How LED Strobes Make Steel Mill Production More Efficient
By leveraging the latest LED technology for surface inspection, steel coil mills and coaters can improve the consistency of coil quality, eliminate downtime and maintenance, reduce energy costs, and improve safety. Together, these benefits lead to greater efficiency in your plant. Here’s how:
1. Improved Inspection Capabilities
Brighter, softer, even illumination. An LED stroboscope provides brighter, more consistent illumination where it is needed, making it easier to identify surface flaws. Light from LEDs is softer, making them a better choice for inspecting highly reflective materials, such as tin plate and coating lines, foils and metallic substrates.
Larger, well-defined illumination area. LED-based stroboscopic inspection also brings higher performance and overall efficiency for less. Powerful new LED stroboscopes have the ability to deliver light further along the length of the surface and more consistently throughout the targeted inspection area, allowing operators to pick out surface flaws and defects more easily than before. LED-based stroboscopes focus the light on the targeted inspection area. In addition, more highly adjustable brightness and flash rate give inspectors the ability to customize the lighting to match surface inspection needs taking into account ambient lighting.
Greater selection. Improvements in LED technology have also expanded selection options for stroboscopic inspection lighting. Instead of a one-size-fits-all technology, new Unilux LED stroboscopes are available in various sizes, styles and configurations. Mills and coil processors can select the right light at the best price for their process line or application, and replace older systems for almost half the original cost.
2. Elimination of Downtime and Maintenance Cost
No bulb replacement and associated downtime. Long-lasting LEDs greatly reduce maintenance and the downtime associated with lamp replacement inherent in traditional Xenon-based stroboscopes. With an 8-10 year estimated life of the LEDs, the elimination of replacement lamp cost in itself saves more money over the life of the surface inspection system, significantly speeding up ROI.
Uninterrupted inspection. With hundreds of diodes, LED stroboscopes can provide sufficient light for surface inspection even if one or more diodes fail. This not only eliminates downtime associated with a failed lamp, but also eliminates the inspection outages that could lead to lost production time or flaws slipping through to the customer.
3. Reduced Energy Costs
Lower energy consumption. The efficiencies of LED-based stroboscopic inspection reduces energy consumption by as much as 65% and reduces corresponding costs. These higher efficiency stroboscopes have also reduced the carbon footprint. As a result, LED-based stroboscopic inspection could qualify for energy reduction incentives from power companies and government agencies that offer grants and reduced electrical rates by undertaking energy reduction measures. (See State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency: http://www.dsireusa.org/ for applicable programs in your state.)
More favorable ROI. These incentives increase ROI significantly when paired with the operational and maintenance cost reductions, and environmental benefits mentioned earlier. Unlike Xenon stroboscopes, LED-based models do not create ozone during operation. This eliminates the need for special ozone filters, making them a healthier choice for the mill and the environment.
4. Improved Safety
While the amount of light produced by LED stroboscopic inspection lights is greater than traditional Xenon stroboscopes, there’s a big technical difference that provides an additional benefit to the LED lights – SAFETY. Because of the linear light source of the Xenon based stroboscope, the unit produces a fair amount of spillover outside the targeted inspection area, creating a potential safety issue. By spreading light evenly over an area that could be up to six times larger than the light output of Xenon lamps, LED stroboscopes provide a more concentrated light restricted to the targeted inspection area.
This shift in technology has the potential to improve safety and enhance mill performance – a powerful and rare combination for any process upgrade. To read more on LED inspection technology go to: Coil World December 2016