Visit at OVAKO, Hofors – Simon Lille
Hofors – Kjell Johansson
The visit started with a short presentation of Ovako products by Simon Lille, Group R&D Metallurgy. Simon It was interesting to know that Ovako has proud tradition of keeping mills and communities growing together. Ovako is one of the leading companies manufacturing engineering steel products which is different from SSAB making high strength steel. Each companies have their own unique products; we think that is reason why they all succeed. One thing we feel impressive for Ovako is they all produce steel based on recycling scrap, which means they do not mine or import any iron ore.
The plant visit was also exciting to see the working of electric arc furnace with the capacity around 100 tons, using big cylindrical electrodes, and casting of billets which were taken for processing in the large roughing mill and further rolling to obtain rods for the first time. we also witnessed how the scientific principles are applied in industry, like using electromagnets to forklift the huge runner pipes for casting billets and use of low thermal conductivity material in the casting of billet to reduce piping defects. The unique process of Ovako is sand casting, which takes longer time compared to continuous casting. But it is interesting to know that by using this process, they can put inclusions in finished products under control. Since a lots of efforts are taking to deal with the problem of inclusions in continuous casting.
The afternoon was spent with formal presentation and had thought provoking discussions with Ovako R&D staff useful for our research. Both of us gave a long presentation, and had some very valuable feedback's during poster discussion section, which give us a sense on the difference between academic research and industrial practice.
The evening was historic with visit to oldest open cast mine (Struttgruvan) dating back to Christ era in Hofors mountain and learned how the miners used to burn the woods and cracked the rocks to make the mine. The legend of mine lady knocking the rocks to warn the miners was quite interesting. It rained heavily during the day but could not dampen our hosts spirits as we also had the opportunity to see the first open hearth furnace in the woods.
Rajinikanth and Kenny