Flatness for plate production has proven to be important, and the demands increase as plates become harder, wider and thinner. Today, more or less every plate producer checks the flatness either manually or automatically. Manual flatness measurement has a lot of shortcomings, such as line-stops, sparse an unreliable measurements.

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The VeriFlex-system

Our VeriFlex system – A “standard, engineered” product, tailored to your needs. Extensively used for heavy plates and demanding strip applications.

A VeriFlex has a number of parameters which can be changed over wide ranges, for example material width, stand-off distance, performance and available space. It is simply tailored to your needs. Even the graphical user interface and integration, both physical and electrical, can be tailored.

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Types of plate process lines

We have installed our VeriFlex-systems in a large number of plate processing lines. They are used for routing, quality assurance and process improvements in different types of lines such as quenching, leveling, shearing and finishing.

VeriFlex after a roll leveler can help to reduce number of leveling passes fine-tune the leveler guide plate routing and perform quality check of plate flatness length and width.

In a leveling line, plates usually run several passes until either flat enough, or they have to be rejected. The number of leveling passes should, of course, be reduced to a minimum, but pre-setting of levelers is difficult and good operators usually have years of experience.

Installing a gauge after the leveler, leads to some benefits e.g:

  • The operator always knows whether or not the plate fulfills the requirements. Thus he will be able to avoid unnecessary leveling passes.
  • The information from one pass can be used as set-up data to the next, hence reducing the number of passes.
  • The line will be less dependent on the operators’ experience. They can directly see what a certain measure results in and thus will learn faster.
  • Our system down-stream from a leveler can either be integrated with the leveler itself, or mounted on a separate platform.
  • Shapeline has the flexibility to adapt the geometry to the requirements and existing equipment.

After shearing is normally the first position where the operator has to make decisions and bad decisions are costly. VeriFlex gauge can be an efficient tool to make correct decisions about routing and down-stream plate cutting.

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. Here is an important point for decision making and routing. For instance, flat plates should not be leveled. Plates with bad flatness should not be sent to quenching. Wrong decisions in this point are really costly, why a VeriFlex system in this position can easily be motivated.

A VeriFlex system can also support down-stream cutting where the final plates have to fulfill the requirements by “virtually” cutting them in the software before the real cut.

In addition to this, measured data can be fed backwards to rolling and hot leveling to improve the incoming flatness statistically over time. 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.

Plate quenching is a delicate process difficult to tune. Imperfection in the rapid cooling immediately results in flatness issues. With a VeriFlex system these imperfections can be detected quickly and necessary actions taken.

Quenching and tempering can be a real challenge if the finished plates have high yield strength and also high weldability and bendability. Rapid cooling with low plate speed is required and this easily results in bad flatness. Parameters like nozzle angle, turbulence over the surface and position of cam-rolls are important factors. Clogged or worn-out nozzles will also cause flatness issues.

During the installation of a new QT-line, a VeriFlex gauge can pay for itself by shortening tuning time and verify the result. Over time, the flatness quality can be further improved and the gauge will also serve as a guardian and detect flaws and malfunctions in the line. Thin, low alloy quenched plates will always need leveling, but also need to have the right flatness to be “levelable”. This takes time to work out, but without an accurate flatness measurement tool, it is impossible.

All plate manufacturers need to know the quality of shipped plates. A VeriFlex-system at the end of the line assures this and can also generate reports per plate.

The most important applications are in relation to measurement in plate leveling, shearing and finishing lines.

The last typical application is to document plate flatness and use this information for quality assurance and customer support. This can be done in separate finishing lines or in combination with shearing or leveling.

A Shapeline system will automatically document and evaluate the flatness according to current norms or customer-specific rules. This is a foundation for elimination of complaints, increased market share and improved guarantees.

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