Static non-contact bar counter

Static Non-Contact Bar Counter, in operation in a long-rolling mill.

The advantages of a high-speed bar mill are lost if bottlenecks develop during production. One of the final post-production steps prior to delivery is bar bundling and counting. An engineer from the Primetals Technologies operation in Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.A., has invented a static non-contact bar-counting system to provide the precision expected by end customers.

“Before now, the number of bars per bundle was often estimated, based on weight and the known lengths of the bars,” says Ruth Kirkwood-Azmat, a senior engineer in the Electrical & Automation group in Worcester. “The old system generated some considerable errors. This was particularly problematic as bundles can range in size up to 500 bars.”

In the new, low-cost, highly accurate solution, Kirkwood-­Azmat ­incorporated an intelligent camera to take an image of the end of a bundle for high-speed optical analysis. The system provides visible evidence of the count—a vast improvement over the previously necessary, labor-­intensive manual checks. Kirkwood-Azmat’s innovation is part of the broader, patented, Industry 4.0 bar-counting systems that have been installed at several customer sites.

Senior engineer Ruth Kirkwood-Azmat with Apostolos Ntaoukas (left) and Steve Morgan from the Primetals Technologies Worcester team