Steel Strip Processing Line Advancements

This picture is showing the various strip processing line advancements

Advancements in steel coil strip processing technology today deliver faster production, more accurate products, less deformation during processing, lower energy use, and require fewer technicians for consistent production. A perfect example of many of the available advancements in steel coil strip processing lines comes from the Severstal Dearborn Pickling Line Tandem Cold Mill (PLTCM)

 Severstal invested in top of the line technology, end to end, assuring that operating the facility would require the lowest level of labor and energy input, while producing within the ISO 9000 standards, meeting their automotive customers demand.

 Starting with coil handling from the hot roll mill, the steel coil strip processing tracking system uses robotic cranes with coil identifying technology, which include scanning codes and RFID, to confirm the identity of coils that match customer requirements.

 An automated coil preparing station cuts the bands for the coil robotically, with only the exact amount required. This automation keeps operators safe and prepares the right coil for each process exactly when it is needed.

 Automatically guided coil cars keep coils lined up for their proper production sequence. When they are staged for insertion to the coil line, the cars move into precise position to move and hydraulically lift coils onto the immediate staging area. This prepares the coils for entry into the steel coil strip processing line uncoiler.

 A Miebach laser welder (a number of companies make laser welders) joins the coil leading edge with sufficient precision to seamlessly introduce the next coil onto the line. This is done without slowing or stopping the line significantly compared to non-automated lines. The laser welds allow the line to meet AHSS production standards and virtually eliminate any seam breaks.

 The latest technology in tension levelers has been around for years but is more optimized. Precision monitoring with lasers, electrical meters, and closed loop controllers all constantly tune the process for consistent tension across the span. After leaving the tension leveler, the strip goes into a pickling process where acid baths produce the pickling treatment.

 This particular plant uses four tanks with a cascading bath process and automatic surface agitation for eliminating any iron fines. Once the strip leaves the acid bath section, it goes through a four stage rinse and drying system to produce clean and dry metal surface.

The Mitsubishi system uses the motion of the strip to produce the pickling action, eliminating the need for additional other moving parts. Without moving parts, the section requires almost no maintenance or downtime with effective scale removal.

 Next, the strip goes by the automated turrent side trimmer.  As with most lines, the system is automatically adjusted with edge tolerance matching loops to create precision trimming required by the automotive industry.

With tolerances less than 0.1 mm or finer in some cases, the automation is not a luxury but a requirement for providing coil products that are under increasingly tight tolerance specifications.

 Not all lines have this capability, but some steel coil strip processing lines have both the power and the controls for dimensional reduction during processing. Using five independent 5,750 kW motors, and two 2,650 kW motors, this line can reduce gauge and handling cold roll forming for all the anticipated production needs from current customers to future ones.

The Dearborn plant uses fully automated roll handling equipment for changing rolls throughout production or on the production line without stopping the line.

This requires precise coordination of coil locations, robotic cranes, robotic carts, high speed laser welding, servo controllers, and overall plant management. The reconditioning shop handles intermediate coils for their next use by testing and recoiling them if needed.

 

Of all the automated features for this line, one of the biggest pieces to the efficiency puzzle comes from the high speed continuous laser welder. This prevents any slow-down or stopping the line while in process.

Automated coil carts, robotic cranes, coil tags with either RFID or bar code, and fully controlled servos across the steel coil strip processing line make this a state of the art operation. The six high universal crown mill also allows the plant to ensure the intermediate rolls are precisely dimensioned for downline processes.

 Integrated into the line, the inspection station samples the coil between runs to make sure it meets specifications in real time. Severstal Dearborn's steel coil processing operation is one of the most advanced in the world and will be a benchmark for years to come.

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

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Top 3 FREE Tips

to increase efficiency

  1. Use appropriate technology and by-pass manual labor where possible for the roll and coil changeovers.
  2. Coil cars can also cut transition and changeovers.
  3. Consider material handling elements such as coil storage racks if there is not a crane installed for keeping a coil car active.
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