For most steel producers, this meant deciding between a stepnickel configuration that left the copper on the upper half of the mold exposed or using a full-face tapered-nickel configuration in which the nickel thickness increases towards the bottom of the coppers. However, nickel-based coatings with a 250+ Vickers are not suitable for the meniscus area because they tend to crack and eventually spall from thermal cycling.

Now there’s no need to compromise. With the UniGuard® Coating process, a field-proven proprietary technology available exclusively from SMS group, an SMS group company, steel producers can protect molds with a single extremely hard, heat-resistant coating solution.

A breakthrough in mold coating technology

The revolutionary UniGuard® Mold Coatings for broad-, narrow-, beamblank and bloom-style coppers are a mold coating breakthrough because they combine a hardness of 1100+ Vickers, which rivals hard chrome, and the ability to withstand the meniscus temperatures of most continuous casting molds. As a result, the life of molds coated with UniGuard® Mold Coatings is substantially increased, well beyond what was previously attainable. In addition, some steel producers use the thermal properties of UniGuard® Coatings to alter hot-face temperatures of near-scrap coppers and, consequently, produce products with more consistent quality.

Mold wear and life-cycle costs are reduced, record campaigns

In the past, some casters were forced to schedule production and maintenance around mold wear. With a hardness of 1100+ Vickers, UniGuard® Mold Coatings can virtually eliminate narrow-face wear and, in many cases, nickel-coated broadfaces become the limiting factor for determining when a mold must be removed from service.

Because UniGuard® Coatings reduce taper loss, decrease corner gaps, improve corner support, provide unsurpassed meniscus protection plus more even and consistent heat extraction, campaign life and production capabilities can be significantly increased.

Several customers have set mold service campaign records for their respective casting machines using UniGuard® Moat Coatings. In the case of conventional thick slab casters, several North American casters achieve 500,000+ tons per campaign on a routine basis.

Even though campaigns are longer, less copper is removed from molds coated with UniGuard® Coatings during refurbishment than with standard coatings. The result is reduced life-cycle costs for mold coppers.

Coatings matched to surface requirements

The precise chemistry of the UniGuard® Mold Coatings are tailored to the specific needs of each mold serviced.

Any type of mold copper suitable for casting can be coated with a UniGuard® Coating, and coating configurations are customized for each mold. Because molds that are refurbished with UniGuard® Coatings are processed in one facility, we can provide responsive turnarounds.

To find out more about how UniGuard® Mold Technology can help extend your production campaigns, give your company a competitive advantage and improve its bottom line, call our Coatings Department at 814-677-9400.