Even today, quality grading in most rolling plants is not an automated process. A great deal of time and effort is invested in quality supervision on a human level, for example pinpointing the exact cause of defects. Any anomalous or divergent quality data requires decisions and action to be taken by the monitoring personnel, such as rerouting or, in the worst-case scenario, scrapping a coil, thereby resulting in losses. In the past, the IT implementation of quality assurance was almost impossible, partly because of the diversity of the products manufactured and the small batch sizes for customer-specific steel products. However, another critical factor is that quality and process data are usually stored on multiple local systems, so that many of them cannot be accessed directly. The powerful data warehouse approach and user-friendly concept of the Quality Execution System (QES) allows the systematic introduction of an automated coil release system for all production lines.
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