Conversation with Mr. Vijay Bansal.

There is no need to change anything or to build a new set up. With our modular casters you can seamlessly convert your ingot making plant into billet making plant.

Correct, for other casters available in the market. In fact, we ventured into manufacturing of casters to serve customers like you. We have developed special design to make it feasible for smaller capacity furnaces. Our single strand caster is most suitable for your plant.

There is no need to change anything or to build a new set up. With our modular casters, you can convert your ingot making plant to billet making plant. More number of smaller furnaces would assist you in better economics of billet making because of the sequencing of heats.

You are correct sir. All available casters usually demand a gantry height of 15M. But I am not fooling anyone. Our casters are specially designed to fit into low gantry heights like yours. We have installed casters in gantry heights as low as 6.5 M.

Yes Sir. You do not need to put in two different casters. You can install a single caster in any of your plants and bring liquid metal either on a rail-mounted trolley or truck from one plant to another like how it is being done at one of our installations in Goa.

Again what you say is correct for all other casters available in the market Sir. They deliver the caster in six months, install and commission in three to four months. And stabilize in yet another month. Therefore total order to full production time is ten to eleven months. Sir, anyone will go bankrupt if he has to lose production for such a long period. Sir, ET is the only company to “manufacture” the entire caster in house. Ours is a modular caster that is aligned, tested and cold tried in our factory before dispatch. We have created a huge manufacturing facility that enables us to deliver a caster in two months. Ten to fifteen days is transportation time and fifteen days is installation and commissioning time. Our casters deliver full production right from the first heat. So the order to stabilization time is only three months.

Correct sir. But there will be zero production loss in changing from ingot to billet with our caster.

I am sorry if my statement has annoyed you, Sir. Our caster needs very nominal civil work, only @ 120 m3. Ingot production can continue till the civil work, installation, and pre-commissioning checks are completed. Once this is done, the very next ladle can be brought to the caster for billet casting. And your plant gets converted from an ingot making unit into a billet making unit. So there is no production loss. You can continue using your ingot casting facility side by side without any problem. And in the case of a special application if you want to cast ingots, then you can continue doing that alongside billet casting.

Sir, ingots are now becoming an obsolete product. Many ingot makers are switching to billet making because rolling mills prefer billets as raw material as compared to ingots because of high yield, both from scrap to billet and from billet to rolled product, higher production, and less downtime. Billets also demand a premium or/and preference as compared to ingots. Billet making cost is less than ingot making cost. The yield of LM to Billet is much higher than the yield of LM to Ingot because there are no runners, no centre columns, no plate leakages, no trumpet and bottom refractories, and no CI moulds, which are consumables. We will provide you the cost sheets for both Ingots and Billets on our casters.

Sir, you have to bring in only about half of the investment.

No Sir. You will only finance the rest. All the sets of cast iron moulds in your factory will be useless, once the caster goes operational. You can sell these moulds to raise about half the investment.

All manufacturers source all the components from various vendors and send them to the site. Civil work is done on the site on which these components are mounted and then painted. Then these assemblies are aligned, tested and then cold trials are carried out. After the first casting is done, slowly the caster is stabilized and taken to full production. We manufacture the entire caster in our factory as four modules. The main module is a composite assembly from mould jacket to withdrawal. The electrical systems are also manufactured as a module. All these assemblies are sandblasted and painted to sustain in the corrosive environment for much longer life. Then the caster alignment is done by using specially developed state-of-the-art optical instruments. The entire caster is then tested and cold trials are carried out. Upon successfully clearing the Quality Control Parameters it is dispatched in modules. On reaching the site the modules are placed directly on the foundations and are inter-connected. The caster is ready for production. Others don’t have this design, Sir. And they cannot do it because they don’t have a factory of their own.

Billet cannot come out of mould tube on its own for the first time in casting. It needs to be pulled out using a dummy bar. Whenever there is a breakout, this dummy bar has to be inserted into the mould tube again to pull out the new billet. This is called re-stranding. There are two types of dummy bars. One is a flexible link type or chain type of dummy bar and the other one is the rigid dummy bar. With the rigid dummy bar, the re-stranding time is negligible. With a flexible dummy bar, re-stranding time is longer resulting in lowering the temperature of LM in the ladle that often demands re-furnace. Flexible dummy bars demand skilled labor as the head needs to be guided always. The rigid dummy bar is automatic, self-guided, safer, and faster. We offer it because it makes the caster more reliable and efficient. Others are not willing to offer as rigid dummy bar involves technology and higher cost to the manufacturer.

There are many advantages of our modular caster to you as an end-user. Installation time is only fifteen days, caster stability and performance are high as it is factory aligned with modern optical instruments, fewer breakdowns as the testing and cold trial is done in the factory by a team of experts. Very long life of steel sections in corrosive apron area because of a scientific process for surface preparation and aluminium painting that is followed.

The apron area is the enclosed area of secondary cooling. That is after the billet comes out of the mould tube and before it enters withdrawal. In this area because of heavy cooling of hot billet lot of steam is generated which is very highly corrosive. Steam exhaust systems are used to evacuate the steam. Still, it comes in contact with the steel structure within this area resulting in corrosion. As in our caster, we follow a scientific process of surface preparation and aluminium paint, corrosive steam is unable to damage the steel. The steel structures in the apron area of our first commissioned caster are intact even today..

Our casters operate at high speeds. One strand can cast up to 18 TPH. For an 8 Ton furnace, the heat time is 100 min considering the present-day raw material mix. Therefore furnace gives about 6 TPH LM. So only one strand caster is required. In fact, in the future, you can either add two more 8 Ton furnaces or replace the existing ones with two 15 Ton furnaces and sequence on the same single strand caster comfortably. However, if you plan for bigger than 15 Ton furnaces in the future you can always add a second strand to the running single strand caster as ours is a modular design. Out of the 179 casters that we have sold to date, 55% of these are single-strand casters which is proof of the reliability and stability of our caster. We are the most experienced company in the world on single-strand casters. If you cast billets using a single strand caster, then you also save about Rs.70.00 /Ton of billet on the operational cost which in your case is Rs. 33,00,000.00 per year with one furnace and 66,00,000.00 per year additional saving with a second furnace on the same caster.

Not at all, Sir. We have one mechanical and one electrical & automation engineer permanently posted at every regional office. You will get as prompt service for casters as you get for our furnaces.

They are correct Sir. The speed at which casters have been installed has already created a shortage of trained manpower today. And the situation will deteriorate in the future. As a solution to this problem, we have started a caster training institute in Ahmedabad. You can appoint your technical person when you place the order on us and send him/them to our institute for training. They can attend this 2-week residential course comprising of all aspects of caster erection, commissioning, operation, and maintenance like metallurgy, electrical and automation, mechanical, quality control and troubleshooting, etc.

Sir, they have supplied about 550 casters of all sizes put together in the last 40 years with the same old design. We have already supplied 179 in the last four years. Advantages of our caster to you are: Only three months from order to full production. Factory manufactured and tested, aligned. Cold tried. Thus a very high degree of stability hence higher production. Shot blasted and scientifically painted in the factory. Thus very long life of steel structure. Very high productivity due to high speeds. Low scale loss due to high speeds. Very low electrical consumption of auxiliaries due to optimized design. Low consumption of treated water High level of automation Wide range of sections you can cast – 80 x 80 to 150 x 150 mm 97 percent hot billet rolling – highest in the industry.

Conventionally billets coming out of the caster are cut to length and are cooled on the cooling bed. Then they are reheated in a fuel-fired reheating furnace to 1200OC and then sent to the rolling mill. In the hot billet rolling process hot billets from the caster are directly sent to the rolling Mill for rolling without any reheating. This process has revolutionized steelmaking in the Indian steel industry and we look upon ourselves as the people responsible for this revolution. It was the ET Team that went across all the steel clusters of India, conducted seminars, displayed videos, made presentations on the advantages of direct charging of hot billets, and encouraged steelmakers to opt for this process. For hot billet rolling to be successful required and constant temperature of the billet coming out of the caster is most important. With our caster desired temperature is achieved from the first billet and is maintained till the last billet because our casters can operate at a high speed and PLC-based automation ensures the right temperature for rolling. Therefore the percentage of billets hot rolled is highest. This is the reason hot billet rolling became popular only after we commissioned our first caster in an SMS and rolling combined plant. With other makes of casters, hot billet rolling is very difficult due to the design limitations.

Sir this cannot be true if the specifications are compared apple to apple. If you can show their offer to me I will be able to highlight the differences and calculate for you how much you will have to spend on their caster and our caster till starting the production. Our prices appear to be high when you look at two quotations. In reality, they are much lower. You have to buy only one strand from us against a two-strand caster from Concast because our one strand has very high productivity as compared to them. Also, it has the highest reliability and lower cost of operation. Hope you liked the above conversation with Mr. Vijay Bansal. If you have any query please feel free to contact us at mkt@electrotherm.com