Coil Processing
Tuesday | 11 April, 2017 | 9:57 am

Fine lines

By Colin Linneweber

Select customers employ German slitting and packaging equipment that promise accuracy and are built to last

April 2017 - “Throughout Europe, South Africa and Asia—especially in China—Georg finishing lines are known,” says Jennifer Seidel, who serves as the equipment builder’s director of North American sales from Roanoke, Virginia. 

A privately held company founded by Heinrich Georg in Kreuztal, Germany, Georg’s North American subsidiary, Georg Capco Inc., began humbly in 1948, and has since experienced significant growth. The company presents a broad menu of coil processing lines, including edge trim and inspection, cut-to-length, multi-blanking, packaging and slitting. Georg’s slitting lines cut carbon and stainless steels, silicon steel, aluminum, together with other nonferrous materials, and alloys. Depending on the specifications of what metal processors need, machines can be designed to cut materials that range widely in thickness, strip width and coil weight; and run at speeds exceeding 500 meters per minute.

In order to meet the customer requirements regarding line speed, wide or thin strip, and ultra-high tensile strength, “Georg develops special line configurations for every application,” says Seidel.

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Georg’s multi-strip program can handle surface-sensitive materials with several different movable tension rolls.

“The maximum width is 114 inches for aluminum products. But normally, the steps are 50 inches, and continue in steps of 65 inches, 73 inches, 82 inches, 87 inches and 114 inches,” she says. “The thicknesses of the materials processed on our lines vary from 0.00315 inches to 0.5 inches and we find the right solution for every application.” Maximum coil weight at the entry end is 40 metric tons. “Coil sizes always depend on a customer’s needs,” she continues, “but are of course different for steel and aluminum.”

Special features

Georg’s slitting lines offer multiple special features and advantages, such as the handling of surface-sensitive materials with several different designs of movable tension units, automatic coil loading procedures,  and automated CNC separation systems, according to Seidel. From raw materials to a finished product, these features help companies in the aluminum, steel and copper markets to reduce downtime, increase output, enhance accuracy, maximize workplace efficiency and more. 

“Our slitting lines offer a gentle treatment of highly sensitive surfaces, such as car body parts and exposed parts,” where shape tolerances are very tight, as well as “painted strip material and/or bright annealed stainless steel, Seidel says. “This treatment, for example, is possible thanks to a special tensioning/braking system that adjusts to a material’s surface.”

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Depending on what processors need, Georg’s new line can cut materials at speeds above 500 meters per minute.

Another benefit is that Georg slitters can manage “a high number of cuts with low burr and excellent cutting edges due to slitting shear systems with a minimum deflection of the cutter shaft. Moreover, the outstanding winding results on the rewinder put our customers in a position to fulfill their duties to the end customer,” Seidel says. “Our slitting lines help our customers achieve high line availability,” and long-lasting operation “because we use reliable components and we have a very high quality standard for engineering,” says Seidel. “This makes the slitting line a solid mill- duty design that is optimized for the use in iron, steel and aluminum plants.” 

North American expansion

Georg is now a third-generation family owned business that employs roughly 450 people worldwide and generates an annual turnover of $96 million. In recent years, company executives have devised a strategy to make a greater impact in North America. 

Companies that  run coil processing facilities “all over the world are familiar with the Georg company,” says Seidel. In North America, the machinery builder has long-term relationships with a small, select customer base and “only operates tailor-made solutions” for these clients.

As a sign that this reach into new territory may pay off, Georg recently sold a slitting and packaging line combination to Bilstein Cold Rolled Steel L.P. Seidel says the equipment is being installed in Bilstein’s new greenfield plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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Georg-built slitting machine sizes range from 50 to 87 inches wide for steel products and up to 114 inches wide for aluminum sheet.

Mark Loik, Bilstein’s president and CEO, explains why his team chose Georg as its vendor.

“We undertook a rigorous technical evaluation of all offers for the slitting line and packaging line over a number of months to ensure that the design we agreed on was the most cost-effective and technically competent,” says Loik.  

“Ultimately, we felt the Georg team had the most proven experience in high-strength steel slitting equipment and provided the most flexible approach to modifying their design to our specifications,” he says. “As a result, we now have leading edge technology and a proven technical partner in the U.S.”

Loik is confident that Georg’s lines will top off the buildout of its coil processing capabilities in the Bluegrass State. “The slitting and packaging lines are the last units in our value chain,” he says. “They are the last pieces of equipment used to provide the customer with the finished product and, therefore, the attention to detail that’s involved in designing, installing and commissioning the equipment will ensure that customer specific requirements are fulfilled 100 percent.” 

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Georg’s single ring stacking lines are built to process carbon and stainless steels, silicon steel, aluminum and other nonferrous materials and alloys.

Bilstein, international manufacturers of cold-rolled strip steel, is also family owned and was founded in 1911 in Hagen, Germany. 

Michael Weal, Bowling Green plant manager, says “the team involved in the project is an excellent example of the global reach of the Bilstein company. The line operators are a combination of experienced Bilstein employees who relocated to the U.S. for three years to assist in our plant startup and experienced U.S. slitting operators who spent six months in 2016 training at Bilstein’s headquarters in Hagen.”

During their visit in Germany, “all operators were invited to Georg-Haus in Kreuztal (Georg’s technical and training center) to review the progress of the design, right up to the date when the equipment was factory tested and shipped to the U.S.,” Weal says. “The time to produce customer material is rapidly approaching and we have an excited, experienced team ready to go.” MM

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