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Thinking beyond: Fives presents a pioneering solution

Fives presented its latest innovation – SmartLine – at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) hosted by China’s President Xi Jinping and attended by France’s President Emmanuel Macron. CIIE, held on November 5-8, 2019 in Shanghai, is a top-level national event inspired by the concept “New Era – Shared Future” and focused on economic and trade cooperation.

Utilizing its expertise as an international industrial engineering group, Fives developed this revolutionary technology to help steelmakers meet an increased demand for high value-added steel grades. This fully automatic strip processing line control is based on predictive modelling to enable the best quality yield and optimal productivity.

SmartLine completely changes the way the operation and process of continuous annealing or galvanizing lines are controlled. For the first time, predictive metallurgical models combining physical laws and artificial intelligence are used with the appropriate IT architecture and machine learning algorithms to automatically achieve the best quality and productivity of the line, as well as flexibility of operation,” says Guillaume Mehlman, President of Steel & Glass Division at Fives, who introduced the new product at its launch during CIIE.

Key Chinese steelmakers were there to see the launch of the SmartLine, which was also presented during the ‘Smart Manufacturing’ session of China’s Baowu Iron & Steel Ecosphere Forum at CIIE.

Predictive metallurgical models are a key feature of the line. They are developed by Fives experts to take into account the entire processing history of the product; upstream to downstream. These models consider the effects of upstream slab production, annealing, cooling, galvanizing, and the skin-pass reduction process. The SmartLine enables a shift from predefined setpoint management for each steel grade to achieve optimal setpoints for the entire process, automatically achieving the steelmakers’ desired steel grade properties. 

“SmartLine gives Fives a great competitive advantage in our business. The enthusiastic reaction of our clients during the CIIE confirms how well the solution meets their needs. We have been approached by many steelmakers who want to reap the yield and productivity benefits from fully automatic line control – consistently, every time,” highlights Frédéric Sanchez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fives.