Steel Survey Software for Slitting Lines

Source: Brock Solutions. Steel coil software for slitting lines.

Along with the mechanical advantages taking place in the steel coil slitting processing line industry, software for slitting lines has been a major driver for improving operation efficiency and product quality. Unfortunately the processing lines do not run with one form of software, but often require multiple types of software for making all the separate components work together in harmony.

 In this article I examine some of the software components from different manufacturers that control both overall line production and individual station operation.


Automating Slitting Heads

 Red Bud Industries offers a fully automatic CNC programmable slitting head which I will focus my analysis on. All cuts are calculated based on operators entering the part or strip information and combining that with material specifications. This is done for the processing lines computer system to time and orient everything correctly for specific end product dimensions.

 The software for slitting lines calculates precisely where cuts will occur and inputs this information into the slitting head. The slitting head then coordinates the knives from the storage holding area onto the slitting head mechanism.

 Using the same data from the computer system, a positioning mechanism will orient both the bottom and top slitter knives onto the arbors. With this combination of technology, the slitting head can work with .250 inch material across 10 slitters or down to a 0.030 inch thickness.

 The net benefit of fully automatic CNC slitting head technology is to virtually eliminate operator error and meet product specifications precisely regardless of material variations.


Metal Coil Line Inspection Software

 SmartView metals from Cognex software provides surface inspection as the metal passes along the line. SmartView focuses on irregularities or defects and identifies exactly where they are in the process along with classifying them in the patented multi-step classifier.

 Then the defect images display for the operator the locations identified so the system can create a report. The defect can then be pulled from the line or pulled off the end product phase.

 The benefits of using this type of software for slitting lines include; improving the end product quality, increasing the yield, preventing below standard material from entering the more expensive value-added processes further down line, reducing or eliminating the need for manual inspections, and developing reports automatically with photographic evidence for defects.


Furnace Coordination Software

 Fives Stein specializes in optimization systems for furnaces and value-added operations on steel coil slitting processing lines.

 Fives Stein has four main software products;

 F.A.S. - This stands for furnace automation system that coordinates vertical galvanizing and annealing lines for proper heat treating of the metal both before and after processing.

 S.T.A.R. - The speed and temperature regulation system uses software for controlling continuous horizontal galvanizing and annealing lines in tune with the heat treatment operation so the line is moving at the right speed. This is required in order for the metal to hit the correct temperature. Line speed coordinates and the furnace become linked for optimal production.

 P-STAR – The system for high value-added lines where coatings are applied.  The painting speed and temperature automatic regulation software will control the painting process so that the coating is exactly the correct thickness for the speed of the material moving by.

 P.O.S. - This software for slitting lines is the heart of a steel coil slitting processing line. Taking all the variables of orders received, materials available, line capabilities, and scheduling issues, the production optimization scheduling software programs the line for the most efficient production schedule. The right materials will be used for the right production runs, minimizing scrap and optimizing profit for the line.


Coil to Finished Product Automation Software

 Siemens automation has a large suite of software applications for their wide variety of steel coil strip processing line functions.

 Their portfolio includes; a pickling se-point model for uniform pickling processes, automatic strip quality detection systems, a steel quality manager for documenting the differences in strip segments, an adaptive elongation control system for adhering to stringent elongation tolerances, a dynamic air knife for fully automatic zinc thickness control, a closed loop galvanizing process control for iron content in galvannealed coatings, a fully automatic pickling liquor analysis and control package for confirming optimal pickling application.

 Applying all of these software systems is not necessary for every line. For picking the key ones that will provide the greatest level of benefit, is the first step in fully automating a line.

 The most important software package for a steel coil strip processing line working with multiple customers is a production scheduling and scrap minimization package. Beyond that, high value added processes including galvannealing, pickling, painting, embossing, surface improving, etc. can all benefit by specialized software that add to the value-added process, the lines speed and control system.

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