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Precision Alignment: Success in Metal Rolling Mills

Precision Alignment: Success in Metal Rolling Mills

Rolling metal under tension, heat, and pressure transforms ingots, billets, blooms, and slabs into sheets and various profiles. At the same time, the precision alignment of the parts in your rolling mill will play a major influence on productivity and product quality, whether you are producing steel, aluminum, or other metal sheets or coils.

The machinery used in a rolling mill must withstand extreme conditions and lengthy durations of usage. Settling, vibration, abrasion, and even forklift strikes may all cause components to diverge from acceptable operating tolerances and parameters over time, leading to issues including misalignment, deterioration of roller surface cylindricity, bearing wear and tear, and more.

Roll and component precision alignment in a rolling mill is crucial to the quality of the finished product, the reduction of scrap, and the enhancement of operational efficiency, regardless of whether the process is hot rolling or cold rolling or what configuration the rolls are in.

Problems Resulting From Improper Alignment

Precision alignment is a critical factor in metal rolling mills, and any misalignment can result in several issues. One of the most significant problems is inconsistent or out-of-spec products. When the rolls are not correctly aligned, they can produce products that do not meet the required specifications, leading to wasted materials, time, and resources.

Besides that, misalignment can cause uneven rolling thickness, resulting in products with varying thicknesses that are unsuitable for their intended purposes. This issue can lead to tension problems, faulty rolling direction, excessive vibration, chatter, and reduced rolling speed, which eventually results in unplanned downtime and increased energy consumption.

Another problem caused by misalignment is higher scrap rates. When the rolls are not correctly aligned, they can produce scrap metal instead of usable products, leading to increased scrap rates and decreased efficiency. Misalignment can cause premature component wear and failure, such as rolls, bearings, and chocks, which results in costly repairs and replacements.

Innovative Tools and Technologies for Precision Alignment

The development of 3-dimensional precision measurement has benefited the rolling mill industry by allowing for the rapid, accurate, and thorough examination of rolling mill components previously impossible or impractical to achieve. In addition, modern metrology instruments are built to resist severe working conditions, making them perfect for metal rolling mills.

Meanwhile, our metrology experts can help rolling mills with various tasks by using several modern laser-based 3D measurements technologies, such as laser scanners, laser trackers, portable coordinate measuring arms, and the corresponding metrology software.

  • Constructing and installing mill reference points.
  • Inspecting the mill’s centerline.
  • Alignment and parallelism of the rolls.
  • Analysis of wear and roll profiles.
  • Inspection of rails and pass line.
  • Verification of chocks.
  • Parallelism and location of platens.
  • Motor and gearbox positioning.

Equipment Installation and Precision Alignment

One of the most common causes of misalignment in rolling mills is the result of improper alignment during equipment installation. The layout and location of critical components need pinpoint accuracy during installation. With the use of laser trackers, metrology experts may swiftly assess a space’s architecture, as well as get the accurate spatial placement of components and guide modifications throughout the installation process. Installation as a whole may be sped up, allowing for a shorter total time spent on the project. The same applies to component upgrades and rollovers.

Final Words

Metal rolling mills, both hot and cold, are highly efficient manufacturing processes that process large tonnages of metal. Nevertheless, due to the heavy workload, the rolls and components of these mills experience significant wear and tear over time. To ensure smooth and efficient operations, planning for precision alignment inspections and adjustments during scheduled downtime is important. Routine inspections for alignment and wear should be a part of your preventive maintenance program to avoid costly issues resulting from misalignment.

By adopting these practices, you can enhance your operational efficiency and minimize the impact of wear and tear on your metal rolling mills. Please get in touch with us, and one of our representatives would be pleased to talk to you about how cutting-edge 3D metrology technologies and equipment may improve productivity at your metal rolling mill.