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Development of Heavy Steel Forgings for Nuclear Energy Equipments

G K Pillai, Chairman cum Managing Director Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd. Ranchi
Abstract In view of the governments decision, to set up a number of nuclear power plants, in collaboration with western countries, Indian companies needed to upgrade the existing level of technological processes to meet the demand for high quality steel forgings. Till date, only a few countries in the world have the technical knowhow and the facilities for making the forgings. Due to the stringent quality requirements of the nuclear grade steels, a very high order of technological processes for making clean steel, forging, heat treatment, machining and testing is required. To develop the capability within our country, Heavy Engineering Corporation Ltd, Ranchi, a Public Sector Unit, under the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, took the lead in developing the processes required to manufacture a 25MT Shell forging, from a 120MT ingot. This paper deals with the various innovative technological practices developed and established in the Foundry Forge Plant (FFP) of HEC Ltd

Introduction
The steel forgings in a nuclear reactor are continuously exposed to nuclear radiation, high temperature and pressure. To withstand these effects, steel grades with high toughness requirements and very low levels of impurities are required to make the forgings. Also, the forging processes involve upsetting of heavy Ingots, punching, mandrel forging, ring rolling and drawing. To ensure the required steel quality, it is essential to control the levels of impurities like Phosphorous, Sulphur, Hydrogen, Arsenic, Copper, and Cobalt etc, much below the levels presently achieved. Only a few countries like, Japan, S Korea, Italy, France have the facilities to supply such forgings. In India, some forge shops are making smaller items such as Nozzles but these are made from imported ingots/blanks. HEC Ltd, Ranchi, though primarily set up to meet the demand of Steel and Mining sectors, has decided to enter the high tech sector of making forgings for nuclear power equipments. It has unique facilities for steel making, forging, heat treatment, machining and testing in one location. Though the requirements are very stringent and the equipments were required to be utilized at their optimum levels, HECL has ventured to develop the processes for making heavy ingots upto 120 MT and forgings weighing about 25 MT,

Product range of Foundry Forge Plant (FFP) and production facilities


FFP supplies castings and forgings for various equipments for Steel, Mining and General Engineering sectors, besides Main BG Crankshafts for 16 cylinder engines for Railways and some special items for shipyards, space and defence sectors. The heaviest of the forgings, such as Main Shaft for Crusher, weighed about 50MT, forged from a

87T ingot. The quality requirements include tests for chemistry, mechanical tests at room temperature and ultrasonic tests. The main production equipment are: Primary steel making units: Electric Arc Furnaces 30T Capacity- 2 nos.,10T Capacity- 1 no. Secondary Steel making units: Vacuum Arc Degassing Furnace 60T Capacity- 1 no., Ladle Furnace- 1 no. and Stream degassing Unit 90T Capacity- 1 no Hydraulic Presses: 6000T Capacity- 1 no., 2650T Capacity- 1 no., 1650T Capacity- 1 no. and 1000T Capacity- 1 no.

Development of Shell Forging weighing about 25T for BARC by HEC


1) Description of Forging Supply size: 3000mm length (approx.) and 400 mm thick Material grade: Low-Carbon, Chrome-Moly-Vanadium steel, with very low levels of impurities Heat Treatment: Quench and temper Mechanical tests, along Axial, Tangential and Normal directions for Tensile tests at Room Temperature and at 3500C, establishing Ductile Brittle Transition Temperature(Tko), determination of Nil Ductility Transition Temperature(Pellini Drop Weight Test) Non Destructive Examination (Ultrasonic and Magnetic Particle tests)

2) Challenges in manufacturing of the Shell Forging For making the shell forging, a black forging of size about 3500mm ht. was required to be forged from a 120T ingot. The following technological constraints were identified in manufacturing of the forging. a) Capacity constraints in making 120T of steel melt and chemistry with very low levels of impurities, gases and inclusions. b) Capacity constraints in upsetting of 90T forged block in the 6000T press. c) Effective Quality Heat Treatment ( Water quench and Tempering) to ensure uniform properties in all three directions and across the thickness d) Machining of the shell forging, to meet the requirements for perpendicularity within 0.1mm and concentricity of all diameters within 0.05mm with respect to the inside diameter

3) Technological solutions and the risks encountered a) Impurities in the raw materials, deleterious to low temperature impact properties during service were controlled through revision of quality standards for steel scrap revision of quality standards for fluxes, ferro alloys and argon Special scrap, with very low levels of impurities, was procured from Bokaro Steel plant and alloying additions such as metallic Chromium, metallic Manganese with low levels of Arsenic and Phosphorous were used for making the steel. b) Fig. 1 schematically shows the route followed for realizing 120T of fully refined metal for pouring the ingot. Through meticulous planning, monitoring and coordination, our Engineers succeeded in synchronizing the bath chemistry of 5 melts, latter matching the chemistry of refined metal in Vacuum Arc Degassing Furnace (VAD) and Ladle Furnace (LF). managing the logistics of hot metal handling and the risky operation of hot metal holding of the 1st batch of refined metal in LF for 12 hours. control of exogenous inclusions while handling of the metal from 6 refractory lined ladles and achieving the cleanliness even after such long holding c) In order to control the hydrogen in the steel to a level of less than 1ppm, a Package Boiler exclusively for the vacuum degassing unit was installed to achieve very low vacuum levels . Further, controls at every stage of processing were implemented, to reduce hydrogen input in to the metal.

d) Fig 2 schematically shows the route followed for forging and further processing. Through section hot working, in the 6000T press was a key operation in achieving isotropic properties of the product. The capacity constraint on this account was resolved by design, manufacture and use of a Rotating Table for partial upsetting of the heavy forged block, through successive rotations e) FFP has gas fired furnaces for heat treating such big forgings. However, to ensure uniform metallurgical and mechanical properties and satisfy the ultrasonic requirements, we have developed a heat treatment technology

carried out the heat treatment in a specially installed Electric Pit Furnace.( 3500mm dia X 8000mm depth) f) To achieve the strict dimensional tolerances, the forging was machined, using CNC Vertical Turning and Boring Machine, for finish machining CNC Horizontal Boring Machine, for locating the nozzle location and slicing of Test piece rings from the job.

4) Production of Shell forging The various stages of manufacturing, starting from Preliminary refining in 30T EAF, till final despatch of the forging are shown in the following process charts and photographs.

PROCESS FLOW CHART FOR INGOT MAKING


Very High Purity Scrap Steel Making in 2 Batches Alloying Additions High Purity Metallic Materials Secondary Refining and degassing in 60T VAD Secondary Refining and degassing in 60T VAD

Transfer of Metal to LF

Pouring under Vacuum

120 Ton Ingot

Fig. 1

Primary Refining of Steel in 30T EAF

Secondary Refinement in 60T VAD

Stripping of 120T Ingot from mould

PROCESS FLOW CHART FORGING AND FURTHER PROCESSING


Ingot for Forging

Forging operation in 6000T Press

Preliminary H/T

Rough Machining

Quality H/T (Quench & Temper) Machining

Testing

Fig. 2

Holding of 120T Ingot for Pin Forming

Forging of Ingot into block

Block Forging for Upsetting

Upsetting of Block

Upsetting of Block on rotating table

Punching Operation

Ring Rolling on Mandrel

Drawing on water cooled taper mandrel

Step Forging

Finished Shell Forging

Set up for Ultrasonic testing

Despatch of Finish Machined Forging

5) Quality of the Forgings Developed for nuclear sector a) Control of Impurities Table 1- Impurities Copper Phosphorus Sulphur Hydrogen Other impurity elements < 0.05% < 0.006% < 0.004% < 1.5 ppm < 100 ppm

Fig.3 Level of impurities in a number of melts


0.012 0.010 0.008 0.006 0.004 0.002 0.000 P S Sn Al As Sb

b) Distribution of different elements in a number of melts Fig.4


0.50 0.45 0.40 0.35 0.30 0.25 0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 Ni Mn Si Cu

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c)

Homogeneity of Properties Fig.5 - Yield Strength (MPa) at Room Temperature


700 600

Yield Strength (MPa)

500 400 300 200 100 0 0 0.25 0.5 0.75 Fraction of Section Thickness 1

Fig.6 - Impact Energy at 15 deg. C


300 Impact Energy (Joules/Cm )
2

250

200

150

100 0 0.25 0.5 Fraction of Section Thickness 0.75 1

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d) Low temperature properties Fig.7 - Low temperature Impact Energy

Other products of HECL for Strategic Sectors


HEC has made significant contributions to the defence and space sectors also, besides its core strength areas of steel and mining sectors. Some equipment and components HEC has manufactured for the Defence and Space Sectors are: Space and Atomic Energy Sectors High tech heavy duty structural Mobile Launch Pedestal Folding cum Vertically Repositionable Platform (FCVRP) Horizontal Sliding Door Heavy Duty Overhead Cranes

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Special Purpose CNC machine tools Development of Special grade steel (15CDV6) 10 Ton Hammer Head Tower Crane installed at the top of Umbilical Tower of 80 M Height 400 TON crane at ISRO / SHAR (Installed at 46 M Ht in Solid Stage Assembly Building of GSLV Mk-III Project at SHAR to facilitate Assembly of Launch Vehicle.)

6 AXIS, CNC Vertical Turning & Boring machine for ISRO Design and manufacture of Magnet Pole Caps and other components of Super Conducting Cyclotron Magnet (K-500) for Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata

Defence Sector-Army & Navy Indian Mountain Gun (MK-II) Gun Barrel Forged Armour Plates Turret Casting for T72 Tank Fabricated Hull & Turret for MBT Arjun Marine Diesel Engine Block Stern Gear Systems for INS RANA Rudder Stock Assembly Propeller Shaft Assembly

Defence Sector-Ordnance Factories: Deep Boring CNC Machine (10 M) for IOF, Kanpur Horizontal Boring Machine for Naval Dockyard, Vishakhapatnam. Rolling Mill Equipment for Metal & Steel Factory, Ichapur Gun Barrel Drilling Machine

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Manufacturing plan for nuclear grade steel forgings in 2010-11


Besides this forging, HEC has also manufactured and supplied other forgings such as Rings, Flanges, Covers, and Plates to the nuclear energy sector. Recently, NPCIL placed an order for manufacture and supply of Tube Sheet, Nozzle and Cover forgings, as per material grade 20MnMoNi55. The first ingot for making the nozzles is scheduled for casting in Nov.2010. We are aiming to complete the supply by 3rd quarter of 2011. Also, seeing the demand for Shells of diameter beyond 2500mm and Dish end forgings, we are going ahead with upgrading our facilities for the manufacture and supply of these forgings. The Heavy Machine Building Plant of HECL, has excellent facilities for machining and weld fabrication of large structures/assemblies. We propose to further upgrade the welding processes and facilities to conform to the requirements of nuclear pressure vessel fabrication in order to take up manufacture of equipments for nuclear power plants.

Conclusion:
The results achieved showed that we had established the technological processes for achieving the required quality levels of steel forgings for nuclear power plant equipment. HEC understands that much bigger sizes of forgings are required for the commercial power plants. But, the Engineers in HEC are confident of taking up bigger challenges and help the country in import substitution. We are in the process of collaborating with established manufacturers, for upgradation of our facilities, to meet the demand for heavy steel forgings required for Pressurizer vessels, Steam Generators and Reactor Vessels. I take this opportunity in acknowledging the invaluable guidance and support provided by Sri R.S. Yadav, AD, RPG,BARC and his team of Engineers Sri R.N.Sen and Vivek Srivastav, in helping us in identifying the

improvements in the processes, making a comprehensive manufacturing and quality assurance plan, upgradation of the testing processes and facilities and meticulous follow up of the processes. They have been a huge source of strength in overcoming various hurdles faced during development of the processes.

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