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A few from the steel mill at night

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by entropicremnants, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I had to do one of my late night startups of the steel mill where I work. There are only two process engineers for the entire melt shop so we alternate and I have the short straw this week. I hate shifting my schedule for just one day... but hey I'm glad to be working, lol.

    Anyway, while I do some of the system checks or to keep awake I sometimes carry a camera and snap a few. This time it was the E-PL5 and the 12mm f/2.0 that I don't use enough.

    These are just little scenes from around the mill -- nothing dramatic or special.

    8527132251_8d8cfc376e_z.
    Call Station by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    8527132135_d5366a47df_z.
    Big Gear by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    8527132001_2e9dbcd170_z.
    Heat Stress by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr

    8527131825_526f26b028_z.
    Coat Rack by Entropic Remnants, on Flickr
     
    • Like Like x 18
  2. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    535
    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    Very nicely done, I really like the heat/stress photo :p Thanks for sharing!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Thank you, very nice.

     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Heatstress! Love that one.
    What kind of factory is it exactly?
    What's your product? Is it actually a foundry?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. mrjr

    mrjr Mu-43 Top Veteran

    518
    Sep 25, 2012
    Heat Stress and Coat Rack are both really great. Thanks for sharing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

    Ulfric, we are a steel maker and our mill is called a "mini mill" which is not a reference to size. Basically it means we use an electric arc furnace (50 MVA or basically 50 megawatts) to melt scrap steel. We use fluxing agents like dead burned lime and so forth to remove certain impurities (like sulfur) and add alloying metals as needed to make a certain grade of steel.

    It's a three step process in my area: melting, refining and casting. We cast 80 inch wide, 10 inch thick slabs on a "continuous caster" (like a big multi-story "Play-Doh Fun Factory" for steel -- molten steel goes in at the top, slabs come out the bottom).

    The slabs are cut to near-net size for the customers order, reheated to plastic temperature, and rolled in very large mills at our sister facility across the street to the customers size requirements. We make steel from about 3/8" to about 4" thick -- or about 10mm to 100mm if you are a metric person.

    Nowadays, the control systems for virtually everything are digital and software controlled and that's my kingdom, lol. Mainly, I'm a programmer but I still manage to do some hardware design now and then as we replace old systems. Mostly it's a "Mad Max" movie of a place with very old and very new baling-wired together to make it work, lol.

    We make somewhere north of 400,000 tons of steel a year and if you convert it to pounds it sounds like a lot -- but actually we're one of the smaller facilities still operating like this in the USA.

    Thanks again!
     
    • Like Like x 5
  7. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    I'd like to see a SLAB for your next set of work photos John ...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    I'll get something for you sometime, Ulfric, and thanks for your interest.
     
  9. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Here's one I found in my catalog -- I never thought much of it as a photo but I'll put it up for your request.

    You are looking at a slab exiting the machine at 20 inches per minute, moving from right to left. It is as I said 10 inches thick by 80 inches wide. The torch you can see on the right is one of two and it was idling with a fairly loose flame when I took this. When active, it sharpens up and cuts through the 10 inch thick steel like butter. The large slab that results is called a "mother slab" and it will be stacked with others to slow cool and then cut into smaller slabs that will be rolled to a customers order.

    Over the slab you can see a winch and a segmented bar called the "dummy bar". It is fed up into the caster (which has a 33 foot radius the steel is brought down through) with a "tongue" which engages the end of the steel when it is cast and pulls it down through the machine until the slab -- called a "strand" before it is cut -- engages the drive rolls at the bottom and is pulled through by them. The bar is stored on the tilting table above the slab here.

    The slab is probably like 1300 fahrenheit or so at this point. It's fully solidfied (no liquid center). When it is being cast, it is in the containment area where water cooled rolls keep pressure on the shell until the center cools. Otherwise ferrostatic pressure (the pressure of the liquid steel being poured 3 or 4 stories above) would bulge and break the shell. This results in a dramatic catastrophe quaintly known as a "breakout" where molten steel pours out, hits the water, and the steam explosion propels bits of it all around. This, as you can imagine, is to be avoided... :eek: It takes awhile to clean up.

    This type of dummy bar is first generation slab casting technology -- nobody does it this way anymore... for good reason but I won't go into that, lol. Our entire operation is the first generation of mini mill technology and it offers some serious challenges -- but in many respects that is part of the fun. If it was easy, ANYONE could do it, lol.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. jedi20

    jedi20 New to Mu-43

    5
    Feb 24, 2012
    This brings back memories. I worked for Republic in C-town while making my way through college. Very nice pictures.

    Jay
     
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  11. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    You worked for one of the bigger producers. We are owned by the Russian metals and mining giant Evraz these days so we're part of a larger operations -- but nothing so much changes where I am.

    Although maybe that's misleading: it's safer, cleaner, and better managed in many ways than it ever was. So things HAVE changed... just not much about what we do to make steel. We're still making steel with "stone knives and bearskins" to quote Mr. Spock from the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever".

    I've never seen the Canton works though. I'm glad you got to experience heavy American industry -- we're sadly a dying breed of industry.
     
  12. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Holy moly - small world. I was the Process Engineer (and backup degas operator) for steel making at Republic Lorain for about a year.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Our degasser hasn't worked for like 30 years, lol. But we don't make sheet or other IF type steel.

    It is steel alumni week!
     
  14. Azon

    Azon Mu-43 Regular

    131
    Jan 6, 2013
    Thanks, very interesting series.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Wow! Thank you for posting. My life dream is to shoot the pouring and milling of steel. I'm close on a lead if I can get him to move. While studying art I had the opportunity to do pours iron and steel from a 1 ton electro-arc furnace. Amazing!

     
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  16. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    You'd LOVE ours -- it's 180 tons! I posted some pics of a pour on the forum somewhere -- I think in the 12-50mm kit lens image thread.
     
  17. tje53

    tje53 Mu-43 Rookie

    23
    May 18, 2013
    e'remnants:

    Just a note to say I really enjoy your steel mill shots. The series on the cracked ladle grabbed my interest, and started me reading your posts and blog. Your point of view has helped re-interest me in photography. (I used to work as a product photographer in the '70s, but have been out of photography for ages.)

    I tried an LX7 after seeing shots you'd posted, but found it just isn't the physical size/feel that I'm looking for. I've ordered a refurb OM-D that arrives Wednesday. With any luck, the M43 format will be a good fit for me. I hope to be posting a pic or two here in the future, if I have any luck.

    When I was a grade school kid in Michigan, our class took a field trip to Ford's River Rouge stamping plant. Watching red-hot steel ingots being worked into shape was one of the coolest things I ever saw. Then there's your series on the abandoned mental hospital: in 1999 I designed a multimedia CD-ROM on filmmaking, and for our sets we used a similar space: "The Ridges," and abandoned mental institution in Southeast Ohio. We were photographing much the same sort of fascinating decrepit old rooms with a lot of troubled history.

    And one more point of sync: your member profile says your a bassist. I don't know if that means upright or electric, but I've been playing electric bass since the late 60s -- so there's enough similarity of experience that your posts just grab my interest!

    So, this is just a note to say thanks for posting such good pics, information and thoughts in general.
     
  18. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Wow, man, that's an awesome email that I find very encouraging -- mainly because it seems I encouraged YOU. Micro four thirds is fantastic and with your level of past experience you need to get at least to that level of camera. I can make my images with an LX7, but it's still not my main camera.

    I really appreciate your comments about my industrial photography, thanks!

    I'm an electric bassist, but I play fretless. In fact I've sold all my fretted basses and just have a 1995 Carvin 5 string with a newer preamp, and custom pickups. It's an all maple body/neck (one piece neck) that pumps up the mids quite a bit but makes it a VERY heavy machine. I love the thing even though it's heavy and not always the best axe for certain work, but I don't play out much anymore and the folks I do jam with love the fretless. It's going to start showing up on my little hybrid videos I'm making before too long.

    You've got some awesomely diverse experience and it looks like some urbex photography might be up your street if you aren't adverse to sneaking into abandoned sites. If you get out my way, I'll take you on a trip.

    Thanks again and looking forward to seeing your photos when you're ready with the E-M5.