Mönchengladbach, April 01, 2018

Digitalization and Industrie 4.0 are the main focus of SMS group at Tube & wire 2018

  • At this year’s Tube & wire SMS group introduces future-oriented solutions for the tube and wire industry.
  • In addition to additive manufacturing, this also includes automation technologies and smart service.

The topics digitalization and Industrie 4.0 are key challenges that are set to profoundly change the tube and wire industry in the years to come. At this year’s international trade fair for tube, wire and cable, SMS group is turning the spotlight on these key issues for the future and will be looking from a number of different angles at how digitalization is changing the whole value-added chain and enabling greater efficiency, higher quality, and more flexibility to plant operators.

Additive manufacturing

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 among others 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 can be 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. These components show an enhanced functionality, they weigh less and have shorter delivery periods. An example in this context is the successful development of additively manufactured spray heads for closed-die forging presses.

Precise measurement technology

The second topic includes 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 mapping of the process with precise measurements is required for the collection of reliable process data. This type of measuring system for tube, wire rod, 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. During the rolling process the system measures up to 5,000 contours per second with laser light-section sensors. 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 ongoing production and thus saves time and money by directly monitoring the production process.

Quality management system

More and more SMS customers’ plants employ the PQA® system (Product Quality Analyzer), a quality control system jointly developed with MET/Con Metallurgical Plant & Process Consulting, a subsidiary of SMS group. The PQA® system collects and assesses quality-relevant process parameters across the entire process chain from steelmaking through to the final product. Process parameters can be measured values and events but also complex criteria applied for quality assessment.

Smart service solutions

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 electronic parts catalog eDoc, the Genius CM® system (Condition Monitoring), or the IMMS® (Integrated Maintenance Management System).


Electronic parts catalog eDoc

  • The electronic parts catalog maps the plant documentation of the entire project scope of supply as a cloud solution. For large-scale projects the data is based on a total of thousands and thousands of BOM items and drawings, and single documents from SMS group Divisions involved and from all other suppliers of individual parts or assemblies which now can be called up via just one tool by editing them in a consolidating and structural manner. In this way, SMS group customers receive a tool enabling them to identify and request parts easily and quickly. The data are continually updated and tedious searching for the required information is now a thing of the past. Functions such as displaying common parts across all plant areas provide the plant operator with the desired transparency, thus contributing to increasing efficiency and reduced inventory level. In addition to that, the electronic parts catalog forms the basis for other digital products. As the virtual image of the plant it enables linking digital services to the purchasing process. Technical information needed is immediately available for all applications and can be transferred directly to the procurement process. When e.g. a component failure is predicted by means of Condition Monitoring, information on common components, inventory and delivery time can be checked and the required part be procured.

Genius CM® (Condition Monitoring)

  • The Genius CM® (Condition Monitoring) system is a modularly designed online monitoring system of the plant. The system controls and documents the current condition of components subject to wear and failure. Compared to traditional inspection and maintenance methods the advantage is the permanent monitoring of plant components. Operators are permanently informed on the actual condition and warned in case of critical situations. Consequently, Genius CM® opens up entirely new possibilities for optimizing quality and availability. Sensors are installed at critical plant components along the process chain, regularly transmitting measured data to Genius CM® such as torques, vibrations, temperatures, forces, oil flow, particles and viscosity.

IMMS® - Integrated Maintenance Management System

  • To allow its customers to focus fully on their core business SMS group provides a customer-specific maintenance system to its customers. With the Integrated Maintenance Management System (IMMS®) SMS group combines computer- aided maintenance with valuable data and thus comes up with a plant- and customer-specific, all-encompassing package.
Digital products and platforms

At the fair stand visitors will obtain an insight into “smart” training courses using augmented reality. Digital products and platforms will round off the range of presentations by SMS group at Tube & wire 2018. They form the basis for intelligent, digital services, and implement for example 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 orders and the relevant SMS group employees 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.

X-PACT® MES 4.0

The holistic, modular solution for planning and controlling of all production plants is called X-Pact® MES 4.0. Due to its highly comprehensive and adaptable functionality for all plant types of the metallurgical process chain, the Manufacturing Executive System (MES) has a special position within the product portfolio of SMS group. This includes e.g. equipment in steelworks, continuous casters, flat rolling mills, tube plants, section mills and strip processing lines. Special characteristics of different types of material from simple carbon steels through to special steel and aluminum are also considered in this concept.

Leading partner

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 way of cooperating in the areas of new plant construction, revamps, and service. Some examples of these successful projects are available on the following pages