First-of-its-kind in Africa ‘cuts’ customers in on increased productivity and profitability.
In the past decade, leading steel merchant and value-added steel processor Allied Steelrode has made very substantial investments in several items of advanced steel processing technology.
These included two stretcher levellers, which produce the hugely popular Allied Steelrode Stretcher Material (ASSM); as well as a remarkably versatile LT 20 tube laser which opens up new possibilities in terms of the cutting and application of steel tube.
However, when steel is delivered from the primary steel mill, it is in the form of 32 ton coils which are 1,950 mm wide. To suit Allied Steelrode’s customer requirements – and their manufacturing processes – the raw steel needs to be slit along its length into various widths.
Naturally, to supply customers’ requirements promptly, this slitting process has to be carried out as rapidly as possible – without compromising product quality or delivery deadlines in any way.
“In mid 2010, to meet these parameters, Allied Steelrode invested in a heavy-duty SACMA slitter – the first of its kind in Africa – which we installed at our premises in Alrode,” explains Allied Steelrode Deputy CEO Justin Cloete.
This slitter can process a thickness range of 1.60 mm to 13 mm with a slit width range from 48 mm to 1,850 mm and a line working speed of 150 m/min. It has uncoiler and recoiler capacity of 32,000 kgs, which allows for the processing of a raw steel coil in one continuous run.
In terms of Allied Steelrode’s competitive edge, the heavy-duty slitter gives a high production capacity, together with a wide range of size and thicknesses. This afforded the company the ability to service the requirements of a number of different manufacturing sectors, namely tubing, cold form section, mining, automotive and agriculture.
Upon its installation, the slitter was almost immediately popular with Allied Steelrode’s customers.
“What the heavy duty slitter did was give them a competitive edge, allowing them to improve upon the products they, in turn, were able to manufacture and sell to their customers,” continues Cloete, adding that, in addition, because of its superior accuracy, the heavy-duty slitter also reduces customers’ scrap rates.
“Our customers continue to receive substantial benefits from the critical tolerance we can maintain (due to shimless tooling) throughout the slit, which gives them the correct final product with no need for additional – and expensive – rework. In turn, this increases our customers’ production throughput and reduces their manufacturing costs,” he explains.
As Allied Steelrode’s customers manufacture using an extensive range of metals, the slitter needed to be versatile. The heavy-duty slitter has the capability of processing material with a maximum yield of 355 MPa and a maximum tensile strength of 510 MPa.
However, the thinner and narrower the input coil becomes, the higher yield and tensile material can be processed. “Should anyone have a query about our ability to slit certain types of material, they are welcome to call us,” he adds.
A further benefit to customers is the slitter’s ‘free loop’ operation. In free loop slitting, the material is allowed to form a ‘free loop’ between the slitter and the recoiler. A tensioning device in front of the recoiler is needed to produce well-wound coils.
This method makes it possible to process poorly shaped coils. Shape defects such as buckles, twists and thickness variations across the width and internal stresses in the incoming coil influence the result of the slitting process.
Cloete comments: “Since the founding of Allied Steelrode in 2014, a key aspect of our business ethos has been one of customer service excellence. Part of this is providing our customers with products that, in terms of quality and price, do not merely match but far exceed anything which is available on the local and global markets.”
To realise this goal, Allied Steelrode took the progressive step of investing in technologically advanced capital equipment such as the SACMA heavy-duty slitter.
“With technically advanced equipment such as this, it is our aim at Allied Steelrode to promote the quality of our customers’ products; and enhance their productivity to ensure that they are able to survive the hard times – and to take full advantage of the economic upturn when it comes,” he concludes.