SSAB Tunnplåt

Remotus - SSAB Tunnplåt - ctl00_cph1_image

SSAB Tunnplåt’s Borlänge operation has its steel sheet processing under control. The company—a subsidiary of the SSAB Group—processes 30-ton steel sheet rolls/coils with varying properties for purposes such as car, refrigerator, or door manufacturing. So it’s important to keep track of the warehouse’s hundreds of rolls, which must be cut to length and distributed to customers. SAAB Tunnplåt manages the logistics with a wireless network and Åkerströms’ remote-control solutions.

SSAB Tunnplåt in Borlänge gets its steel from the SSAB Tunnplåt steel works in Luleå, Sweden. The Borlänge operation rolls the steel and turns it into sheets of varying thickness, strength, and properties. Slitting and cutting-to-length are the last stages in the process; here, the steel is transformed into finished products that fulfill these requirements: specified length and width, packaging, and delivery mode. Slitting results in processed strips and coils, and cutting-to-length results in sheets in customer-specified sizes.

A sophisticated solution enables steel sheet handling during the cutting-to-length procedure. Many steel sheet rolls lie before slitter feeder. At first glance, this all looks a bit chaotic. But the staff has everything under control.

“Thanks to Åkerströms’ solutions, we have control of every roll,” says Nils Gunnar Andersson, utilities manager at SSAB Tunnplåt. “Åkerströms’ radio network and remote control of the overhead cranes that work with our information system is
a very smart solution.”

Determining rolls positions
Each steel sheet roll that’s moved to the slitter has a unique ID that followed the roll through the entire process. The overhead crane that moves the roll into the warehouse is equipped with a position indicator and a reflector that determines a lengthwise position. A position indicator is also on the crane’s transverse drive, with a comparable reflector and the determined crosswise position. The crane is equipped with a programmable logic control (PLC) system that receives values from the position indicator, via the radio network, and specifies an x-y position that shows exactly where the roll is located. All of
these tasks are synchronized and displayed on a computer down on the warehouse floor. When it’s time for the roll to be cut to length, the operator receives the registered x-y position from the PLC system and can easily steer the crane and pick up the roll using Åkerströms’ Remotus transmitter.

Hand-held devices simplify processing
An operator scans the ID from a hand-held device (also provided by Åkerströms) before the roll is moved into the large slitter. All data about the roll—how to cut it and deliver it—are entered into the main information system. The slitter receives the data and automatically sets the right thickness to be able to align and cut the sheet with the highest precision. The sheet can be cut to length from 1-meter up to 16-meter pieces. The slitter in the Borlänge operation is among the largest, most sophisticated in the world. Enormous force and milli-meter precision are needed to process steel sheets of varying thickness, widths, and hardness.

“All our production is made to order,” says Andersson, “and customers’ requirements determine the production mix. We can see that demand for products with tremendous strength is constantly increasing—along with extreme demand for malleability.”

After cutting, the steel sheets are automatically packaged, put on pallets, and transferred down the line to the loader. This process parallels the earlier transport process: the overhead crane is equ-ipped with a PLC system and a position indicator, which scan and specify the position. The operator scans the sheet’s ID with a hand-held device, gets a position that’s entered into the information system and then uses Åkerströms’ Remotus Euro to steer the overhead crane, which transports the pallet to the right place. When Green Cargo’s locomotive pulls in the freight cars for loading, it’s easy to locate the right packages and load them. Green Cargo’s locomotive is also remote controlled with Åkerströms’ solutions. The driver stands beside the locomotive and uses Locomote, Åkerströms’ remote-control solution, to steer the train. In doing so, the driver is better positioned to see more, which thus increases safety.