FC Mold - simultaneous mold stirring and braking for thick slab casting from one fixed position

Unique technology for all speeds of conventional slab casting

With the Flow Control Mold you can produce cleaner steel, faster and at lower cost.

Developed for conventional slab casting in collaboration with JFE, Japan, the Flow Control Mold (FC Mold) is proven to deliver measurable process improvements for casters operating at all speeds, for new installations or upgrades. Conditions in the near-meniscus area are crucial to determining end-product quality and have a significant effect on productivity and overall operating costs. Results from more than 40 installations worldwide show that the FC Mold consistently improves surface and internal quality, can allow for a higher casting speed and gives a return on investment typically within 1 year.

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Outstanding technology

The latest generation of the FC Mold generates three independent magnetic fields; one AC field controlling optimal flow speed at the meniscus for all casting conditions, and one superimposed DC field to dampen meniscus fluctuations. At the bottom of the mold, along the entire slab width, a second DC field minimizes downward flow, helping gas bubbles and inclusions to float up to the meniscus instead of being trapped in the solidifying steel. By applying AC and DC fields in the mold’s upper region simultaneously, or smoothly transitioning between the various magnetic field intensities, meniscus flow speed can be better controlled and dampened resulting in a reduction in inclusions, final product defects and overall reject ratio. Only using the FC Mold can meniscus flow rate be controlled and penetration depth minimized simultaneously from one fixed position without the need for repositioning.

Controlling the metal flow in the mold

The FC Mold’s braking technology makes it much easier for alumina clusters and gas bubbles to float up to the surface and disperse and mold powder entrapments are virtually eliminated.  The metal flow rate is controlled resulting in less turbulence at the meniscus. Heat transfer to the solidification fronts is reduced and the melt temperature is increased. Depth of penetration from the submerged entry nozzle (SEN) is also reduced and the hot steel remains therefore higher up in the strand.

Improving surface and internal quality

Proven to consistently improve quality, the FC Mold’s leading technology reduces both surface and internal defects by at least 50% including fewer mold powder entrapments, blow holes and longitudinal crack formations. 

Reducing reject ratio and downgrades

By significantly lowering the number of inclusion defects, the enhanced surface quality offered by the FC Mold reduces both the necessity for downgrading as well as the reject ratio.  In some cases the FC Mold has been shown to reduce the reject ratio of final products by up to 80%.

Higher productivity and lower costs

Where surface quality issues have previously prevented a higher casting speed the FC Mold reduces and/or eliminates these problems and a substantially higher casting speed can be achieved. This, coupled with lower reject and /or downgrade rate contributes to improved productivity and cost-efficiency.

Automatic, adaptable process control

The ability to make adjustments to magnetic field strengths and configurations catering to specific casting conditions further optimizes steel quality. The FC Mold’s control package automatically and seamlessly adapts casting operations to a wide variety of situations. FC Mold Control is based on numerical simulations and in-depth process experience gained from over 1700 EMS installations for arc, ladle and aluminium furnaces, and billet and bloom and slab casters  worldwide including more than 40 for FC Mold.

Improved process control with ABB Ability™ Optimold Monitor

The ABB Ability™ Optimold Monitor’s mold temperature measurement system, with over 4000 fiber optic sensor points per mold plate, is more than 20 times better than its conventional counterparts.  The high resolution sensor data can be analyzed to provide a whole new level of insight into the casting process. With ABB Ability™ Optimold Control, this process insight can be used to optimize the performance of the FC Mold, or other electromagnetic stirring/braking device, in real-time contributing even more to achieving a desirable flow pattern where meniscus speed, asymmetry and steel flow stability and can be managed on-line as necessary.

Shortening mold change time

The FC Mold is equipped with automatic quick connectors (AQC) to allow for smooth, safe and quick connection to, and disconnection from, the mold and power supply. The AQC can compensate for horizontal mold misalignment of up to ± 35mm, and a pilot circuit automatically disconnects the power supply when the couplings are not fully connected.

Installation requirements

To avoid magnetic interference and ensure maximum FC Mold performance part of the mold should be made from non-magnetic material.  Lower solid front cores made from magnetic steel should also be built into the mold.

Low maintenance and long lifespan

 Unlike competing technologies the FC Mold has no moving parts. Like all electromagnetic products from ABB it is designed and constructed using high quality components to withstand the toughest of conditions.  The result is minimum maintenance and an investment that will give a return on investment for years to come.


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