Coil Processing: Straightening and Leveling

Steel production and processing are continuous operations where the last step is coiling. Steelmakers and processors use tension when coiling to avoid producing “soft” or collapsing coils. Coiling induces tensile and compressive stresses into the strip, and these stresses can contribute to blank or part distortion in subsequent processes. Unless sufficient winding tension adjustments are made, the degree of these stresses change throughout the coil – whereas the outer laps of the coil may be on the order of 6 feet (1800 mm) in diameter, the inner laps typically are wound on a 20 inch to 24 inch (500 mm to 600 mm) diameter mandrel. In addition, the magnitude of these stresses increases with higher strength products, leading to coil shape imperfections like coil set and crossbow.Get more news about coil leveling,you can vist our website!

Coil set is a bow condition parallel with the rolling direction, and curves downward in the same direction as the upper outside lap of an overwound coil (Figure 1a). Here, the top surface of the coil or strip is stretched more than the bottom surface, and typically becomes more severe as the coil is processed and the lap diameter decreases. Crossbow is a bow condition perpendicular to the rolling direction, and curves downward in the same direction as the upper outside lap of an overwound coil, with the center portion of the sheet raised a measurable amount above the sheet edges (Figure 1b).
The first operation when unwinding a coil is some type of shape correction to ensure flatness before further processing. There are two main types of equipment used to create a flat coil – a straightener and a precision leveler. While these two types of equipment are similar, a precision leveler has additional capabilities. Both bend the coil back and forth over a series of work rolls to alternately stretch and compress the upper and lower surfaces (Figure 2). Critical equipment parameters include roll diameter, roll spacing, backup rolls, roll material type, gear design, backup rolls, overall system rigidity, and power requirements. The amount of force required to relieve the residual stresses is a function of the sheet thickness and yield strength. Equipment sufficient for shape correction on conventional grades may not be sufficient to completely flatten the advanced steel grades available now and in the future.

Straighteners and levelers have a series of rolls that progressively flex the strip to remove the residual stresses. Each successive roll pair has an adjustable gap to deform the sheet to a targeted amount with the goal of resulting in a flat coil once the steel passes through all the rolls. The entry end has the smallest gap, putting in the most deformation. The last pair of rolls has the largest gap, usually set for metal thickness. The gap profile varies based on thickness, yield strength, and equipment (Figure 3). Many equipment manufacturers have generated tables to guide the operator as to the best settings for various yield strength/thickness combinations.

Removing coil set requires permanent yielding in the outer 20 percent of the top and bottom surfaces of the metal. The central 80 percent of the thickness remains unchanged.T-14 Straighteners are appropriate for this type of shape correction (Figure 4). Only end bearings support the simplest straighteners, with no backup rolls used. Closing the entry roll gap risks deflection of the unsupported center, potentially leading to creating edge waves in the coil.

Eliminating crossbow and other shape imperfections like buckles or waves requires permanent yielding in the outer 80 percent of the top and bottom surfaces, with only the central core — 20 percent — remaining in the elastic range.T-14 Precision levelers, which applies tension to the strip as it bends around more smaller diameter rolls, can achieve this deformation (Figure 5). While this deformation can get the coil shape closer to flat, it also reduces the inherent formability of the grade. Processors should use only the least amount of deformation necessary to correct the shape to retain sufficient formability for stamping or other operations.