Iron and Steel Society Medals 2007

The Iron & Steel Society
11 Dec 2007

The 2007 Iron and Steel Society Medals and Prizes were presented to the recipients at a dinner held at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining on 27th November 2007.

The winners were:

Dowding Medal and Prize

















Dr Peter Spooner was awarded the Dowding Medal and Prize in recognition of his contribution to the technology of the rolling of sheet steel and aluminium rolling, particularly in the field of process control.

Peter obtained his PhD at Imperial College in the Industrial Automation Group under the tutelage of Professor G F Bryant. He was one of the three principal researchers (along with Bryant and John Edwardes, now of IAS) engaged in the Abbey Works project, in which the cold tandem mills of what is now Corus' Port Talbot Works were used as the development test site for a wide range of thickness, speed and tension control systems. This work revealed a novel and coherent set of control techniques which underpin the operation of the world's sheet mills to this day.

In 1973, the same three researchers became the principal authors of the seminal book on the same subject : “Automation of Tandem Mills” (copyright Iron and Steel Institute). Peter went on to lecture widely on the subject, taking part in several associated business ventures and becoming more specialised in flatness control aspects of the process. One business venture was Broner Consultants, which continued the work with British Steel and extended it to aluminium rolling in association with Alcoa.

Another technology to which Peter Spooner has contributed greatly is the air bearing shapemeter. A prototype was originally conceived and trialled by BACO and passed to Alcan in the early 1980s. Broner was contracted to complete the development of a practical instrument, and were granted a licence to market the resulting device (ABSM). From 1987, as the market penetration of the shapemeter grew, Broner manufactured their own design variant. At about the same time, Peter became involved in the development of production planning systems for sheet metal processing, and Broner marketed software products for this too.

For a period in the mid-90s, the Broner Group was under the ownership of Mannesmann, but Peter bought it back in 1998, expanding it to include a service and support business in the USA. Peter's most recent venture, Shape Tech, was set up as a joint venture with Siemens VAI in 2001 and specialises in a wide ranger of mill instrumentation technologies including CCD sensors. Since its inception, the company has grown in turnover from £3 m to £13 m.

Throughout his business career, Peter has retained his commitment to research and learning. For more than ten years he was an active member of the Institute's Rolling Committee, organising and delivering conferences on various aspects of mill control and production management. For twenty years, he has been a prime mover in training for process control, and the courses which he has helped to develop and deliver are among the most highly regarded in the industry.

Peter Spooner's contribution to rolling mill technology and his success as a businessman are matched by his virtues as an engineer. He is insightful and meticulous, and his confidence and clarity of thought make him an outstanding teacher and sector advocate. He well deserves his nomination for this prestigious award.

Thomas Medal and Prize
















Dr Peter Morris was awarded the Thomas Medal and Prize. Pete's major contribution to the steel industry has been through development of improved testing, understanding and modelling of the structure/property metallurgy of a wide range of steels. In particular, his development of detailed understanding of the physical metallurgy and its application into computer models has been of World note, being incorporated into many of the major predictive models available today. During his career, he has naturally developed a great wealth of personal expertise, made available very widely outside Corus through the following networks:
-Chairman of the European Creep Collaborative Committee -Member of UK Power Plant Forum -Member of UK High Temperature Testing Committee -Chairman of Advisory Group for DTI on steels for elevated temperature service -Chairman of BSI Committee Uniaxial Testing of Metals

Peter was awarded the Outstanding Service Award and Williams Prize in 2003. His continued involvement in local Institute affairs contributes to the ongoing success of the SMEA in Sheffield. A very extensive range of external publications has been made.


Sir Robert Hadfield Medal and Prize

















Mr John Marshall was awarded the medal in 2007. Unfortunately, John sadly passed away before he was able to receive his medal. The Iron and Steel Society were delighted that his widow, Elizabeth and his three children were able to attend the event to receive his medal.

John made a remarkable and unusual technical contribution to the development of steelmaking practice throughout his career. It is remarkable by virtue of his range of achievements, and unusual in that he dedicated himself to one particular production plant for his whole career.

After graduation, John joined British Steel Corporation to become one of the original technical team associated with the massive 'Anchor' investment at Scunthorpe Works, comprising a new BOS and concast plant, and two new rolling mills. His expertise in the field of extremely-practical thermodynamics was invaluable.

Perhaps his major achievement was the development of a suite of mathematical models for control of the BOS and secondary steelmaking plants. John developed, from first metallurgical principles, models covering converter blowing, alloy additions systems and also ladle temperature control, which ranked amongst the first in the World to be implemented on-line, for process control, using new computer systems. As time progressed, John ensured that these models kept pace with new technology and scientific discovery, and built interfaces with the computer planning and scheduling models, so producing a unique, completely integrated production control system. Despite testing of other, more recently available software, John's models consistently out-perform them from a technical control perspective and have been retained. The exceptionally detailed, hard work entailed is an enormous credit to him, and mean that Scunthorpe has been able with comparative ease to introduce an ever-more complex product mix and set of additional plant units without problems, due to the flexibility of having bespoke model systems in place. Of particular note was his membership of the team which installed the first ladle arc furnace at Scunthorpe in 1989, his models commissioning on time and fully integrated into the overall model control systems on the works.

Alongside his continual development of these models, John also brought to bear his thermodynamic knowledge in other areas. The development of billet-cast rimming steel substitutes, eliminating the less-efficient ingot-making route, was made possible through his study and understanding of control of inclusion species and gas contents of the liquid steel, so much so that this became a guarded commercial secret.

In addition, he was first to realise the at first surprising source of the troublesome TiCN particles in Si-killed high carbon rod grades, through his study of the thermodynamics involved, including an explanation of why some other steelmakers did not have this problem. This paved the way for a practical solution to a problem unlikely to have been solved by trial and error.

Frank Fitzgerald Medal and Travel Scholarship
















Mr Iain Baillie was awarded the Frank Fitzgerald Medal and Travel Award for 2007. Iain Baillie, an applied Physics and Computing graduate, began working for Corus RD&T, Teesside Technology Centre in October 2001 in the Steelmaking and Continous Casting Department. Iain soon expressed an interest in developing his formal education on a project that would benefit Corus. We had already made contact with The University of Warwick to explore the possibilities of defect detection in as-cast semis and Iain expressed and interest in this topic and is carrying the project forward with great enthusiasm. He has worked hard on his written module of the Eng. Doc Course whilst setting up and developing the laser-EMAT inspection systems.

An early prototype system demonstrated the viability of utilising a water cooled EMAT for online inspection of stationary samples heated to 800°C. This has been progressed further by trials on various pilot plant scale tests within Corus RD&T including the original vertical billet caster at Teesside Technology Centre. Iain is currently preparing for trials on the recently installed vertical bending caster at the Centre.

To date the work has been supported via an ERFCS project but for 2007 funding has also been obtained from two Corus business units with the possibility of a new ERFC project to start in 2007.

Detection of defects online will be a major advantage to the steel industry enabling inspection and scarfing requirements to be reduced.

The project has progressed rapidly since inception as a result of Iain’s drive and determination.