Siemens device measures up to customer expectations
Apr 30, 2011 | 07:00 PM
| Bill Beck
Sometimes, advancements in manufacturing are industry-specific and take years to be commercially licensed for general use. That was the case 30 years ago when bearing manufacturers in the United States, Europe and Japan began designing large thrust roller bearings for mini-mill customers seeking to reduce friction and stress in rolling mills. What started as designs for specific customers is today standard equipment for rolling mills all over the world.
So when an aluminum producer asked Siemens Corp. three years ago to create a simple, reliable and inexpensive method to measure the thickness of stationary plates on a hot-mill roller table without the use of X-rays, the global engineering and manufacturing behemoth accepted the challenge.
Andrew Frampton, new product manager for aluminum in the Metal Technology Group at Siemens Industries in Canonsburg, Pa., fielded the request in late 2007. "I was on a visit to the plant," he said. "I was talking to the operations and engineering people, and they described the problem to me."
The problem was operator error in measuring the thickness of plates coming off the rolling mill. Operators had to use a micrometer to measure the thickness of the plates, which often were very hot and difficult to move, creating a safety hazard if the sheet shifted while the operator was measuring it. And the mill was getting inconsistent readings, caused mainly by the different strengths of the operators screwing down the micrometer.....
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