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At AISTech 2024, HWI showcases robotic gunning techniques that advance safety and efficiencies

May 06, 2024 / Press Releases

Pittsburgh, PA, USA – May 6, 2024 – In Booth 2629 at AISTech 2024, HWI, A member of Calderys, will showcase numerous technology advancements, including the successful installation of a pioneering robotic gunning system at a top steelmaking facility in Alabama. HWI’s robotic gunning system marks industry leadership in fully integrating robotics, innovative camera technology, and precise laser measurement in an electric arc furnace setting.

The fully remote installation sets new benchmarks in operational safety and efficiency. Further, the enhanced gunning precision demonstrates opportunities for reducing materials and energy consumption. The camera and laser systems allow for unparalleled monitoring inside the furnace, minimizing the need for manual supervision and enhancing overall process control.

The installation, which features equipment from robotics leader VELCO and measurement specialists IMSI, was completed on time and within budget. This collaborative effort has set a new standard for applying essential refractory materials for plant operations.

Key Features of the Installation:

  • Integrated System: A first of its kind, this installation combines a robotic arm equipped with a high-definition camera and state-of-the-art laser technology for measuring high temperatures.
  • Fully Automated and Remote: The robotic system operates remotely, keeping personnel off the floor while metal is in the furnace, significantly reducing workplace hazards.
  • Real-Time Monitoring: Plant personnel can monitor the refractory material application in real-time via the camera system, ensuring precise coverage and application.

“The work done in Birmingham is not just a milestone for HWI, but a giant leap for the industry,” said Jim Skelly, Senior Director, Steel Commercial Operations. “Integrating these technologies allows for safer, more efficient materials use, energy savings, and highly accurate refractory applications, all key to future industry advancements.”

As the industry looks to more automated solutions to ensure efficiency, energy savings, and safety, HWI and Calderys Group continue to lead the way with innovative approaches and technologies. This multi-million dollar investment underscores a commitment to pioneering the future of steelmaking operations, refractory product installations, and helping customers with their energy transition challenges.

About HWI, A member of Calderys

HWI is the largest supplier of refractory products and services in the United States, with a history that spans more than 150 years. It is part of Calderys and is the brand for the Americas region of the Group. HWI counts 25 manufacturing sites and 20 distribution centers in the Americas, as well as the largest refractory industry research facility in North America. Serving virtually every major industry that requires refractory solutions to enhance production and protect assets, HWI is consistently recognized for its talented experts, industry firsts, and intensely driven excellence.

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