The digital eye inside the mold

Nicole Oberschmidleitner ...

... is Head of Mechatronic Products at Primetals Technologies and is committed to addressing steel producers' challenges with innovative solutions and services.


Have you ever wondered what the inside of the caster mold looks like? There are plenty of good reasons why you might be curious: the inner workings of the caster determine to a large extent the quality of the cast slabs, blooms, or billets. It is also essential that the caster operates smoothly and any stickers are detected early, as stickers can lead to breakouts and to costly standstill times. Mold Expert was designed to let you do exactly that—to see what goes on inside the mold. With 250 installations to date, Mold Expert is the best-selling mold-­monitoring solution worldwide. The newest version, Mold Expert Fiber, adds a new level of detail to the system by increasing the number of measuring points from 120 to over 3,000.

Nicole Oberschmidleitner, together with her team, has made huge steps forward with Mold Expert. It was under her guidance that Mold Expert Fiber was developed, which uses fiber Bragg gratings to increase mold-­specific data by a factor of 10–20. This gain in information led to a significant refinement of the algorithms used to monitor and analyze the casting process—and allowed Oberschmidleitner to keep an even more attentive "digital eye" on aspects such as mold levels and subminiscus speed inside the mold. Oberschmidleitner also pioneered new support packages for Mold Expert customers: "I realized we had more to offer steel producers in terms of providing them with specialist support after implementation. Over the years, we have forged many lasting relationships, ensuring that our customers can realize Mold Expert's full potential."