Steel producer installs condition monitoring solution to help prevent unscheduled stoppages

By installing Schaeffler SmartCheck condition monitoring devices on its furnace deflection rolls, steel producer ArcelorMittal has avoided any unplanned stoppages to the furnace and has improved its maintenance planning. Estimated annual savings (with a furnace stoppage) are €179,000.

The ArcelorMittal plant in Mouzon (Ardennes, France) is part of the Group’s Flat Products division. From here, the steel producer supplies not only all the major automotive manufacturers, but also customers in the construction and household appliances industries. In Mouzon, an aluminium-based coating is applied to the steel coils supplied by the Group. Two coating units are in operation that make over 348,000 tonnes of finished coated steel product.

Challenge for Schaeffler

Continuous furnace LM1 has seven deflection rolls that support the running of the steel belt and its tensioning. Factors such as imbalance, excessive clearance or the fracture of a feather key can cause these rolls to fail. Damaged bearings or housings can lead to an immediate stoppage of the continuous furnace, resulting in a significant loss of production. In order to avoid such undesirable events, ArcelorMittal’s maintenance department was looking for a suitable solution that would enable it to switch from a corrective (reactive) maintenance regime to a predictive maintenance regime with condition monitoring.

Schaeffler solution

Schaeffler developed an innovative service concept for the condition monitoring of all critical components on the continuous furnace. The solution comprises 14 Schaeffler SmartCheck condition monitoring systems that permanently monitor oscillation of the rolls, including bearing housings, bearings, alignment and roll imbalance. The SmartCheck sensors monitor bearing vibration, bearing temperature, rolling bearing components, lubrication, condition of the roll surface, imbalance and misalignment.

Installed in a control cabinet is a Schaeffler SmartController that acts as a bi-directional gateway between the customer’s control system and the SmartCheck sensors. The use of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE), which not only supplies power to the system but also ensures communication with the ArcelorMittal monitoring station, has minimised the amount of cabling.

Customer benefits

The SmartCheck condition monitoring solution  enables ArcelorMittal to avoid unscheduled shutdowns of the furnace and to better plan any maintenance work. Any impending damage to bearings or adjacent mechanical components is detected at a very early stage and corresponding countermeasures are taken. Condition monitoring helps to effectively prevent costly loss of production and the bearing status is continuously tracked without having to stop the machine.

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