Signal Application Tips for Steel Industry

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This is part of our new Blog Series…Signal Application Tips by Industry.  We hope you find these helpful in determining how and where to use Tomar Signaling Products. 

Virtually the entire line of Tomar products can be used in steel plants.

Furnace areas in steel plants are obvious hazardous areas.  In gas fired furnaces, flameout alarms are used, and if electric furnaces there are usually some signals warning of high voltage hazards.  When maintenance is being performed on furnaces, there are alarms to ensure that power is not turned on while the maintenance work is in progress.

In steel plants where there is a great amount of movement of large equipment and hazardous materials such as molten metal, molds and buckets for pouring into the molds, there is a need for signaling where workers are present.  Given the amount of sparks and heat in a steel plant, the Tomar 3000 series power Strobe can be fitted with an optional tempered glass dome to stand up better than lights with Lexan polycarbonate domes.  Tomar has some specific products for steel plants that meet the unusual voltage requirements of the industry; Model 3000/RML strobe and Model 1100-250 Power Alarm both operate at 250VDC.

Process alarms are common as signals are activated via sensors on steel carrying buckets and containers.  Cranes usually have lights underneath which operate when moving.  These are usually strobe lights as they stand up better to vibration.  Sirens are also sometimes used to warn of cranes in motion.  Control points along the process area monitor various temperatures, pressures, and speeds of equipment and material.  Signaling equipment such as the Power Alarm and Sirens are typically used.  Control rooms use an array of Microstack, Microstrobe, and MicroLED.

In process areas, conveyor start-up can be alerted via the 1000-120 alarm.  Sometimes there are tunnels beneath the main process areas for carting materials and these may be Division 2 environments.

Steel plants have large vehicles transporting equipment.  The 970L Mini Scorpion lightbar or Spider Microbar are used on trucks.  Yard rail crossings also need warning signals.  The movement of doors up and down is signaled by the use of strobe lights.

Raw material storage areas are hazardous areas, particularly the coke batteries.  Gas injection processes require the storage and use of gases.  Oxygen is usually stored for use in varying furnace fire temperatures.  All these are dangerous locations for plant personnel and utilize warning signals.

Chemicals are used for stripping, cleaning, and degreasing steel and the storage and use of these materials are also a hazard, which requires warning indicators.  Some steel mills have their own self-contained power plants or water treatment facilities, which contain hazardous atmospheres.

Steel plants convert raw steel into usable forms such as sheets, rods, wires, or bars.  Rollers and conveyors are used for forming the raw slabs.  These are noisy areas with high temperatures because of the hot steel and are dirty/oily due to the oil from the rollers, etc.  The combination of flying slag and sparks in the oily conditions are a fire hazard and fire alarm systems are usually in place.  Elsewhere, high-pressure water hoses are sometimes used to cool hot scrap metal and warning signals are used to indicate start-up of this equipment.

As you can imagine illuminating a steel plant presents particularly demanding challenges. Most plants today still rely on metal halide fixtures for illumination.  Most LED luminaires on the market are not rated for high-temperature environment and therefore fail to deliver the promised long life advantages of an LED light source.  Tomar TLB96 LED luminaire is the only fixture on the market today that can withstand the high ambient temperatures present in steel mills. It is rated up to 75° C and guaranteed for 10 years.  It is the perfect replacement for 400-1000 MH luminaires.

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