AMEPA – a worldwide success story. In 1984, AMEPA was founded as a “spin off” of the Aachen Technical University by three staff members of the Institute of Metallurgy with the aim of creating innovative measurement Technologies for the steel industry.

Already by the end of 1986, AMEPA had introduced a system to the German market for the electromagnetic detection of slag as the molten steel is being poured into metallurgical vessels. This measurement system was an immediate success as it meant a significant improvement in steel purity.

 Only two years later, in 1988, AMEPA installed the first slag detection systems in America and Japan. Due to the size and significance of the North American market, AMEPA AMERICA INC. was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1994.

Today, AMEPA has 60 employees. More than 400 systems installed to date in 34 countries have made AMEPA Slag Detection Systems a worldwide standard in the steel industry. A global network of distribution and service guarantees customers individualized service, both prior to and after purchasing any AMEPA systems.

In close cooperation with companies in steel industry, AMEPA has developed additional innovative measuring systems in recent years, some of which have been put to use for the first time worldwide. Main AMEPA products in use of steel plants are:

ESD – Electromagnetic Slag Detection

If steel of high quality has to be produced, the most important prerequisite is a slag-free pouring of steel. AMEPA is the worldwide market leader with its electromagnetic slag detection system ESD for ladles with more than 2000 vessels equipped with sensors.

In the production process, steel is poured several times from one vessel into another. But the slag which arises during each step of the process must not be transferred into the next vessel. Especially in the production of high-quality steels carried over slag creates a very serious problem.

The electromagnetic detection system developed by AMEPA solves this problem successfully. There are already 250 systems installed worldwide with over 2000 vessels equipped with sensors and more than 370.000.000 tons of steel are supervised by these systems annually.

This makes the AMEPA slag detection systems a worldwide standard and AMEPA the world leader in this technology.

In the steel plant environment, all measurement equipment and sensors are expected to meet the highest demands in terms of reliability and robustness. The sensors, for example, must work in temperatures of up to 800° C.

The success on the market of this technology proves that AMEPA has successfully met these challenges.

TSD – Thermographic Slag Detection

Since 1999, the Thermographic Slag Detection system TSD is being operated successfully at converters. Here, the different emissivity of steel and slag is being analyzed in the infrared range. This system does not need any sensors at or in the converter.

The transfer of BOF & EAF slag during the tap is recognized as an important issue in today’s steel-making process. In order to control slag transfer, it has to be measured. AMEPA’s new slag detection system, the TSD, measures this transfer by means of thermographic analysis.

The Laws of Physics state that electromagnetic energy is radiated when a body temperature is above absolute zero. The amount of energy radiated depends on factors such as composition, surface properties and temperature. Non-contact temperature readings are measured with this radiated energy. Radiation factors also allow items of the same temperature to be distinguished.

This is possible because of the difference between the composition and/or surface properties. When transferring molten metal, steel and slag approximately have the same temperature. But the composition and surface properties are different, so the slag flowing on the surface can be identified.

Human eyes distinguish between steel and slag by seeing a transition from white to yellow in the molten stream. But it is very difficult to identify this transition due to the high radiation intensity. With a specialized infrared camera and sophisticated image processing, the molten metal stream can be illustrated to show a significantly greater contrast. For instance, the steel to slag contrast can be displayed as a transition from yellow to green.

RSD – Residual Slag detection

The RSD system for a precise measuring of residual steel in the tundish of continuous casting machines maximizes the yield from the tundish. In case of one steel grade change to another, the system minimizes the intermixing zone in the strand.

Customers of the steel making industry demand ever more specialized grades of steel in combination with increasingly shorter delivery times. Therefore, steel plants must produce different grades of steel at increasingly shorter intervals.

During a steel grade change two grades of steel mix in one tundish, resulting in a product of lower quality. The “mixed steel” means unnecessary costs and ought to be reduced to a minimum.

The “residual steel detector”, developed by AMEPA, measures the amount of steel remaining in a tundish so precisely that it can be emptied almost completely before a new grade of steel is poured in. This results in substantial cost savings.

In this application too, sensors and measuring components have to meet strict requirements.

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