Alcoa commissioned three PhoenixTM hot-box systems for monitoring the temperature profile of aluminum slabs through pusher preheat furnaces at its facility in Warrick, Ind. Each system is embedded into a slab and gathers temperature data from thermocouples set deep within the product to ensure all parts of the slab have reached the specified rolling temperature, maximizing efficiency of the preheat operation and avoiding excessive roll wear.

A 10-channel data logger with two-way RF capability transmits the temperature data out of the furnace to a PC running PhoenixTM Thermal View software, allowing complete analysis of the process. Because these processes are long duration and high temperature, the thermal barriers supplied used evaporative technology to protect the data logger. Because the aluminum slabs rotate through 180 degrees as they enter and exit the pusher furnace, the hot-box systems were engineered to retain the evaporating water during the rotation.