Measurement Sensors

Measurement Sensors for the Metal and Steel Industry

Efficiently converting iron ore into usable pieces of steel requires precision at each stage in the process. KEYENCE sensors provide measurement and inspection solutions to every facet of the steel industry—including red hot metal, cold rolling, and forming. Check out some of the solutions our sensors provide below.

The metal and steel industry has many sub-branches with different requirements for their respective manufacturing processes. For example, steel smelters need reliable temperature regulation, roller mills rely on infrared and laser displacement sensors, and steel component factories rely on ultrasonic sensors.

Importance of Precision Measurements in the Metal and Steel Industry

Measuring temperature is a crucial part of metal and steel processing, as changes in temperature affect a metal’s mechanical properties. The metal and steel industry relies on other measurements too — such as length, weight, deflection, thickness, and width — all of which affect material properties and end-product quality.

Steel Processing and Manufacturing Inspection

Precise measurements at every stage of production are vital for steel manufacturing. When sorting the iron ore clumps delivered to the processing plant (smelter), the volume of each ore is calculated using 3D measurements of each profile.

This ore is then separated based on its volume for easier processing. During smelting, the ore is mixed with carbon and alloying elements to create steel, which is then shaped through rolling, forging, or extrusion. KEYENCE's LJ-X8000 Series sensors are typically used to measure slab width and warpage while measuring the workpiece's flatness.

The same applies to measuring the outer diameter of steel pipes, which can be measured while still glowing hot (does necessitate the use of a water jacket), along with sheet crown measurements and measuring the thickness of cold rolled steel sheets.

When cold rolled steel is made into various beams, the manufacturer relies on various types of laser profilers, such as KEYENCE’s LJ-X8000 Series 2D/3D laser profilers, to measure the physical dimensions of the rolled steel and ensure optimal properties and adherence to standardized measurements.

This level of control is necessary to ensure that the desired mechanical properties and surface finish are achieved.

Steel Component Quality Inspection

Measuring sensors—such as 2D and 3D laser displacement sensors and profilers—are often used to inspect the surface and structural integrity of steel components.

Why? Microcracks can become massive cracks once a steel beam is loaded with several tons of concrete. Fortunately, the aforementioned LJ-X8000 Series 2D/3D laser profilers are great for scanning various steel components for surface defects since their level of accuracy measures surface imperfections down to a single-digit µm range.

Types of Measurement Sensors for the Metal and Steel Industry

The metal and steel industry relies on several different sensor types to maintain the production process and ensure adequate quality control. For example, laser profilers (such as the LJ-X8000 Series) are ideal for measuring the width of the finished product, as well as the length and speed in the rolling mills.

Likewise, confocal laser sensors (such as CL-3000 Series) could be used to measure thickness and sheet and roll crowns.

Integrating Measurement Sensors into Steel Inspection Processes

Ultimately, the metal and steel industry rely on a wide range of different sensor types necessary to keep the production running. If you’re unsure about the implementation of sensing technology in your production process, don’t hesitate to ask KEYENCE—the industry leader’s team of experienced personnel will answer all the questions you might have about precise measurement sensors in the metal and steel industry.

If you're looking to improve your steel inspection processes and ensure the highest level of quality control, contact KEYENCE today. Our team of experts will guide you in choosing the perfect measurement sensors for your specific needs in the metal and steel industry.