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Metal Pass Mill Related Projects


Level 2 development




Client / Employer


Cascade Steel EAF Level 2 system development

Level 2 collects data from numerous PLCs and Chemical Lab, populates data in MMI computers to assist operators to run the steel manufacturing. Modeling, scheduling, steelmaking recipes, chemical analysis, personnel, as well as energy and material consumption were the key functions. The MMI applications (Client) were implemented with Visual Basic, while the Level 2 server applications were written with Visual C++ and MFC. The back-end database server was Oracle.



Cascade Steel LMF Level 2 system development

Similar to EAF Level 2. Some information from EAF was displayed in the LMF Level 2.



Cascade Steel Caster Level 2 system development

Similar to EAF Level 2. Some summary screens for EAF and LMF were also displayed in this application. There was a graphic display of the cut list of billets, so the user could quickly see how many billets were cut or ready to be cast and cut.



MFC application for data management of the Level 2 system memory-mapped files (MMF)

Since only a portion of data were sent to the database, more data in the MMFs (Memory-mapped files) were accessed programmatically with customized code.



Level 2 systems debug and function improvement

After Level 2 systems were put into operation, there was a large amount of work to debug and functional improvements.



Cascade Steel Level 2/Level 3 Database design and SQL script development

Worked jointly with the development partner to modify the general design to fit the specific plant; helped DBA (who did not have steel industry experience) on design, modification and implementation.



Development of Level 2 data safety and management systems (to guarantee no data loss)

Data safety management for the Oracle database and data populating to Level 3 business database. Due to the potential that the Oracle database server may lose connection with one of the Level 2 servers and result in data loss, a major design change was made to ensure the data safety. The new design let the Level 2 server hold the SQL scripts for inserting/updating data for up to several days, in case the connection was broken. As long as the system regained the connection, the Level 2 server would immediately re-run the SQL scripts and send data into the database. The DBA could also manually run the SQL scripts to send the data. Another change was to send data into Level 3 database server.



Development of Level 2/Level 3 data quality and history data management system

Oracle data management system, with which engineers and/or operators can read and modify data was improved, so, if any modifications occurred, the system moved the original data to the history tables.



Cascade Steel rolling mill Level 2 system design and function specification

The design took references of the Meltshop Level 2 and Danieli Level 2, and proposals on the Level 2 from ABB and Morgan, etc. Functions include: (1) Data collection (PLC, testing lab, user input, Meltshop Level 2, etc.), data communications (between Mill 1 and Mill 2, and between mills and meltshop); (2) Rolling process modeling, roll pass schedule autoload and improvement through learning, etc. Project started right after the Meltshop Level 2 project, but was not completely implemented.


Oregon Steel Mills Level 2 system study

Examination of OSM's Level 2 system, through source code study, log file access and database survey, to find potential weaknesses for improvement. Time spent was about 4 months. Read through source code (about 1 million lines), diagrammed system functions and proposed numerous improvements.



OSM Level 2 force model problem survey to identify source of the force error in certain products

Identification of reasons for the force error in certain model grades, such as the hard and thin products. This work started after the 4 months of basic study of the Level 2 system.



Design of flow stress model coefficients for 2000 model grades and for three temperature regions in each model grade

6000 sets of coefficients (influence factors from material, temperature, strain and strain rate) were calculated for 2000 model grades and three temperature regions in each grade. This project was to fix the logical problems in the learning for the existing Level 2 system. The coefficients were used as the reference values for the adaptive learning.



Calculation for existing flow stress coefficients for every model grade, based on the data matrix of the intermediate factors stored in the Level 2 database

6000 sets of coefficients (influence factors from material, temperature, strain and strain rate) were calculated for 2000 model grades and three temperature regions in each grade. This project was to analyze the weakness of the existing learning procedure and data, in order to provide the fix. Because the Level 2 system only holds some intermediate data, the flow stress coefficients needed to be calculated.



Creation of the force model for the resume pass (the pass right after the hold of steel in the air)

Model was modified to reflect the metallurgical changes (precipitation, recovery, recrystallization and grain growth, etc.) incurred in the holding pass before the resume pass. Those changes caused up to 40% force error before the fix.



Expansion of the flow stress formula valid range (for the passes with draft below 10% or over 30%)

OSM's flow stress model was not valid for the strain below 0.1, and was inaccurate for strain over 0.4. Modification was made to eliminate/reduce the errors in these regions.



Development of a metallurgical engine to improve quality of Level 2 modeling and Level 3 scheduling (proposal to the National Science Foundation of USA)

A concept to develop a metallurgical engine for supporting both Level 3 production scheduling and Level 2 production execution was developed. Functions include: (1) for Level 3 to select slab with low cost and sufficient quality; (2) for Level 3 to schedule temperatures for reheating, holding and controlled cooling, and the time length for the hold; (3) for Level 2 to optimize draft distribution and controlled rolling for both strength and shape, (4) to predict and guarantee the rolled product property.

Metal Pass


Proposal to develop next generation of steel mill Level 2 system, with 4-tier architecture, metallurgical consideration and intelligent learning (30 pages, initially for the National Science Foundation of USA)

Currently in the market, no Level 2 system considers the metallurgical processes such as the recrystallization, grain size, retained strain, etc. The new generation of Level 2 should have this feature. In general, it should have new software engineering features and intelligent learning (Neural network, expert system, etc.)

Metal Pass

109 NISCO Plate Mill Level 2 Force Model Improvement Improvement of Nanjing Iron and Steel Co. (NISCO) plate mill Level 2 force model to achieve higher product quality, yield and productivity. Project is aimed to fix learning logical errors, and adaptive learning weaknesses as well as other modeling problems and metallurgical issues. Current TIPPINS models have several critical mistakes/weaknesses that negatively impact the performance of the entire production line. NISCO is the second plate mill that requires an improvement for TIPPINS force model, following the Oregon Steel Mills. This project is ongoing until March 2010. NISCO
110 NISCO Plate Mill Level 2 Head-end and Tail-end Force Model Improvement Improvement of head-end and tail-end force model in addition to the general body force model improvement. This is to reduce AGC movement  in order to reduce head-end and tail-end defects such as the local cambers existing in the two ends. This project is ongoing until March 2010. NISCO


NISCO Plate Mill Level 2 Grade File Improvement

A high performance Level 2 model usually uses about 2000 model grades for a plate mill, and correspondingly, there are about 2000 grades files. Each grade file holds large number of basic data such as metallurgical and physical properties. High-quality data in every grade file is critical for not only Level 2 quality but also various metallurgical operations. This project is ongoing until March 2010.


117 Grade Families Design Most mill software program or system classify grade families based on steel application, which would cause issues such as the same composition being put into different families due to different application. This design used in the current Level 2 model improvement project divides steel grades into 12 families based on its chemical composition. NISCO
118 Automatical Design of Flow Stress Coefficients Due to the highly diversified products and high requirements for controlled rolling, there were nearly 7,000 model grades and accordingly about 20,000 sets of flow stress coefficients C1, C2, C3, and C4. Automatic design, by applying a long list of existing and newly created model data, was performed. Related work:
(1) Developed influence factors of product thickness, product type, rolling stage and slab thickness, on the flow stress coefficient C1, C2, C3, and C4. Those factors are grade specific.
(2) Referred to the IIW (International Institute of Welding) carbon equivalence formula, and made some modifications, to reflect hot strength of steels.
(3) Created a new carbon equivalence formula, specifically for hot strength of HSLA steels, based on study of about 10 existing
carbon equivalence formula. The formula was verified with Metal Pass material properties database.
(4) Developed and further improved the formula to estimate steelís hot strength based on chemical composition, since flow stress is a sort of hot strength of the steel.
Up to the end of the project, 19488 sets of flow stress coefficients (4 x 19488 values) have been completed.

Automatic Generation of Grade File

In this given Level 2 package, a Grade File contains all the model data for a model grade, totally over 300 lines. In each line there are data name/description, data category, format and spaces, etc. With a large number of model grades, nearly 7000 grade files need to be created, and any modification to the model and data design requires that the grade files be regenerated. Therefore, a program was developed to read all the related data from various database tables, and to create the grade file automatically. NISCO
120 Draft Schedule Logics Improvement Oregon Steel used to spend 5 years and made over 2000 modifications to the Draft Scheduling section alone in the Tippins Level 2 model. NISCO Level 2 model initially experienced draft scheduling logical problem after the force prediction is made accurate (judged by comparing measured and predicted values). After one year's intensive improvement in this area, pass number became corrected. Initial draft scheduling logics in Tippins model downgraded the effect of the draft and rolling speed to the rolling force and torque, since the power factor for either the strain or strain rate, or both, were set to 0 during the force learning and force calculation. The logics for draft scheduling based on predicted force, consists of three steps, taking finishing pass logics as example: (1) initial design of the draft schedule; (2) establishing equation system to examine whether a list of constrains are met; and (3) if one or more constrains cannot be satisfied, creating a schedule based on lowered requirement. Modifications to all the three steps were necessary. NISCO


Level 2 source code management using database tool, and source code modification

Tippins Level 2 system has source code of about 2 million lines (NISCO has the first C language version), developed by a large team in a time span of great number of years. In source code modification during Level 2 improvement, there is an issue for cross-references of multiple sections of source code because it is almost impossible to remember a large number of code, especially in the first several years of source code modification. During the level 2 improvement, especially in the draft scheduling logics modification, relational database has been successfully applied to solve this problem. A small piece of code (only needed 0.5 hour) was written to send all the code into a database. All the notes, functions and modifications were then easily recorded and cross-referenced to other sections.


    Project Categories (Notes)

     1.  Level 2 Development
     2.  Level 2 Support
     3.  Mechanical properties improvement
     4.  Mill Application Development
     5.  Productivity Improvement
     6.  Rolling and Roll Pass Development
     7.  Rolling Process Modeling - Numerical
     8.  Rolling Process Modeling - Empirical
     9.  Shape and yield improvement
    10. Web and Web Resource

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