Heat­Steel: Deve­lo­p­ment of a pro­cess model for a strip anne­al­ing line
progres.nrw — Inno­va­ti­on pro­gram­me Unit, 1 Janu­ary 2022 to 31 Decem­ber 2024

Project description

The deve­lo­p­ment of an inno­va­ti­ve and ener­gy-effi­ci­ent anne­al­ing line is the goal of the Heat­Steel pro­ject, with the aim of impro­ving pro­cess sta­bi­li­ty in the pro­duc­tion of thin pre­cis­i­on strips with regard to pro­duct qua­li­ty. Exis­ting con­ti­nuous lines for the anne­al­ing of pre­cis­i­on strips have not been signi­fi­cant­ly deve­lo­ped in the last deca­des with regard to their ener­gy effi­ci­en­cy and pro­duct qua­li­ty. By deve­lo­ping a new plant con­cept and buil­ding an inno­va­ti­ve pilot plant, the ener­gy uti­li­sa­ti­on can be opti­mi­sed in the future and the pro­duct pro­per­ties improved.

In the cour­se of the pro­ject, a fur­nace model is being deve­lo­ped at the IOB that can cal­cu­la­te the pro­cess in the inno­va­ti­ve har­dening fur­nace inclu­ding the coo­ling unit. In addi­ti­on to describ­ing the strip tem­pe­ra­tures at each point in the pro­duc­tion pro­cess, the pro­cess model will also simu­la­te the mecha­ni­cal strip beha­viour in the plant. Based on expe­ri­men­tal coo­ling tests on a test rig at the IOB, a stu­dy will be car­ri­ed out to deve­lop a defor­ma­ti­on-opti­mi­sed coo­ling unit using simulations.
Based on the inves­ti­ga­ti­ons, the coo­ling unit of the new plant will be desi­gned tog­e­ther with the pro­ject part­ners and sub­se­quent­ly used in the indus­tri­al anne­al­ing line.

Tem­pe­ra­tu­re pro­fi­le for the anne­al­ing of steels

To achie­ve and vali­da­te the neces­sa­ry pro­cess sta­bi­li­ty, a con­trol sys­tem based on the pro­cess model and an AI-based pro­cess moni­to­ring sys­tem will be imple­men­ted in the new plant.

Project goals

The aim of the Heat­Steel pro­ject is to deve­lop an inno­va­ti­ve and ener­gy-effi­ci­ent anne­al­ing line for thin stain­less mar­ten­si­tic pre­cis­i­on strips. At the same time, in the cour­se of deve­lo­ping an ener­gy-effi­ci­ent line, the ext­ent to which pro­cess sta­bi­li­ty can be impro­ved in terms of pro­duct qua­li­ty is to be examined.

The pro­ject will deve­lop a new plant con­cept for the con­ti­nuous anne­al­ing of pre­cis­i­on strips. The heart of the plant will be the inno­va­ti­ve har­dening fur­nace inclu­ding coo­ling unit as well as the neces­sa­ry sen­sor tech­no­lo­gy and model-based con­trols for con­trol­ling the pro­cess para­me­ters. In addi­ti­on, AI-based pro­cess moni­to­ring and qua­li­ty opti­mi­sa­ti­on will take place.

Ener­gy effi­ci­en­cy is to be achie­ved through the fol­lo­wing strategies:

  • New arran­ge­ment of ele­ments in order to use the was­te heat from the har­dening fur­nace spe­ci­fi­cal­ly for the har­dening pro­cess its­elf or for the tem­pe­ring process.
  • Bet­ter insu­la­ti­on and thus reduc­tion of ener­gy losses.
  • Increase in out­put and thus more effi­ci­ent use of raw materials.

The new line and the expec­ted savings are expec­ted to redu­ce car­bon dioxi­de emis­si­ons by 760 ton­nes in 2025. The con­s­truc­tion of a first pro­duc­tion line with test­ing as well as vali­da­ti­on of the plant con­cludes the project.

By par­ti­ci­pa­ting in this pro­ject, the IOB is expan­ding its com­pe­ten­ces in the area of pla­ne posi­ti­on simu­la­ti­ons as well as gene­ral pro­cess model­ling. Thus, a trans­fer of the model­ling approa­ches to strip pro­ces­sing lines for other mate­ri­als and steels in the area of hig­her through­puts will be pos­si­ble in the future. Fur­ther­mo­re, the under­stan­ding of con­trol-rele­vant mani­pu­la­ted varia­bles is increased so that future pro­cess models can also be used for con­trol optimisation.

Project participants


Nico Rade­ma­cher, M.Sc.

+49 241 80–25939


Dr.-Ing. Moritz Eickhoff

+49 241 80–26065


Dr.-Ing. Domi­nik Bueschgens

+49 241 80–26067



This pro­ject is fun­ded by the sta­te of North Rhi­ne-West­pha­lia through the fun­ding pro­gram­me “progres.nrw — Pro­gram­me for ratio­nal ener­gy use, rege­ne­ra­ti­ve ener­gies and ener­gy saving — Inno­va­ti­on pro­gram­me unit”.