Today, steel manufacturing is highly automated. The weight of the products and the temperatures required, mean that personnel are usually kept at a safe distance, relying on information from position sensors to control the steel processing. These position sensors must handle extreme working conditions, with the possibility of severe consequences if they should fail.

Hydraulic cylinders and rollers
Hydraulic cylinders are used throughout the mills to move the heavy loads associated with making steel. Position monitoring of these hydraulic cylinders can be a demanding task; some areas of steel manufacturing create extreme heat, while others produce high shock and vibration as well as repetitive motion that can take a toll on contact type sensors.

When considering the working conditions, as well as repetitive motion, the best solution for hydraulic cylinder positioning is a magnetostrictive position sensor. Linear Displacement Transducers, or LDTs as they are commonly called, provide highly accurate position monitoring with repeatability up to 1 micron. The Gemco 953V Max Linear Displacement Transducer is designed to withstand these extreme environments, and provide a superior longevity compared to other models of linear transducers.

Many hydraulic cylinders are “gun drilled” to accept Linear Transducers like the Gemco 953 Vmax, which is installed inside of the cylinder to provide absolute feedback.

LDT’s ideal for existing applications

Environmental conditions, and mounting limitations are all considerations involved in specifying a linear position feedback system that will perform flawlessly for many years to come. If mounting a magnetostrictive rod-style Linear Displacement Transducer inside a cylinder is prohibitive, Gemco offers the field-proven 950 Mill-Duty Housing.

Roll of steel carried safely using Ametek rotary limit switch

The 950MD housing eliminates the problems stated above, by simplifying mounting and serviceability while protecting the linear transducer from physical and environmental damage such as temperature, corrosives, shock and vibration, or dust and debris.

Additionally, the 950MD offers a simple two-point mounting scheme that can compensate for lateral and/or horizontal movement of the machine while in operation.

The 950MD housing is ideal for retrofitting existing hydraulic cylinders with a Linear Displacement Transducer to provide a continuous position feedback signal. The 950MD allows for a convenient way to mount the 950MD and the internal linear displacement transducer parallel to the cylinder or equipment in motion. This eliminates the need to tear down, and gun drill a cylinder to accommodate a linear transducer,providing position feedback that had not previously been available.

The housing may also be of benefit if you have an existing hydraulic cylinder with a dysfunctional linear transducer that is not easily removed, as older cylinder designs, and even some newer ones, have not taken the need for service into consideration.

The housing of 950 Mill-Duty is equipped with air purge ports in the head cover assembly. In most cases, running clean shop air through the head is sufficient to cool the electronics in a high temperature application. For severe temperature applications, a Vortex Air Cooler is available.

Hydraulics means cables and hoses
Hydraulic machinery in motion means cables and hoses in motion. Tangled or broken cables or hydraulic hoses can result in dangerous situations for personnel, and may cause expensive, unplanned downtime.

Snaptrac is a well-known brand within the machine tool industry. Their rugged, nylon composite cable and hose carriers do an excellent job of protecting attached cables. But cables and hoses used within a steel mill environment can be very large and require a higher degree of protection than nylon can offer. At the same time, that added protection needs to be very flexible.

For decades, CATRAC Cable & Hose Carriers have been installed on various types of applications as a means of safely and efficiently conveying power, electrical, air, or fluid to equipment in motion. The CATRAC Mill Duty series is designed to match the rugged applications found within the Steel Industry.

This series of cable and hose carriers offers a box beam type carrier for maximum strength and stability. While spring-loaded rods offer the customer easy access to cables and hoses. CATRAC Carriers are designed so that pieces or sections can be removed or replaced in the field, helping reduce downtime, and quickly getting machinery back in operation.

Know your application and know your options
Based on experience from the industry, AMETEK Factory Automation has created the brochure “Measurement Solutions in the Steel Industry”. The brochure provides a simplified workflow and offers the reader advice on solutions, not just for position measurement, but also for cable and hose carriers, level measurement, pressure gauges, and even industrial brakes.

AMETEK Factory Automation has built their reputation on taking complex problems and designing custom solutions to survive in hostile environments. The Gemco brand has supplied thousands of ENGINEERED SENSOR SOLUTIONS to steel mills, foundries, and heavy industry. Conditions of high shock, vibration, temperature, and contaminants are applications and manufacturing challenges we deal with and satisfy daily.