The Pacific Steel mill was expected to produce enough metal to satisfy 35–40% of New Zealand demand. At first its rolling mill used imported billets (rods made from molten metal), and did better than expected. When Pacific Steel’s molten metal operation began, the relatively small size of the ingot and the direct pouring method used (shown here in 1963) caused problems. The initial flow of metal caused splattering of the mould wall, with scabs and other defects on the ingot surface. During rolling the top and bottom of the ingot is discarded. With small ingots the amount lost was proportionally larger. New Zealand Steel would also go through substantial teething problems. In both cases the relative inexperience of the New Zealand workforce was a contributing factor.
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Reference: Pictorial Parade 136. National Film Unit, 1963
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