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New billet marking improves traceability

22 March 2022

Pictured: The project team, (L-R): Angelo Andrade, Steve Tester, Michael Thien, David Jamieson. Absent: Stewart Gardner, Ji Yong Lee, Jamie Schweitzer, Zheshi Jin, Sharmy Francis

At InfraBuild, we are developing and implementing best-in-class traceability that will instil confidence in the design, quality, and sustainability of our steel products.

Billet marking is one such example, providing traceability of steel heat numbers and safely confirming the right steel grade for the right end-product.

At the Sydney meltshop, the billet stamper has been replaced with an automated laser marking system to improve the quality and consistency of the markings.

The previous billet stamper was no longer providing consistent markings and the stamper number had to be changed manually. If not stamped correctly, operators would manually stamp the billets, increasing the risk of injury.  Markings from the old billet stamper were also not machine readable, relying on administrative controls to identify billets.

Following extensive research, the Electrical and Maintenance team at the Sydney meltshop installed the fully automated laser billet marking system. This system is fully automated which interfaces with the caster PLC.

Before and after – autostamper (top) versus laser marker (bottom)

Each billet is uniquely marked with the heat number, strand number, and billet number that can be read manually and by automated vision systems. Furthermore, a complimentary vision system recently installed at the rolling mill is currently being commissioned to accurately verify every billet.

Consequently, grade misidentification has been greatly reduced and the new vision system has resulted in the fully automated traceability of billets from the caster through to the reheat furnace.

In automating the marking process, operators no longer need to perform a manual update for each heat and the increased accuracy and quality of marking will result significantly reduced manual stamping.

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