12/02/2020 - Innovation and R&DFor the last two years, research and development (R&D) teams, in close collaboration with operations experts, have worked together to create a sensor to measure the optimal quantity of deoxidation powder to be injected in the tubes. This specific step in the hot rolling process has been flagged as a high priority for quality improvement. This development is a new illustration of our advances in the field of Industry 4.0. The sensors will be implemented in North America in the first quarter of 2020.
Piloting the sensors in North AmericaBased in Riesa, Germany, the R&D team conducted pre-studies and analyses before prototyping a sensor. After two years of work, they are now ready to pilot the sensor in the United States.
Contributing to industry 4.0Beyond measuring the precise dose of powder, the sensors will also track data from the tube-rolling process. That data, when analyzed, will help us create simulations of the different steps of the process, giving us new ways to improve and standardize quality. The ultimate goal is to create predictive models.
Sharing insights and expertiseWhile the sensors are high-tech, they also have to be easy to use and maintain. “We needed to build sensors for the real-world environment,” explains Mark. “They have to be simple to use, easy to maintain and not require extensive training.” The R&D team’s close collaboration with regional production experts ensured the sensors were developed to meet those challenges. They are calibrated with all the settings and powder dose ready to deploy.
We’ve seen significant progress in interior quality with the sensors. Our goal is to take interior quality to the best level ever and greatly reduce the percentage of rejected tubes.Mark van der Logt Director of the Technologic Research Center in Germany