Cases19 April 2018

Installation of a dross skimming robot to eliminate dangerous operator actions

Tata Steel Segal
Chau. de Ramioul 50, 4400 Flémalle, Belgium


Tata Steel Ségal in Flémalle, Liège, is one of the Indian steelmaker’s main European hot dip galvanising lines and has been producing galvanised steel since 1986 with years of experience and a continuous focus on improvement not only in quality, but also in working procedures and safety.

In hot dip galvanising lines, cold-rolled steel sheets are degreased and annealed before being immersed in a 460°C bath of liquid zinc, which presents a challenging environment in terms of safety and ergonomics. One of the side effects of using liquid zinc is the formation of dross on the surface. This dross adheres to corners and edges, as well as to the steel strip itself as it passes through the zinc bath, and has a negative impact on the quality of the final product.

Before CPA’s intervention, the team of operators had the tiring and dangerous task of manually removing the dross from the bath on a regular basis, which posed a high risk of accidents.

Our solution integrates an industrial Fanuc robot to perform this task, significantly reducing dross formation and minimising the need for manual intervention by operators. Due to the metallurgical properties of zinc and the challenging environment, it is necessary to have expert knowledge of the process to achieve optimal results. The robot is equipped with a heat-resistant cover, providing full protection without compromising freedom of movement.

In addition to the standard functionality, CPA has added automatic cleaning of the bath edges and scoop, allowing the robot to operate with maximum autonomy. For this purpose, we used a GE RXi (PLC) with a GE Proficy Cimplicity SCADA, allowing operators to configure the solution to their preference and diagnose problems to minimise downtime.

Manual dross skimming = dangerous

Full simulation to ensure proper operation and give the customer continuous confidence throughout the duration of the project and well beyond.

Robot fully equipped with protective sleeve

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