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.
RobotWorx is a certified integrator of Fanuc, Kuka, 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 at 740-251-4312.