A new Christian Doppler laboratory which was opened at the Vienna University of Technology on May 9 will examine the control of production processes in the steel industry, in cooperation with voestalpine Stahl.
Mathematical models will be used to describe and optimize production processes, and to correct them in real-time. The steel industry works with heavy machinery and a correspondingly large energy expenditure. This is compounded by heat, dust, steam, strong electromagnetic fields and vibrations, all generated during the production process. Despite this, plates must be produced at the required thicknesses with a very high degree of precision, or a minimum zinc coating thickness must be guaranteed.
Integrating new findings
At the CD-Laboratory for Model-Based Process Control in the Steel Industry, scientists plan to integrate new research findings into the production process at steel mills. Over the coming years, they will develop mathematical models describing the processes involved in hot rolling and hot dip galvanizing, based on the fundamental principles of physics. In this manner, the scientists aim to develop extremely precise yet sufficiently simple models as the basis for computer simulations which can then be used to make flexible changes to the processes.
Custom-built test equipment
In order to understand specific processes better, special equipment will also be built on which to test production parameters and develop processes in a targeted manner. Here the CD laboratory will provide the relevant mathematical control and regulation models. Fifty percent of financing for the laboratories, each to run for a maximum of seven years, comes from industrial partners such as voestalpine Stahl. This future, seven-year cooperation offers voestalpine Stahl an excellent opportunity to examine and find innovative solutions in operational areas using model-based process controls, together with a group of experts headed by Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Kugi.