QMT Features: October 2017
Some like it hot
Ultrasonic probes can carry out critical tests in vessels holding molten metal

Utrasonic probe technology which can conduct safety critical testing inside galvanizing equipment – while holding molten zinc at 450°C – which was developed from research conducted at the University of Warwick – is now being commercialised by Zinco UK.

The galvanizing process involves immersing chemically cleaned steel products into a zinc kettle to provide corrosion protection and long life. Galvanizing kettles need to be checked periodically to monitor rates of corrosion throughout the equipment to avoid a catastrophic molten zinc spillage.

Corrosion wear rates vary depending on volumes, dip sizes and the amount of production at each plant. Previous monitoring techniques used external probes, required galvanizers to drain the zinc from the kettles, or could only be used after the kettle had cooled.

Zinco UK, established in 2007 has worked with Sonemat Limited, a spin-out from the University of Warwick, to explore how ultrasonic technology developed at the University could be used be used to test the kettle’s integrity while still loaded with molten zinc.

Sonemat co-founder Professor Steve Dixon said: “Sonemat created a solution. We devised a new Zinc Immersion Probe (ZIP) which was then manufactured and successfully trialled to provide accurate thickness measurements of kettles even though the probe is immersed in 450°C molten metal”

Zinco Managing Director David Watkins added: “We are confident that this new resource will lead to us serving at least 30% of the world-wide market this safety critical testing.”
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