Web Based Roll Shop Management System – RMSTrax Web

After spending decades working extensively within the steel industry, Automation Software & Engineering (AS&E) saw an opportunity to develop a web based Roll Shop Management System. This system enables Roll Shops to optimize operational efficiency by acquiring, analyzing, managing and displaying production data in an easily accessible manner. This system is RMSTrax Web.

RMSTrax Web is a full-featured web based management system that helps Roll Shops increase productivity and profitability. RMSTrax Web is designed to work within the Roll Shop’s existing operational processes and terminology, thereby minimizing the learning curve and accelerating the acceptance period. RMSTrax Web provides the tools and integration capabilities with grinders, process control computers, business and OSP systems to boost productivity and effectively manage and control costs within a modern Roll Shop.

RMSTrax Web is configurable to capture reconditioning, maintenance and usage records for all types of rolls, chocks, bearings and other components. Complete integration with existing process automation systems is an important step toward productivity optimization by eliminating manual data entries. Data captured from external interfaces (grinders, Level 2 communications, etc.) can be monitored and, if necessary, edited through RMSTrax Web interface logs.

Configurable operational screens from the main menu allow the user to obtain real time and historical information and take action regarding:

  • Roll and Chock Inventory Tracking
  • Roll and Chock Build Up
  • Roll and Chock Campaign History
  • Roll Grind Tracking and History
  • Recipe Management

RMSTrax Web provides “On Screen Notifications” whenever an action is taken within the system. A pop up notification message will appear on the screen of all users for a few seconds allowing them to click on the message to immediately receive updated information. Similar to social media, the notification icon will remain highlighted on the toolbar at the top of the page until the user clicks on it.

RMSTrax Web is fully RFID capable. Mounting RFID tags on rolls and chocks improves identification accuracy as inventory moves through the roll shop and into the mill. Handheld devices provide instant access to roll and chock inventory details by scanning a RFID tag.

RMSTrax Web incorporates customizable security features. These features  permit administrators to control data access and system functionality for each user by hiding or disabling specific screens or buttons.

RMSTrax Web custom reporting features provide historical and current views of the total Roll Shop operation. Report data are exportable to many formats (Excel, PDF, XML, CSV, etc.).  Standard reports include:

  • Financial analysis:
    • Cost of roll usage per ton rolled
    • Total reduction
    • Cost per millimeter of reduction
    • Scrapped roll report
  • Roll and chock campaign details:
    • Start and end date and time of campaign
    • Total tonnage
    • Kilometers rolled
  • Grind analysis reports:
    • Productivity per shift
    • Grinds by grinder and operator
    • OSP performance
    • Reduction analysis by grinder, operator, roll vendor, OSP
  • Inventory analysis:
    • Current status of all rolls and chocks
    • Desired minimum quantities by status, stand, roll type
    • Available inventory by diameter range groups for each stand
  • Supplier performance:
    • Compare performance by
      • Roll type
      • Total stock removed
      • Average reduction
      • Cost per grind
      • Tons rolled
      • Defects
      • Grinding wheels

Contact us now to learn what we can do for you.


Roll Management System designed for Outside Service Processors

As a spin-off of the RMStrax system, AS&E has developed a Roll Management System for Outside Service Processing roll shops. These shops receive dirty rolls from multiple customers, repair/grind/texture them, and then ship them back to their customers.

This version of the RMSTrax system traces rolls from multiple customers throughout the entire service process (receive/process/return). Processing speed is increased by using configurable recipes (sets of processing steps) that are applied to each of the customers’ roll types.

The system includes the following features:

  • Ability to trace rolls received from multiple customers
  • Manage recipes for each of the customers’ roll types
  • Track rolls through configurable processing steps (Lathe, Grind, EDT, Chrome, custom steps)
  • Configure validation requirements for a given processing step for specific roll types (minimum roughness, minimum plate thickness, etc.)
  • Generate shipping forms and labels for rolls being sent back to customers

Contact AS&E today to learn how we can make a difference in your operation.

Machine Vision Systems- The Importance of Lighting

Machine vision systems are critical components of quality control processes throughout manufacturing. They provide crucial inspections and measurements that must be both accurate and repeatable. Environmental variables will affect the performance of the imaging system. Frequently overlooked is the importance of having consistent lighting within the system.

Machine vision systems do not assess the object itself but rather the image of the object. Therefore it is imperative to get the correct lighting arrangement for the application. This will allow the camera to capture all image details necessary to make accurate measurements. Information that is completely missing from the image can never be recovered by analysis algorithms. The image is influenced surface characteristics, the wavelength of the light and the direction of the light. A number of lighting configurations including back lighting, bright field or dark field illumination and the use of diffuse and dome illumination have been developed to solve these challenges. However, getting the correct illumination configuration is only the initial part of the solution. Ensuring that the lighting remains consistent over time is essential to making repeatable measurements.

Lighting can gradually be impacted by a number of factors such as:

  • The age of the light
  • The temperature of the light
  • The stability of the power supply
  • Changes in ambient light
  • Synchronization of pulsed lighting and camera exposure
  • Physical position of the light

A properly functioning vision system depends on cameras, lights and analysis algorithms all working at peak efficiency. Machine Vision Systems must be maintained and should be “tuned up” on a regular basis. If your system is not performing as it used to or as you require, protect your investment and improve quality control by contacting AS&E to schedule a service call.


What is IT/OT Integration?

Also known as IT/OT convergence, IT/OT integration can be something of a buzzword, providing a veneer of technological gleam to otherwise straightforward manufacturing improvement projects.

But, when implemented properly, IT/OT convergence is transformative, joining two traditionally separate practices to create true operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Identified in the mid-2000s by Gartner Inc., IT/OT integration melds the software, monitoring abilities and communication capabilities of information technology with the equipment and manufacturing demands of operational technology.

Because information technology and operational technology historically have been developed, maintained and utilized by two nearly opposite branches of a company, IT/OT integration requires top-to-bottom buy-in, consistent communication and clearly defined requirements, goals and benefits to succeed.

When well planned and implemented, IT/OT convergence offers a wide range of benefits, including improvements in:

  • Performance and production
  • Cross-organization decision making
  • Alignment of operational areas with overall business goals
  • Environmental and regulatory reporting and compliance

Cost reductions are another benefit of IT/OT integration, thanks to efficiency gains and optimization in:

  • Operational processes
  • Asset maintenance
  • Workforce management

Because integration projects can require sweeping changes, many organizations will identify an initial operation that would benefit the most from IT/OT convergence and begin there will full implementation.

Examples of effective, operation-specific IT/OT integration include:

    • Machine Visions Solution for Surface and Web Inspections
    • Continuous Casting Process Control and Instrumentation
    • Slag Pot Management Productivity Optimization

Because of the technical, operational and organizational challenges inherent in IT/OT integration, companies often call upon a specialist firm, like AS&E, to develop and implement their projects.

AS&E has the experience, expertise and insight to create the right solution to meet your operation’s needs. Contact us now to learn how.