Robots being used in steel mills

Industrial robots are now being integrated into steel mill to help improve the efficiency and product quality. ​The industrial robots are able to create a very accurate marking system with an extremely short cycle time, a compact footprint, reliability, robustness, and an easy-to-apply marking medium.


Steel mills have been a sta­ple of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in Amer­i­ca for many years. As glob­al­iza­tion occurs, steel mills have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reeval­u­ate their meth­ods of pro­duc­tion. No longer are paper and pen­cils nec­es­sary to cal­cu­late the right mix of iron ore. Robots have arrived.

After a wave of glob­al­iza­tion in the 1980s, an inter­na­tion­al steel mar­ket was cre­at­ed, which strained less-prof­itable mills caus­ing them to close. 

In 2008, Burns Har­bor Steel Mill in Indi­ana was reju­ve­nat­ed after being aban­doned a decade before. A hyper­mod­ern mill in Bel­gium was the inspi­ra­tion; Burns Har­bor is now enjoy­ing record out­put. Steel is made out of iron, ore, coal and lime­stone here, and the fur­naces are run with Bel­gian soft­ware. Steel mill work­ers are mak­ing the same amount of steel with half the employ­ees, and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is soaring. 

At the Teesside Beam Mill in Lack­en­by, two ABB IRB 6400 Foundry­Plus robots are prov­ing to be a blue­print for safe­ty and effi­cien­cy in a harsh envi­ron­ment. The ABB 6‑axis robots are oper­at­ed by Corus Group’s Con­struc­tion and Indus­tri­al Divi­sion for mark­ing oper­a­tions on struc­tur­al steel prod­ucts. The Teesside Mill is now one of the most effi­cient struc­tur­al sec­tion rolling mills in the world. 

Recent inno­va­tions at the mill include asym­met­ric beans, par­al­lel flange chan­nels, air box chan­nels, and heavy jum­bo sec­tions. The man­u­fac­tur­ing process is total­ly auto­mat­ed: no man­u­al inter­ven­tion occurs at any stage of the process. 

The mark­ing sys­tem has an extreme­ly short cycle time, a com­pact foot­print, reli­a­bil­i­ty, robust­ness, and an easy-to-apply mark­ing medi­um. The ABB IRB 6400 robots are locat­ed with­in each of the two cool­ing banks after the hot saw process. The robots are sig­naled to pow­er up, car­ry out the mark­ing oper­a­tion, and return to their stowage. The cycle time is six seconds.

Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing in the steel mill sec­tor is grow­ing, and com­pa­nies are more auto­mat­ed now, allow­ing them to employ­ing high­ly skilled work­ers, and few­er of them than before.

Robots​.com is a cer­ti­fied inte­gra­tor of Fanuc, KUKA, Uni­ver­sal Robots, Motoman and ABB robots. We can help you choose the right steel mill robot for your appli­ca­tion process and give you a free price quote. Con­tact us today online or at 8777626881.

Nov 24, 2013