Steel Thermal Treatment
Back in 2006, we got in contact with one of the largest heavy industry factories in Romania who had real issues in providing its customer’s expected quality for some oversized steel pieces that were being produced on their site. These steel pieces were in fact component parts for big wind turbines to shipped to and installed afterward by Siemens in Germany. Analyzing the production process onsite we observed that both heat treatment and hardening processes had severe temperature deviations from the technical prescribed curve that lead in the end to material cracks. These jeopardized wind turbine physical integrity under various weather conditions and the mechanical vibrations that the turbine was subject to. Production failure rate got higher and higher leading to contract penalties applied by Siemens, supplier’s employees working contracts endangered and an overall very gloomy environment.
Considering all of these we immediately set our quest to first develop a piece of equipment capable of generating the correct thermal curves and then applying the expected curve values with the highest precision possible into steel parts production process. The end result? 0.5 degrees Celsius precision in a physical environment operating at temperatures during the thermal treatment up to 950 degrees. The admitted error was of +/- 10 degrees Celsius. Needless to mention that we were more than ten times precise.
Prior to our process automation introduction hardly 2 out of 10 pieces passed successfully quality controls and were shipped to the customer, during the last 11 months of the contract. Automation being deployed resulted in 0 failures for 3 years in a row. Employees even got constant bonuses for their production performance and spot checks result done by Siemens. More than 200 wind turbines were successfully shipped in this period.