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Kettle Inspection

Some people thought it would be impossible. Others questioned its accuracy. Hundreds of kettle inspections later, the KID technology, invented and brought to the industry by Zinco, is  a worldwide acclaimed and recognized standard in kettle and furnace maintenance. Supported by a large community of global customers, distributed in four continents, the KID service has changed the way galvanizers look at their kettle life and manage their plant.

zn-kettle-inspection-schema

zn-kettle-inspection-schema

Stages of a kettle inspection

Assesment

There are two aspects that are key in our first assessment of your furnace: site specific features and technical specifications. The first side of our assessment, which is usually run by asking our customers to fill out a pre-inspection questionnaire, serves the purpose of making sure we can actually perform the service. Vertical space is needed between the overhead crane and the surface if the bath. A certain voltage and plug are needed to power the equipment. Splash sides or other features such an enclosure might need specific responses and preparation by our technicians.

Then, we need the technical specifications of the furnace. This data, cross referenced to our extensive worldwide corrosion database, will help suggest a grid of inspection.

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Planning

Once we receive your data and a contract is signed, it’s time to plan the service. Besides determining a specific date and time, it is a matter of defining some more details. Safety procedures, availability of local support, discussion of the proposed inspection grid and its potential integration. For us, it’s a lot of work to make sure teams are shipped out efficiently and on time, wherever in the world it might be required, while the box with the technical equipment also needs to be shipped timely.

Logistics play a big part in the end result, but also affect our capability to offer premium pricing to our Customers. Planning ahead of time and showing a certain degree of flexibility, will allow Zinco to insert your next inspection in a planned tour of your area, potentially saving you money. Accepting to host an inspection away from weekends or long breaks is usually a discounted option, too.

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Execution

A two man team gets on site and assembles the kit from the shipping box. Once power is plugged and the electrics tested, it’s time for preheating the special high temperature probe. Using proprietary software developed in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada and the Engineering Department at the University of Brescia, our technicians perform the readings planned in the appropriate grid of inspection, allowing for exceptions and in-depth, instant additions when reading are not as expected. All information is saved in the computer and will be stored in our archives both for reporting activities and future reviews.

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Post processing

Once the team is back at the office, a proprietary review software is used to open all the stored reading from an inspection. They are checked again, usually by a second person who did not attend the inspection, to have a fresh set of eyes available. Information is verified, together with accuracy of reading.

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Database consultation

Once the thickness information regarding a kettle has been verified, our specialists will go into our historic database and search for similar settings, either by size or by furnace technology, age and other parameters. They will look at what the trends have been in similar settings and use the information to evaluate data from the inspection and provide guidance and a general comparison framework to the Customer.

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Reporting

We have two steps of reporting to our customers. Because we realize it will take time to sift through all the data, we usually send a preliminary report shortly after the inspection. This will simply be a series of tables, collecting the thickness figures for the various points in the grid. Thanks to this initial information, the customer will at least be able to get a general feel of how the inspection went and what the outcome was. Later on, we will send a final report, which will add colored thickness maps of the two long sides, extensive commentary and potential suggestions on actions to be taken to improve kettle conditions.

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Optimization

This is the natural outcome of a kettle inspection – or it should be. More and more, Customers involve Zinco in an optimization process aimed at saving energy by making the combustion logics more efficient. In the end, such approach to the furnace optimization results in significant savings while prolonging and balancing the life cycle of the kettle.

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