Harsco Metals & Minerals

Clabecq is a rolling mill producing medium and heavy plates made from slabs sourced in different countries. In 2006, the rolling mill commissioned an internal study, which concluded that the manual system for identifying and tracking slabs was responsible for production delays and incorrect sequencing of slabs loaded into the furnace.

Harsco devised a fully-automated and paperless solution for Clabecq. On their arrival, slabs are identified using a metallic bar code nameplate secured by nails and a polyester bar code label.

Every slab movement is tracked using either touch screen computers in the superstackers and overhead cranes, or using hand held devices with bar code readers. Data are recorded on a dedicated industrial server connected via a WIFI network.

During scarfing operations, a protective shield prevents burning of the nameplate. At the oxycutting stand, slab subdivides are individually labelled until arrival at the debearding stand where new barcodes are applied.

The system is updated with the production forecast, allowing the dispatcher to organize the delivery of the right slabs at the right time with a clear view of the location of each slab.

This project, described by the customer as a complete success, was implemented by Harsco within 90 days. It has brought significant improvements in the management of the slabs on site with quicker inventory, streamlined exchange and recording of data, and paperless traceability. Feedback from the end-customer on slab quality is also positive.