After hot leveling and cooling, the mother-plates are usually sheared and edge trimmed to obtain the final width and length. After shearing, the plates may be quenched, normalized and leveled for improved flatness. In these lines, some important decisions must be made:
- Does the plate need to be leveled? If so, the plate may have to be sent to another line. This is costly and the plate should not be leveled unless necessary. As a simple calculation example, imagine that plate leveling can be reduced by 30%. A very realistic figure. If the line produces 200,000 tons per year, and the cost of leveling is 50 Euros/ton, there would be a saving of 3 million Euros per year. If your leveling line is a bottleneck, the benefits will be even higher since the productivity can be increased.
- How can a plate be sheared/cut optimally? The final plates have to fulfill the requirements. What if you can try a few alternatives in the software before you cut them? This is fully possible with Shapesoft 3.
In addition to this, measured data can be fed backwards to rolling and hot leveling to improve the incoming flatness. Data can also be sent forward to downstream processing lines (levelers) as recipes. Normally I-unit profiles are used for this, which can be utilized to pre-set the levelers. After a degree of practice, it can also be possible to judge whether or not a plate can be leveled flat.