Carrying the Torch for Cutting Technology Worthy of Gold

Our slab caster at Port Kembla is just one piece of the puzzle in our steelmaking process. A slab caster is a facility for casting molten steel into a semi-finished product of various sizes. We call the product at this stage a slab, and slabs can have a thickness of between 120mm – 600mm and a width of 700mm or more.

And how do we cut them to size? Using very large torch cutters where the metal is preheated with a flame and then oxidised rapidly and removed by a jet of oxygen through the pre-heating flame. The torch cutting process plays a critical role in slab caster yield.

Torch cutters are fitted with nozzles and we recently fitted more efficient nozzles on 2 of the casting machines (strand 3 and 4) at the slab caster. Slabs can now be cut faster and natural gas consumption has been reduced by over 19,700 Nm3 or 750 GJ per annum. Almost $150,000 in savings through the reduction in cutting kerf (the material removed during cutting the slab) of 1mm.