SMS group performs investigations in own test lab at Vienna-based group company
SMS group operates an own test lab for process technological analyses at its Austrian subsidiary SMS group Process Technologies in Vienna. As development constantly brings about new metallic materials, it is more important today than ever to analyze technological processes in order to find the best possible design for strip processing lines and related processes or to even develop entirely new processes. The laboratory is specifically designed for the requirements of the metallurgical industry. The lab boasts the necessary equipment and the lab staff the necessary knowhow to analyze processes, such as pickling and cleaning, that take place in strip processing lines. Also other chemical processes can be investigated and made ready for industrial-scale implementation, for example, in hydrometallurgical plants.
SMS group uses the laboratory equipment and the available knowhow in the design of both new plant installations and revamps as well as for the development of new processes and products. Also the customers of SMS group may use the lab to perform own tests and accompany the development and optimization of processes
Before process technological equipment can be implemented on an industrial scale, the materials and components have to be tested for their up-scaling capacity. Also the automation and control sequences have to be verified beforehand. Such tests can be performed in a highly flexible test stand that is even suitable for tests with aggressive media. The stand features indirect heating and its own PLC for simulating process sequences. It can be used to examine specific reactions under pressure, which may be useful for hydrometallurgical processes. In this way it is possible to determine the relevant process parameters and identify the engineering requirements for hydrometallurgical plants. The tests are performed in indirectly heated pressure reactors of both lab and test field scale.
The chemical substances required by the various processes going on in strip processing lines can be meticulously analyzed in the lab. A very important analysis is the determination of the metal content in pickling liquor. Also cleaning water and waste water are analyzed, for example, to determine the content of certain ions. Volumetric analyses of samples can be performed by manual as well as semi or fully automatic titration.
In strip processing lines, pickling – i.e. the removal of oxides, so-called scale, from the metallic surface - is a central process step. The pickling process is influenced by the intensity of scale formation, which in turn largely depends on the material and the cooling process after hot rolling. Whenever materials and upstream processes change, process parameters have to be re-evaluated and verified anew. In the lab, pickling tests can be performed with sheets or wire rod. Depending on the metal (steel, stainless steel, aluminium), inorganic acids or special mixed acids can be used as pickling medium. It is possible to simulate both turbulent and electrolytic pickling processes.
Trace analysis of ores and alloys is performed with ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry) instruments. This method provides the possibility to analyze up to 60 trace elements and determine the exact composition of the examined materials and the purity of end products, intermediate products or input material.
The analysis of the sedimentation behavior of process fluids is an essential analytic technique to optimize the processes in processing plants. Such analyses provide essential information about the relevant sedimentation parameters such as sedimentation time and quality. The sedimentation behavior is particulary important for pickling liquors, process water and waste water and for precipitation processes and reactions.