Fives presented its latest innovation – NeoKoil® SmartLine – at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) hosted by China’s President Xi Jinping and attended by France’s President Emmanuel Macron. CIIE, held on 5-8 November in Shanghai, is a top-level national event inspired by the concept “New Era – Shared Future” and focused on economic and trade co-operation.

Fives claims it developed the technology to help steelmakers meet increased demand for high value-added steel grades. NeoKoil Smartline is a fully automatic strip processing line based on predictive modelling to enable the best quality yield and optimal productivity.

“NeoKoil SmartLine completely changes the way the operation and process of continuous annealing or galvanising lines are controlled," said Guillaume Mehlman, deputy general manager and president of Fives' steel and glass division. "For the first time, predictive metallurgical models combining physical laws and artificial intelligence are used with the appropriate IT architecture and machine learning algorithms to automatically achieve the best quality and productivity of the line, as well as flexibility of operation.”

Key Chinese steelmakers were present to see the launch of the new equipment, which was also presented during the ‘Smart Manufacturing’ session of China’s Baowu Iron & Steel Ecosphere Forum at CIIE.

According to Fives, predictive metallurgical models are a key feature of the line. They are developed by Fives to take into account the entire processing history of the product; upstream to downstream. These models consider the effects of upstream slab production, annealing, cooling, galvanising, and the skin-pass reduction process. The NeoKoil SmartLine enables a shift from pre-defined setpoint management for each steel grade to achieve optimal set points for the entire process, automatically achieving the steelmakers’ desired steel grade properties.

“NeoKoil SmartLine gives Fives a great competitive advantage in our business. The enthusiastic reaction of our clients during the CIIE confirms how well the solution meets their needs. We have been approached by many steelmakers who want to reap the yield and productivity benefits from fully automatic line control – consistently, every time,” said Frédéric Sanchez, chairman and CEO of Fives.