FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras Help Ensure Continuous Steel Production in South Africa

Production plants have to keep running all the time. No breakdown, no downtime. To ensure proper operation of its production plants in Vanderbijlpark, ArcelorMittal South Africa uses FLIR thermal imaging cameras. This improves efficiency, safety, helps to avoid breakdowns and to minimize downtime.

The ArcelorMittal plant at Vanderbijlpark has the capacity to produce 4.4 million tonnes of liquid steel per year, which constitutes some 78% of South Africa’s flat steel requirements. It is one of the world's largest inland steel mills and the biggest supplier of flat steel products in sub-Saharan Africa.

To keep all of the plant’s equipment up and running is the task of the Condition Monitoring Team at the Reliability Engineering Department of ArcelorMittal South Africa. The team uses many condition monitoring tools, thermal imaging is one of them. "The advantage of using thermal imaging cameras is that you can see a problem developing long before it becomes visible to the naked eye, enabling you to make informed decisions regarding a suitable course of action. This leads to increased production, improved safety and increased equipment lifespan," explains Douglas Glen, Senior Thermographer at the Condition Monitoring Team.

Boiler Refractory Lining
Infrared Boiler Refractory Lining

Figure 1. Every week Glen and his colleagues inspect this boiler to monitor the condition of the refractory lining.

Direct Reduction Iron Degradation
Infrared Direct Reduction Iron Degradation

Figure 2. These images form part of a weekly inspection done on six Direct Reduction Iron (DRI). The images are analysed to detect refractory degradation or product build-up on the inside.

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