Slitting Machine and Coil Handling Equipment Installation Considerations - Part 1

(Slitting machine line installed)

Slitting machines and coil handling equipment use space between various parts of the line as a critical factor in proper operation.

Restricting space between loop sections, wasting space that could be well utilized, not factoring in maintenance operations for slitting heads, slitting cutters, tensioner and levelers, recoil operations, etc., all lead to a difficult line to run. 

Slitting machine manufacturers or their representatives can assist with specifying installation needs, but ultimately the buyer needs to confirm that the slitting machine line and installation are well matched.

Coil Handling Lines - Thinking Through Life Cycle Installation Needs

A metal slitting line requires at least 7 factors to be carefully analyzed and planned for prior to installation.

When these factors are adequately planned for, the line can be delivered, rigged to the location, oriented, leveled, plumbed, piped and wired without delays from existing structural restrictions.

Though it is tempting to think that a metal slitting line and coil handling equipment once installed is effective and correctly situated, this would be premature.

The life cycle of a metal slitting line and all of it's components - turnstiles, coil cars, recoiling stations, slitting machine stations, tensioner leveler stations, and recoiling machines - require overhaul phases with their own space envelopes to consider.

Installing Metal Slitting Lines and Coil Handling Equipment - 3 Points to Watch For

Factor #1 Free loop material space requirements.

Synchronizing the various parts of a metal slitting line, or any slitting line for that matter, can define whether the line meets production specifications or falls short.

Tensioning the metal coils properly, assuring correct tension from station to station, along with each roller providing proper tension, drives the entire process.

Either the tension adjustments allow the slitting cutters and slitting heads to do their work without creating excessive burrs, edge distortion, etc., or the tension leads to quality issues.

Allowing sufficient distance for free loop material makes the tension adjustments both easier and require less precision. If, however, there is not sufficient distance for creating an accommodative free loop area, all other adjustments between stations become more critical.

The metal slitting line will be challenging to keep operating within production specifications no matter how high quality the equipment is, or the level of automation.

Factor #2 Easy access for adjustment and servicing the equipment

Making life easy for the set-up and maintenance crew allows them to perform their work more quickly, safely, and efficiently. Most slitting line maintenance staff and the metal slitting line operators are not contortionists.

When they have to get into uncomfortable positions for making line adjustments, their desire to do so quickly fades. This translates to fewer adjustments made, less conscientious maintenance, and increased quality issues across the slitting machine line.

Similar to the challenge an automobile mechanic that has to lift an engine out to change belts, maintenance crews use more time for their job if they have to make more of an effort to get to frequently changes parts such as the slitting cutters.

If changing out the slitting cutters takes 4 times as long to change out as would be the case were they accessible, they will not be changed out as often.

Factor #3 Laser align, or at least accurately align equipment

Aligning  metal slitting machine stations is critical and easily overlooked.

Those companies transitioning from manually fed or monitored equipment may not realize how much their slitting machine operators were compensating for misaligned sheets when the operation had a manual component to it.

When they switch to a full automated line, the slitting machine operators are not able to compensate for misalignments between the stations. The entire line will experience operational challenges stemming from poorly aligned processes.

With the introduction of laser alignment tools, the level of precision available to machine installers can make nearly perfect alignment a sure thing.

From uncoiling, through tensioning, slitting cutters, and loops sections and recoiling, true alignment will help avoid many quality issues.

Poorly aligned machines invite poor production quality combined with vastly increased monitoring and slitting line operator and maintenance oversight.

Slitting Machine and Coil Handling Equipment Installation Considerations - Part 2 will cover additional factors that can make or break a slitting line installation.

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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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