“Ravenscraig pioneered continuous casting in British Steel flat products…” Dr. Jeremy Bray (Motherwell, South) House of Commons, 21 May 1990.
Continuous casting was an important advance in steelmaking. It did away with the need to cast and then reheat an ingot, saving time and energy.
Two single-strand continuous casting machines were installed at Ravenscraig in 1974 and a third, twin-strand machine in 1979.
The process involves a ladle of molten steel being carried to the casting plant by an overhead crane. The liquid is ‘stirred’ by the injection of inert gas and then placed onto a rotating turret. The steel is then poured into a reservoir called a tundish, a water cooled copper mould, which solidifies the outer shell of the liquid steel.
The steel continues to curve downwards through a series of rollers until it completely emerges at the other end of the machine in an entirely solid state.
The steel slabs are then cut to length by automatic gas-cutting equipment. When one ladle of steel is emptied into the machine another is moved into position to maintain a continuous flow via the tundish.
Ravenscraig’s ConCast plant largely replaced the slabbing mill, which was afterwards mainly used to supply the plate mill at the neighbouring Dalzell Steel Works.