26 Jun 2020

Patent success for award-winning engineering solution

An award-winning engineering solution at our Special Profiles operation has received a further boost after it was awarded three patents.

A £2 million investment was made in 2017 to install a ground-breaking new descaling system at our Skinningrove-based Special Profiles rolling mill.

We developed and installed the state-of-the-art technology in partnership with Italian specialists INOXIHP. The clever system fires highly pressurised water through multiple nozzles at more than 200 bars, onto red hot steel blooms. This process smartly and efficiently removes the scale formed during the process of reheating the steel, with intelligent lasers ensuring the sprayer is in the optimum position to provide our customers with the highest quality finish.  

“Being awarded three patents for our descaler system further demonstrates how we’re leading the way in driving engineering advances in the global steel industry,” said Customer Quality and Technical Manager, Dominic Hill.  

“The system’s unique design has increased the descaling effectiveness compared to our previous version by 300%.

“The chemical process that occurs during the part of our operation where we reheat the steel to temperatures of 1280 degrees is extremely complex, as it’s dependent on a number of factors which determine how easily the scale can be broken up and removed.

“What’s unique about our system is the intelligent use of lasers and then dynamically positioning the system for optimum performance. The quality of the descaling is given a score by an innovative software system developed by our Research and Development Team, to ensure the necessary level of descaling is achieved on each bloom.

“We manufacture a large range of products in different shapes and sizes, to cater for the complex needs of our customers. Having a descaler that automatically adjusts itself according to these dimensions is ground-breaking and gives our customers the perfect mirror-quality finish they can only get from British Steel.”

Our Special Profiles operation produces special-shaped steel sections for use in a wide range of industries. The steel blooms are made at our integrated steelworks in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, before being transferred by rail to the Skinningrove site in North Yorkshire where they’re expertly processed according to the exact requirements of the customer.

The descaling process is an integral part of our operation, as it dramatically improves the surface quality of the steel. This improvement has been praised by our customers and has also earned us the Engineering Solution award at the prestigious PlantWorx Innovation Awards.

Dr Gari Harris, Research and Development Manager, heads up the British Steel Research and Development team based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) near Sheffield, UK. He said: “This development is part of a wider drive in our business to enhance innovation, working closely with customers and partners to find break-through technologies in steel manufacturing.”