KID™, the best way to check your kettle's health

After years of research and studies together with the National Research Council of Canada, in 2006 a revolutionary technology to check the kettles' health was introduced by the Italian company ZINCO Service.
It was given the name of KID™, which stays for "kettle inspection device" and it is a special system used for corrosion diagnostics of hot-dip galvanizing kettles, by using the ultrasound detecting technology for the wall thickness reading.
This technology allows to analyze the wear of the kettle in less than one day, without have it emptied by the molten zinc.
With the acquisition of company ZINCO Service, GIMECO has inherited the technology, providing it a further development and a worldwide success with hundreds of inspections completed so far and a great customer experience.

The system was the first introduced of its type and it still counts plenty of spin-offs and imitations all over the world which yet don’t hit flexibility and consistency of our kettle inspection device. Beware of imitations.

The journey of the KID™

2002

First contact with the National Research Council of Canada (NRCC). Research and development start. Initial experiments are carried out in small zinc crucibles with rudimental probes, built with long buffer rods. CO2 cooled probes are chosen as the most robust solution for the industrial use. Successful trials are carried out for the first time in march 2006.

2006

The KID™ technology is presented at INTERGALVA in Naples, Italy. It’s an instant hit.

2007

The first generation KID™ is bulky and operates on a structure driven by four different motors. Probes require CO2 cooling, therefore a large number of cylinders is deployed at each inspection. A limited number of readings are taken and reports consist only of a database. As the KID™ service gains traction, worldwide licenses are developed. As new customers are acquired, an effort is put into refining reports, including colored corrosion distribution maps. A large database is built to compare corrosion dynamics in different settings.

2009

A first overview of kettle corrosion dynamics is presented at INTERGALVA 2009 in Madrid, Spain.

2010

As industry demand increases globally, new efforts are put into the R&D to develop a second generation of noncooled probes and make the service more flexible.

2012

The large amount of accumulated data is finally input into a complex numerical simulation project called Atlas, which is officially presented at INTERGALVA 2012 in Paris, France.
Projects evolves quickly and spreads worldwide, involving universities and industry associations.

2018

Thanks to the gained experience, a third generation of noncooled probes with increased sensitivity is developed internally by GIMECO.
The KID™ system becomes even more lightweight and versatile and includes just a probe that technicians bring with them in a suitcase: the lattice structure that has been used so far is abandoned.

2021

Probes are given a boost of efficacy. The reading software and equipment are replaced with ultimate solutions.

Highlights and features of the KIDTM

First ever and most advanced

Presented in 2006 after years of research, it is now at its 3rd generation and still improving

Great accuracy

±0,7÷1,5mm (±0.028÷0.06") data accuracy provided in the final report

No zinc pump-out

Using ultrasonic technology and developed to stand high temperatures, the KID™ probe operates directly in the molten zinc

6-hours prompt service

KID™ allows a very fast collection of data: operations last less than a day each kettle

Lightweight

Just a specialist, a compact probe, a display and a few light reusable tools are required: no bulky stuff whatsoever, no container, everything comes in a trolleybag

Versatile and flexible

Thanks to its design, KID™ can easily inspect both the long sides and the short sides of the kettle, as well as the corners, which are generally considered virtually impossible to analyze.

Advantages and benefits of the KID™

Monitoring
Know your kettle

Performed every two to three years, KID™ inspections keep track of your kettle wearing and allows to decide when to replace it. These inspections are real complete check-up solutions that draw actual health scenario time-by-time.

Enhancing
Improve your habits and equipment

KID™ inspections may highlight unexpected or threatening issues on your heating system (burners calibration, flue gases circulation, zinc alloy ingredients behavior, premature dross corrosion, etc.) or even unfavorable working habits to check and adjust.

Predicting and Planning
Prevent stops, save moneys

KID™ inspections allow to trend how your kettle ages, hence you can predict its expected lifetime and plan in advance for future replacements, supporting a smart management of your facility expenditures.

How does the KID™ work?

KID™ consists of a compact probe which, immersed in the molten zinc, is capable to generate ultrasonic signals to be converted by a proprietary software.
The probe is assembled on a lightweight and reusable structure in galvanizer's property consisting of a few very economic steel elements: in this way the kettle inspection device can be operated using overhead hoists.
Just a single highly specialized operator is enough to manage the entire onsite inspection.

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The piezoelectric element in the probe transforms the electric signal into an elastic sound wave which propagates inside a given material as it happens when measuring the kettle walls.
If a discontinuity is found along the wave path, part of its energy is transformed by the transducer into an electric signal again, sent to the receiver and displayed into the oscilloscopic diagram.
Knowing the speed of propagation of the sound wave through the material and the round-trip time, to cross the kettle wall and to return to its source, it is possible to directly trace the distance traveled by the same elastic wave.
Comparing these traveled distances gives idea of the inspected surface or, in other words, a thickness profile.

 

Original by ZINCO Service, a GIMECO Business Unit, and developed together with the Research Council of Canada.

How is an inspection carried out?

Getting ready

 Assessment
At the request for a KID™, a survey is submitted to collect main construction and operating characteristics of the plant, focusing on the kettle and on the furnace.

Planning
Accordingly to cycles, to kettle and furnace specifications collected in the survey, our technicians elaborate a customized inspection grid. This grid gives idea of testing point where the inspection will be carried over and it is customized upon any heating system (high velocity or flat-flame, electrical or liquid fuels firing) and your individual conditions: there are enough testing points to cover all the kettle walls (up to 600 points)
Accordingly to the requirements, we suggest a schedule and submit an offer.

Preparation
Times before the inspection, you receive a list of materials (low-cost commodity steel elements that remain into your propriety) to provide tooling and structure for the inspection.

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Performing the inspection

Execution
Our KID™ specialist visits your plant and executes the inspection as planned. Each kettle test takes 6 hours averagely and up to 600 testing points are diagnosed. The inspection can be carried out on the long sides of the kettle, the short sides, and if conditions permit also on the corners, thanks to the flexibility of the system.

Post processing
Collected data are rapidly processed. A first preliminary report is issued within 5 days and sent to you. It includes all the thickness values gathered during the inspection.

Database collection
Inspection readings are recorded for analysis and future referencing.

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Analisys and report

Corrosion maps
Corrosion maps, in absolute and relative view (an overall view of the wall and focus on the most corroded areas) to give an immediate overview of the kettle conditions, are provided.

Data table
Kettle wall residual thicknesses, shown in tables, highlighting the lowest and highest values.

Comments and Suggestions
Detailed written analysis and suggesting corrective measures are provided, including evaluation of furnace heating performance, kettle deformation, warning points and working habits. In case of KID™ repetitions, a comparative analysis of the loss occurred in the various years is conducted.

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