Source: Bronx International - Coil coating lines
Here are my 5 Coil Processing Tips.
Steel coil processing lines have to operate at optimum efficiency or else they can turn into money-losing operations. Margins can be so thin that even a 1% drop in efficiency could dramatically impact the profit margin.
There are a number of ways of measuring efficiency when it comes these lines. You can measure the efficiency of the line as it is operating in terms of the amount of scrap produced or the lineal feet production per hour of processing time.
But ultimately the company has to have an overall efficiency rating for the line, including changeovers and downtime and maintenance.
These five tips address not only the optimal efficiency for reducing scrap, but also the more important, producing a profit by minimizing scrap, energy, and labor input.
Tip #1 - Update The Steel Coil Processing Line Technology For Changeovers.
No matter how efficient a steel coil processing line is operating, if the changeovers take two or three times as long as they should the overall operating efficiency of the plant is going to be significantly reduced. This in turn will introduce both errors and additional scrap to the line.
Every Investment in changeover automation equipment, including robotic coil handlers, magnetic coil handling equipment, turnstiles, or faster coil installing equipment, will pay dramatic dividends in the improved production efficiency of the entire line.
A good example of this is a recent project by major international steel coil slitting line manufacturer Bronx, for a steel processing company in Australia.
Though the company was busy and generally productive when their line was processing a coil, they were having problems with changeovers. The only modification made to the Australian company's line involved adding a changeover tooling rig.
After Bronx international added the slitting tooling rig the operators were able to change coils and tooling in a fraction of the time prior to adding the automation.
The Australian company enjoyed a dramatic increase in productivity while reducing scrap and their change over time.
Tip #2 - Focus investment and engineering resources on coil handling prior to reaching the slitting line.
This tip follows tip number one in that most of the efficiency gains come from entering the coil into the process and changing the coil between processes.
These are the lowest cost and highest payback modifications for improving overall line efficiency. These modifications can include simple steps such as adding coil wracking closer to the actual use of the coil, or more extensive coil handling equipment such as coil cars, and turnstiles.
Tip #3 - Make sure you are running the optimum coil size for your operation.
For example, a 60 inch outer diameter coil has about 60% more surface feet of steel then a 48 inch outer diameter coil of the same gauge. By getting your coils in the largest outside diameter that your equipment can handle, you will knock out a dramatic percentage of your changeovers.
Being able to run your equipment at high operating efficiency for the longest period of time before taking that zero efficiency break known as changeover.
Yes, during changeover time when the line has either slowed or stopped, you dramatically cut your overall efficiency. Running without changeover periods would be optimal but of course is not possible.
Tip #4 - Match your straightening equipment and capabilities to the types of coils and gauges you are running.
The theory states that only three rolls in staggered formation should be enough to handle almost any material with regard to straightening it, so long as the coil set is constant throughout the coil.
Any operator of steel coil processing line line knows that the coil set is anything but constant.
Since the coil set is not constant it will increases in severity while the coil unfurls. It becomes necessary to adjust the roles to maintain operating standards. For this reason there is a wide span of roll machines for taking out the severest coil set without over straightening the more limited coil sets. These machines allow exchanges without requiring significant adjustment throughout the coil.
The action step here is to have more rolls with a wider range of capability for handling coil sets. The thinner the material that you're working with the wider the range of sets needed for it. This is because thinner materials will in general require more straightening rolls.
This tip will allow you to run at higher efficiency while producing consistent quality. There is no point in ramping up efficiency and losing quality, producing either rejections or reruns.
Tip #5 - This last tip is for steel coil processing cut to length lines. It is common for operators to try to achieve higher cuts per minute with their air feeds at shorter feed lengths.
The problem with this approach is that the maximum strokes per minute (hence, the maximum cut to lengths per minute), is generally limited by the cylinder size.
What can be accomplished though is to insert a block within the cylinder that takes up any excess travel. This allows the cylinders to act over a shorter length and can thus increase the total speed or cutting potential significantly.
Obviously the block cannot interfere with any of the airflow ports (it shouldn't turn into an abrasive system) for the bearings or the rods of the cylinder, but a small block could result in a dramatic increase in the cut to length speed.
By employing at least one, or possibly several of these tips, you should be able to achieve an increase in overall steel coil processing line efficiency that drops right to the bottom line.
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