Recovery Act - Imaging-Based Optical Caliper for Objects in Hot Manufacturing Processes
Small Business Information
4300 Varsity Drive, Suite C, Ann Arbor, MI, 48108
AbstractDimension control is very important in manufacturing. Poor dimension control leads to surface defects, incorrect cross-section weight distribution, and final product straightness. There exist only primitive tools for dimensional measurement after each rolling stand; even though the end of- line sophisticated measuring systems are widely available. The existing practices, in addition to these sophisticated instruments, are to use a hand-held caliper, if the hot object is moving slowly such as in the roughing mill, or to burn a wood plank against the hot bar and measure the burned profile, if the hot object is moving fast such as after the intermediate mill. The synergistic interactions of technologies and innovations in imaging, sophisticated software, and wireless communication could deliver the proposed Optical Caliper that is viable and have high impact in the metal industry. It will provide a portable, non-contact solution to be used on key dimensional measurements in hot processes such as rolling, casting and forging, and result in a more efficient (flexible, easier to take measurements, better data management, more accurate, more frequent) and safer (farther away from hot objects) operation paradigm. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The Optical Caliper will have a high impact. For the US steel industry, the expected annual benefits include $456 million in economic benefits, 4.8 trillion BTU in energy conservation and the reduction of 0.4 million tons in CO2 emissions through better dimension control. OGT expects to have a 50% market penetration by 2017 in the US with a marketing strategy, securing existing jobs, and creating new positions. It includes the pathway to build up the workforce in marketing, production, and service, and the potential sources for required financing, space and equipment. Without DOE funding, the delivery of the proposed Optical Caliper will be either delayed for a substantial time period or dropped and the benefits will be deferred or lost entirely.
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