HBIS Group Shigang Company: “Digital Intelligence Steel” leads industrial development

Unbaling robots, sample steel picking and placing robots, bundling robots, grinding robots, labelling robots, painting robots, finished product transfer robots… On January 4, at the medium and large size bar finishing workshop of Hegang Group Shigang Company, 38 robots of different types are working efficiently and orderly. This is a robot system for finishing special steel bars.

The operation of robot clusters is inseparable from the empowerment of digital technology. Shigang Company uses new-generation information technologies such as 5G, industrial Internet, cloud storage, and big data to create a “smart brain” and realize the digitalization and intelligence of the entire steel production process.



Steel production line robots “take the lead”

In steel production, finishing operations are a part of personalized production and frequent product transfers. After the “robot system for special steel bar finishing operations” was launched, the work in the finishing workshop was no longer arduous.

Just stare at the computer screen on the operating console and click the mouse to control the operation and monitor the flow of bar products on the production line. The entire finishing line integrates the application of 6 types of light-duty robots, including unpacking, bundling, grinding, painting, and labelling, and 4 types of loading robots, finished product transfer, flaw detection sample rod picking and placing, and weighing and calibration block picking and placing. The heavy-duty robot does not require human intervention in key process steps, and the process function fit is 100%.

The finishing intelligent production line not only realizes standardized operations and improves labour efficiency, but also realizes automatic transfer from semi-finished products to finished products, information flow tracking, and traceable quality management, providing a sample for the cluster application of robots in the steel industry.


Digital Intelligence Steel

On Shigang Company’s production line, robots with extraordinary intelligence and technology have taken over the “backbone” of production. At the refining furnace production site of the steelmaking plant, the temperature measurement and sampling robot stretches out its long “arm”, flexibly passes through the furnace cover, reaches into the molten steel up to 1600 degrees Celsius, takes out the molten steel sample, puts it into the sample bucket, and passes it through the pneumatic sample delivery system transmitted to the rapid separation centre; in the chemical analysis centre, the sample barrels from the steelmaking workshop arrive. After the robot automatically completes receiving, sampling, and milling the samples, the samples will be placed on the spectrometer sample stage to automatically complete the analysis, and the results will be automatically transmitted to the steelmaking workshop.

The production workshop only needs to press a button, and the sample can be transferred to the laboratory within ten seconds. The whole process from sending the sample to detecting the component results only takes 3 minutes. Rapid component detection in front of steelmaking furnaces, refining furnaces and continuous casting production sites is very important to production quality. With robots, compared with previous manual operations, not only time control is achieved, but also data accuracy is guaranteed.


“Digital intelligence” system creates an “intelligent brain”

In the continuous casting collection area of Shigang Steelmaking Plant, after the sawn slabs are transported to the designated area on the conveyor belt, a sign-spraying robot beside them rhythmically cleans the cross-section of the slabs. As the robotic arm turns over, the automatic nozzle at the end quickly completes the spraying operation.

Every piece of equipment and every production line of Shigang Company is equipped with an intelligent “brain”. The intelligent manufacturing demonstration factory system built by Shigang Company realizes “full process” intelligent manufacturing of production, “full coverage” of business intelligence, and “full coverage” of intelligent architecture. ”, “Full connectivity” at all levels, and “Full intelligence” in all processes.

Digital intelligent chemical plants not only make “one-click steelmaking” possible, but also help achieve precise control of smelting temperature, ingredients, and high cleanliness, greatly improving the quality of high-end steel.

At the same time, using the comprehensive integrated application of new-generation information technologies such as the industrial Internet, cloud storage, edge computing, and big data in the entire process of R&D, manufacturing, management, and services, Shigang Company has built a comprehensive system covering equipment management, automatic control, quality control, etc. The integrated “digital intelligence” system provides data support for the large-scale application of robots.

Intelligent technology enables production and sales to achieve a high degree of collaboration. From receiving sales orders to quality design, planning and scheduling, quality control, and product delivery, these links can all be run in the production management system, realizing upstream and downstream dynamics efficient connection.


Data platform, using live production line data

Big data is not just a bunch of numbers, but a “magic weapon” for enterprises to improve production and operational efficiency.

Shigang Company makes production line data come alive and usable by leveraging the intelligent collection and calculation functions of various data platforms. They have established a defective product production database on the industrial big data platform with around 10 main links and 42 intelligent scenarios. They have concentrated the data on defective products and used big data statistical analysis to find the causes of product defects and provide solutions for providing support for producing quality products.

In response to problems such as the wide variety of scrap steel and complex testing scenarios, the company has established an intelligent scrap steel quality inspection system to accurately and intelligently identify scrap steel grades and impurity proportions. At the scrap unloading point, every time a truck of scrap steel is unloaded, a high-definition camera automatically adjusts the focus to capture the image and transmits the collected scrap images to the scrap intelligent quality inspection system. This system uses advanced image recognition technology and neuron network algorithms to determine the standards and algorithms for scrap steel inspection. After the intelligent scrap steel quality inspection system was put into use, the scrap steel quality control level and unloading efficiency were greatly improved, and the scrap steel identification accuracy reached 95%.

To improve warehouse space utilization and enhance warehousing management capabilities, the company established the first intelligent vertical warehouse in the domestic metallurgical system, which can realize one-click automatic entry and exit, automatic allocation of storage locations, cargo location management, automatic inventory, and multi-calibre inventory material statistics analysis and other functions.

Digital transformation has brought many benefits to Shigang. Since the Shigang New Area was put into operation, the company’s products have further met the quality requirements for high-end special steel materials in industries such as automobiles, engineering machinery, railways and rail transit, and energy. The digital platform standardizes and improves the level of environmental protection management. Pollutant emissions are reduced by more than 75% in long processes. Carbon emissions in new areas are reduced by 75% compared with old areas. All production water uses urban gray water and is recycled, achieving “zero discharge” of wastewater. It has become the benchmark for green and clean production in the world’s steel industry.

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