Alcar International Limited

was founded in 1986 with the specific intention of marketing the first “in-line” Tube Changer in the UK and Scandinavia.

Tube Changers

are used in the continuous casting of steel and as the name implies are devices for changing the submerged entry shroud (SES) commonly known as the “tube”, which is used to protect the metal stream between the tundish and the mould.

The “in-line” tube changer was novel because it was the first to change the tube along the axis of the mould without raising the tundish significantly, or even at all, and without interruption to the casting process. In order to achieve this, the mould must be wider than approximately 850mm; hence in-line tube changing is applicable only to slab or to very large bloom casters.

The in-line tube changer

was invented by International Industrial Engineering (IIE) of Belgium, and was developed in conjunction with Alcar at the Corus (formerly British Steel) slab-caster plant at Lackenby on Teesside and adopted by them in 1987. It was subsequently installed in the UK slab-caster plants at Port Talbot, Llanwern and Ravenscraig. Alcar personnel also aided with installations in the USA and Spain in the early years, gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience in the process.

Alcar subsequently specialized in the development of tube changer related refractories, culminating in the so-called ‘mononozzle’ as used today. Alcar supplies mononozzles of various designs to both Vesuvius and Interstop systems around the world as well as to our own.

Other areas of refractories expertise include argon bubbling systems designed to aid inclusion flotation in the tundish, ladle purge systems, slide gate plate enhancement and refurbishment and specialist injection lance systems.

When Vesuvius bought IIE, they inherited the patent rights to the tube changer. Once the patent expired we were able to provide our own designs (TCMH1 and H2), which are both currently in use on casters at the Arcelor Mittal plants in Romania, Poland and Mexico. With the aid of our worldwide marketing partner (IFGL), more installations are anticipated.

Alcar also has experience in the manufacture and installation of Mould Powder-Feeding Systems designed to deliver casting powder onto Slab and Bloom Caster mould metal surfaces in a controlled and continuous manner. The range of systems previously installed varies in complexity from simple Gravity Feed through to Remote Bulk Powder Storage and full PLC control with a link to Casting Machine speed. As all casting machines, associated plant and customer requirements are unique, discussions with plant personnel are generally required prior to recommending a specific system configuration.


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