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A CASE STUDY: ROBOTICS

Nucor Steel is a successful company with a rich history as one of the nation’s largest producers of steel products. And yet demand for its products outpaced its ability to accurately inventory the billets used in its manufacturing process. It is a common quality-control issue that plagues many manufacturers.

the-pointPROJECT DETAILS

ROI: 24 months

Project duration: 6 months

Team
Client: 3 engineers
Concept Systems: 3 engineers

Concept Systems’ time on site: 15 days

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The problem

Steel mills tag steel billets as they come off the caster in order to have information about the steel’s characteristics when it is later used to make specific products. In typical manual tagging processes, the chance of human error in affixing the tags to the proper billets adds potentially serious quality control problems. Additionally, the area where tagging took place at Nucor was a dangerous spot, with workers exposed to hot steel, overhead crane traffic and repetitive-stress tasks.

The solution

The system we developed for Nucor – BilletID – integrates a 3D laser scanner, a six-axis robot, an SQL database and other components. It is designed to operate mostly unattended, reliably and accurately welding a tag to each billet of steel – and verify that it was done correctly.

The results

The new process improved safety and increased productivity. It also improved quality control by removing the risk of human error in accurately tracing the origin of each billet. Additionally, the project was designed so that it can later be integrated into a broader plant-wide track-and-trace system. Return on investment was 24 months.

READ ABOUT THIS CASE STUDY IN DETAIL