Materials handling specialist SCX Special Projects has created a complex, automated crane system for an aluminium rolling mill in the Middle East.
The Sheffield-based firm developed the hi-tech system for a plant in Oman (left), which produces around half a million tonnes of rolled aluminium a year.
The system will run two of the plant’s 25 tonne cranes that move hot coils in and out of storage and between a variety of other process lines.
Roman Ridge Road-based SCX’s crane management system is the brain of the storage operation, recording the type, date and time of any movement and what processes need to be carried out on each roll.
It uses the information to create the most efficient movement and process path, so that coils get to their destinations as soon as possible.
The system can automatically shut down operations in an emergency and, in the long run, will be integrated into a complete plant management system which is still to be installed.
It will share the workload between the cranes and ensure that they do not get into each other’s way as they move the coils from cooling areas to annealing furnaces, tensioning and slitting lines and transfer cars.
Temperature sensors mounted on the cranes’ grabs ensure coils have cooled sufficiently before being moved to the next step in the process, while optical and pressure sensors on the grabs determine whether the coils have been accurately seated and it is safe to move them.