AMEPA chronology - Thermographic Slag Detection
Service - Thermographic Slag Detection
Field of application - Thermographic Slag Detection
Distribution partner - Thermographic Slag Detection
References - Thermographic Slag Detection
Health and safety system - Thermographic Slag Detection
CFM - Coal Flow Measurement
ESD - Electromagnetic Slag Detection
OFIS - Oil Film Thickness Measurement
OFM - Online Oil Film Measurement
RSD - Residual Steel Detection
SRM - Surface Roughness Measurement
TSD - Thermographic Slag Detection
MFM - Mould Flow Measurement
SFM - Ladle Purging Monitor
Slagmeter - Slag Thickness Measuring
Wavisurf - Online Waviness Measurement

Since 1999, the Thermographic Slag Detection system TSD is being operated successfully at converters. Here, the different emissivity of steel and slag is being analysed in the infrared range. This system does not need any sensors at or in the converter.



The transfer of BOF & EAF slag during the tap is recognized as an important issue in today’s steel-making process. In order to control slag transfer, it has to be measured. AMEPA’s new slag detection system, the TSD, measures this transfer by means of thermographic analysis.

The Laws of Physics state that electromagnetic energy is radiated when a body temperature is above absolute zero. The amount of energy radiated depends on factors such as composition, surface properties and temperature. Non-contact temperature readings are measured with this radiated energy. Radiation factors also allow items of the same temperature to be distinguished. This is possible because of the difference between the composition and/or surface properties.

When transferring molten metal, steel and slag approximately have the same temperature. But the composition and surface properties are different, so the slag flowing on the surface can be identified.

Human eyes distinguish between steel and slag by seeing a transition from white to yellow in the molten stream. But it is very difficult to identify this transition due to the high radiation intensity.

With a specialized infrared camera and sophisticated image processing, the molten metal stream can be illustrated to show a significantly greater contrast. For instance, the steel to slag contrast can be displayed as a transition from yellow to green.


A reliable slag detection system must identify the steel-slag transition under varying operating conditions. Influencing factors for the measurement principle include:

Steel tap temperature differences

Taphole changes that affect mass/energy, and surface conditions/emissivity levels

Changes in air humidity & dust levels that affect the transmission of infrared radiation

Radiation from other sources

A quality system must have the intelligence to recognize and suppress these influences.

The AMEPA System achieves this by directing the infrared camera signal to an industrial PC, where the image processing is done. This software solution allows the automatic identification and tracking of the tap stream.

Within the software, various algorithms identify changes to the tap stream emissivity, and stream-to-camera radiation transmission levels. The camera parameters are automatically adjusted in an adaptive manner. Optimal operation of the system is therefore achieved. In the tap pulpit, the molten stream is displayed on a suitable monitor for use by the BOF operators. A bar graph on the Tap Pulpit Monitor displays the percentage, or index, of slag in the visible stream area.

Since the TSD system generates a significant contrast between steel and slag, an alarm can be generated. The alarm limit is fully adjustable and can be readily set by operating personnel.

When the Slag Alarm occurs, the bar graph turns red and an audible alarm is set. The alarm signal can also be transmitted to other computer systems via analog or serial interface. This alarm is easily connected to taphole stopper or slidegate systems for automatic shut-off.

Each tap is recorded and relevant information can be transmitted to the customers computer database for viewing and storage. The stored tap images generated by the system are useful for training and documentation purposes.
System status, fault and diagnostic codes are reported and shown on the system’s monitors, and are stored in a daily log file.


  • K.J. Graham, M. Ricci, S. Waterfall, G.A. Irons: "Slag Carryover Control at ArcelorMittal Dofasco". AISTech 2008.

  • LI Jiang, ZHOU Jigang, ZHONG Zhimin, LI Cunlin, KONG Xianghong: "Application of Thermographic Slag Detection System in Baosteel". AISTech 2007.

  • A. Overbosch, J. v Oord, P. Koopmans, L. Knorren: "Improvement of Tapping Procedures at Cvorus Ijmuiden" BHM, 148.Jg.(2003), Heft 7.

  • K. Bertermann and W. Bender-Bergold: "Tapping Practices & BOF Yield Improvement Session". AISTech 2005.

  • C. Pinheiro, R. Brandao, M. Al-Shammari, K. Al-Jarba, M. Al-Gahtani and B. Prott: "Test of a Thermographic Slag Detection System at the Saudi Iron and Steel Company (Hadeed)." 6th European Conference on Continuous Casting 2008.

  • Wode, S.: „Thermographic slag detection" millennium steel 2001, S. 140 - 143

  • Goldstein, D. A.; Sharan, A.; Stofanak, J. A.: „Infrared Imagaing for BOF Slag Detection." 83th Steelmaking Conference Proceedings, 2000, S. 331 - 343

  • Carss, S., et. al.: „Slag Detection in the Tapping Stream using Thermal Imaging." 3rd European Oxygen Steelmaking Conference, Pre-Prints, S. 319 - 328, Okt. 2000, Birmingham, UK