Strike while the iron is hot
Strike while the iron is hot
For the first time, the profile of rolled materials can be measured quickly and accurately to a tenth of a millimetre anywhere in the rolling mill, which makes it even easier to configure the optimum rolling stand set-up. This is now possible thanks to the offline profile measurement system CALIPRI HOT, developed by Austrian innovator Nextsense for special profile manufacturer Mannstaedt. The device remotely scans the hot rolled material, which reaches temperatures of over 1000 °C, using a modern laser light section technique and delivers precise measuring results within a matter of seconds. The fact that the lightweight system is mobile means that it saves both time and costs and can be used between rolling stands for sample-based quality control.
Even in the most sophisticated steel mills, the shape and dimensions of rolled material is often still checked using outdated and laborious manual methods. Profile projectors and wooden boards are still commonplace. Alternative systems do exist but are stationary and expensive. The Austrian specialist in optical measurement devices, Nextsense GmbH, has now developed a system for the world's leading manufacturer of special profiles, Mannstaedt GmbH, that will make the process for checking the shape and dimensions of rolled material fast, flexible, convenient and highly precise.
Mobile use, fast results, accurate data
Nextsense has developed the CALIPRI HOT, a mobile optical measurement device for rolled material that is still hot, which is ideal for both random sample measurements between passes and for calibration during the change-over to a new rolling profile. "Whether it's moved by hand or by crane, CALIPRI HOT performs highly accurate profile measurements between rolling stands in less than 15 seconds," says Clemens Gasser, Managing Director of Nextsense. "With an accuracy of less than 0.2 millimetres, the contour is recorded and transmitted wirelessly to an output device. There the profile can be analysed individually or compared against the target profile in order to graphically display any deviations." The device does all this in an environment that reaches temperatures of well over 1000 °C and is subject to dust, vapour and shocks.
The technology of the CALIPRI HOT is based on the so-called laser light section technology – a technique used in optical 3D measurement technology that enables the contact-free analysis of all types of contours. In combination with a patented tilt correction, this technology can now be used with a mobile device for the first time. A sensor in the measurement device housing scans the rolled material to be measured in a circular motion and joins the individual profile sections together. Once the complete profile of the object has been recorded, the desired dimensions and deviations from the target values are displayed on the tablet PC included in the scope of delivery or on a desktop PC.
Universal profile measurement
Over the last few years, Nextsense has made it possible to use this technique with a range of high-precision, manually controlled measurement devices, which have been rapidly setting new standards in the automotive and rail industry. Until recently, the technology could not be used for the inspection of hot material. Thanks to a period of intensive development work, this has now changed with the CALIPRI HOT. Gasser explains: "Thanks to this device, the time and effort involved in the separation, cooling and mechanical preparation of a sample is a thing of the past. So much time is saved during calibration and production monitoring that tens of thousands of euros can be saved per year for an average rolling mill – in addition to the cost reductions due to less waste as a result of faster response times." CALIPRI HOT also offers numerous benefits in the development of calibrations for new rolling profiles. Important dimensions need to be recorded while the object is hot in order to do away with the laborious process of converting cold to hot dimensions – something that the device can achieve with unprecedented precision and speed.
Thanks to the intelligent technology, CALIPRI HOT can be used with virtually all profile shapes – a decisive factor for Mannstaedt, a company that rolled more than 180 different products in 2014 alone.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 726903.