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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 12

I The First Half Century - The Initial Struggle

II The Second Fifty Years - The Start Of Expansion

III The Third Fifty Years - Federation And The First World War

IV The Fourth Period - Second World War To The Present
i General Conditions
ii Iron and Steel Production
iii Aluminium Technology
iv Innovative Copper Refining Process
v The EDIM-4WD Load-Haul-Dump Vehicle
vi Copper Rod Production
vii Copper Wire and Cables
viii The Diecasting Industry
ix Automotive Components
x Whitegoods or Consumer Durables
xi Hardware
xii Some Recent New Industries
xiii The National Measurement System
xiv Manufacturing Industry in this Decade
xv Acknowledgements



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Steel sheet and coil products (continued)

When adopting a continuous processing line, Lysaght went against the current world trend and thinking at that time and introduced, in association with Bethlehem Steel Corp., a new approach based on high temperature-differential heating as strip passed vertically down then horizontally along the annealing furnace before passing directly to the coating bath. Much of what now justifies the Lysaght's claim to being among the top galvanizers world-wide, is a direct result of that one important decision. In recent years, major producers world-wide have also embraced the essential features of this process, albeit with the introduction of some further modifications.

Research and development studies associated with the introduction of this innovation indicated that a major change in the basic steel type, as supplied by AIS, would be necessary and, with their collaboration, a move away from the then current semi-killed steel to a rimmed and then finally to a capped steel grade was made. This change, incidentally, has held for over twenty years and until the recent introduction of continuous slab casting at AIS required a further change to a fully killed steel containing small controlled amounts of aluminium.

A major advantage of the galvanizing line adopted by Lysaght was that it could easily produce a high strength coated product. The cold reduced strip is given only a recovery type heat treatment before coating, so that the steel retains its cold reduced strength after galvanizing. Most roofing and much wall cladding product made in Australia is hard cycle, where the high strength allows long spans to be used economically, a process advantage exploited in Australia well before it saw extensive adoption overseas.

On modern high-speed continuous galvanizing lines, control of the coating mass of zinc and its uniform distribution across the sheet and from side to side, changed from the older coating roll method to gas knife stripping, that is, blowing a jet of gas on each side of the emerging strip. Although Lysaght initially used a steam stripping process under licence, it was found to have numerous problems and they developed an improved technology using air knife stripping. This proved to be very satisfactory, resulting in cost savings and reduced noise levels. Further research concerning the fluid flow conditions of stripping led to an optimum jet design and finally to an elegant feed-back feed-forward computer control system of coating mass control which was probably the first such system operating world-wide. Edge build up of the zinc on the strip, another world-wide problem, was successfully overcome by a patented vane system which has since been adopted by others overseas.

Major developments at the Port Kembla plant include the manufacture of electrical steels by cold reduction in 1966 when a decarburizing strand anneal line was installed. In 1967 a new chromate passivation treatment for galvanized steel was developed and electrogalvanizing was begun in 1968. In 1970 an important invention led to the development of a new Lysaght lead-zinc Wet Flux Galvanizing Process and over the next fifteen years, half a dozen lines using the process have been licensed overseas.

The Lysaght tandem cold reduction mill at Port Kembla, installed in 1955, was extended to five stands in 1969 but was old and due for replacement ten years later. Instead it was decided to up-grade the mill so that, today, it is fully automated with an in-house developed control system based on extensive simulation models, the result of some years research effort. The up-graded mill became one of the most advanced in the world and the basic models were sold in America and Germany.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australian Iron and Steel Pty Ltd (A.I.S.); Bethlehem Steel Corporation; John Lysaght (Australia) Ltd

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© 1988 Print Edition page 886, Online Edition 2000
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