Horizontal Strip Accumulators for Eliminating Downtime in Strip Steel Processing Lines

Source: Kent 

Horizontal strip accumulators assist in eliminating downtime in strip steel processing lines by allowing the mill to continue to operate even with the end of each coil. There used to be as much as a 20 to 40% stoppage and a rather large 1 to 5% scrap loss prior to using strip accumulators.


Purpose of a Strip Accumulator

A strip accumulator serves the purpose of feeding a strip to the mill when the front or entry is stationary during coil changeup. Once the new coil is attached to the older or exiting coil, then the whole process begins and runs faster than the actual mill.

This allows excess strip to run into the accumulator. Now the modern designs allow the intersection to reduce speed and run at the same speed as the mill right up until the end of the coil is flying by.


This makes the mill run continuously and virtually eliminates downtime. There are some operations where the mill or the processing line has to slow down in order to form a seam weld from one coil to the next.

A horizontal steel strip accumulator has limits with regard to how much of a coil length it can hold and the absolute maximum speed of either entry or the accumulator section, and the actual mill speed.

Normally, the acceleration and deceleration times are insignificant relative to the total fill cycle so they are not used in calculating the overall size of the accumulator system. A traditional accumulator would be a large area located in the floor, or perhaps a box that goes right next to the mill.


Horizontal Strip Accumulator Cycles


Horizontal strip accumulators work with one of three general types of operation. The first is a weld cycle with the intersection with the new coil for changeover. The second is when there is a mill match and the entry section has to match the speed of the mill when the process is full.

The accumulator stays full right up until the end of the coil is reached and allows for maximum available downtime during the coil change over. The third cycle is called the fill cycle and this happens when the accumulator is running faster than the mill and is receiving the strip.

 The two basic types of horizontal rotary accumulators:

The type that feeds strips into the inside of the system and then transfers it to the outside of the rotary system.

Or the type that does just the reverse, and takes the strip in from the outside of the rotary portion and then distributes the strip from the inside of the rotary portion. This second type of accumulator does introduce some tension into the material and that must be accounted for.


Old School Strip Accumulators


Along with the horizontal rotary accumulators and other forms of accumulators, there are the tried-and-true methods of using a loop pit. This was one of the first forms of accumulator.

It is essentially just a pit in the floor where you can store the strip that is fed by pinch rollers during the entry section process and in the middle. Then pulls the strip out of the pit at a certain speed. You can store an awful lot of strip material but it is not a well-controlled storage method and it exposes the material to surface damage and buckling.

Another method is using what is called a loop cage. Similar to the loop, The loop cage can also cause scratches and buckling but is sufficient if you're using smaller strips.

 The horizontal loop car is located either in a pit under the tube mill or near the support structures above the bill. This is a car that rides on rails and a large diameter roll and it is coupled to the system by some drive mechanism, often by cable.

These horizontal loop cars will eliminate buckling but can sometimes require significant structures and a large space to perform adequately. The key to horizontal strip accumulators for eliminating downtime and strip steel processing lines is matching your requirements.

This involves the overall span of materials and coil sizes you'll be using along with the width, the gauge, the flexibility of the material, and the surface required for the finished product. By matching the horizontal strip accumulator you can continuously supply strip to the mill or the other processes in line, you will enjoy tremendous advantages in overall production efficiency

To return from this Horizontal Strip Accumulator page to the Strip Metal Coil Processing Home page, click here.

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