Twice as good: The TITAN strapping machine “Twinstrap®“ ensures a secure transport of the bright steel bars from Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH
By Olivia C. Rost
Metallic clanking echoes through the hall. Huge cranes swish along the ceiling. As if by magic shiny steel bars are placed on feed rollers. Hans-Joachim Abel takes a proficient look at the feed to the strapping machine while 24 massive bars are moving towards it. Steel strapping wraps itself twice around the bars in an incredible speed. The strapping head lowers, therewith fusing the strapping ends with whooshing sound. This is repeated at to further spots and then the long bars are wrapped up in a bundle
Abel nods – the package is perfect. The foreman for maintenance at the Deutsche Edestahlwerke site in Siegen is a man of angular features and the composure of someone doing this job for more than 35 years. He’s certainly not the frilly type. He knows that the strapping machine “Twinstrap®“ is a sensible investment for a company producing bright steel: “The double strapping is a safe bet for the bar packages. And it reduced costs since we need considerably less material.“ TITAN developed the patented Twinstrap® strapping system targeting manufacturers like the Deutsche Edelstahlwerke. The company produces steel bars measuring 22 to 80 millimetres at their site in Siegen. One third of them are continued being processed at the bright steel site. Peeling, levelling, inspecting, sawing, stacking, strapping – all this is done under the supervision of Abel, who is responsible for the continuous functioning of the complex machines.
Bright steel ensures the performance of many hight-tech products. The “diamond“ amongst steels can be found in cars, machines, medical equipment and is also used in the aerospace industry. Without any heavy duty steel progress would be somewhat meek. “The demands of the customers today in regard to purity, stability and surface hardness are high, and when it comes to transport security, we are responding to those requirements as well,“ says Lenzen area manager Gerhard Heidrich, while pointing at the “Twinstrap“, that straps a bundle of bars protected by a sheet of paper fully automatically. But what is so special? “The strapping unit winds the steel strap not only twice but also crosswise around the package. Because of the double strapping, the strap stays flexible and won’t break when put under strain.“
What it means for the packages to be put under strain can be seen when taking a look at the Deutsche Edelstahlwerke logistics centre. Stacked upon each other, the strapping has to sustain five or even ten metric tons. If a strapping is too tight this could end in the tearing of both strap and wrapping fastener. That is why “Twinstrap®“ works with the TITANARG® welded fastener, that ensures durable maximum fastening stability. “Companies can also derive an economical advantage from this,“ explains Heidrich. „Using considerably narrower straps can reduce material consumption by 20%. The number of strappings declines and welding is more cost-efficient than using wrapping fasteners.“
61 year old Hans-Joachim Abel has seen a lot of steel products in his more than three decades on the job. He’s witnessed the ups and downs – like the ongoing economic crisis – of the steel industry. The economy is currently picking up again. Bright steel will play a role in the growing demand for renewable technologies. These are bright prospects for steely bars – that are being strapped twice by TITAN before they set out on their journey.
Deutsche Edelstahlwerke GmbH is one of the leading producers of steel long products. The company, that is part of the Schmolz + Bickenbach group, employs roundabout 4,000 people at the production sites in Siegen, Witten, Krefeld and Hagen. Key customers are the automotive, power generation, aerospace and tooling industries. The product offering ranges from 0,8 mm diameter drawn wire to forgings up to 1100 mm diameter. The 150 year old plant in Siegen possesses a steel production facility, a casting facility, remelting units, a rolling mill, heat treatment furnaces and the bright steel production unit.