A furnace roller is a piece of industrial equipment that allows workers to put objects into a very high temperature furnace from a safe distance. The rollers also play a role in shaping the metal that is being worked on. They are also designed to work in temperatures of over 1,000 ° Fahrenheit (about 538 ° Celsius) — the temperatures that are needed in some kinds of furnaces. A furnace roller is commonly used in the steel manufacturing industry to make steel bars and sheets.
In order to manufacture steel, the iron in iron ore must be separated from its impurities and combined with carbon. This creates a very sturdy metal, but requires very high temperatures. There are two main processes for manufacturing steel and both involve the use of a furnace roller.
The first process is hot rolling, which is usually done on a large industrial scale. In this method, rollers are used to form the heated workpiece into a large sheet. The rollers are composed of ceramic or a dense mineral. This is because a furnace roller made from one of these substances is less likely to be damaged in high temperatures and therefore do not need to be replaced as often.
"High temperature oxidation" is the term used for the process that manipulates and refines steel. It is also the term used for the process that damages a furnace roller. In high temperature oxidation, extremely high temperatures alter the structure of the materials being used.
The second process for producing steel is cold rolling. In this method, the rollers are continually cooled with water in order to maintain a constant low temperature within a generally hot environment. The advantage of cold rolling is that by applying large amounts of pressure at around room temperature, stronger metals can be created. The downside of this method is that it can cause the furnaces to lose heat as they normalize the temperature of the room. This system of rolling is used in both larger and smaller industrial settings to make bars and thicker sheets.
These two processes of rolling steel are the source of all the steel that is used in common applications around the world. After the steel is rolled it may be cut, altered, and/or reshaped. Regardless of further handling, the hardness and overall composition of a workpiece are determined in the rolling process.