Quality Control Laboratory at Balasore Alloys Ltd. opened up on the importance of processes carried out by the experts in this strategic department and the overall impact on product quality.
Dr. Utpal Kumar Banerjee, Head of Department QC-R Lab & Process Improvement at the company since 2015, holds B SC Eng Metallurgy, M Tech Ferrous M Tech Ferrous Process Metallurgy IIT and PhD Ferrous Process Metallurgy IIT. He explains the massive role of continuous testing and analytical measurements of all incoming raw materials, in process taping samples and finished product samples in the company facility.
“Laboratory is in many senses a special area”, Dr. Baneree notes – “The very Latin word means “to labor”. Apparently it’s the place where concepts and inventions do start their way on”. Emphasis is laid on accuracy and precision of measurements, application of standard sampling methods, and reliability of results by adopting good laboratory practices and high quality testing services.
The laboratory is committed to safe working environment and has been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) making it proudly the first Ferrochrome NABL certified Laboratory in India.
The kitchen where products excellence is refined to millimetres
The Laboratory is equipped with high precision Super Mini 200 WDXRF, LECO CS-744 for Carbon and Sulphur Analyser and UV/VIS Spectrophotometer.
A team of chemists with over 20 years of experience in analytical line are conducting wet chemical analysis to check the trend of receipt of incoming raw material quality and compare their suitability with specifications.
What makes adhering to specifications crucial? “Consistency of chemical composition and size has to be strictly maintained”, Dr. Banerjee explains – “No compromise on any of the quality parameters is acceptable as quality of raw materials determines the output quality which may affect the customer directly.”
Raw material quality maintenance is an approach to Zero defects by reducing abnormalities in furnace input and improving understanding of furnace production.
Product quality compliance is proven important in assuring the grade desired by customer can be tailored, Marketing department confirms.
It is not only the right input of required raw materials but also the control of process parameter during smelting t in Submerge arc furnace that determine the right grade of Ferro chrome as planned.
The production of low silicon Ferro Chrome requires the right control of furnace operation with maintaining MgO/Al2O3 and bacisity of (CaO+MgO)/SiO2 with lower operating temperature.
At Balasore Alloys Limited’s laboratory one operates with semi closed submerge arc furnace which turns the control of operating temperature knotty to maintain due to the varied charge mix composition and different types of reductants and fluxes.
Size of Ferro Chrome is important. In the finished product stage apart from the chemical composition, the company addresses the different size requirement of the customer by manual breaking with minimum fines generation.
A close network between Quality Control, raw material handling and Marketing forces is apparently required in making sure every single demand is processed with no compromise on quality, regardless of the volume ordered. Communication process is continuous right from collecting the order to feeding the raw material into bunker for quality checking. Material balance is made on the basis of day to day feed material composition to furnace. “Standard operating procedures are followed during every stage for achieving the right grade with regular internal audit for assessment of quality compliance”, Dr. Banerjee specifies.
To whom these preparations are concerned
95% of the Ferro Chrome is used in Stainless steel and alloy grade steel production. Other application is for chrome paint for corrosion resistance and in Chrome plating. Steel maker would like to know the Carbon, Chromium and Silicon label along with Phosphorus, Sulphur and Titanium.
Balasore Alloys Ltd. has its Laboratory open to faculty visits upon preliminary requests.