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|A procedure for optimizing the secondary cooling zone of continuous casters is proposed and illustrated by a billet caster example. The procedure consists of quantifying deviations from the required conditions of the secondary cooling zone?as far as temperatures, metallurgical length and reheating are concerned?by means of a ?cost function?. The optimal spray settings are then found by minimizing the total ?cost?. The billet caster examples serve to emphasize the importance of specifying the required conditions in a consistent manner. Some envisaged practical limitations of this approach are discussed.|