Steelmaking is an engineering discipline of its own. Enormous forces have to be dealt with, and extreme temperatures and temperature gradients have to be controlled. Each individual process step presents steel producers with the challenge to keep the highly sensitive processes as stable as possible under the influence of numerous adverse conditions. One such process is continuous casting: at more than 1,500 degrees Celsius, the liquid steel flows through a submerged nozzle into a mold where it starts to solidify. Then the partly solidified strand is withdrawn downwards, supported by the strand guide system. As the process continues, the strand is first bent and then straightened. This technology is to provide quality products capable of meeting most exacting requirements such as those specified by the automotive industry. It is actually possible to repair defects in the continuously cast slabs, however, at the expense of yield, time and money.
Therefore a team of SMS group experts is constantly striving to develop new ideas and approaches to further improve the technology of continuous casting. The team has lately taken an entirely new approach to finding enhanced solutions to avoid crack formation during continuous casting. There is already much knowledge available about what may cause such defects and what mechanisms apply. But the SMS group engineers wanted to go deeper into this subject and gather new knowledge that would make it possible to develop even more refined prediction models and detect new causes and mechanisms of crack formation. To this end, they decided to launch the SMS Data Challenge and call on experts in data processing to provide suggestions and new ideas to tackle this problem. They addressed Data Scientists active as specialists in data processing and data evaluation targeted at the development of predictive models.