19 May 2022

World-class laser measurement system commissioned

A £1 million state-of-the art laser measurement system is now up and running at British Steel’s Special Profiles business, forming part of a suite of patented technologies currently being developed. The new system, which provides millions of dimensional readings on every bar rolled, will ensure products are made to world-leading dimensional tolerances.

The mill at Skinningrove rolls profiles that are used in a wide range of demanding applications – such as track shoes, forklift masts and cutting-edge profiles.

Special Profiles Customer Quality and Technical Manager Dominic Hill said: “Dimensional tolerances are critical for the vast majority of the applications we supply into. Our customers around the globe place huge importance on tight product control and we work closely with them to meet their needs.

“This world-class laser measurement system, which uses 8 individual lasers, is a massive step forward. It provides us – and our customers – with reassurance of the exceptionally tight dimensional control we’re working to. As the laser measures each bar every 10mm to 2 decimal places, we really will have an exceptional level of detail and therefore confidence in our product offering.”

The measurement system, which embraces the very latest laser technology, was supplied by Zumbach and tailored on site at Skinningrove to deliver a bespoke solution for the mill. “The laser takes millions of measurements on every bar we roll,” said Dominic. “We have a series of laser systems across the mill and this new one provides dimensional checks for our products while the profiles are still hot. This enables us, if necessary, to adapt our rolling process to achieve the exact requirements our customers are looking for.

“A lot of people have been instrumental in the laser system’s successful installation and the commissioning. Understanding the readings and what they indicate for end product dimensions is no mean feat, it’s a complex task but it’s this level of intelligence that’s setting our products apart. This system is unique and, through realising a step change in our manufacturing processes, we can now offer customers an unrivalled product range.”

This follows on from the recent announcement that British Steel has submitted a planning application for a £26 million upgrade to its Special Profiles business.

The plans for a new service centre at Skinningrove, which include cut-to-length lines, product milling, machining and warehousing operations, would enable the company to make and process an extended range of value-added profiles for the forklift industry.

Pictured with the laser measurement system are some of the colleagues from British Steel and Zumbach who worked together on the project