Analysis of Robot Automatic Labeling System in Steel Plant

Description: A robotic application system is installed on the rolling process production line to automatically attach labels to semi-finished and finished rolled steel products. The robot uses the label dispensing device to connect the printed label and the label metal hook and fix it on the steel bundle. The 3D vision system is used to detect and select the best labelling position, and the position coordinates are fed back to the robot for label positioning. The robot’s marking island is exquisitely designed, has excellent functions, and has a compact structure. Small area.

Keyword: automatic labelling system, steel mill robot

Product: Automatic welding tag machine


The rolling mill integrates the material tracking system and the automatic labelling system directly through the interface to ensure that the label of each steel product has the correct identification data, thereby improving the traceability of the rolled steel product. And store radio frequency identification (RFID) electronic tags, GPS geolocation data, remote monitoring information and other related data information in the database to further improve traceability, so as to realize the whole process from material transportation, and process production to end users of steel products tracking process.

A robotic application system is installed on the rolling process production line to automatically attach labels to semi-finished and finished rolled steel products. The robot uses the label dispensing device to connect the printed label and the label metal hook and fix it on the steel bundle. The 3D vision system is used to detect and select the best labelling position, and the position coordinates are fed back to the robot for label positioning. The robot’s marking island is exquisitely designed, has excellent functions, and has a compact structure. Small area.

According to the survey statistics, using the robot automatic marking application system, the labelling efficiency is high, and only 0.2% of the steel bales produced are not marked, while the proportion of unmarked steel bales is as high as 5% if the manual system is used. A rebar rolling mill adopts robot automatic labelling application technology, its labelling capacity is 180t/h, one cycle is only 8s, and the rebar steel bundle only stays on the belt conveyor for a short time for labelling operations, including the end face of the rebar steel bundle 1.2s of 3D scan time 

The newly installed robot automatic labelling system is a rebar rolling mill under Ferriera Valsabbia in Italy. At present, there are only three staff members on this rebar production line, one is responsible for the control room of the cold shearing machine, and the automation rate of the production line has reached 100%. ; a site inspector to assist with necessary incidents; the last job is a rebar steel bundle loader. The operation rate of each working hour of the rolling mill is 94%, and the other 6% is the operation time of production changes, scrap removal, and mechanical hydraulic and electrical configuration. The billet loading time is less than 2s, and the total capacity impact rate is only 1.5%.

A typical configuration of a robotic labeling application system (see Figure 1) includes:

◆Anthropomorphic 6-axis robot (casting level);

◆Control device and safety PLC;

◆3D vision system, its installation position is the robot wrist;

◆A complete set of identification label printers to ensure a seamless labeling process;

◆Process and distribute labelling devices;

◆Welding machine (if necessary);◆Control panel for the entire robot labelling island, including human-machine interface (HMI) related to monitoring, diagnosis and security alarms.

automatic labeling system


Practice has proved that the anthropomorphic robot technology is mature, reliable and adaptable, which can meet the production needs of the steel industry. This robotic labelling system is especially suitable for working in very harsh environments and has a wide range of uses.

LMM GROUP provides personalized services, and highly targeted, and tailor-made process technology solutions according to the user’s working environment and space layout. For example, for large production lines or work areas with limited space, the performance characteristics and quantity specifications of robots are designed in a targeted manner. Integrate robotic labelling stations into existing line layouts. The robot unit can be set up on the guide frame of the production line, or on the trolley used for the production operation to label both ends of the steel bundle, or two separate robots can be set up to perform the labeling unit operation.

The 3D vision system adopted by the company is a dual-camera vision system that does not use laser beams and is specially designed for use in harsh and high-temperature environments. With this system, there is no need to create a 3D point cloud (three-dimensional point cloud contour) by scanning, and only a simple image is enough to reconstruct the three-dimensional point cloud contour of the product. The sensor is a matrix-type sensor, not a profile measurement. Therefore, there is no need for the robot to perform special operations to complete the scanning task. It only needs to position the bundles of steel during the conveying process of the belt conveyor. The shooting processing time is about 1.2s, and the processing speed is very fast. The processing of this robot labelling station in the rebar rolling mill The steel capacity is 180t/h, and the processing process takes only 8s.

The 3D vision system is based on advanced analysis algorithms that can automatically detect product types without any specific settings, marking them with colour and graphics.

The image can then be displayed by the operator control panel and saved on a network data storage device along with all other images used in the image processing process, which can be used as remote assistance for various algorithms, participate in quality control, and be used remotely Control and operation run. If the bar and wire rod are labelled, the robot can be programmed to identify several suitable labelling places, and after the scanning phase, if an obstacle or unknown object is detected, the robot scans the other side of the wire rod to Determine the new labelling location.

Before labeling the robot, a two-dimensional code (QR code) and radio frequency identification (RFID) tag reader are used to double-check the print data and the rolling mill production tracking data to ensure that the print data is accurate. After printing, the visual recognition system reads the label and verifies the print data. If the data is completely correct, proceed to the following process; otherwise, a new label will be printed, and the printing process needs to be performed from the beginning until the new label is hung on the wire rod. If there is not enough time to reprint and hang the label, the wire rod is marked as “unmarked” and identified by the tracking system. The whole network integrated tracking system has improved traceability, can execute GPS geolocation, data collection and database software and other projects, and communicate with the main process system and remote control of the rolling mill.

The integrated robotic labelling island is also equipped with a backup printer to prevent the normal production operation of the rolling mill from being affected when the printed labels are used up. In most cases, the printer on the integrated robotic label island can process more than 10,000 labels and ribbons by thermal transfer, which can meet the production needs of a whole week without changing labels and ribbons. Ceramic-faced metal labels are also available, which need to be used in high-temperature environments up to 1000°C. To print the relevant data information, a new thermal transfer printer is used, which eliminates the high-precision and durable metal label laser marking that has been used for more than 10 years. Use metal hangers or metal nails to fix the labels on the steel bundle. The label hangers and label nails are fixed by special mechanical equipment, vibrating nail guns, or directly through the robot head. There are many kinds of label metal hangers and a relatively suitable label type should be selected according to the type of rolled steel products (see Figure 2):

◆Label hanging ring (see Figure 2(a)), the robot head device is responsible for the forming and processing of the label metal hanging ring and provides the metal hanging ring, which is suitable for fixing the label on the bar and wire rod.

◆Label nails (see Figure 2(b)), provided by a vibrating nail gun, are suitable for nailing and fixing labels on bars and steel bundles.

◆Label metal hook (see Figure 2(c)), which is made by special machinery and equipment, suitable for fixing labels on products such as billets, blooms, and slabs.

◆The label metal clip (see Figure 2(d)) is suitable for fixing the label on the steel pipe.



The advantage of the metal hook of the label is that the printed label can keep a certain distance from the semi-finished or finished product of the rolling stock at high temperatures. When using label nails to label steel bundles at relatively low temperatures, the distance between the steel bundles and the labels is very close, and a welding machine is required to weld the label nails. When labelling bars, wire rods and steel pipe, no welding machine is required. The robot automatic labelling system has complete functions and many options, which improves the flexibility and safety of the labelling system and meets the various labelling business needs of various users.

Design and develop the interface of the robot automatic labelling system, integrate with the existing tracking system of the rolling mill, and the system can receive relevant data printed on the label, such as product ID number, billet number, label date and time, logo, etc.

◆The human-machine interface (HMI) can also display the labels to the operator in chronological order. If there is an error message in the printed label, the operator can manually add a new label. If the operator has changed a label, the processing is completed and confirmed When accurate, the operator can delete old labels through the graphical interface.

◆Scan the image information of all products and archive them in a special database.

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