Tagging system for hot-rolled coils Arcady Chernyakov IntelMet Technologies INTRODUCTION Coils traceability and quality requires accurate, permanent coil identification immediately after downcoiling, before the coil manufacturing sequence becomes shuffled. Historically, mills use chalk or stencils for manual marking of coils with human-readable characters or automatic paint spray equipment. Manual marking methods, using chalk or stencils, are prone to human error and are often illegible. Automated paint spray equipment utilizes accurate downloaded information but, if the marking equipment is not adequately maintained, the markings may be difficult to read. When workers downstream read human readable characters, data reading errors often occur. Transpositions, misreads, and data logging errors are a few of the common mistakes. Automatic OCR system (Optical Character Recognition) which often used for recognition of characters applied by automatic spray marking machines is not reliable for variably positioned coils with fluctuating marking quality. In addition, OCR is not suitable for inventory collection in the storage yard. High quality barcode applied directly to the coil could solve the problem. Bar codes can easily be scanned in storage yards and during production operations using inexpensive, industry-standard bar code scanners. Manual bar code tag attachment to cold (ambient to approximately 300°C) coils is commonplace. For such cold coils, paper tags and plastic tags are commonly attached using wire, adhesive or a plastic pouch. They are usually durable enough to survive shipment and short-term storage. However, currently there is no commercial adhesive that will adhere a metal tag to hot coils having Identification of hot coils requires a tag which can survive temperatures that approach 1000°C and can be securely attached in a manner which will survive cooldown and annealing while maintaining readability. Also, the tag must be able to survive outdoor storage or sea transportation without image or contrast degradation. Such tags must be applied either to the outside wrap of the coil (where crane operators can see them) or to the coil side face or inside diameter (where they can be read on coils that are stacked). Tags that are stiff and “foldable” can easily be attached so that they are viewable from two directions. HIGH-TEMPERATURE METAL TAGS For marking of the hot-rolled coils, we proposes to use the MCL high-temperature metal tags with barcode. The tag contains all of the data necessary to identify each individual coil with the naked eye, as well as a bar code that give us the possibility to identify the coil using standard solutions like bar-code readers (scanners). Many man hours are spent taking inventory in the steel yard. A high quality bar code attached directly to the coil can reduce this by at least half. Not only does accurate inventory take less time, but the coil yard can be updated in real time using standard portable bar code readers with wireless links. The location is scanned or entered by the coil hauler, then the coil is scanned; in real time the host system updates the location of each and every coil stored in the yard. Pannier Corporation introduced the MCL hightemperature metal tags in 1983 to enable manufacturers in the primary metals industries to reliably identify and track their products. Now standard throughout the steel and aluminum industries, our MCL barcode metal tags can do even more than before. surface temperatures greater than 500°C. Another pitfall that the surface of coil should be prepared before tag attachment – it should be free of scale, residues of oil, water, etc. otherwise adhesive will no adhere the tag to the coil. To prevent the problem mills usually attach several tags to the coil duplicate to each other but it increase the total cost of marking. MCL tags are made of stainless steel with a thickness of 0.2 mm and covered with a layer of special ceramics that changes color when exposed to the laser beam. Tags can contain text, barcodes, matrix 2D-codes, logos and any other information that may be needed for marking and identification of metal. MCL metal tags withstand very high temperatures (up to 1200 ° C), resistant to mechanical damages, adverse weather conditions, acids and alkalis. Information applied to the tag may be stored up to 50 years without degradation of its properties. Example of coil marked by MCL high-temperature metal tag shown at the Picture below: TAG ATTACHMENT Direct attachment to coil's surface - immediately after downcoiling, the coil surface is usually smooth with little or no mill scale. Here the tag is attached to the coil using either manual or automatic coil tagging methods. The preferred welding method is resistance spot welding. Two or four small resistance spot welds made through a single layer of the tag material are adequate for tag attachment. Example of the tag attached to the coil shown at the Picture below: Attachment to coil's band – if the coil strapped by metal strap after downcoiling the tag could be attached to the strap as an alternative to direct attachment. In this case the same attaching method – spot welding is used. Spot welding attaches the tag to the outer or inner wrap of the coil by pressing the tag and coil wrap substrate together with sufficient force, while passing a high weld current thru the tag-to-coil interface, to form a melt pool and thereby bond the two steel surfaces together. Tag geometry for a given application is designed so that the tag material is uncoated at the weld location on the tag. Usually the tags are coated using a method that leaves bare metal edges for welding. The machine weld tip geometry is designed to match the tag bare edge geometry. This method provides very high reliability and quality of attachment; coils with attached tags could go through the mill operations like moving through the roll tables, crane operations, etc. without tag damaging. For band attachment, tags also could be provided with elongated slots that facilitate tag attachment when the coil banding operation is performed. Manual or automatic attachment is possible. MARKING SYSTEM Both ways – manual or automatic available for tag applying to hot coils. MANUAL APPLICATION An operator using a handheld wand applicator specially designed to manually apply tags to hot or cold coils. Preprinted sequentially numbered tags are used, or an on-demand industrial laser tag printer, located near the marking station, is used to produce tags on demand. The operator affixes the bare edge tag to a (magnetic) tag applicator mechanism at the end of the wand, presses the tag firmly against the outer wrap or inside surface of the coil, and then operates a finger trigger to initiate the weld. The IntelMark AS-W is a rugged, reliable, and effective answer to coil marking requirements. It creates large, clear, easy-to-read marking on the coil. The IntelMark AS-W operates 100% unassisted, requiring only occasional tags refilling and maintenance. It was designed to operate in line, in the extremely harsh and unfriendly environment of coil rolling and finishing lines. Because of its small base and long reach, it can be placed virtually anywhere. It is particularly suitable for installation in existing lines, where usually no modifications of the lay-out are required. The system can mark both cold and hot coils, with a temperature be marked surface up to 1200 ° C The IntelMark AS-W can be installed any place where the coil is available in necessary position for the duration of the marking cycle. Simple and easy to implement interfaces are supplied to connect the marking machine to existing Level 2 automation systems. However, the IntelMark AS-W can also be used as a stand-alone system. A wide range of communication interfaces allows easy integrating the marking machine with the enterprise information system and receiving the appropriate marking information in real time. The machine also equipped by automatic skipping of straps system. IntelMark AS-W marking machine based on 6-axis industrial robot fitted with a specially designed marking head for tag attaching, spot welding system and industrial laser printer for metal tags printing. AUTOMATIC APPLICATION Tags can also be automatically applied to a coil by an automatic tagging machine. For coils marking INTELMET proposes to use the marking machine from IntelMark AS-W line, which is developed by INTELMET specialists specifically for the steel industry. As soon as a coil arrives at the marking position and the conveyor has stopped, a start signal "coil present" accompanied by the coil’s diameter and width information is expected. When the signal "start marking" has been received by the robot controller the signal "robot is marking" is kept high. The robot moves with the measuring pin installed at the marking head towards to the coil and measures the circumference of the coil in order to calculate the approximate diameter and real position of the coil. The tags are printed with the identification data sent by the plant's automation system, and are ready when the product reaches the marking station. The robot picks them up, places them on the face of the coil, and attaches them. It then clears the area to allow evacuation of the coil and gives a signal “marker ready” and waiting the next coil. The entire operation is fully automatic. The operator interface can be placed in the line pulpit, and extensive diagnostics are provided to insure that the operators can deal with problems routinely (i.e. tag stock level low). The printer was designed by INTELMET specifically for the harsh conditions of steel industry and is equipped by some unique features: MACHINE COMPONENTS Industrial robot - The coil-marking unit is based on a standard KUKA or KAWSASAKI industrial robot. digital laser marking head with 2 galvanometers for highest marking performance; angle of laser beam exit adjustable continuously for best marking quality; integrated pilot laser for easy setup of a new marking job and reduce the marking cycle; two channel safety circuit on separate connectors for flexible integration in the production process; controller unit with integrated graphical display for intuitive operations; Welding unit - A spot welding unit is designed especially for use in marking machine of IntelMark family. Industrial laser printer - IntelTag™ industrial printer for print high-temperature metal tags for steel marking based on 30 Watt CO2 laser and equipped by fully automated shearing device that could produce the tag with width starting from 4mm. The maximum width of the tag could be 76mm and the maximum length of the tag is unlimited. The machine is supplied by three-phase network of AC current. Big LCD display with blue lightening that provides an excellent readability of working parameters. Simple and easy-tounderstand control provides quick and effective setting of the parameters of different grades of steel. The main features of the welding unit: microprocessor control of the spot welding machine; multifunctional control board with LCD display; automatically set parameters depending of the task; indication and gradual adjustment of welding time and power; automatic transition to the cooling mode (overheat protection); Welding head - The welding head includes a measuring pin in order to measure the diameter of the coil, and two spot welding rods to attach the tag to the coil’s surface. It’s also equipped by special magnetic holder for pick up the tag from the printer and hold them during the attaching operation. TAG FORMATS Different tag formats available for this application. Typically tag has size 76x101mm or 76x203mm with uncoated metal bare edge at the top and bottom of the tag width to accommodate good resistance weld current conductivity. The tag also could has a special coupon, which is Main PLC cabinet and HMI interface – Main PLC cabinet equipped with all necessary devices for input and output as well as power supply. The data exchange between PLC and Host Computer is executed via Ethernet or Profibus. folded-down at 90°. This tag geometry provides a 2axis view of the tag by both the crane operator and an observer in the storage yard standing at the eye of the coil. The maintenance panel installed in the cabinet for adjustment, repair and service of the machine. All buttons on the maintenance panel are operational when a selector switch on this panel is switched to maintenance. As soon as switched, a signal is given that the marker turned into maintenance mode. When using this mode, all control from the pulpit and host computer is blocked. ABOUT INTELMET TECHNOLOGIES Pulpit HMI will be provided with a computer, LCD monitor and a screen layout for system status and alarm visualization. HMI Operational function includes: HMI installed at the operators’ pulpit should function as a standalone visualization system for status monitoring and alarm. If there is a malfunction on the machine, HMI at the pulpit should alarm the operator and operator should be able to move manually the machine to the home position. With the HMI at the operators’ pulpit, operators would be able to operate the machine with semiautomatic and automatic mode. INTELMET TECHNOLOGIES was founded more than 15 years ago and since these days we have been producing technological solutions for product marking, traceability and identification in steel industry. Today we are one of the recognized international supplier in these areas, among our customers not only a major steel producers like ThyssenKrupp, DUFERCO, Arcelor Mittal, EUROPIPE, NLMK, etc., but also key engineering players like SMS Siemag, Siemens-VAI, Fives Stain, SYTCO and many others. It give us a deep knowledge of production processes there are marking machines are installed and significant experience in the development, engineering and manufacture of high quality marking machines incorporating most innovative technologies. Based on 2012Y results FORBES magazine included us into TOP-5 marking equipment manufacturers for steel industry. Now we produce the full line of marking machines under the IntelMark™ brand name for all type of products: slabs, billets and blooms, hot and cold coils, tubes and pipes, sheets and plates, etc. INTELMET TECHNOLOGIES is also a developer of integrated systems of identification and tracking of metal under the trademark SteelTrace ™. INTELMET TECHNOLOGIES is an official certified supplier of marking equipment and technologies for engineering companies SMS Siemag and SMS Meer (Germany) (registration number 68-233-6583), Fives Stain (France), ENCE (Switzerland), Siemens-VAI (Austria) and SYTCO (Austria) and passed all necessary audit procedures and control of the above mentioned companies. Our strength lies in our daily commitment to provide to our customers the best solutions with completive cost, which strongly focused on their real needs.