FocalSpec’s LCI 1200 utilized by Outokumpu

FocalSpec’s Line Confocal Imaging (LCI) technology was successfully put into use at Outokumpu, a global leader in stainless steel, as a part of the DIMECC Breakthrough Materials Doctoral School program.

According to Esa Puukko, Research Manager at Outokumpu Stainless, the company aims to create advanced materials that are efficient, long-lasting and recyclable.

Outokumpu is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange and has around 11,000 employees in more than 30 countries. The headquarters are in Helsinki, Finland.

“We are always looking for state-of-the-art technologies to help us reach the highest quality levels. With the help of FocalSpec’s Line Confocal Imaging, we could produce accurate surface micro profile measurements from steel surfaces at full production line speed. The data we obtained was highly useful in monitoring the product quality and manufacturing process,” Puukko says.

Online surface roughness measurement on a cold rolling line offers a non-contact optical surface roughness measurement from actual 3D surface micro topography. It also allows for real-time product quality monitoring.

Putting sensors to use

The FocalSpec Line Confocal Sensor LCI 1200 was used for four months on the RAP-line in the cold rolling mill at Outokumpu Tornio (Picture 1).

Picture 1: Line Confocal Sensor LCI 1200 at the Outokumpu mill in Tornio

The sensor was used for measuring on-line surface roughness of stainless steel.

The system collected the Roughness average (Ra) and the Maximum Profile Peak Height (Rp) data for all the produced coils and correlated the surface roughness to various process parameters, and the results were then analyzed (Picture 2).

Picture 2: On-line surface roughness measurement data of stainless steel

Our technology

The measurement above is based on the new Line Confocal Imaging (LCI) technology, which can provide accurate surface micro profile measurements from steel surfaces at full production line speed.

Standard roughness parameters are calculated from the micro profile data and stored on a database.

Scope of applications

The FocalSpec measurement technology Outokumpu currently uses controls the surface roughness in plastic cable extrusion lines.

The technology helps to minimize waste and improve the yield. It also shortens the production line start-up time and gives the possibility of running the production at maximum speed while maintaining the specified surface quality. It replaces the current laboratory analyses, reducing the amount of labor needed for quality control.

This produces comprehensive surface quality data for product quality traceability.