- Scope: hotspot monitoring and furnace operations control
- Client: Aperam
- Location: Genk, Belgium
- Duration: 2022 - 2024
Aperam, a leading stainless-steel manufacturer, operates massive furnaces for the production of steel slabs. The thermal insulation on the furnace roof must remain in good condition to control production-operating temperatures, limit energy costs, and avoid shutdowns. However, the roof is inaccessible to typical inspection tools like thermal cameras.
Proof of concept
In 2019, Fluves installed a heat-resistant fiber optic cable in a grid pattern that covered every square meter of the furnace roof. By connecting the cable to a Distributed Temperature Sensor (DTS), Fluves was able to swiftly delimit the regions where the furnace’s thermal insulation needed to be replaced.
In 2022 we installed a permanent DTS system for constant monitoring of the hotspots and furnace operations. identified zones where the thermal insulation had failed, based on abnormal temperature increases during these cycles. Raw DTS data was transformed into a user-friendly heat map of the furnace, which was then displayed through a web portal for Aperam’s operational staff.
The DTS monitored the temperature during the furnace’s operational heat cycles and Thanks to Fluves’ confirmation that most elements of the furnace were in good condition and an exact location of where the thermal insulation had failed, only a small area of the furnace needed to be repaired, resulting in significant savings in maintenance costs. Fluves was furthermore able to prioritize the repair needs of the different zones based on the thermal insulation’s remaining lifespan. Aperam’s expectations of our monitoring solution were largely exceeded.
“The expectations we had of the Fluves monitoring system were largely exceeded.”
— ERIK INDESTEEGE supervisor repairables and instrumentation at APERAM