This photograph is an extraction from the Fielding Systems Engineering brochure.
In 1977 Fielding won a contract to supply a water hydraulic system with special hydraulic cylinders to power the Ladle Turntable (illustrated) on the new continuous casting facility at BSC Ravenscraig.
The Concast casting process, as the name implies, required a continuous supply of molten metal to be fed through suitably sized dies to produce bar or strip profile. The supply of molten metal was achieved by means of a two-position rotary ladle turntable fitted with raise/lower arms each side on to which a ladle containing molten metal could be lowered. Each pair of raise/lower arms were moved by an hydraulic cylinder of special design. (The photo illustrates a ladle in the pouring position with the other position free, ready to accept a new fully charged ladle).
When the ladle had completed it’s pour, the empty ladle would be raised and rotated 180 degrees, thereby bringing a new fully charged ladle over the smaller fixed tundish that acted as a buffer whilst the changeover took place. The full ladle would be lowered enabling the buffer container to be replenished. The empty ladle would then be removed by crane in the next bay and replaced, as necessary.
The hydraulic system, mounted inside the turntable comprised two small Holden & Brooke triple-ram pumps at 2500psi working pressure, with associated Fielding hydraulic valves to lift and lower the cylinders. Fluid medium was water and soluble oil mixture to obviate any fire risk.
The fixed-position cylinders were a unique design to the project. They were single-acting pistons, nickel and chrome plated, with a dumbbell mounted in an oil bath inside the piston in order to eliminate any side forces on the piston. The upper part of the dumbbell was attached to the moving arms. The cylinders were each capable of lifting approximately 570 tons and were designed by John Davis.
BSC Ravenscraig works closed in 1992.
A later contract was awarded to Fielding & Platt for a larger Ladle Turntable system employing two pairs of cylinders and associated hydraulics, for BSC Port Talbot. At the time of writing this is still believed to be in operation.
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