Metal Insights Forge Greater ROI

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Metal Insights Forge Greater ROI for Copper Manufacturer
Global demand for copper is expected to remain high, due to its versatile use in consumer goods and industrial applications. The current trends in copper processing are towards methods and equipment that use less energy and produce less air pollution and solid waste. This becomes challenging because of the stringent environmental controls and the very low-concentration copper ores that are available, increasing the production costs significantly. The industry’s requirement to ensure high purity during production often depends upon thorough sampling, to determine whether any adjustment to the process is required.

Sofia Med is a subsidiary of ElvalHalcor Greece, which is part of the Viohalco holding company. Situated in Sofia, Bulgaria, on a 250,000 m2 area, Sofia Med contains three production units comprising of foundry, rolling and extrusion mills. With 80 years of manufacturing experience and with help from significant investments, Sofia Med has evolved into a competitive modern European company with an international client base, supported through the worldwide distribution channel network of Halcor.

Historically reliant on upstream and downstream manual inspections, meeting the demands of high-end tinning for automotive manufacturers was becoming increasingly business critical to Sofia Med's growth. To meet the requirement for a reliable solution, the production team identified successful sample studies covering various alloys and dimensions.

Delivering an application-driven solution
Sofia Med was initially looking for an industry-respected inspection system for the slitting line on its rolling mill. The team’s premise was that quality inspection could effectively capture any defects at the finishing process, before reaching the customer. The goal was to get the highest possible detection and classification of the defects and minimalize the false detection. The difficulty lay in inspection for copper strips after the tinning surface process as the surface results in ahighly reflective, shiny surface.

An on-site technical review by a dedicated AMETEK Surface Vision project engineer revealed further advantages could be gained by implementing inspection earlier in the production process, where surface conditions allowed for more effective detection of defects. Employing inspection at the cleaning line would identify what kind of defects were appearing on the coils and would also allow the operator to better plan the slitting process, reduce scrappage and increase product yield.

Products fit for purpose
Using state-of-the-art cameras and high-intensity lights, AMETEK Surface Vision’s SmartView® system was installed to provide unsurpassed image quality on sheet metals, in half the amount of space required by other solutions. The modular system helps reduce the camera count, improve detection, as well as simplify system installation and maintenance.

As a result of SmartView’s successful implementation on the cleaning line, a further inspection system is now installed to monitor quality on the new tinning line at the mill. The resulting customized open web configuration makes use of collimated light. Two sets of cameras looking onto the surface from different angles at the same time. The Synchronized Web Viewer provides the user with total control of the interface, helping to reduce scrap product in the event of a process issue. The different process views allow a variety of queries in grading, line synchronization and system status monitoring, using intuitive dropdown menus and customizable windows to help narrow results with precision. 

In addition, SmartViews collection of thresholding algorithms were optimized for copper coil production, allowing measurement and reporting of the surface quality characteristics of strip, both over a roller and unsupported. This allows the measurement of overall surface properties without production interruption and can even predict post-processing properties of the product while it is being produced, giving operators the ability to remove sub-standard coil from the process at an early stage. The operator can also specify the behavior when no threshold value is selected. This allows potential changes to be evaluated without interrupting current production inspection.

Multiple cameras were mounted on a retractable frame on the cleaning line and configured for an open web configuration, as opposed to the deflection roll, with illumination to compensate for potential pass line variations, cross bow and angle change.  

Cameras were additionally installed on the tinning line, providing an ultra-high-resolution system allowing for bright and dark field inspection on the rolls. These were connected to a rack mount data system supported by a Production Quality Advisor (PQA). This powerful suite of data analysis and display tools allows the viewing of both current and historical production-quality data from surface inspection system database archive servers. 

AMETEK Surface Vision Quarterly Newsletter Autumn 2019
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AMETEK Surface Vision
AMETEK Surface Vision is the world leader in automated online surface inspection solutions. Our broad product range is optimized for the monitoring and inspection of webs and surfaces, and for process surveillance applications.

The SmartView and SmartAdvisor product lines deliver robust, flexible solutions to continuous production processes across a number of industries, with hundreds of customers and more than 2,000 installations worldwide.

Our systems have become vital to increasing efficiency, streamlining operations, improving product quality and reducing costs and waste in industrial processes. 

We continue to innovate, providing cutting-edge technologies and world-class technical support that delivers highly accurate defect data, high-definition video, intelligent grading, archiving and detailed reporting.