Celsa Steel UK: Robust, Precise Deep Hole Measuring System

Celsa Steel UK is the largest producer of steel reinforcement in the United Kingdom, and also one of the largest UK manufacturers of other steel long products. The company’s impressive Cardiff site boasts a state-of-the-art melt shop and two modern production facilities; one manufacturing reinforcing products and wire rod, the other producing merchant bar and light sections.

In all aspects of its activities the progressive company administers a continuous improvement policy. Typical of the recent process advances made is the improved efficiencies brought about within the critical area of mould measurement.

Shaun Simmons, of Celsa Manufacturing UK explained. “As our high volume of steel reinforcement is extruded from moulds of various sizes, over time the moulds wear through the action of continuous abrasion. This deterioration can result in our products’ dimensions and sectional weights moving toward their maximum allowable limit, therefore we need to continually monitor our mould’s sizes.

“The nature of our process dictates that our moulds are relatively complex. With lengths of up to 1 meter, our moulds have tapering, rectangular internal features that need to be measured extremely precisely.

“The cumbersome and delicate make-up of our previously used heavy measuring equipment meant that, in order to take the required internal measurements, we needed to transport our moulds to the mould maintenance department of the Melt Shop. As this is a time consuming process, it restricted the frequency of mould dimension monitoring and was identified as an area that was ripe for development. In my capacity as a Caster Process Improvement Facilitator, I searched for a more practical solution to this very important measuring task. Having researched several steel industry specific alternatives, a web-search directed me to Bowers Metrology.

“A visit from a Company Sales Engineer gave Bowers an in-depth appreciation of our complex mould measuring problems and resulted in Bowers designing and quoting a custom designed bore gauging system. Having recently taken delivery of the Bowers system, we are delighted with its performance.

“Even though it is much lighter in weight and more portable than our previous system, our new Bowers gauging system is extremely robust. It is also precise enough to allow us to take 10um accuracy measurements with our moulds remaining in situ. The successful deployment of the Bowers equipment has allowed us to greatly improve the control of a critical item of plant.”

In addition to supplying a wide range of ‘off the shelf’ bore gauging systems, Bowers expertise in the field means that the company is regularly approached for solutions to a wide variety of unusual internal measuring problems. Although the internal rectangular section of the Celsa moulds presented design challenges, when compared to the more usual round format of a bore, a suitable measuring head was quickly conceived and produced. Fitted to a 1 meter extension, the measuring head has carbide anvils that, by means of a remote trigger, are able to retract for entry into the mould. The gauge’s anvils are then able to expand and make contact with the required internal features.

Based on Bowers best selling XT Xtreme bore gauge, the system is ideal for use in harsh environments as its electronic system boasts an IP65 rating, rendering it resistant to the ingress of fluids and airborne particles. Amongst a long list of features incorporated into the tough instruments are a clear digital display, metric/inch conversion, and an RS 232 output.

For more information on the Special Applications available from Bowers click here.