PAO Severstal, one of the world's largest vertically integrated steel and mining companies, has begun its own development of video inspection systems for rolled metal surfaces. The pilot project was implemented on the cross-cutting unit No. 4 (APR-4) in the production of flat products at the Cherepovets Steel Works (CherMK, part of the Severstal Russian Steel division). The first prototype of the solution proved its efficiency: the image quality obtained from the equipment is not inferior to imported counterparts.
Severstal uses video inspection systems to control the quality of the rolled metal surface. For these purposes, equipment from well-known foreign manufacturers was previously purchased. However, this approach was accompanied by difficulties in adapting programs to production tasks. For example, in setting up equipment and making the necessary changes, adjustments in the operation of programs due to the remoteness of manufacturers and developers. Experts noted shortcomings in the processes of determining and classifying defects. This is due to both the complexity of the task and the wide range of possible deviations that the system must control, as well as external factors that complicate detection. Among them, there may be applied markings, the process fluids used on the industrial line and other factors.
“The development of this direction has become possible thanks to the internal expertise of our company, the availability of the necessary competencies from our own employees and the required technical base. A significant contribution to the development of the solution was made by the creation of a special unit - the direction of measuring systems in the direction for technical development and quality. Making your own solution is certainly more economical for the company and has the potential to scale. On the other hand, it provides the necessary flexibility in configuring the components and the system itself, the ability to take into account the specifics of the task and the required range of evaluation criteria. At the same time, its own video inspection system, unlike existing analogues at the enterprise, thanks to its modular architecture and open software, provides new opportunities for its development and continuous improvement, and adaptation to the increasing requirements of the client. In the end, this will significantly improve the quality of surface control of our products, ”notes Pyotr Mishnev, Director for Technical Development and Quality of the Severstal Russian Steel Division.
The first prototype of our own video inspection system was made by a working group of employees of the Directorate for Technical Development and Quality (DTRK) of the Severstal Russian Steel division and Severstal Digital. With the help of colleagues from the flat-rolled steel production of CherMK, specialists formulated requirements for the system, developed criteria and principles for evaluating strip inspection systems, which will later be used as a technical task for the manufacture of similar systems and sets a high quality standard. At the next stage, the working group developed a prototype, including its design, and in laboratory conditions, experts selected the necessary parameters for the operation of cameras, lighting, synchronization of frames with a moving strip. Severstal Digital employees provide the software part of the system operation, including the definition of the data transmission scheme and network access, the definition of the equipment specification for the system operation, software development and model training.
The prototype was tested in an industrial environment on APR-4. Now a team of specialists from several divisions of the company has begun to implement the solution in the production flow of the unit. So, the design center of the Directorate for Repairs is engaged in the design of metal structures, automation systems, the construction part of the project. At the same time, standard equipment is used in the project in order to allow the company in the future not to depend on exclusive parts. Severstal-infocom helps with programming industrial controllers and data transfer architecture. The final software for detecting and classifying defects will be developed by Severstal Digital specialists. In addition, specialists began collecting and marking images with defects, on the basis of which the computer vision model will be trained. The workshop staff, in which the pilot solution will be introduced into industrial operation, ensures the organization of equipment installation and supports industrial experiments.
Experts are planning an industrial version of the system already in the first quarter of 2021. became in the world.