip, scale has to be removed from the strip's surface before it passes through the rolling mill. To achieve this de-scaling, the strip passes through an acid 'pickling' bath. The acid is then neutralised by passing through a 'washing' bath. Afterwards, the strip is dried to avoid the risk of corrosion.

At ThyssenKrupp's Dortmund Beta plant, historically this had been performed by blowing air that had been heated to 120°C via a steam heat exchanger across the travelling strip. But changing to a blower powered airknife system from Air Control Industries (ACI) has resulted in significant energy savings and consequent cost reductions. The new system installed by ACI's German distributor Carl von Gehlen Spezialmaschinen und Zubehör of Mönchengladbach achieves the required drying duty whilst reducing blower energy consumption by 50% and completely eliminating the steam powered air heating system.

The decision to install the ACI airknife system came after extended technical discussions between the two companies to determine the positioning of the airknives and how to protect the airknives in the very corrosive environment. The result has proven to be an effective solution that has now been operating for more than a year.

The strip steel at the ThyssenKrupp Dortmund Beta plant is primarily for the automotive industry. It is engineered to bespoke requirements for many different vehicle manufacturers to meet specific performance requirements. The complex production processes, including special tempering, permit body parts to be made up to 30% lighter, including crash-relevant parts.

The ACI airknife system designed by Carl von Gehlen includes 4-off 2000mm long 316 stainless steel airknives powered by a 45kW EV blower which is housed in an acoustic enclosure. A special feature of the installation is custom-engineered steel enclosures for the airknives that provide protection from strip damage.
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