Advanced control of Zinc coating weights on a modern steel galvanising line to meet the needs of the automotive industry

Key Information

Supervisor: Dr D Penney and Mr S Gilroy

The Llanwern Zodiac continuous galvanising line is installing nitrogen knives for controlling Zinc coating thickness. These gas knives blow nitrogen at the strip, at a specific pressure, to remove excess Zinc.

Strip steel runs at a speed of 170 metres per minute, through the gas knife gap of less than 12mm. Precision is key therefore, to avoid strip break conditions which could stop the line. To address the risk, an electromagnetic stabilisation system to minimise lateral movement of the strip within the gas knife gap, has been purchased. This equipment should permit a smaller gas knife gap and increased line speed, without compromising surface quality.

The Research Engineer will:

  • Evaluate effectiveness of the electromagnetic stabilisation system and determine product dependent minimum safe strip-knife separation.
  • To investigate the relationship between coating weight across strip width and strip position to inform true strip-knife alignment and an operational assessment technique.
  • Develop a process to align gas knives to achieve a uniform Zinc coating thickness with minimal strip-knife separation, in a production environment.
  • Assess differences in wiping behaviour between conventional Zn/Al and Zn/Al/Mg coatings and to make setup recommendations to maintain coating quality.

Work collaboratively with Tata Steel sites in Europe to identify and share best practice.

Swansea university is a top 30 UK institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) in the College of Engineering is a Swansea University initiative which provides postgraduate research training in partnership with industry; providing access to world-class laboratories and a wealth of academic and industry expertise. The M2A is committed to delivering high quality collaborative research opportunities within an inclusive environment, funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Swansea University and Industry partners. 

Interwoven through the research study are business, technical and entrepreneurial courses, designed to support and prepare participants for a senior role in industry or academia, on completion of their studies. Research Engineers may participate in our career mentoring system, offering opportunities to engage with M2A alumni and other senior staff from across the University.  

The Athena SWAN charter recognises work undertaken by institutions to advance gender equality. The College of Engineering is an Athena SWAN bronze award holder and is committee to addressing unequal gender representation.

Applications from women are particularly welcomed. As a positive action to address gender imbalance, female undergraduates considering a career in research are invited to join our two-day laboratory taster session and learn about a typical day in the life of a research engineer.


Sponsoring Company Tata Steel

 We welcome applications from candidates with an Engineering or Physical Science degree (minimum level 2:1), or a combination of degree and equivalent relevant experience to the same level to join the M2A community of research engineers.

To be eligible for WEFO funding, applicants should:

  • Be a UK or EU citizen (eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University) and have the right to work in Wales at the end of their studies.
  • Be resident within West Wales and the Valleys at the time of enrolment and for the duration of the candidature.
  • Must not be financially able to participate in study for a postgraduate research degree without the award of this funding

 To be eligible for EPSRC funding, applicants should:

  • Be eligible for home tuition fees at Swansea University.
  • Have settled status in the UK, meaning no restrictions on the length of stay in the UK; and be ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant, apart from temporary or occasional absences.
  • Not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education.

Full fees at Home/EU rate for a period of four academic years.

Maintenance stipend at £20K per annum for a period of four years.

Closing Date 15 March 2019

Start Date October 2019

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Informal enquiries about this studentship are welcome and may be directed by email to: M2A@swansea.ac.uk