The new stretcher leveller will complement a complete Red Bud Industries line that was installed in 2015 at Allied Steelrode’s Meyerton facility.
In response to a growing demand for steel sheet that arrives flat and stays flat after laser, plasma or water-jet cutting in 2015 Allied Steelrode invested R150 million in a new 9 000m² facility and a dedicated Red Bud Industries’ cut-to-length line with Suregrip® stretcher leveller technology incorporated.
Such has been the success and demand from users and distributors of flat steel to the significantly better flat steel – giving them competitive advantages – that Allied Steelrode commissioned a second line in June 2018 that will give them flexibility in processing different gauge size of material and the ability to cut turnaround times. The added capacity will also push the company to record processing figures.
“Based on our experience of investing in our first dedicated Red Bud Industries stretcher leveller and cut-to-length line, which was especially manufactured to Allied Steelrode’s specifications, we approached this R60 million investment knowing that we had to add capacity while taking into account that the equipment would have to have a big impact on processing time as well as give us more flexibility into what gauge and type of material we were processing,” said Marius Bezuidenhout, Chief Operating Officer of Allied Steelrode.
Allied Steelrode have extended their building in Meyerton by 1 750m² so as to accommodate coil delivery and storage. This addition was a bit more complicated than the company had anticipated because of the condition of the soil. With the weight – a coil can weigh up to 35 tons – and with the amount of coils that Allied Steelrode stores they have to make sure that they meet safety standards. In the case of the extension the contractors had to drill 148 piling holes, each 15 metres deep with a 750mm diameter, and used 100 tons of rebar so as to meet the standards
“Flat metal users are aware that material is levelled at coil manufacturing facilities to remove residual stress and flatness defects in the material before it is rolled into coils. However, they also know that often they have to work with sheets and plate, which originally came off a coil, but still demonstrate coil-related defects that make further processing difficult. We are conscious of this and this is why we have invested in the technology.”
“The stretcher material has become an increasingly sought-after product in the South African metal processing industry and the demand for this material has increased, whether it is hot-rolled or stainless steel.”
“However, before we made further investments we took a critical look at the equipment and facilities at our original site in Alrode as well as those at Meyerton. The result has been multi-faceted in that we have invested in upgrading and retrofitting existing cut-to-length equipment, we have introduced a Red Bud Industries stretcher leveller into an existing Sacma cut-to- length line that has been relocated from Alrode to Meyerton and increased the size of our facility in Meyerton.”
“It all started in 2016 when we added a 3 300m² bay to our Meyerton facility. In the original construction we had made provision for a second bay with the idea that we would in the future invest in a second processing line and this has now happened. However, we found that the flow of coil delivery and the processing of finished goods was creating bottlenecks – hence the reason for adding the third bay. This bay is dedicated to the loading and dispatch of finished goods. We can now, for example, have 12 trucks lined up in this bay overnight and by the morning they are ready to transport the processed orders to clients.”
Allied Steelrode have added features that will make for more efficient handling of coils
“We also installed a second weigh bridge so the movement and flow of trucks, whether they are delivering coils or collecting processed metal, is at its optimum. Waiting time is kept to a minimum and they no longer get in each other’s way. The factory is now tailor-made for faster and better-controlled logistics, which means that a client now gets his processed metal quicker as we have shortened the delivery lead times.”
“At the same time we started working on extending the existing building by 1 750m² so as to accommodate coil delivery and storage. This addition was a bit more complicated than we had anticipated because of the condition of the soil. With the weight – a coil can weigh up to 35 tons – and with the amount of coils that we store you have make sure that you meet safety standards. In the case of the extension the contractors had to drill 148 piling holes, each 15 metres deep with a 750mm diameter, and used 100 tons of rebar so as to meet the standards.”
“The next phase was to implement electronic and software upgrades on two of our cut-to-length lines in Alrode. This involved a complete strip-out and replacement of the electronics on these lines and the introduction of new, custom-developed software. Our Sacma cut-to-length lines were acquired nearly 10 years ago and over the years, the level of support decreased to a point where we needed to look for an alternative source of support. In addition, since those machines were introduced, machine controls and other related electronics have advanced considerably. The dated electronics and software meant that these lines were operating at a reduced output and were becoming expensive to maintain.”
“I had had previous experience with Nidec Industrial Automation, an international electronics and software company, so we contracted them to do the complete upgrade.”
The second stretcher line is capable of processing material from 3mm up to 12mm and widths of 1 200mm up to 2 000mm. What this second installation has done is to give Allied Steelrode the flexibility to process a greater range of coil widths, grades and thicknesses and, more importantly, to cut turnaround times
“During our think-tank we decided that the most economical way to increase our capacity was to relocate one of the cut-to-length lines from Alrode to Meyerton and add a stretcher leveller to the line. This entailed the front and back sections of what we refer to as our CTL3 line being separated and into the 15 metre long space that was created, installing a 250-ton stretcher leveller. Together with the CTL3 front and back-ends, which are the decoiler, straightner and shear sections, the ‘new’ line completes our second stretcher leveller line, which is located in the second bay alongside the existing stretcher leveller.”
“We also took the opportunity to retrofit many of the components on the sections that comprise the CTL3 as well as add features that will make for more efficient handling of the coils. All working items such as bearings and drives have also been replaced so it is like a new line now.”
“The stretcher leveller section also incorporates the Suregrip® stretcher leveller technology. However, a big difference compared to our first machine is that this second line only stretches the material in one direction whereas the first machine does it both ways.”
“Also, as the two stretcher levellers are both supplied by Red Bud Industries, we are able to rationalise on the amount of spares we have to keep on hand to help manage our maintenance programme.”
The second stretcher line is capable of processing material from 3mm up to 12mm and widths of 1 200mm up to 2 000mm. Depending on the gauge of material the new line can process material up to 30m/min and between 140 and 230 tons per eight hour shift.
“What this second installation has done is to give Allied Steelrode the flexibility to process a greater range of coil widths, grades and thicknesses and, more importantly, to cut turnaround times. For example we can put thicker gauge material on the one machine and say thinner gauge or stainless steel on the other machine. This will allow us to have longer production runs without having to change the blade on the shear. Changing from processing thick to thinner gauge material always requires a blade change and whenever you do a blade change, you have to stop the machine. Fewer blade changes result in less downtime on the machines and higher productivity.”
“In 2015 we processed 37 000 tons of material and last year we virtually trebled this amount. Already, after only having the new line operating for just over a month, we can see that we will reach record levels for 2018. The increased business is coming from many different areas of industry, both resellers and direct clients.”
“We can have 20 000 tons of coil stock and 4 500 tons of processed material on our floor so it is important for us as a company and for our clients to reduce lead times between order and delivery. Besides increased demand and adding capacity, this has been a motivating factor with the new investments.”
“Our business is processing steel in areas where other service centres cannot. We have strategically chosen not to become involved in areas where our customers are involved, or to be competitors to our customers. We have many calls for profiling or laser cutting but have resisted purchasing this type of equipment and our customers respect us for this.”
For further details contact Allied Steelrode on TEL: 086 177 7777 or visit www.alliedsteelrode.com