We developed a new measuring system for gauging flatness with Shapeline
Shapeline AB develops, markets and installs high-end flatness gauging systems for metal sheets and rolls, installed right in the production line at steel and metal industries all around the world. The gauging system creates value by creating new opportunities for manufacturing control. The company, headquartered in Linköping, is currently the world leader in its market.
Shapeline’s laser and camera modules create an optical unit that gauges the flatness of the metal. The company identified several possibilities for improving the modules of the gauge system and contacted Prodelox for a joint development project. In several different stages, the project aimed to find a new complete solution that could boost the product’s efficiency in several areas:
- Develop the air cooling system to allow low-pressure air to be used
- Boost the cooling effect, because a lower temperature increases the lifespan of the components in the modules
- Reduce the size and distance between the thermoelectric cooling plates in the modules
- Enhance the modules’ condensation tolerance
- Improve the sealing of the modules to keep out the often moist and dirty air in the production facilities
- Make the modules more interchangeable to allow for faster, simpler maintenance without the need of adjustments
- Choose better materials to cut the costs of components and production
- Focus on design for manufacturing
Starting out with a feasibility study, the joint development project became an exciting journey with meetings, tests, simulations and modifications.
“We had regular control meetings, manufactured ‘superbeta’ versions, and performed tests when feasible,” says Pär Kierkegaard, Head of Sales at Shapeline. “The project’s effective period was 5 months, and even though some parts were modified several times, we managed to stay within cost and time expectancies.
“The project was intense and went incredibly well, thanks in large part to the great commitment from both parties. I’m especially pleased that all the different parts we worked on came together as a complete whole. For example, we separated the water and air cooling systems from the gauging modules and now a laser or camera module can be replaced within 5 minutes without need of adjustments.”