In the steelmaking industry, panel failures come as no surprise. Due to the extreme environment that these cooling elements are used to contain, it is almost guaranteed that eventually a cooling element will need to be replaced. The goal of EAFab is to extend the life expectancy before the replacement of the water-cooled element becomes necessary. We have spent years studying the industry to find the best solutions to this inevitability.
Many factors play a role in to the life of a panel or cooled section. Water temperature, number of circuits, exposure and water factor are just a few. The goal of an effective design is to capture all the relevant features for that specific panel to succeed.
The water factor of a panel is something that EAFab has been working with over the course of many years. The water factor is a representation of the GPM (gallons per minute)/FT2. This reflects the amount of water that is flowing through a section of the panel in relation to the square footage that is being covered. A common rule EAFab uses, for water factor and the number of circuits, goes as follows: 4 GPM/FT2 and circuits not to exceed 25 SQ. FT.
It is especially important to note that these figures are used as a general idea of where you should be with your panel design. The water factor can differ based on whether the element is a Sidewall Panel, Roof Panel, 4th Hole Elbow, or ductwork as well as where the element is physically located in reference to the furnace. The size of circuitry that is used and materials, can also be considered with this rule.
A simple truth to the industry is that every panel is extremely unique and different based on its location and exposure. There are specific things that must be considered based on the specific environment the panel is exposed to. This is what makes exposure recognition a very underrated and a key factor to a panel’s life cycle.
A circuit that has little exposure to heat does not need as high of a water factor as one that is directly exposed. This is where the design of a panel becomes important.
EAFab engineers design each panel
specifically to the environment and exposure each panel and circuit will be in. This analysis helps to determine the importance of a panels water factor. .
Anytime that a failure occurs, EAFab has a variety of questions that are asked to determine what went wrong and how to adjust the panel’s design to better handle the situation.
Where did the failure occur?
What is the material of the piece that had failed?
What is the temperature of the water?
Key notes from these studies are that every design will have a weak spot. Figuring out the importance and risk of this weak spot is what matters. Taking these weak spots in to account, the design of a panel must be made to deliver the proper water factor to each circuit in the panel based on exposure and environment.