Steel and aluminium service centres are modern, high-performance processing companies with an extensive delivery and service programme of slit strips, sheets and blanks of hot-rolled and cold-rolled material, surface-finished strips and special alloys. They see themselves as a link between rolling mill manufacturers and steel processing companies.
If we look only at the steel market, steel service centres already had a 37 % share of the distribution channels for steel in Europe in 2015. If we consider only flat products, even 45 % of the material passes through steel service centres (Eurometal 2017). The relevance of this distribution channel therefore does not need to be emphasised further.
The service centres have to master special challenges because their most important customers, the automotive companies, are facing a paradigm shift. A decreasing share of steel in the automotive sector is expected, while at the same time the trend is towards more and more high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels with low thicknesses. The advent of e-mobility and autonomous driving are also among the challenges. Consequently, service centres will have to assert themselves on the market through the use of the latest technologies and by differentiating themselves in terms of service, quality, agility and flexibility.
Thickness measurement as quality feature
The highly accurate measurement of the material thickness of strips is of particular importance. The thickness measurement systems of the EMG iTiM family also meet extreme customer requirements. With X-ray measuring methods (EMG iTiM xray) or via isotope radiation solutions (EMG iTiM iso), an absolute measuring accuracy of 0.1 % of the measured value can be achieved. For a 0.3 mm thick strip, this means +- 0.3 µm. For comparison: a human hair is 60 – 80 µm thick!
By contrast, laser-based systems of the type EMG iTiM laser – which are either based on the triangulation principle or use a confocal optical measuring method – can be used flexibly and comparatively inexpensively to meet many standard requirements in thickness measurement at metal service centres. This also includes thickness measurement on reflective surfaces.
All systems can be used in scanning mode and offer the possibility of converting the data recorded upstream of the slitting line to the slit strip produced, thus providing reliable thickness measurement values for each slit strip.
Especially for metal service centres, EMG offers the right solution with the various thickness measurement technologies of the EMG iTiM product family. In the end, it is only the specific application, the constructive prerequisites at the line and the requirements of the user that decide which system technology is to be used at the line in question. All sensor technologies that are common and proven in industry today are now part of the EMG portfolio. This includes X-ray systems, isotope systems and laser-based optical systems based on the triangulation principle or confocal measurement technology. The user has access to the comprehensive solution expertise of the thickness measurement system experts at EMG (formerly MESACON Messelektronik GmbH), which has been earned over several decades of project experience.
By the way, with regard to EMG’s services for metal service centres, we also recommend reading the article “Just be sure not to go too wide! Width measurement with EMG BREIMO and EMG iCAM®” in this newsletter.
You can find more information about EMG iTiM on our website and you are welcome to contact the international sales and service organisation at any time, which will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.