The EPS Continuous Improvement Program has finished testing of new design enhancements to the EPS Cell with some pretty remarkable results:

EPS Line speed increases of 65% to 140% !

Two specific design enhancements work together to improve grit delivery to the strip surface without altering the attractive, uniform EPS surface that users expect.

The first enhancement is a change to the shape of the Slurry Turbine blade. The original blade had a flat ‘paddle’ shape, whereas the new blade has more of a curved ‘scoop’ shape (see photo at left). The shape delivers more grit to the strip surface – about 60% more – with each rotation. This descales the strip faster so the strip can, in turn, move through the line faster.

The new curved blade design is interchangeable with the original blades. Large quantities of the new blades are being procured so EPS Producers can order them for installation in their existing EPS Cells. They will be standard on new EPS Cells.

The second design enhancement was to lower the position of the four Slurry Turbines on the top of the EPS Cell. These turbines, which descale the top surface of the strip, were dropped about 12 inches closer to the strip to reduce ‘overspray’ of grit that wears out cell wall liners prematurely. The new position of the turbines accomplished this goal and had the added benefit of better concentrating the Slurry stream on the top surface – again, improving grit delivery to equal the performance of the bottom turbines’ grit delivery.

Dropping the top Slurry Turbines is a retrofit that can be performed on existing EPS Cells and will be the standard configuration on all new EPS Cells. The retrofit has been performed on the EPS Sheet Line at TMW. We have been running production jobs with the dropped top turbines and recently installed the curved blades to capture the combined effect of both design enhancements. We selected production jobs where we have ample historical performance data and ran those jobs with the new cell configuration. The results were pretty amazing.

For example, one job consisting of 7mm (0.275″) thick material had routinely run at 10 meters/minute (33 ft/min.). With the new enhancements in place, this job now runs at 19.5 meters/minute (64 ft/min.) – a 95% increase in production speed !

Running other production jobs demonstrated line speed increases in the range of 65% to 140%, with the variation generally being a function of material parameters (thickness, grade, etc.). Note that these speed increases were seen for both carbon andstainless steel.

Knowing that this changes the economics of EPS production, we recently updated the EPS Economics Calculator to be consistent with the higher line speeds we’re seeing with these design enhancements.

The EPS Continuous Improvement Program will continue to research and evaluate ways to make EPS technology more attractive. Please check back for regular updates on our progress.