UT Line Lifts Large Bar Throughput, Quality Assurance

April 23, 2012
A $55-million system to verify "center soundness" of large-dimension products
“The UT line is an important tool in our efforts to further improve the high quality of our large-bar product,” stated Timken v.p. for steel manufacturing, Tom Moline.

The Timken Co.'s Faircrest Steel Plant is the site of some important developments, leading to the start-up early next year of a $40-million in-line forging process to shape cast billets or ingots before they are fully solidified. Looking farther ahead, the entire works in Canton, OH, is the object of a $225-million capital program to add 25% more steel capacity, including a new ladle metallurgy station and a large-dimension bloom caster for large-diameter engineered steel bars.

The in-line forging press operation will be the first of its kind in North America. Timken has stated that eventually all of Faircrest's products will be forge-rolled, and a critical element of the strategy to produce higher volumes of products in demand by markets like oil-and-gas exploration, processing, and delivery, is ultrasonic testing.

Recently, Timken commissioned an ultrasonice testing (UT) inspection line at Faicrest - a $55-million investment that the forging billet and steel bar producer calls a "cutting edge" system to verify "center soundness" of large-dimension products. In that way, it helps to increase the plant's throughput for those products in advance of the capacity expansion plant - products that match more demanding ultrasonic specifications - and, at the same time, reduces the cycle time for larger products.

Specifically, the UT line inspects internal volumes as well as surfaces for defects, and characterizes the center soundness according to product specifications. The products inspected range in diameter from 6 to 24 inches (15.2 to 61 centimeters) and in lengths up to 35 feet (10.6 meters.)

Timken vice president of steel manufacturing Tom Moline said the UT line "enhances our position as a premiere large bar producer in North American and expands our capabilities to meet demanding ultrasonic specifications."