“In a way it is a matter of giving and taking,” confirms Paul Michels.
He is the assistant works manager of the ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein works in Andernach. He has known IMS for more than 30 years and finds the enterprise to be very innovative. “There are not so many firms like IMS on the market,” goes on Michels. He noticed this very quickly, above all with very special problems or tricky tasks. Thus strip breaks often led to production stops when manufacturing tinplate. And this at an enterprise that is one of the three largest suppliers of tinplate in Europe. It was especially important for Paul Michels to detect holes and edge cracks in the tinplate strips. Michels: “That was a big problem for us and caused enormous costs.” Holes and cracks in fine tinplate are the most frequent causes of strip breaks during continuous annealing. A strip break costs an enormous amount of time. The continuous furnace must be switched off, scrap removed from it and the furnace then heated up again and put back into operation. All that can extend over a number of shifts. And that costs a lot of money. So a solution had to be found to stop the strip breaks.
ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein turned to IMS to see if there was not a way of detecting a hole or a crack at an early stage. From this close co-operation came about between Rasselstein and IMS. The developers decided in favour of a new optical system. The optical measuring device detects and processes light pulses which are transmitted from a light source located beneath the strip to one of the cameras located above the strip. The data collected describe the exact position and shape of the hole. The rolling line personnel can then decide with the aid of a matrix how the strip should then be treated. “We are truly very satisfied with the solution,” says Michels. Above all the employees at Rasselstein confirm that the cost of the measuring system has been very much more than covered by the savings from the strip break situations that are now avoided. Today strip, that is at risk of breaking, can be detected in good time and appropriately treated. Overall the development work covers a wide field. Thus the experts are also working all the time on new developments to and the optimization of materials, products and production processes. Michels: “Over the many years we have learnt that IMS is simply very innovative.” But in addition to these professional arguments the co-operation also has a very personal component: “I have known Mr. Fackert for good 30 years.”
Rainer Fackert is IMS’s managing director. Thereby a high level of mutual trust has been built up over the decades. “IMS is very innovative,” with a wink Michels adds, “but our problems also help IMS to progress further.”