Making Steel

Making Steel

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Language: English

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Number of words: 5184

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I'm dick Wardrop chairman and chief executive officer of a case deal you are about to see some of the most awesome sights you will ever witness the making of Steel it's hard to imagine what our lives would be like without this versatile material and even though steel is part of our daily lives it is easy to overlook the thousands of ways we depend on steel around the world and even beyond our planet in space from the time you wake until your day is done steel was working to make your life safer
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stronger and better just think for a moment of how steel helps you every day the steel that supports homes and schools and skyscrapers and bridges roads and dams the steel that forms such essential modern conveniences like washers dryers stoves and refrigerators the steel that makes your car safe and dependable for years the development of large-scale steel production in nearly 150 years ago provided the single most important milestone in a worldwide
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industrial revolution as we approach the 21st century steel continues to revolutionize the way we live from the bolts that secure rocket boosters to the space shuttle to ultra light and strong automobile bodies steel is what the future is made of what other material brings all these benefits to our lives and does so as the most recycled material in North America more steel is recycled than aluminum paper plastic and glass combined now you might think that
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a product that can do all these things would be quite expensive well here's another surprise from this incredible material in fact a bond of Steel costs less today in a pond of butter or potatoes today's steel industry and a.k steel in particular utilizes some of the most advanced computer controlled equipment in the world to produce the highest quality products so I hope you enjoy this brief glimpse at how we make this incredible material an ache a steel and I think you will agree that it is a
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fascinating process on a journey from the dark reaches of the universe a meteorite hurtles through space nearing the earth gravity pulls it through the atmosphere the mass explodes under the strain raining bits of rock and iron on the ground following the streaking flight the heavenly metal is recovered the strange material is fashioned into a
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primitive tool fantasy perhaps or does it explain as many think why in ancient languages the word steel means star metal we do know that man has used heavenly and earthly iron for thousands of years in a time and place unrecorded came the discovery that iron could be made better stronger and even more useful a pinch of nickel a dash of
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manganese dislodge a bit of carbon the alloy steel was discovered the age of alchemy gave birth to the science of metallurgy in 1856 a process for making steel on a grand scale was discovered and a tremendous Industrial Revolution was born 150 years later the evolution of new and better steels continues to
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unfold at a K steel it all begins as it has for centuries by assembling the essential ingredients in northern Minnesota miners coax or from the rocky veins of the Mesabi Range straight from the ground this taconite is unsuited for a K Steel's productive blast furnaces pulverized and concentrated the iron ore is fused back to
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as marble-sized pellets steel rails will guide the ore to its final destination at the base of a que Steel's blast furnaces 600 miles away under the hills of West Virginia miners dispatched tons of coal to the surface it travels by rail to a case seals plants where it will become the primary fuel in the 4000 degree Inferno needed to reduce the ore
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to molten iron before the coal can begin the demanding task of smelting iron it must be transformed into a more efficient form called coke the process begins by loading a blend of coals into a series of tall narrow ovens the ovens are sealed from the air to prevent the coal from burning away in the 2400 degree temperature after baking for nearly a day a 12-ton volcano of coke is pushed from the oven
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into an awaiting railcar reunited with oxygen the coke ignites in a scorching dance like charcoal the coke is now light porous and strong a nine thousand gallon cold shower tempers the heated passion of the coke sending a billowing plume of steam skyward completing the raw material list is limestone mined from quarries throughout the Midwest
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this natural cleansing agent will collect the impurities released from the coke and/or West Virginia coal limestone from Kentucky taconite from Minnesota and a pinch of high-grade iron from South America these earthly ingredients will ascend 20 stories to meet in the iron makers colossal VAT skip cars halt
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they're carefully measured burden up the steep incline delivering a steady supply of fuel and/or to the furnace a pair of valves called bells allow the raw materials to enter the furnace without releasing the pressure of hot air and gases in the furnace to our metallurgist this giant structure is known as a counter-current packed bed thermal
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chemical pressure vessel but simply the blast furnace is named for its most indispensable ingredient a blast of air and gas hot enough to ignite the coke stoves heat the air to nearly 2,000 degrees turbo engines propel the hot air at nearly 200 mile per hour into the furnace through openings called Twitter's the poorest coke allows the hot wind to penetrate the raw materials and heat the or oxygen
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reacts chemically with the coke creating a reducing atmosphere this thermo chemical process creates temperatures of more than 4,000 degrees under this intense Inferno the ore releases molten iron which drips to the bottom of the furnace gases from the reaction are cleaned and recycled as fuel for the coke ovens and blast furnace stoves the limestone traps impurities released from
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the burning coke and or becoming a slag which floats atop the heavier molten iron the iron and slag flows almost continuously from two tap holes near the bottom of the furnace a drill pierces the clay plug of the tap hole and bores into the heart of the furnace a 2,700 degree river of molten iron is born from the belly of the furnace in a
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spectacular display of man's command of nature unleashed the fiery tide follows its directed course beneath the watchful eyes of its creators with respect for its fury the quality of the metal is monitored and recorded the limestone having performed its cleansing job rides out of the furnace atop the river of iron diverted to a cooling pit it will be
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recycled perhaps as the bed of a new highway or railroad borne of brittle brute strength the iron is destined for refining school where it will learn to be rolled drawn and stretched as steel bearing more than 200 tons each torpedo cars haul the molten iron to the basic oxygen furnace where it will complete its transformation into steel
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poured into a ladle the iron is treated and skimmed to remove slag containing sulfur an impurity left over from the coke in the blast furnace while the iron is being skimmed scrap steel recycled from elsewhere in the mill is loaded into the furnace cleanse of sulfur the molten iron is poured into the mouth of the furnace in a pulpit 200 feet from
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the fiery metal the furnace is rocked stirred and monitored with computer-assisted precision high purity oxygen is blown into the furnace at supersonic speed through a water-cooled lance like a giant cutting torch the oxygen Lance raises the temperature of the iron to nearly 3,000 degrees burning off yet more impurities in the iron and
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melting the scrap in some 20 minutes the rage of the furnace subsides having tamed the ions brittle strength rid of excess carbon phosphorus and silicon the medal has newfound power Steele is born having harnessed the energy of the Sun itself aka Steel's metallurgical chefs keeps entry of their bubbling recipe a sample
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from the molten bath is retrieved in the shops metallurgical lab quality control technicians analyze and record the composition of the metal before it solidifies final adjustments are made to the chemistry a vacuum degassing removes additional carbon this allows the seal to be drawn and shaped into such products as automotive parts special
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alloys titanium aluminum and manganese among others had special qualities for hundreds of different uses a lid insulates the molten brew during casting capable of lifting the weight of nearly 200 cars the crane operators delicate touch placed the ladle four stories high atop the caster a gate is opened at the bottom of the ladle liquid steel flows
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through a shroud into a trough called a tundish at a rate of five tons per minute nozzles in the bottom of the tundish directs the steel into water-cooled moulds as the steel flows into the molds it begins to solidify still soft the steel is gently directed by the curved radius of the caster to a horizontal position at the run-out table
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from molten steel slabs emerge glowing from an internal temperature of nearly 2,000 degrees automatic torches embrace the slabs burning through the steel which is now nine inches thick a tag is attached to record the slabs identity as the steel is processed into the customer's order still about 1,200 degrees the slabs are cool enough to
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load on rail cars for their journey to the hot strip mill more than 30 feet long each slab weighs nearly 90,000 pounds with enough energy to heat a city the slabs are bathed in a glowing furnace for three hours shielded from the 2400 degree heat of the slab an operator sends the monolith toward its destination more than half a mile away the slabs glow and unmistakable
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footsteps down the row line are familiar science at the hot strip in six minutes this 40-ton behemoth will make the most awesome transformation in steelmaking as more than 130 thousand horsepower press it as thin as a computer disk the bar is squeezed between the huge roughing mill rolls like so much clay blasts of water break away the thin crusts of scale that
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formed on the slab during heating sending up a rooster tail of spray the hot steel yields to the relentless hydraulic pressure in the only manner it can halfway to its destination its nine inch girth has been trimmed to a mere inch and a half the rest of its mass now trails along more than a hundred feet behind its front edge
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linked by a host of computers and radios operators at the hot strip monitor every facet of the process some of the most advanced technology in the world controls the seven finishing stands of the hot strip mill only several feet apart these massive rolls give the strip its final thickness and shape as the seal passes through each stand its
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thickness is reduced further by the time the front edge of the strip clears the final stand it may be traveling more than 25 miles per hour a half mile from its blistering-hot start a cold spray cools the steel as it speeds toward the coil errs these marvels of timing catch the speeding strip and wind it into a coil from glowing slab to glistening strip what
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was minutes ago a mere 30 feet long this coil would now span a dozen football feet but the journey for this aka seal is far from over this hot rolled coil now has the fundamental strengths of seal to meet the sophisticated requirements of many a case steel customers these green coils as they are called will be further processed at the cold strip mill at the
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pickling complex a mild bath of hydrochloric acid removes the oxide it had formed during the steels journey through the hot strip mill following a rinse and a dry the steel is again wound into a coil and coated with an oil to prevent rust and prepare it for rolling on the cold mill in its basic operation the cold mill functions much like the
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hot strip mill squeezing the steel with tremendous hydraulic force to reduce its thickness but as the name implies no heat is applied in the cold bill this creates a smooth finish and increases the strength of the seal although the steel isn't heated friction from 2400 tons of pressure readily vaporizes the mills coolant as the strip speeds from stand to stand at 60 miles
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per hour the mill rolls costing up to 70,000 dollars each are changed every few hours to ensure consistent quality aka seals trained operators have made this the most productive cold mill in the world producing some of the highest quality steel available coils are inspected for the slightest blemish and thoroughly tested for all quality characteristics
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for some customers cold rolled steel meets their requirements exactly its thickness has been reduced from that of a computer disk to a credit card the surface is smooth and the steel has gained strength in the cold rolling process for the most demanding uses however additional processing will give the steel its final characteristics at the zinc grip line cold rolled steel is
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immersed in a bath of molten zinc this hot dip galvanizing process wraps the steel in a pure zinc rust resistant coating automakers and other customers depend on aka seals industry leadership in steel technology for superior coated steels these advanced materials help automakers build cars with extended warranties against rust and corrosion aluminum coated cold rolled steel
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enable the makers of automotive exhaust systems to build mufflers tailpipes and resonators which lasts the lifetime of car if not longer aluminized steel is ideal for making furnaces and other heat-resistant products culverts and other drainage products fabricated from this aluminum coated steel offer decades of service built to meet the needs for better automotive
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Steel's the electric galvanizing line plates cold rolled steel electrolytically using the steel itself as a conductor coatings of pure zinc and a zinc nickel combination and here to the strip in a giant 2,000,000 amp electrical circuit electro galvanized seals are preferred for their uniform finish providing strong smooth fenders hoods and other automotive body parts
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for nearly 100 years a ke Steel's Middletown Works has been home to some of the most innovative thought and dedicated steel makers in the world along the way a few of our neighbors have found our Midwestern hospitality quite to their liking as well on the banks of the Ohio River in Ashland Kentucky a case steals metallurgical expertise and hospitality are equally
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evident in the Bluegrass State we even gave our blast furnace a personality by fondly naming her Amanda the largest of her kind in the world when she was built Amanda just seems to get better with age day and Amanda feeds a steady diet of molten iron to Ashland steelmaking shop and it's a good thing too because the continuous caster at Ashland has the healthiest appetite in the world for
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steel built to produce steel for pipe this caster was actually mothballed a few years ago when the need for oil and gas pipe all but disappeared redesigned for slabs the men and women of a case steel breathed new life into the machine and never looked back they've given new meaning to the term continuous casting by setting world records with regularity in what resembles a chess move designed
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for giants a new heat of Steel is traded for the empty ladle the tundish still full of molten steel continues to feed the caster during the ladle change each day Ashland's bounty of slabs embarks on an open-air train headed for middle town where they will help to satisfy the hunger of the hot strip mill on the return trip Middletown will send coils to supply Ashton's hot dip galvanizing
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and Galvan Ealing line fed by the Middletown cold mill Ashland's versatile coating line produces both galvanized and galvan ield steels a process that alloys the zinc coating into the base metal for high quality automotive steels 400 miles down the Ohio River from Ashland the most remarkable steel facility in the world is springing to life near Rockport Indiana
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aka seals rockport works will feature one of the widest most powerful and by far the most productive cold Mill in the world a massive sixty thousand horsepower mill it will utilize some of the most advanced quality control and mill design in the world it will produce carbon and stainless steels allowing a que to serve additional customers in the automotive
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and food and chemical processing markets Rockport's hot dip line will use a case steels legendary coating technology to produce the widest product available for the most demanding automotive customer requirements innovative pickling annealing and tempering facilities will complete the state-of-the-art addition to a case seals world-class facilities rockport will join middletown and
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Ashland works in a leap in the 21st century steel making meeting the needs of its discriminating customers the employees of ak's steel blend the heritage of steel making artistry with technology on the frontier of tomorrow coaxed from its humble earthly origins and transformed the glistening metal steel is the fabric of our future for more than 85 years this versatile metal
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has formed the foundation of modern life shaping the cars and trucks of tomorrow steel is meeting the challenge for lighter stronger and more versatile components completely recyclable but designed to last at home steel provides comfort and convenience in virtually every room even in the very walls that shelter us from nature's rage so what does the future hold for this adaptable metal with a distinguished
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past at ak's steel there is plenty of evidence to suggest the brightest days for steel have yet to be seen nearly 6,000 dedicated men and women have their hands and their minds on the most productive equipment in the world for all its fiery origin and brute strength steelmaking is a venture of the mind and every day those Minds gaze into this metal soul and ask silently what if
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we're very pleased with the formability results we got on this spender and this is using England's baked hardenable steels this is our to say eg baked Cardinal off the continuous in the align you know no if we look at this data most of this material safely meets the core lies guarantee let me just discuss with you the benefits that we see the I inspect product has many attributes that we've looked at heat treated Franks in order to get the strength of with micro alloy making approach more uniform needs you to machine I think my Corelli is
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definitely a candidate for this Bob we've been able to identify that we have the capacity available to not only the Rho B but the normalizer as well I'll make sure that was an access point we're the experts on carbon and still making so they're looking for us to bring this together this part is very similar to some of the designs that could be manufactured three years from now this whole quantity squared divided by the stiffest actor eelain's been market driven for years now and today our intent is to find relationships
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partnerships with our customers so we can satisfy their needs in fact exceed their needs and we'll do it through technology and our people by working well in advance of that customers production we can anticipate their future needs and satisfy those needs with steel with inland steel steam from inland the process of manufacturing that steel fulfilling the customers needs begins right here in
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America's industrial heartland East Chicago Indiana at England's Indiana Harbor works it's one steelmaking plant since the Indiana Harbor Works opened in 1902 the plant has grown from 50 acres to more than 1,900 acres producing more than 6 million tons of steel a year but the plants dramatic growth hasn't been in size alone steelmaking and steel
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makers have gone high-tech in every phase of the steelmaking process extensive research and development from the latest and computer-aided design and testing to advanced computer automated process control making iron the first step in producing steel used to be a relatively simple process of mining or coal and limestone and then smelting the mixture at extremely high temperatures into molten iron today's specialty steel products demand a critical level of purity only
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achievable through advanced materials technology technology to efficiently mine abundant low-grade ore crushes magnetically separate the iron bearing particles form the iron into pellets and bake them hard the end result I you nor that's actually purer than the old natural lords England's technology goes one step further baking limestone a purifying agent called a flux into the or producing
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fluxed pellets the raw materials move to inland Indiana Harbor works in special rail cars and giant ore vessels these ships which carry up to 60,000 tons of pellets in a single trip ourself unnoticed capable of discharging their cargoes quickly and continuously while the fluxed pellets arrive at inland ready to use coal the indispensable fuel necessary for iron making must be further refined and purified into coke
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before it will burn hot enough to make iron coking eliminates unwanted tar and gases by heat refining the coal long vertical batteries of coking of ins the cool is first charged into the individual ovens after baking the finished coke is pushed from the oven into a quench car in water cool the coke then moves by conveyor to the blast furnace for steelmaking begins among England's nine blast furnaces is
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the largest and most advanced iron maker in the Western Hemisphere towering more than three hundred feet high this single blast furnace can produce more than 9,500 tons of pure molten iron a day more than the combined output of five smaller furnaces to make quality steel you have to make quality iron and we make sure that's what comes out of this furnace Computers monitor every stage of the process from the precise quantity of
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raw materials charged into the furnace to the exact chemistry and temperature of the hot metal in one continuous process the coke and fluxed pellets are conveyor charged into the furnace and blasted with superheated air in natural gas up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit the intense heat melts the limestone in the fluxed pellets the limestone combines with impurities in the iron to form slag which then floats to the surface of the molten
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separated from the slag the molten iron is tapped from the bottom of the furnace running through troughs into specially lined to ladle cars the basic oxygen furnace is or BOF s can produce a heat or batch of more than 200 tons of prime steel in about 35 to 50 minutes here begins the intricate process of refining the iron into custom-tailored steel making steel has been a position in my family my father
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and my grandfather both work they never Trevor basically steel is iron refined for added for mobility and strength approximately 90 tons of scrap recycled steel are charged into the furnace along with 200 tons of diesel rise iron alloys are added to give the Steel's special properties a supersonic blast of pure oxygen is blown into the furnace producing a powerful chemical reaction
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at temperatures above 3000 degrees defining the iron and scrap mixture into molten steel each individual heat is tailored to the customer's exact specifications some customers need ultra pure low carbon steel for finer surface quality and for mobility to achieve those standards the steel is tapped from the BOF and further refined in a process called ladle metallurgy
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each of inland steelmaking shops has its own ladle met processing facilities powdered chemicals alloys and D sulfur izing agents are added to the steel to achieve the customer specific metallurgical for mobility characteristics to ensure maximum control over the Steel's final chemistry England uses vacuum degassing a special ladle metallurgy process that siphons
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the molten steel into a degassing vessel where unwanted carbon and other impurities are removed as the steel flows up one snorkel and back into the ladle through the second snorkel alloys are added to the ultra clean steel in an oxygen-free environment vacuum degassing produces clean ultra low carbon steels that customers can form into complex shapes previously unattainable it also assured superior quality for electrical
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Steel's used in high efficiency motors fine-tune the molten steel is ready for shaping in one of England's for continuous casters which turn out slabs blooms and billets continuous casting enhances quality conserves energy and boosts productivity in yield the computers monitor the hundreds of variables in the process and quickly make any adjustments necessary to meet the spec the molten steel flows into the caster's water-cooled mold or it begins to
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solidify and take shape The Strand of hot steel moves through a long automated series of horizontal and vertical rules which carefully shape it air in water sprays slowly cool the steel the Slavs rules and billets are cut to length and transported for shaping and finishing at England's rolling mills this nine inch thick slab is about to be rolled into a 3,500 foot long coil of hot rolled sheet steel the process
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begins by reheating the slab to 2300 degrees for approximately three hours today is customer surface quality standards will not tolerate even the smallest blemish that's why we have these walking beam furnaces so to give it a kid grub treatment take the slab and put it on the line without as much as a scratch from here a series of automated roughing and finishing stands stretching more than half a mile long roll the slab into
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sheet steel gentle water remove surface scales on the steel as it moves through the rolling stands eleven wastewater recycling systems purify the water used in this and other processes at the plant sensing devices continuously transmit the slabs thickness width temperature and squeezing force of the rolls to a computer which instantaneously makes the adjustments necessary to ensure the coil specs in just four minutes that nine
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inch thick slab is rolled into a coil of sheet steel half a mile long and is thin as a dime hot rolled sheet is the ideal material for products such as pipe and tubing Auto frames rail cars and construction and agricultural equipment however other products such as exposed automotive body parts appliance cabinets office furniture and electric motors require a smoother surface finish more precise thickness and other mechanical
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properties to achieve those qualities the hot rolled coil is cold rolled at one of England's cold rolling mills the coil is first treated to a hot acid bath called pickling to remove any surface oxides then without reheating the coil is cold rolled in a tandem mill but tremendous pressure reduces the Steel's thickness since cold rolling hardens the steel a heat treating process called annealing
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is used to restore for mobility there are two ways to anneal steel in batch annealing the coils are slowly reheated for five days in large furnaces where careful temperature control produces the precise combination of strength and for mobility using our advanced continuous annealing process Ayman reduces that annealing time to less than 10 minutes the cold rolled steel enters the line and after cleaning
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move through a succession of heating and cooling processes that lock in the metal structure and strength this line simply is a high-speed waiting for we have the ability on this line who are very accurate the product once a meal the steel is lightly cold the temperament to improve its shape surface and mechanical properties England's Indiana Harbor works produces world-class cold rolled sheet steel but
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here in new carlisle indiana inland and nippon steel corporation have invested one-half billion dollars to build a ntek the world's most advanced continuous rolling mill i Antec combines five previous steps into one pickling tandem rolling annealing temporal in an inspection our continuous automatic line produces in less than one hour what traditionally took 12 days i in tech
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produces the best full rolled sheet steel in the world increasingly today's customers are requiring cold rolled sheet steel with the highest corrosion and heat resistance properties to satisfy specific customer needs inland galvanizes or aluminized as the steel hot dip galvanizing passes the steel through a bath of molten zinc while electro galvanizing applies the zinc coating electrolytically both processes
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offer superior corrosion resistance aluminized coating the steel with aluminum provides both heat and corrosion resistance in addition to sheet steel inland produces a full line of plate bar and structural steel plates are flat rolled products that are thicker than sheet for greater strength structural shapes include the wide flange and eye beams used in building and bridge construction today as a result of continued investment in
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research inland leads the nation in the production of special quality bar products the park reduction process often begins in England's electric furnace steelmaking shop other big advantages of Steel is that we can recycle our two electric furnaces we use the charge is virtually 100% scrap large amounts of carefully selected scrap are charged into the electric furnace giant electrodes are then lowered into the chamber and in two hours the intense
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heat produced by the arcing between the electrodes and scrap melts it into molten steel once the steam is tapped from the electric furnace it moves to the ladle metallurgy station for fine tuning and then on to be continuously cast into semi-finished billets which are reheated and rolled into a variety of bar products including round squares and hexagons some bar users however require steel with metallurgical properties that only
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a basic oxygen furnace can impart that steel is then rolled into billets which are then reheated and rolled into finished bars it's impressive watching iron ore and cold and limestone become steel and it's easy to get carried away with the technology and the machinery and work here but it takes more than technology to make steel it takes people people who are committed to knowing the needs of our customers and doing whatever they have to do to satisfy those needs
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it takes a company committed to hiring and nurturing the right people and providing them with the best technology in the world for their work the people abandoned steal understand their role in commitment whether the final product is an automobile an appliance an electric motor a piece of heavy equipment construction materials or whatever the product may be it starts with them and high quality steel steel
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from England you

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