New impetus for the tube and wire industry
We see digitalization and Industrie 4.0 as key challenges that are set to profoundly change the tube and wire industry in the years to come. SMS group is turning the spotlight on these topics at the Tube & wire trade fair, which will take place in Düsseldorf from April 16th to 20th, 2018. Hall 7a, booth B03/B04, is where SMS group will be looking at how digitalization is changing the whole value-added chain and enabling greater efficiency, higher quality, and more flexibility from a number of different angles.
The first impetus arising from digitalization and Industrie 4.0 concerns the design and manufacture of machines and components for the production of tube and wire itself. At the fair, SMS group will be demonstrating this using the example of a mill stand for a cold pilger mill, which is made with the aid of additive manufacturing processes. The component geometry of a mill stand, which up to now has been made by machining techniques, was optimized in terms of the stresses generated so that the number of strokes and thus the productivity were enhanced significantly. Further examples of SMS group’s activities in the additive manufacturing growth market, which are to be shown at the fair, are the competence center for 3D printing, which is being built in Mönchengladbach, as well as 3D printed components. They show an enhanced functionality, they weigh less and have shorter delivery periods.
The second topic shows the possibilities that digitalization offers for the production process. The aim of the “smart mill” is to use data and the corresponding parameters as a basis for business and process control related decisions. A realistic map of the process with precise measurements is required for the collection of reliable process data. This type of measuring system for tube, pipe, bar, and section mills is to be displayed by SMS group at Tube & wire in cooperation with TBK Automatisierung und Messtechnik GmbH, an SMS group company. The system measures up to 5,000 contours per second with laser light section sensors during the rolling process. Local atypical anomalies on the surface can be detected on the basis of the 3D models, generated by high resolution cross-sectional measurements. The direct transfer of the measurement readings to the mill stand control system allows roll setting adjustments to be made during the rolling process and thus saves time and money by directly monitoring the production process.
Digitalization is also creating new opportunities for plant service. "Smart Maintenance Solutions" are aimed at enhancing the availability of the plant and the quality of the end products on a long-term basis by combining software solutions. The creation of a digital plant structure will offer maintenance teams centralized access to all the relevant parameters in future. The information required will be provided, for example, by the eDoc electronic parts catalog, the IMMS® (Integrated Maintenance Management System), or the Genius CM® system (Condition Monitoring). What’s more, the link to “smart” training courses will also be presented at the fair using augmented reality.
Digital products and platforms round off the range of presentations at Tube & wire 2018. They form the basis for intelligent, digital services, and implement the secure, digital exchange of information between SMS group and its customers. One example is the platform for PQSC® piercer plugs for seamless tube rolling mills, through which you can process orders and check the status of each order 24 hours a day. Not only that, a comment function ensures easy communication, as notes referencing the relevant customer order and SMS group employee can be entered. The option of order-based communication means the whole process is more transparent, change requests are easier to follow, and orders can be split if different delivery times for partial deliveries are required.
However it is not just technological boundaries that will be redefined by digitalization. The way we work with customers and other partners will change, with cooperation becoming even closer in future. As the “Leading Partner in the World of Metals” SMS group is getting together with customers to present projects at this fair that highlight this successful cooperation in the areas of new plant construction, revamps, and service. More information on the program will be published on our microsite www.sms-group.com/tw2018 at the start of April.
SMS group is a group of companies internationally active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry. It has some 13,500 employees who generate worldwide sales of more than EUR 3 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.