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Publication numberUS3300198 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 24, 1967
Filing dateDec 27, 1963
Priority dateDec 27, 1963
Publication numberUS 3300198 A, US 3300198A, US-A-3300198, US3300198 A, US3300198A
InventorsClumpner Joseph A, Dore James E
Original AssigneeOlin Mathieson
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for quenching metal
US 3300198 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

jall- 1967 J. A. CLUMPNER ETAL 3,300,198

APPARATUS FOR QUENCHING METAL INVENTORS JOSEPH A. CLUMPNER m WT,

4 Sheets-Sheet 1 BY JAMES E. DORE moi; a 41% N 95% 3 AN \s .3, 2% 3 g O Q2 O$ ix; gig

Filed Dec. 27 1963 ATTORNEY Jam 1967 J. A. CLUMPNER ETAL 3,300,198

APPARATUS FOR QUENCHING METAL Filed Dec. 27, 1963 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG-6' o N INVENTORS JOSEPH A CLUMPNE/P JAMES E. DORE BY mi: 11m

A TTORA/EY Jan. 24, 1967 Filed Dec. 2'7, 1963 J. A. CLUMPNER ETAL 3,300,198

APPARATUS FOR QUENCHING METAL 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 mvsmoks JOSEPH A. CLUMPNER JAMES E. DORE,

ATTORNEY 1967 J. A. CLUMPNER ETAL APPARATUS FOR QUENCHING METAL Filed Dec. 27, 1963 4 SheetsSheet 4 Q c) -.o=

INVENTORS JOSEPH A. CLUMPNER JAMES E. DORE A TTO/PNEV Patented Jan. 24, 1967 3,300,1Q8 APPARATUS FOR QUENCHING METAL Joseph A. Clumpner, Bethany, and James E. Dore, Milford, Conn, assignors to Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation, a corporation of Virginia Filed Dec. 27, 1963, Ser. No. 333,980 18 Claims. (Cl. 266-6) This invention relates to apparatus for rapidly cooling finite or indefinite lengths of nonferrous alloy sheet or strip material. More particularly, it is directed to a high pressure spray quenching apparatus in which strip or sheet material of intermediate or penultimate gauge is very rapidly cooled from an elevated temperature to any desired intermediate final hot rolling temperature or to ambient temperature as' circumstances may warrant. The apparatus is intended to control the cooling of sheet or strip material either prior or subsequent to hot reduction of thickness on a rolling mill, or to rapidly cool the material to ambient temperatures to facilitate subsequent handling.

It has long been known in the metallurgical arts that control of final hot rolling temperature in nonferrous metal sheet or strip is a highly desirable feature in the continuous production of this material. Numerous examples may be cited in which control of final quenching temperature or of final hot reduction temperature is not only desirable but in some instances essential in order to achieve various characteristics of the metal which are necessary for certain purposes for which the metal is intended.

For example, it has been found that significantly improved physical properties in certain nonferrous alloys may be achieved by interrupted quenching in which the sheet or strip is rapidly quenched from penultimate or final hot rolling temperature down to an intermediate temperature still significantly above ambient, with normal air cooling being permitted to take place between the intermediate quenched temperature and ambient temperature. Thus, it is necessary to provide an apparatus which possesses a sufficient degree of heat removal capacity, and which can be sufliciently accurately controlled, in order to receive the strip from the penultimate or final hot rolling mill and deliver the strip at the desired exit temperature.

As an example of the desirability of temperature control on final hot rolling, it is known that in the production of sheet metal products formed of rolled metal which are suitable for bright anodizing, it is necessary to obtain certain soluble constituents of intermetallic magnesium compounds in aluminum-magnesium alloys in a fine particle size uniform dispersion of these constituents either throughout the thickness of the sheet or strip being rolled or at least through a surface layer of the strip. The precipitation of these constituents can best be controlled in the hot rolling process, and is accomplished by rolling within a temperature range well below that of normal breakdown hot rolling temperature. In the processing of this material, therefore, it is necessary to have a quenching apparatus which is capable of removing heat from the sheet or strip prior to final hot rolling with sufiicient rapidity and accuracy of control that the strip can pass uninterruptedly from the breakdown hot rolling mills to the final hot rolling mills in order to achieve material production under the most economical conditions.

While other examples may be cited, the foregoing point out the need for a suitable quenching apparatus through which ultimate final hot rolling temperature is controlled within the rolling process and through which the advantages of final or penultimate temperature can be controlled as an integral part of that process.

Prior to this invention no satisfactory continuous quenching apparatus has been developed which either achieves the many objects and advantages hereinafter set forth, or which has met with any degree of commercial acceptance. In accordance with prior art practice, Where it was deemed necessary to control the temperature of final hot rolling of a sheet or strip, the material was hot rolled to intermediate gauge and then air or water quenched down to the normal temperature of the quenching medium. The material was then reheated by suitable means to the intermediate range temperature at which it was to be subjected to final hot rolling, hot rolled at this temperature to achieve the desired characteristics, and then requenched or allowed to air cool back to normal temperature. 'Fhe inefficiency and difiiculties in terms of equipment, time and elfort of this process are readily apparent when viewed in the light of a single continuous operation in which the strip is initially breakdown hot rolled, quenched to a specified intermediate temperature and then immediately hot rolled to final gauge or to penultimate gauge preceding cold rolling. It is also apparent that prior art quenching facilities substantially, if not completely, precluded the application of interrupted quenching subsequent to final hot rolling in order to achieve higher physical properties, since there existed no practical means for accurately controlling the extent to which a quenching operation was to be continued. This was particularly true of bulk quenching in which sheets or other finite length articles were immersed into tanks of a quenching medium. It was,-however, also true of attempts to develop an efficient spray quenching apparatus utilizing low to moderate pressure at the spray nozzles, the difficulty of this apparatus being that the rate of heat removal was so low that in order to achieve the desired temperature drop coupled with the desired degree of control, the apparatus attained impractical if not impossible proportions, for example, a spray chamber in the order of 200 to 300 feet in length.

In view of the importance of very rapid quenching coupled with fine control of final temperature,. andthe aforementioned inability of the prior techniques to provide an adequate means of achieving these features, we have successfully developed a high pressure spray quenching apparatus which is believed to significantly reduce or substantially eliminate the previously mentioned problems and to achieve the foregoing advantages, and others to be mentioned hereinafter, of rapid quenching coupled with high degree of final temperature control. We have discovered that many unexpected advantages are derived from rapid high pressure spray quenching of sheet or strip material particularly in the heavier gauges approaching 2 thick. For example, in such material surface temperature drops quickly to the point Where incipient boiling occurs which keeps the surface cool causing the heat stored in the bulk of the material to be conducted quickly to the surface; thus, these thicker materials are cooled much faster than when they are initially quenched with low pressure spray or by other well known quenching means.

Another significant advantage of high pressure spray quenching lies in the speed with which thinner gauge sheet or strip can be quenched throughout the thickness to avoid the problems of distortion which frequently occur when materials are slowly or non-uniformly quenched.

Still another significant advantage of this invention lies in the extent to which the final temperature of the strip can be controlled as it emerges from the quenching apparatus. Through various control elements incorporated in the spray quenching apparatus, more fully explained hereinafter, coolant flow rate or pressure within various zones of the apparatus is controlled to vary the extent of cooling thus rendering the apparatus highly suitable for quenching materials which are intended for subsequent hot rolling at intermediate temperatures or subsequent slow quenching from these temperatures with or without cold rolling.

Other advantages of this invention over conventional low pressure quenching devices include the fact that cooling water is used more efficiently Since less total cool ng water is required per unit of heat removed. Cooling water as high as 120 F. can be utilized without appreciable sacrifice in cooling efficiency due to high impact of the water on the strip surface. Also a substantially shorter spray chamber can be used. This greatly simplifies collection of spent coolant, reduces the amount of piping re quired, and minimizes the amount of run out table which is obscured by the quenching apparatus.

The apparatus consists generally of an elongate en closure having top, bottom and side walls but being open at either end. Within the enclosure, which defines a spray chamber through which the sheet or strip is adapted to pass, there is suitably mounted a means-for both supporting and conveying the sheet or strip through the chamber from its inlet end to its outlet end. Also mounted within the chamber is a high pressure spray quenching means consisting generally of upper and lower groups of spray nozzles which direct high pressure liquid sprays against the upper and lower surfaces of the sheet or strip in varying patterns, either perpendicularly or angularly oriented to the strip surfaces. The quenching means is divided generally within the enclosure into three zones in which the coolant pressure and coolant impact pattern are varied and perform a specific function. Within each zone the quenching means is divided into a plurality of longitudinally spaced banks of spray nozzles which are laterally spaced apart within each bank. Some of the nozzles are fixed while others are provided with adjustable joints in order to effect variation in the direction of impact.

Banks of wiper sprays are suitably positioned to effect control over undesirable splash or spray drift resulting from spray impact on the sheet or strip surface. The enclosure is also provided with a suitable exhaust system which provides an escape route for air and steam, and which assists in preventing coolant splash or spray from emerging through the open ends of the enclosure by maintaining a slightly reduced pressure within the enclosure.

Liquid coolant, generally water, is supplied to the quenching means through a. suitable arrangement of conduits and manifolds, and is maintained at desired pressures by means of a pump or pumps, or other suitable means for maintaining an elevated pressure.

The apparatus additionally comprises means for controlling the extent of application of the coolant to the metal surfaces in order to control the amount of heat which is removed from the sheet or strip during its passage through the spray chamber. Through this control .means, the strip is caused to emerge from the spray chamber at any predetermined temperature between an elevated temperature somewhat below the strip entrance temperature and the normal temperature of the coolant. This control of exit temperature is achieved either by control of coolant pressure and flow rate within a zone or zones of the quenching means, or by control of the quenching zone length by cutting in or out individual banks of nozzles to vary the total flow volume of coolant applied to the strip surface Within an individual zone. The former means of control is achieved through the use of variable pressure regulators While the latter means is achieved through the use of valves, both of these devices being interposed in the coolant conduit system as more fully explained hereinafter.

These control devices may be entirely manually operated. Preferably, however, and as contemplated within the present invention, semiautomatic or completely automatic control elements are additionally incorporated into the control means whereby the quenching means is rendered effective to initially and continuously apply a correctly predetermined amount of coolant in a prescribed manner, either with or without supervision to compensate for fluctuation of operating variables. To this end, the

apparatus is provided with suitable computer and controller components into which preliminary information of alloy material, strip speed, coolant temperature, and strip thickness is provided as well as anticipated entrance temperature and desired exit temperature. The computer and controller components assimilate this information and emit control signals to the coolant control devices such as the pressure regulators or flow control valves to effect operation of the quenching means in accordance with the foregoing input data.

In order to achieve fully automated control over the quenching means through which the quenching means is continuously adjusted in order to compensate for fluctuations in certain specified operating variables, sensing elements are provided which maintain surveillance over such factors as entrance and exit strip temperature, and may also be provided to maintain surveillance over strip speed, coolant temperature and strip thickness. Suitable sensing elements are positioned so as to detect fluctuations in these operating variables and which, upon detecting a change, feed a signal to the computer component which in turn interprets this information and emits an adjusted signal to the controller which in turn adjusts some or all of the coolant flow devices mentioned above. Through these supervisory control elements, cooling conditions are maintained at an appropriate level to achieve the uniform desired exit temperature within the sheet or strip.

Having thus generally described the invention, it becomes a principal object thereof to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material in which the operation of the apparatus is intimately tied in with the metal rolling operation.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material which has an extremely high heat removal capacity and which is effective on opposing faces of the sheet or strip passing therethro'ugh.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material having a high degree of flexibility in the application of coolant to the metal surfaces.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material having a spray quenching chamber with spray quenching means mounted therein, the spray quenching means being divided into zones of varying spray pressure and spray impact pattern.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quench ing metal sheet or strip material having coolant flow control devices which are effective to vary coolant pressure and flow rate application within a distinct zone of the spray chamber or to vary the length of a cooling zone.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material in which additional control components are provided to effect automatic regulation of coolant pressure and coolant zone length in response to predetermined items of information of operating variables introduwd into the control components.

It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material in which supervisory sensing elements are responsive to fluctuations in certain of the system variables and which feed back information on these fluctuations to a computer component which feeds a signal to a controller component which in turn effects compensatory adjustments in the coolant flow control devices thereby automatically maintaining uniform desired exit temperature of the sheet or strip.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching 16't2tl sheet or strip material which is economical to manufacture and install, easy to maintain and highly efficient both in production capacity and utilization of space.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description thereof when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a diagrammatic side elevation of one embodiment of the apparatus of our invention illustrating the spray chamber enclosure and the quenching means therein;

FIGURE 2 is a diagrammatic plan view of the upper section of the quenching means and a portion of the control means, the enclosure being partially removed for the sake of clarity;

FIGURE 3 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 illustrating an alternative coolant control arrangement;

FIGURE 4 is a sectional view on line 4-4 of FIG- URE 3;

FIGURE 5 is a sectional view on line 5-5 of FIG- URE 3;

FIGURE 6 is a sectional view on line 66 of FIG- URE 3;

FIGURE 7 is a sectional view on line 77 of FIG- URE 3;

FIGURE 8 is a diagrammatic side elevation of the apparatus including the additional control components which provide semior fully automatic control;

FIGURE 9 is a view similar to FIGURE 8 illustrating an alternative form of coolant control.

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGURE 1, a portion of the spray quenching apparatus of this invention is generally designated by the reference numeral 10. This portion comprises an enclosure 12 consisting of a bottom wall 14, top wall 15, a pair of side walls 16 and 17 (FIG. 2) and end walls 18 and 20, respectively. The enclosure 12 is supported in any convenient manner, and preferably is mounted on a rolling mill run out table and disposed with respect to the various rolling mills in a location determined .by the particular type of spray quenching desired in the sheet or strip processing. Most commonly the apparatus is situated between a breakdown hot rolling mill and the final hot rolling mill, and functions to quench the sheet or strip material passing therethrough from the breakdown hot rolling temperature range to an intermediate hot rolling temperature range in which final hot rolling achieves certain desired metallungical characteristics. It is to be understood that the apparatus may be otherwise located to meet the needs of individual situations.

End walls 18 and 20 are each provided with suitable slits or openings 22 and 24 respectively, opening 22 in end wall 18 serving as an inlet, and opening 24 in end wall 20 serving as an outlet .for a spray chamber 26 which is defined by enclosure 12, and through which a sheet or strip 25 is adapted to pass. Bottom wall 14 is provided with suitable drain facilities including outlet conduits 28 which communicate with suitable manifolds and pumps (not shown) all of which forms part of a continuous recirculating system which discharges liquid coolant into the spray quenching means more fully described hereinafter.

The apparatus is further provided with a steam and air exhaust system for spray chamber 26 which, in the illustrated embodiment, comprises a plurality of exhaust ports 30 communicating through a suitable manifold 32 with an exhaust fan 34, whereby a slightly sub-atmospheric pressure is maintained within chamber 26. In addition to functioning as a steam exhaust route, the exhaust system provides the added advantage of maintaining a continuous flow of air through inlet 22 and outlet 24 toward the interior of chamber 26 which effectively reduces or substantially eliminates the possibility of any liquid spray or impact splash from emerging through these openmgs.

With respect to'physical dimensions, it will be readily apparent that the enclosure and spray chamber may take a variety of shapes or sizes to meet the requirements of individual installations and dimensions will vary accordingly. As a practical example, however, a suitable spray chamber enclosure for quenching copper or copper alloy strip from 1200 F. to 300 F. prior to coiling is approximately 50 feet long and consists of a 15-foot long highpressure spray zone (described more fully hereinafter) operating at about 350 psi. and a 35-foot long low-pressure spray zone operating at p.s.i.; with a strip speed of approximately 325 feet per minute, and a water delivery rate of 2650 g.p.m. and 1600 g.p.m., respectively, in the two zones, the apparatus is capable of removing in excess of 1,000,000 B.t.u.s per minute from the strip. More generally, the apparatus is especially applicable for reducing temperature of copper, brass or aluminum strip traveling faster than 60 feet per minute from strip to approximately 3 thick slab, and can handle initial temperatures between 500 F. and 1600 F. and cool the strip to any desired temperature above the coolant temperature. In general, the relative and absolute lengths of the quenching zones will depend on the following operating variables: the type of metal alloy, the strip thickness, the initial strip tempertaure, the final desired strip temperature, the strip velocity in the quenching chamber, the coolant temperature and composition, and the coolant pressure at the nozzles in each of the zones. It should be noted that the coolant may be water or any other liquid or liquid mixture having desirable characteristi-cs.

The enclosure is further provided with a suitable means for supporting the strip and for conveying it through the chamber 26. In the illustrated embodiment, this means takes the form of a plurality of rollers 36 which are synchronously driven by any suitable power means. If desired, the" supporting and conveying means may be an integral part of the mill run out table.

Referring now to FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, it will be seen that the apparatus 10 further includes a spray quenching means, generally designated by the reference numeral 40, mounted within the enclosure 12, which effects the direct application of the liquid coolant to the sheet or strip 25 passing through the chamber 26. As best seen in FIG- URE 1, the quenching means 40 is divided into upper and lower sections 42 and 44, respectively, upper section 42 being disposed above strip 25 and having its sprays directed downwardly and for the most part perpendicularly to the upper surface of strip 25, with exceptions described hereinafter. The lower section 44 is disposed beneath the supporting and conveying means and has its sprays directed upwardly against the lower surface of strip 25 and perpendicularly thereto. Thus both surfaces of the strip are quenched simultaneously in order to effect the maximum rate of heat removal from the bulk of the strip material.

As seen in FIGURES 1 through 3, and more particularly FIGURES 2 and 3 with respect to the upper quenching means section 42, the quenching means 40 extends substantially the entire length of chamber 26, and is divided into a plurality of zones each having different spray characteristics, and performing a special function. In the illustrated embodiment the quenching means 40 is divided into first, second and third zones 46, 48 and 50 respectively. The first zone 46 is generally designated as a high pressure-high impact zone, the second zone 48 a high pressure-medium impact zone, and the third zone 50 a low pressure-low impact zone. Each of the quenching means zones contains a plurality of banks of spray means 52, which are spaced apart longitudinally of the spray chamber 26. Each bank 52 in turn comprises a plurality of spray nozzles 54- of a type suitable to deliver a spray pattern required for the function of each of the three zones. While spray'nozzles 54 of the type illustrated in FIGURE 4, having either fixed or adjustable joints, are preferred, it will be apparent that any suitable spray delivering means may be substituted therefor. As seen in FIGURE 4, all of the nozzles 54 constituting a single bank 52 are suitably mounted on a common manifold 55 in both the upper and lower sections 4.2 and 44 respectively. Depending upon the nature of coolant application control more fully described hereinafter, the manifolds 56 of each zone 46, 48 and '50 in turn communicate with main manifolds 58A, 53B and 58C respectively for each zone, which in turn are connected to a suitable pressure source, such as pumps 60A through 60E in a manner described below.

As indicated briefly above, the first zone 46 functions as a high impact-high pressure spray zone in which the nozzles 54 are mounted approximately 12 above the strip surface and produce a high density coolant impact on the strip as indicated by the relatively small circular or oval impact spray patterns 62. Water pressure for each nozzle in this zone is usually above 200 psi. and may be higher than 350 p.s.i., and the flow rate impacting the strip is roughly equivalent to one gallon per minute per square inch of effective impact area. This high impacthigh pressure zone is most effective for strip having sur face temperatures above 800 F.; thus the first zone is designed long enough to drop the strip surface temperature below 800 F. before the strip enters the second cooling zone.

It will be observed by reference to FIGURES 1 and 2 that at least the first, and preferably the second, banks 52A of spray nozzles are angled slightly away from the perpendicular longitudinally in the direction of travel of strip 25. The purpose of this angular orientation of these spray nozzles is to further assist in preventing spray or coolant impact splash from emerging through inlet opening 22 during operation of the apparatus. It will also be observed from FIGURES l and 4 that at least two nozzles 54 of at least some of the banks 5?. are angled slightly laterally of strip in order to effect partial removal of spent coolant from the strip surface which would otherwise interfere with the cooling rate of subsequent banks of nozzles. The high pressure-high impact zone further includes a plurality of wiper spray nozzles 54A, as more clearly seen in FIG- URE 5, which are disposed adjacent the side walls 16 and 17 of enclosure 12 and which deliver a relatively narrow but wide angle fan type spray directed laterally across the chamber 26. The purpose of these fan type nozzles is to wipe excess water from the strip surface before the strip passes from the first zone to the second zone. If this water is allowed to remain on the strip it can interfere with subsequent coolant application and reduce the cooling effectiveness of the chamber.

The second zone 48 contains spray nozzles 54 operating at substantially the same high pressure as that applied to the nozzles of the first zone, but each nozzle impacts a broader area than the nozzles in the first zone as indicated by the relatively larger impact patterns 64; for example, nozzles mounted 12 from the strip produce a one square foot spray pattern and have a flow rate of approximately 0.4 g.p.rn. per square inch of effective impact area. This smaller flow rate per unit area results in a substantial saving of water and is effective as long as the strip surface temperature is below 800 F. This cut off temperature will vary somewhat depending on the alloy being quenched.

It will also be observed from FIGURES 2, 3 and 6 that at least some of the nozzles 54 in some of the initial banks 52 of the second zone 48 are angled slightly laterally of spray chamber 26 for the same purpose as that described above for the laterally angled nozzles in the first zone.

The third cooling zone employs nozzles 54 operating at a substantially lower pressure than those of the first and second zones, usually in the order of p.s.i., and produce a spray pattern approximately 18" square as indicated by the impact patterns 66 in FIGURES 2 and 3. The water flow rate is approximately 0.05 g.p.m. per square inch of effective impact area. This zone becomes effective when the strip surface temperature falls within the range of 600 to 400 F., depending on the alloy being quenched.

Also within the third zone 50 is a plurality of wiper nozzles 54B which are disposed adjacent the outlet end of spray chamber 26, and are angled away from the perpendicular both laterally of strip 25 and longitudinally thereof away from outlet opening 24 so as to direct a plurality of fan type sprays across the upper surface of strip 25 and toward the interior of chamber 26. Thus, these nozzles provide an effective spray curtain which functions to wipe excess cooling water from the strip surface just before the strip exits from the spray chamber, and also prevents mist or splash from the cooling liquid from emerging through opening 24.

From the apparatus thus far described, it is apparent that sheet or strip material fed into inlet opening 22 and received and conveyed by rollers 36 through quenching chamber 26, is immediately and very rapidly quenched from a high entrance surface temperature by the high pressure-high impact nozzles in the first zone 46 to an intermediate surface temperature, and is then further cooled in the high pressure-medium impact zone 48 to a still lower intermediate surface temperature, and is finally cooled in the low pressure-low impact zone 50 to the desired exit bulk temperature in a continuous and uninterrupted operation. A major feature of this invention lies in the flexibility of control of both the rapidity with which the strip or sheet is cooled, which is direct ly dependent upon the rate of heat removal of the quenching means in the various quenching zones, and the variation of final exit temperature which can be achieved. To this end the apparatus includes a control system which incorporate coolant fiow control devices for at least some of the zones, together with automatic control elements and components for initially presetting and continuously monitoring and adjusting the coolant flow control devices to compensate for fluctuations in certain operating variables of the system.

The variables affecting the cooling rate in the chamber 26 are generally the alloy material of the strip, strip speed, strip thickness, initial strip temperature, final desired strip temperature and the cool-ant temperature and composition. In general there are three possible ways to change the amount of cooiing, i.e., the heat removal rate, taking place within the spray chamber. ()ne is to change the velocity of the strip as it passes through the chamber thereby varying the. length of time during which a given segment of the strip is exposed to the application of coolant within a given zone. Since production capacity is directly affected by mill speed operation, reduction of strip velocity below maximum mill speed operation serves only to decrease the overall efficiency of the entire mill operation. It is, therefore, apparent that from the standpoint of production capacity, a more desirable means of variation of heat removal rate is one by which control of coolant application is effected within the spray chamber independently of strip speed.

One such means of controlling the cooling capacity of the quenching apparatus is to vary the coolant pressure in the several zones of the chamber by raising or lowering the coolant pressure within some or all of the cooling zones, either simultaneously and in correspondence, or independently between the zones. The rate of heat removal from the strip within the zones is altered both through variation of coolant impact velocity on the strip surface and variation in the volume of coolant discharged from the individual nozzles.

Another means of altering the cooling capacity of the spray chamber is to change the length of some or all of the spray zones by varying the number of rows or banks of nozzles operating in each zone, while maintaining a fixed pressure at the nOZZles still operating. Thus, although a constant pressure and flow rate at the operating nozzles is maintained, the rate of heat removal from the strip for the overall zone is varied by virtue of varying total zone flow rate.

Referring now to FIGURES 2 and 8, there is illustrated one embodiment for effecting control over the amount of cooling taking place in the spray chamber by varying the pressure in the first two zones of the chamber. In the illustrated embodiment, first and second main manifolds SSA and 58B communicate respectively with flow control devices such as pressure regulators 70 and 72 and conduit 74 which in turn communicates through another pressure regulator 76, which is upstream of regulators 70 and 72, with pump 60A or other suitable source of maintaining the liquid coolant at a desired pressure. Manifold 58C (FIG. 2) associated with zone 50 communicates directly with pump 60B. While it is not generally deemed necessary, it is apparent that zone 50 may also be provided with a similar pressure regulating device to provide coolant pressure control in all three zones.

By suitable control, which may either be manual or automatic as seen hereinafter, coolant pressure to the spray nozzles of zone 46 is reduced by closing down the passageway through pressure regulator 70, thereby reducing the heat removal rate in zone 46. If strip exit temperature at opening 24 is lower than that desired, the coolant pressure at the nozzles of zone 48 is reduced by similarly restricting the flow passgeway through pressure regulator 72. If it is desired to vary the coolant pressure at the nozzles in zone 46 and 48 correspondingly rather than independently, this is accomplished by maintaining pressure regulators 70 and 72 at full flow capacity, and varying the flow capacity at pressure regulator 76. Thus, either independent or simultaneous pressure control is achieved at the nozzles of zones 46 and 48.

FIGURE 8 illustrates schematically a control system for automatically varying the coolant pressure and flow rate in the first and second zones 46 and 48 respectively in response to predetermined items of information relative to certain operating variables of the apparatus as well as some monitored items of information, in order to achieve control of other operating variables to assure a consistent desired strip exit temperature. To this end the control system comprises an electronic computer 80 which is provided with means, such as adjustable dials or data card reading devices, for receiving predetermined items of information relative to the operating variables of the apparatus of alloy material, strip speed, coolant temperature, strip thickness, estimated initial strip temperature, and desired final strip temperature. A plurality of information input sources designated 82, 84, 86, 83, 90 and 92, respectively, for each of the aforementioned operating variables are provided in computer 80 for receiving the prerequisite information by appropriate means. Two additional input sources 94 and 96 are provided for receiving information relative to actual initial strip temperature and actual final strip temperature, these temperatures being continuously monitored by means of any suitable temperature sensing device 98 and 100 respectively for initial and final temperatures, these devices being preferably a pair of optical ratio pyrometers, and communicating their information to computer 80 by means of leads 102 and 104, respectively.

The computer 80 is provided with conventional electronic elements which are effective to assimilate and interpret the information thus provided through the predetermined information inputs 82 through 92, and the monitored information inputs 94 and 96. These electronic elements may take the form of a plurality of variable control signal devices which are responsive to the information fed into the computer, and which control the intensity of a variable electric signal emitted through an output means 106 provided in computer 30. The control system is further provided with a pneumatic control and sequencing component 108 which is connected to computer by means of lead 110. and has an input 112 for receiving the variable signal emitted by computer 89. This component comprises pneumatic control ele ments and pressure responsive directional valves of conventional design for converting the variable electric signal received through lead 110 and input 112 into a variable low pressure pneumatic pilot control signal by conventional means, which in turn actuates a master pnuematic controller, such as a double acting diaphragm type differential pressure regulator, for controlling the intensity of a high pressure control fluid received through an inlet conduit 114 and emitted through any one of a plurality of conduits 116, 118 or 120, in a manner more fully explained hereinafter. Component 198 further includes a manual control element which is effective to establish communication between pressure medium inlet conduit 114 and outlet conduit 116, or alternatively between conduits 114 and 118 or 114 and 120 in sequence. The latter alternative communication between conduits 114 and 118 or 114 and 120 is controlled by pressure responsive directional valving of conventional design which is effective to shift communication in response to a buildup or reduction of the control fluid pressure, or coolant pressure on the downstream side of the pressure regulators 70, 72 and 76. Conduits 116, 118 and 120 communicate respectively with operators 77, 71 and 73 for pressure regulators 76, 70 and 72. A plurality of pressure feed back control devices 122, 124 and 126, are connected to the coolant conduits just downstream from the pressure regulators and communicate through conduits 128, and 132 respectively with the master pneumatic controller of component 108. Also included is suitable pressure responsive directional valving similar to that described above for establising feed back communication between feed back conduit 128 and the master pneumatic controller when conduit 116 is receiving control fluid, or alternatively between feed back conduit 130 and the master pneumatic controller when conduit 118 is receiving control fluid, or feed back conduit 132 and the master pneumatic controller when conduit 120 is receiving control fluid.

In addition to the control system described above, the operation of which is explained hereinafter, a unique feature of this invention is incorporated in an additional control means for presetting the operating variables of the system which control the quenching capacity of the various zones before the strip to be quenched enters the quenching chamber. The advantage of this feature is the fact that, considering the high rate of speed at which the strip travels and the time required for the computer and controller components to make adjustments in the coolant flow control devices upon sensing a fluctuation in the monitored operating variables, considerable material wastage results if the system is not under preset simulated conditions equal to or very close to those which will prevail when the strip commences to pass through the quenching chamber.

To achieve this result there is provided, at each end of the quenching chamber, a pair of electrically heated control plates 134 and 136 located directly under the temperature sensing elements 98 and 100 respectively. These plates are heated to the anticipated initial and desired final temperatures respectively by manual control elements 133 and 140, and are maintained at these temperatures by suitable thermostatic control devices 142 and 144 which are connected to the manual control elements 13S and It will be apparent that any desired alternative means for maintaining a predetermined temperature in control plates 134 and 136 may be provided.

From the apparatus thus far described, and referring to FIGURES 1, 2 and 8, it will be apparent that the operation of the apparatus is as follows: The known factors of alloy material, mill speed, coolant temperature, strip thickness, estimated initial strip temperature, and desired final strip temperature are fed into the computer 80 through their respective input means, as for example, by appropriate dial settings or punched data cards.

Control plates 134 and 136 are heated respectively to the anticipated strip entrance temperature and the desired strip exit temperature by means of appropriate settings of control elements 138 and 1 3-0, respectively. The entrance and exit temperature sensing elements 98 and 100 feed this information through their respective inputs 94 and 96 to the computer afiter which the computer assimilates and interprets the various items of information and emits an appropriate electric signal through output 106 to the pneumatic controller and sequencing component 108. The component MP8 receives the variable electric signal through input 112 and converts this electric signal to a pneumatic pilot signal which controls the various coolant flow control devices in the following manner.

Assuming, for example, an alloy material, mill speed, coolant temperature, strip thickness, estimated im'tial strip temperature and desired final strip temperature which necessitate that the apparatus operate at maximum cooling capacity in order to reduce the strip temperature from a very high hot rolling breakdown temperature, as set at input 9d and control plate T134, to a relative-1y moderate desired exit temperature, as set at input 92 and control plate 136, and assuming that the manual control of component 1th; is set to establish communication between high pressure inlet 114 and conduits 118 and 120 in sequence, the pneumatic controller and sequencing device is initially effective to prevent the passage of any control fluid into any of the conduits 116, 113 or 12%). Since the coolant pressure regulators are of the normally openpressure closed type, these regulators remain in a full flow capacity position until control pressure is applied to their respective operators.

As strip 25 "begins to pass through the spray chamber 26, any variation between the estimated initial strip temperature and the actual initial strip temperature is immediately relayed by sensing element 98 to the computer 80 which thereupon makes a corresponding vadjustment in the variable electric signal emitted through output 1%. If the actual entrance temperature is lower than that anticipated by settings at computer input as and control plate 134, thereby necessitating lesser cooling capacity than was anticipated, a change in the intensity of the electric signal through lead Ht} is converted to a corresponding change in the intensity of the pilot pneumatic signal within component 1% to commence a rise in the pressure of control fluid which is directed to conduit 118 by means of the directional control valving mentioned above. This increase in control fluid pressure in conduit 118 causes actuation of operator 71 to reduce the coolant flow passageway through regulator 7% thereby reducing the pressure and flow rate of the coolant at all of the spray nozzles in zone 46. This eifectively reduces the overall heat removing capacity of this quenching zone. Pressure feed back device 124 senses the drop in pressure of the coolant and relays the decreasing coolant pressure through conduit 13% back to the master pneumatic controller of component M8 which in turn ceases to operate when the new coolant pressure has dropped to the level appropriate for the new conditions transmitted to it via the electric signal from computer 86. At this point the system is appropriately adjusted and continues to function under these new operating conditions.

As the strip passes through the spray chamber, it is rapidly quenched under the action of the high pressure, high velocity sprays from the various banks of spray nozzles positioned in the respective zones. If the strip temperature at the exit end of the quenching chamber as sensed. and indicated by sensing element 100, corresponds with the predetermined desired exit temperature estabently of each other.

l2 lished at computer input 92, the system is appropriately adjusted and continues to operate without change. Assuming, however, that the exit temperature of the strip is below the desired exit temperature, the ditferential between the desired exit temperature as established at input 92 and the actual exit temperature as indicated by sensing element 106, is sensed and relayed through lead 104 to computer which thereupon is again effective to alter the intensity of the electric signal through output 106 and lead lit), which in turn actuates the master pneumatic controller of component 108 to effect a further increase in the pressure of control fluid passing through conduit 118 to operator 71 of pressure regulator 70. This effects a further reduction in the coolant flow passageway through regulator 70 to further reduce the coolant pressure at the nozzles of zone 46. As described above, this further coolant pressure reduction is sensed by pressure feed back device 124 and relayed through conduit 130 to the master pneumatic controller of component 108 which ceases operation when the new and still lower coolant pressure has been established in zone 46.

If the strip entrance and exit temperatures indicate conditions requiring a lower cooling capacity than can be achieved by reducing the coolant pressure and flow rate in zone 46 to a predetermined minimum, the pneumatic control and sequencing component is effective through the pressure responsive directional valving to shift communication between control fluid inlet 114 and conduit 118 over to conduit 12b, and to close off conduit 118 thereby maintaining the existing pressure therein. Further reductions in heat removal capacity of the quenching chamber are now possible by increases in the pressure of the control fluid in conduit 124) which in turn causes actuation of operator 73 to eflect corresponding reductions in the coolant flow passageway through regulator 72. Thus, coolant pressure and flow rate are reduced at the nozzles of Zone 48 to thereby reduce heat removal capacity of this zone. In a similar manner to that described above, the pressure responsive feed back device 126 communicates variations in coolant pressure to the master pneumatic controller of compon cut 103 through conduit 132 to cause cessation of operation of this controller when the new coolant pressure conditions have been achieved as indicated by the variable signal through lead from component 80.

If either entrance or exit strip temperatures indicate a need for greater cooling capacity rather than less cooling capacity, the system operates in reverse of the manner described above. Specifically, by appropriate bleed or vent means incorporated with the control valving, reductions in the pressure of the control fluid in conduit are eifected to increase the flow capacity of regulator 72 back to its maximum, after which the pressure responsive directional control valves re-establishes communication with conduit 118 to commence reduction of the pressure of the control fluid in this conduit to permit regulator 70 to return to its full flow capacity position. Thus, through the same sequence of operations through computer 8% as described above, component 108 is effective to gradually increase the heat removal capacity of zones 48 and 4-6 in sequence to a desired level as indicated by the monitored strip temperature conditions.

The foregoing description is applicable to control of coolant pressure in zones at and 48 sequentially independ- It may be desirable in certain situations to control the coolant pressure and flow rate capacity in Zones 46 and 48 simultaneously so that the coolant flow rate in each of these zones remains in a fixed relationship. This may be accomplished by setting the manual control of component 168 to block communication between control fluid inlet 114 and conduits 118 and 120, and establish communication between inlet 114 and conduit 116. As in the previous description of operation, if strip exit temperature as determined by sensing element 100 is lower than that desired, component 108, in response to the variable signal from computer 80, effects an increase in the pressure of control fluid through conduit 116 to operator 77 of pressure regulator 76, thereby restricting the flow passageway through regulator 76 to reduce the coolant pressure and flow rate to conduit 74. Since regulators 7i) and 72 are maintained at full flow capacity, coolant pressure and flow rate at the nozzles of zones 46 and 43 is reduced simultaneouslyand in correspondence, thus effectively reducing the overall heat removal capacity of these two zones. This coolant pressure reduction in conduit 74 is sensed by feed back device 122 and relayed through condit 128 to the master pneumatic controller which ceases to operate when the appropriate coolant pressure is achieved. As in the manner above described, this action continues until the desired final exit temperature is achieved and this temperature is sensed by sensing element 100 and relayed to computer 80, after which the system again becomes stabilized.

As briefly mentioned hereinabove, an alternative means for varying the heat removal capacity of some or all of the quenching zones of the apparatus is by varying the length of the individual quenching zones. This is accomplished by interrupting coolant flow through some or all of the banks of spray nozzles within an individual zone, thereby changing the effective residence time of a given segment of the strip within a given zone.

Referring now to FIGURES 3 and 9, there is illustrated one embodiment for effecting control of the amount of cooling taking place in the spray chamber by varying the length of quenching zones 46 and 48 in a particular manner. Referring first to FIGURE 3, it will be seen that each of the common manifolds 56 located in zones 46 and 48 has a suitable normally open on-off valve 150 interposed in the coolant conduit between the various nozzles 54 common to any manifold 56 and the main manifolds 58A and 583. These valves are effective to either maintain full flow capacity to a given bank of nozzles 52 or to completely block coolant flow thereto. Located upstream from manifolds 58A and 58B b-ut downstream from pumps 60C and 60D is a suitable device for maintaining a uniform coolant pressure in the respective main manifolds. This device may take the form of an automatic pressure regulator having a variable valve 152, an operator 154, a manually presettable controller 156 and a suitable pressure sensing feed back device 158. It will be apparent that as some of the valves 150 are closed, an increase in coolant pressure at the nozzles 54 still operating results if a suitable compensation in coolant pressure in manifold 58A is not effected. This is accomplished by means of regulator 152; any increase in coolant pressure in manifold 58A is sensed by the sensing device 158 which relays this information to controller 156 which has been preset to maintain a fixed coolant pressure. Controller 156 thereupOn emits a signal to operator 154 to close down the restriction in valve 152 in order to reduce coolant pressure in manifold 58A to the desired pressure. The corresponding device interposed in the coolant fiow line between manifold 58B and pump 60D operates in a similar manner to perform the same function for zone 48.

By suitable control, which may either be manual or automatic as seen hereinafter, the effective length of quenching zones 46 and 48 is lessened or increased by closing or opening any or all of the valves 150 associated with a particular zone. Customarily, though not necessarily, the valves 150 are closed sequentially commencing at the inlet end of zone 46.

FIGURE 9 illustrates schematically one embodiment of a fully automatic control system for achieving variation of cooling capacity by changing quenching zone length. In many respects this system is similar in structure and operation to that described above with reference 14 to FIGURE 8; accordingly, like components are designated with similar reference numerals and need not again be described in detail.

There is provided an electronic computer which is identical in all respects to that described above except for the addition of a predetermined information input source 93 for receiving the coolant operating pressure, and Which is effective to emit a variable electric signal through lead to a controller component 208. The controller component 288 is provided with suitable amplifying means for receiving the variable signal from an input 212 and amplifying this signal to a level of intensity at which it is effective to be received by a signal comparator means such as an electronic null-balance comparator. This device is effective to compare the amplified signal from computer 80 against an internal signal impressed across one side of the comparator bridge, and to emit a differential e.m.f. in the event that the received signal is not of the same intensity as the standard signal. The differential emitted by the comparator actuates a suitable sequencing device which may be either mechanical or electronic in structure. For example, a suitable mechanical sequencing device has a plurality of contacts, a reversibly movable element effective to make and break a plurality of circuits of which these contacts form a part thereof, and suitable power means for moving the movable element in response to the differential emitted by the comparator. The aforementioned circuits include relays for making and breaking high power control signals to the various valves which are suitably solenoid operated. These control signals are emitted through suitable output sources provided in the controller component 208 and are conducted to the various valves 150 by means of leads 162.

The sequencing device has feed back means to the comparator which actuates a suitable signal varying element therein to alter the intensity of the internal signal of the comparator to the corresponding intensity of the amplified signal received from computer 80. In this manner, the sequencing device and comparator are effective to reestablish balance of the comparator bridge to a nullpoint condition.

From the foregoing description, it will be apparent that the operation of this control system is substantially as follows: The various predetermined operating variables and the monitored variables from sensing elements 98 and 100 are delivered to computer 80 in the manner described above with respect to FIGURE 8. The predetermined operating pressure is set at controllers 156 for each of the quenching zones 46 and 48. As the strip 25 passes under sensing element 98, any variation between estimated initial temperature and actual initial temperature is sensed and relayed to computer 80 which thereupon varies the intensity of the signal being transmitted through lead 110 to controller 208 in the manner aforesaid. As suming again that the actual initial temperature is lower than the estimated initial temperature, thereby requiring a reduction in cooling capacity, the variation in the input signal to controller 208 is effective to unbalance the comparator since this input signal is no longer equal to the internal signal of the comparator. Thereupon the comparator emits a differential e.m.f. which effects an appropriate movement or alteration in the contact sequencing device depending upon whether this is a mechanical or electronic component. Assuming the former for example, the e.m.f. drives a motor which causes movement of a contacting element sequentially over aplurality of contacts to actuate a corresponding number of relays which in turn energize a corresponding number of solenoids to effect closure of a plurality of valves 150. This action continues until the feed back means alters the internal signal of the comparator to equal the new input signal and null-balance is achieved. At this point a given plurality of banks of spray nozzles in zone 46 have ceased to operate thereby reducing the overall heat removal ca- T155 pacity of this zone. Simultaneously, as the various banks 52 of spray nozzles are shut down, element 158 senses the increase in coolant pressure in manifold 58A, relays this information to control element 156 which ac-tuates operator 154 to close down the restriction in valve 152 thereby re-establishing the desired coolant pressure.

If the actual strip exit temperature as sensed by sensing element 100, corresponds to the desired strip exit temperature, the system is stabilized and continues to operate under these conditions. However, if the actual strip exit temperature is not in accordance with the desired exit temperature, further adjustments in the number of banks of spray nozzles operating are effected through the operation just described. If the strip entrance and exit temperatures are such as to indicate a need for greater cooling capacity, the system operates in reverse of the manner just described, to de-energize a required number of solenoids to cause corresponding number of valves 150 to permit flow of coolant through more banks of nozzles.

It is readily apparent that several modifications of the foregoing embodiments may be substituted for the specific structure described. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGURE 8 a completely electrically operated system may be substituted for the pneumatic controls of regulators '71, 73 and 77, respectively, whereby these operators are actuated in response to variable electric signals emitted by a controller component which is effective to sequence the control signal between the operators in a manner which will achieve the desired coolant pressure and flow rate variation in zones 46 and 48 in sequence, or these zones correspondingly.

Similarly, a pneumatic system may be substituted in the FIGURE 9 embodiment for the electric control shown in which the controller is effective to sequentially emit pneumatic control signals to the various valves 150 which would be provided with pneumatic rather than electric operators.

Still further modifications which are deemed to be within the scope of this invention, and which are applicable to either the FIGURE 8 or FIGURE 9 cooling capacity control, reside in the variety of information sources which can be continuously monitored and fed into computer 89. For example, the normally predetermined variables of strip speed, coolant temperature and strip thickness may be monitored by suitable sensing elements which are responsive to variations in these phys ical characteristics, and this information can be fed into suitable input sources similar to sources 94 and 96 for receiving actual strip initial and final temperatures. These monitored variables would be assimilated by computer 80 to effect appropriate changes in the computer output signal intensity. Under normal operating conditions, however, the factors of strip speed, coolant temperature and strip thickness are normally maintained constant for a given run, and supervision of these factors is accordingly not deemed necessary.

A semiautomatic operation of the quenching system is possible by eliminating all of the aforementioned supervisory sensing elements and relying upon visual observation of indicating devices for making appropriate manual adjustments to the computer input sources for the respective variables.

A still simpler means of operation, which involves no automatic control, is to provide nornographs relating all the system operating variables and to utilize manual control of the various coolant flow control devices to effect appropriate operation of the spray chamber.

It will be apparent from the foregoing description that there has been provided an apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material which is believed to provide a solution to the foregoing problems and achieve the aforementioned objects. It is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the illustrations described and shown herein which are deemed .to be merely illustr ive of the b st modes of carrying out the invention, and which are susceptible of modifications of form, size, arrangement of parts and detail of opera tion, but rather is intended to encompass all such modifications which are within the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

What we claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent 1. Apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material comprising:

A. an elongate partially open ended enclosure,

B. means mounted in said enclosure for supporting and conveying said sheet or strip material through said enclosure,

C. spray quenching means mounted in said enclosure, said quenching means being divided into a plurality of zones through which said sheet or strip material is adapted to pass serially,

(1) said spray quenching means in a first zone comprising high impact nozzles which deliver a spray having a relatively small impact area but high density spray pattern,

(2) said spray quenching means in a second zone comprising medium impact nozzles which deliver a spray having a larger impact area but lower density spray pattern than that of said spray nozzles of said first zone,

D. means for supplying a liquid coolant under pressure to said spray quenching means, and

E. control means for independently varying the extent of application of said liquid coolant to said sheet or strip material by said spray quenching means whereby a predetermined amount of heat is removed from said sheet or strip material during passage through said enclosure.

2. An apparatus as set forth in claim 1 further including exhaust means mounted on said enclosure and communicating therewith for maintaining a sub-atmospheric pressure therein.

3. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein a plu rality of nozzles in said first zone are angled laterally across said enclosure, thereby removing spent coolant from the surface of said sheet or strip material.

4. An apparatus according to claim I wherein said first zone terminates in a plurality of wiper spray nozzles angled laterally across said enclosure, said wiper nozzles delivering a relatively narrow fan type pattern of spray, thereby providing a splash preventing spray curtain between said first and second zones.

5. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein a plurality of spray nozzles in said second zone adjacent said first zone are angled laterally across said enclosure, thereby removing spent coolant from the surface of said sheet or strip material.

6. An apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said spray quenching means are divided into three zones, with said spray nozzles in said first zone being said high impact nozzles, said spray nozzles in said second zone being said medium impact nozzles, and said third zone comprising low impact nozzles which deliver a spray having a larger impact area but lower density spray pattern than that of said spray nozzles of said second zone.

7. An apparatus according to claim 6 wherein said third zone terminates in a plurality of wiper spray nozzles angled laterally across said enclosure, said wiper nozzles delivering a relatively narrow fan type pattern of spray, thereby providing a splash preventing spray curtain.

8. Apparatus for rapidly and controllably quenching metal sheet or strip material comprising:

A. an elongate partially open ended enclosure,

B. means mounted in said enclosure for supporting and conveying said sheet or strip material through said enclosure,

C. spray quenching means mounted in said enclosure, said quenching means being divided into a plurality 17 of zones through which said sheet or strip material is adapted to pass serially,

(1) said spray quenching means in a first zone comprising longitudinally spaced apart banks of high impact nozzles which deliver a spray having a relatively small impact area but high density spray pattern,

(2) said spray quenching means in a second zone comprising longitudinally spaced apart banks of medium impact nozzles which deliver a spray having a larger impact area 'but lower density spray pattern than that of said spray nozzles of said first zone,

(3) said zones including a plurality of longitudinally spaced apart banks of spray nozzles, with the nozzles in each bank being secured to common manifolds,

D. means for supplying liquid coolant under pressure to each of said zones, said means including a first andsecond main manifold communicating respectively with each of said common manifolds, and

E. control means for independently varying the extent of application of said liquid coolant to aid sheet or strip material by said spray quenching means whereby a predetermined amount of heat is removed from said sheet or strip material during passage through said enclosure.

9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said control means comprises A. at least first and second variable flow control means located upstream of said first and second main mani- =folds respectively for varying the coolant pressure and flow rate, and

B. means for adjustably controlling the operation of said flow control means whereby the coolant pressure and fiow rate in said first and second zones is independently varied.

10. Apparatus as set forth in claim 9 wherein said control means further comprises A. a third variable flow control means located upstream from said first and second flow control devices, and

B. means for adjustably controlling the operation of said third flow control means whereby the coolant pressure and flow rate in said first and second zones is simultaneously and correspondingly varied.

11. Apparatus as set forth in claim 9 wherein said means for adjustably controlling said first and second flow control means comprises A. a computer having (1) a plurality of variable information input sources,

(2) means responsive to information from said sources for interpreting said information and for delivering a variable intensity output signal,

B. a controller component having (1) means for receiving said computer output signal,

(2) means for converting said signal into a variable intensity control signal for continuously actuating said flow control means in response thereto,

(3) means connecting said controller component to said flow control means for communicating said variable control signal to said flow control means, and

(4) means for sequencing said control signal between said first and second flow control means whereby said fiow control means are actuated in sequence in response to variation in the intensity of said control signal to vary the pressure and fiow rate of said liquid coolant in said first and second zones.

12. Apparatus as set forth in claim 9 wherein said means for adjustably controlling said first and second flow control means comprises A. a computer having (1) a plurality of predetermined variable information input sources,

(2) a plurality of monitored variable information input sources,

(3) means responsive to information from all said sources for interpreting said information and for delivering a variable intensity output signal,

B. monitoring means for sensing variations in the information transmitted to said monitored variable information input sources including sensing elements and means for transmitting said variations to said computer,

C. a controller component having (1) means for receiving said computer signal,

(2) means for converting said signal into a variable intensity control signal for continuously actuating said flow control means in response thereto,

(3) means connecting 'said controller component to said flow control means for communicating said variable control signal to said fiow control means, and

(4) means responsive to variations in the intensity of said control signal for sequencing said control signal between said first and second flow control means whereby said fiow control means are actuated in sequence in response to variations in the intensity of said control signal to vary the pressure and flow rate of said liquid coolant in said first and second zones.

13. Apparatus as set forth in claim 12 further including means for establishing estimated predetermined conditions at said monitoring means whereby said apparatus is adjusted to deliver a predetermined pressure and flow rate of liquid coolant before said sheet or strip enters said quenching means.

14. Apparatus as set forth in claim 10 wherein said means for aojustably controlling the operation of said first, second and third flow control means comprises A. a computer having (1) a plurality of variable sources, 1

(2) means responsive to information from said sources for interpreting said information and for delivering a variable intensity output signal,

B. a contro-llercomponent having 1 (1) means for receiving said computer output signal,

( 2) means for converting said signal into a variable intensity control signal for continuously actuating said flow control means in response thereto,

(3) means connecting said controller component to said flow control means for communicating said variable control signal to said flow control means,

(4) directional control means for effecting communication alternatively between said controller component and said third flow control means or said controller component and said first and second flow control means, and

(5) means for sequencing said control signal between said first and second flow control means when said directional control means is set to establish communication between said controller component and said first and second flow control means whereby said third flow control means is actuated in response to variations in the intensity of said control signal to vary the pressure and flow rate of said liquid coolant in said first and second zones simultaneously or alternatively said first and second fiow control means are output information input actuated in sequence in response to variations in the intensity of said control signal to vary the pressure and flow rate of said liquid coolant in said first and second Zones independently.

15. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 wherein said control means comprises A. flow control means located in each of said common manifolds of at least said first and second zones for alternately blocking and maintaining communication between said common manifolds and said coolant supply means, and

B. means for adj ustably controlling the operation of said How control means whereby the efiective quenching length of said first and second zones is alternately varied by preventing passage of cOolant to a selected number of said common manifolds.

16. Apparatus as set forth in claim 15 wherein said means for adjustably controlling said flow control means comprises A. a computer having (1) a plurality of variable information input sources,

(2) means responsive to information from said sources for interpreting said information and for delivering a variable intensity output signal,

B. a controller component having (1) means for receiving said computer output signal,

(2) means for converting said signal into a variable intensity control signal for causing actuation of said flow control means in response thereto,

(3) means connecting said controller component to each said flow control means for communicating a plurality of individual control signals to said fiow control means, and

(4) means for converting said variable intensity control signal into said plurality of individual control signals for each of said flow control means and for sequencing said individual control signals serially between said flow control means whereby a different number of said flow control means are actuated in response to variations in the intensity of said variable control sig-' nal to vary the number of banks of nozzles operating in said first and second zones.

17. Apparatus as set forth in claim 15 wherein said means for adjustably controlling said flow control means comprises A. a computer having (l) a plurality of predetermined variable information input sources,

(2) a plurality of monitored variable information input sources,

(3) means responsive to information from all said sources for interpreting said information and for delivering a variable intensity output signal,

B. monitoring means for sensing variations in the information transmitted to said monitored variable information input sources including sensing elements and means for transmitting said variations to said computer,

C. a controller component having (1) means for receiving said computer output signal,

(2) means for converting said signal into a variable intensity control signal for causing actuation of said flow control means in response thereto,

(3) means connecting said controller component to each said flow control means for communicating a plurality of individual control signals to said flow control means, and

(4) means for converting said variable intensity control signal into a plurality of individual con trol signals for each of said fiow control means and for sequencing said individual control signals serially between said flow control means whereby a different number of said flow control means are actuated in response to variations in the intensity of said variable control signal to vary the number of banks of nozzles operating in said first and second zones.

18. Apparatus as set forth in claim 17 further including means for establishing estimated predetermined conditions at said monitoring means whereby said apparatus is adjusted to cause a predetermined number of banks of spray nozzles to deliver coolant before said sheet or strip enters said quenching means.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,851,042 9/1958 Spence 266-6 X 3,036,825 5/1962 Eisenmenger 2666 X 3,186,201 6/1965 Ludbrook 235l5l.l1 X

JOHN F. CAMPBELL, Primary Examiner.

CHARLIE T. MOON, Examiner,

R. F. DROPKIN, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3428023 *Jul 2, 1964Feb 18, 1969Dominion Foundries & SteelQuenching zinc metal coatings with atomised water spray
US3468362 *May 29, 1967Sep 23, 1969Concast AgMethod of cooling cast members from a continuous casting operation
US3479853 *Aug 29, 1967Nov 25, 1969Jones & Laughlin Steel CorpHot rolling of light gauge strip
US3533261 *Jun 15, 1967Oct 13, 1970Dirk Van LoonMethod and a device for cooling hot-rolled metal strip on a run-out table after being rolled
US3554513 *Apr 8, 1968Jan 12, 1971Kaiser Aluminium Chem CorpSystem and apparatus for quick quenching continuously heated strip
US3589160 *Jun 7, 1968Jun 29, 1971Bethlehem Steel CorpApparatus and method for controlling accelerated cooling of hot rolled strip material
US3604234 *May 16, 1969Sep 14, 1971Gen ElectricTemperature control system for mill runout table
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US3629015 *Mar 17, 1969Dec 21, 1971Nippon Steel CorpMethod for cooling thick steel plates
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US4042227 *Jul 23, 1975Aug 16, 1977Southwire CompanyMethod and apparatus for continuously homogenizing and quenching aluminum billets
US4318534 *Oct 9, 1980Mar 9, 1982Midland-Ross CorporationPlate quench
US7763131 *Oct 12, 2005Jul 27, 2010Cmi Thermline ServicesMethod and apparatus for limiting the vibration of steel or aluminum strips in a blown-gas or -air cooling zones
US8012406May 15, 2007Sep 6, 2011Nippon Steel CorporationMethod of arranging and setting spray cooling nozzles and hot steel plate cooling apparatus
US8197746Jun 1, 2011Jun 12, 2012Nippon Steel CorporationMethod of arranging and setting spray cooling nozzles and hot steel plate cooling apparatus
US8463446Sep 2, 2008Jun 11, 2013Siemens AktiengesellschaftOperating method for a cooling section having centralized detection of valve characteristics and objects corresponding thereto
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DE2023799A1 *May 15, 1970Nov 19, 1970 Title not available
DE19854675C2 *Nov 26, 1998Sep 26, 2002Thyssenkrupp Stahl AgVorrichtung zum Kühlen eines Metallbandes, insbesondere eies Warmbreitbandes
DE102007046279A1 *Sep 27, 2007Apr 9, 2009Siemens AgBetriebsverfahren für eine Kühlstrecke mit zentralisierter Erfassung von Ventilcharakteristiken und hiermit korrespondierende Gegenstände
EP1944098A1 *May 15, 2007Jul 16, 2008Nippon Steel CorporationMethod for setting arrangement of spray cooling nozzles and hot steel plate cooling system
WO1986002384A1 *Oct 4, 1985Apr 24, 1986Bertin & CieMethod for the continuous tempering of sheet metal such as steel and plant for implementing it
WO1992013109A1 *Jan 22, 1992Aug 6, 1992Bertin & CieMethod and apparatus for cooling and quenching flat products moving along a path
Classifications
U.S. Classification134/64.00R, 266/113
International ClassificationB21B37/76, C21D1/62, C21D1/667, B21B37/74, C21D9/573, B21B45/02
Cooperative ClassificationC21D1/667, B21B37/76, B21B37/74, C21D9/573, B21B45/0218
European ClassificationC21D1/667, B21B37/74, C21D9/573