Season 3 Challenges

OPENED ON: 13 OCT 2017  |  CLOSED ON: 13 JAN 2018  |  REWARD: USD 10,000
Reward money is paid in exchange of legally acquiring the solution, implementing it to solve the problem and meeting the success criteria. Milestones for paying the reward money would depend upon the complexity of challenge and maturity of the proposed solution, which would be discussed with the solver as soon as the proposed solution is selected by us.

Short Description:

We produce carbon steel tubes for various applications. Scale forms on the outside and inside of the tube surface after the treatment. We are inviting solutions to prevent the formation of scales.

Challenge Details

We produce carbon steel tubes for various applications such as Construction, Mechanical, Agricultural vehicles, Automotive head rests, chassis & Energy line pipe projects. To strengthen these steels Carbon - Manganese strengthening recipe is used in steel chemistry. For many tubular products a normalising heat treatment process is used, taking the tube up to > 950 oC in order to normalise the grain structure after initial processing and to use the steel chemistry to achieve certain mechanical parameters.

The challenge faced is that scale forms on the outside and inside of the tube surface after the treatment.This scale, if not removed successfully, can pose problems for onward processing especially where the surface is to be painted with a gloss paint. The demand is, therefore to have very clean tube surfaces but also at the same time they are to be  normalised (>950 oC heat treatment) to impart strenght . We want to address this problem at source, aiming to subdue the scale build up. 

There are two ways of heat treating the tubes:

  1. Using an in line gas & air furnace which heats the tube as it travels in line with the process
  2. Using a furnace with a walking beam system where tubes enter at one end and get walked through the process the end.

Both processes heat the tube to the normalising range and both naturally allow the creation of surface scale. The build up of scale is different for each process but still requires removal and management after heating. We use high pressure water to try and remove the majority of the scale. This happens before the tube is mechanically shaped and so if the scale is not removed then it can be pressed into the surface.

We are therefore inviting solutions that will prevent the formation of scales and satisfy the following requiremets:

  1. A method and/or coating type that can be used to precoat the surface of the Tubes to stop scale growth
  2. Raw materials should be easily available
  3. It has to be environmentally friendly
  4. Minimal modifications to the exisitng furnace
  5. Cost effective
  6. The application and management of the process and its support systems should not require skilled operators
  7. It should not affect the appearance of the tubes
  8. A fully heat treated tube with little or no scales following processing would be a indicator of success

Have any query or need more clarification about this challenge?