After identifying the safety concerns associated with raw coil de-banding, Steelscape had a company-wide push to reduce pedestrian and forklift interactions (a forklift with a coil ram is used to lift coils during the de-banding process). They launched a search for a safer method.
Cutting steel bands has typically required a worker to wedge a band cutter tool by hand between the coil of steel and steel banding. Carpal tunnel syndrome and elbow injuries are rampant among those in charge of de-banding.
Steelscape received coils of varying thicknesses, each wrapped with seven bands, four I.D. and three O.D. But sometimes coils arrive with fewer and are removed or inconsistently placed during processing and transport.
These bands are under tension and once manually cut, would often spring open, potentially striking the operator. Steelscape had limited options, as most robotic de-banding is performed in integrated mills, where only one band has to be removed.
Radian was tasked with supplying a robot that could de-band a wide variety of coils while ensuring that a seamless flow entered Steelscape’s pickling facility. The hot band de-banding robot was required to remove up to eight bands from the inner and outer diameter of various coils, indexing back and forth between two lines of coils.
Radian also had to integrate the robotics system with the walking beam conveyor systems that transport coils to Steelscape’s pickle line.
“My hat goes off to Radian’s engineering team, both mechanical and electrical. It was really fun working with them.”— Vince Wilbur, Mechanical Engineering Technician at Steelscape
Radian was picked for this project due to our methods for maneuvering inconsistent banding issues. Robots are typically set in place at one pass line in one location.
Our design for Steelscape worked between two pass lines, multiple bands and rotated coil instead of being stationary. The robotic de-bander was also retrofitted into Steelscape’s existing operations.
Today instead of workers cutting bands manually, the robot can do it by scanning each coil and detecting where the bands are located. In the event the robot misses a band, the operator can easily intervene and instruct the robot to go back and catch any that were missed.
The operator can tell the robot if the coil has I.D. or O.D. bands, or both, to save the robot from scanning the entire coil, which helps improve efficiency and compensates for inconsistencies.
From a programming perspective, Tebulo had to ensure the robot could handle Steelscape’s raw hot band from the coil storage yard with oxidized, dirty bands. The robot needed to be able to detect and remove coils.
The 6-axis robot, mounted on a seventh axis indexing base, is agile enough to de-band coils on both lines, ensuring a seamless flow of production.