When a customer asked the Metal Technology Group at Siemens Corp. to design a simple, robust, reliable and inexpensive method to measure the thickness of stationary aluminum plate on a hot-mill roller table, the U.S. subsidiary of the German engineering conglomerate responded quickly.
But dont look for a similar design coming anytime soon to an aluminum plate rolling mill near you. "At the moment, it is a one-of-a-kind design and installation," said Andrew Frampton, the Metal Technology Groups new product manager for aluminum.
Frampton wont say how much the design and installation of the measuring device cost, noting that "plate mills can be twice as wide as this one so it wont be an off-the-shelf installation." But he acknowledged that "there are a lot of mills around the world that might find a need for this kind of thing. Theres definite interest in this kind of measurement among the 50 or 60 aluminum hot mills in the world."
Frampton confirmed that other mills were interested in the Siemens plate measurement device, primarily in North America, "and we are pretty sure of some potential global interest."
The customer who asked Siemens to develop the instrument said it was aware of several other plants interested in the measurement device. "There has been some interest from other mills in our group," a mill engineer said.