Aug 17, 2012
Company to launch cost-effective solution for galvanising industryBack
Engineering|Johannesburg|Africa|PROJECT|Projects|Stainless Steel|System|Traceability Solutions|Africa|South Africa|Barcode Technology|Correct Products|Correct Project Site|Equipment|Final Job Site|Metal|Metal Dog Tags|Mining|Product|Products|Steel|Steel Going|Electra Mining|Kyle Parker|KettleTag Plus|KettleTag Technology|Pin-marking Technology|Two-dimensional Barcode Technology
© Reuse this
He explains that the traceability of steel becomes a problem after a product has been galvanised because common identification tags do not survive the hot-dip galvanising process, during which a product is put through hot zinc dips at 450 °C for extended periods.
Further, while embossed metal dog tags can be used as an alternative and will survive the zinc dip process, they will, in most cases, not survive the acid baths. The galvanising process, therefore, is effective in smoothing the surface of a product, but the product fails to retain its original identification, which is important in ensuring that the correct products are kept together and delivered to the correct project site.
Without a proper identification system, galvanising companies providing a service for many different clients could easily confuse materials, which is a significant problem, especially when a company is dealing with two clients that are manufacturing the same products.
“We realised that we needed to find a solution, which would allow material to be identifiable after the galvanising process,” says Parker.
In 2001, InfoSight, one of Traceability Solutions’ primary suppliers, set its sights on providing a solution for the hot-dip galvanising industry, with the goal of producing a metal barcoded tag that would be attached to a product once, either by the galvaniser or by the original-equipment manufacturer.
The aim was for the tag not to be removed during any stage of the galvanising process, remaining intact until the steel is delivered to the final job site.
KettleTag technology has been in industry in South Africa for the past 11 years and is the first of its kind to survive the galvanising process, states Parker.
Last year, Traceability Solutions launched KettleTag Plus, another one-of-a-kind addition to the KettleTag brand that allows steel going through the galvanising process to be tracked using two-dimensional barcode technology. The tags are read by means of mobile personal computer scanners, which help to track the production process.
Parker says the tags are around R3 each (depending on size and quantity), which could be too expensive for certain projects.
He explains that, at times, the tag can even be more valuable than the item it identifies.
A Low-Cost Solution
Parker recalls how, a year ago, Traceability Solutions received a request from a data company that wanted its data plates marked in reverse.
Initially, he was somewhat perplexed why anyone would want a tag marked in reverse but realised that this might be the answer Traceability Solutions was searching for.
Parker and his team tested products using a new heavy-duty steel-marking machine launched early last year with additional functionality. It is a single-pin marking system targeted at applications which require deep penetration marking.
Traceability Solutions has found that the galvanising process does not affect a steel label embossed with information in reverse. The marked indentations will still be smoothed over in the galvanising process but, when the label is turned over, the markings can clearly be identified on the other side.
“Using the current pin-marking technology, with the correct material and the correct customised machine, labels can automatically be printed out and stuck onto the material and galvanisers can finally get a real traceability solution,” he says.
Parker hopes to have a customised prototype machine ready by September, in time to showcase it at Electra Mining Africa 2012, which will run from September 10 to 14.
Traceability Solutions already has two customers that are keen to try the new technology.
However, before this can be done, Parker needs to ensure the company is using the appropriate material for the application. Price is the primary priority and he has been searching for the most cost-effective stainless steel.
“Companies are not interested if these tags are going to cost R2 each – it’s just not viable. Pricing is currently undetermined; however, we are aiming to keep the price of these tags as low as possible.”
Parker tells Engineering News about a promising material that has just been delivered to the company’s offices in North Riding, Johannesburg.
The Traceability Solutions team is testing the new material, but Parker is confident that this will prove to be the exact type of stainless steel that is required.
“Once the technology has been tried and tested by the two interested customers, I think we’ll have a solution on our hands that we’ll want to market and promote to galvanisers, who all face the same traceability chal- lenges,” he says.
Parker tells Engineering News that a full concept design has been developed for the new machine, which Traceability Solutions will manufacture. He adds that the team will incorporate software into the system that will be able to track how many labels have been made – a feature that will increase galvanisers’ productivity and internal organisation processes.
Traceability Solutions is working closely with a scanner manufacturer to find a camera that will enable the scanning machines to read the barcodes in reverse.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other Metals News
Updated 7 hours ago Electricity producer Eskom has, for the first time, offered a detailed timeline for the synchronisation of Medupi Unit 6, which is officially scheduled for December 15, 2014. Addressing a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees on Public Enterprises and Energy on...
Updated 7 hours ago As South Africa had largely exhausted the use of traditional mechanisms to stimulate the fiscus, government now needed to swing its focus to dealing with the internal structural issues that had, thus far, prevented the country from unlocking its true economic value,...
Updated 7 hours ago The Western Cape High Court will on Monday hear a Sanral application for information about the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project to be kept secret, the City of Cape Town said. The application would be heard behind closed doors, mayoral committee member...
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Steel 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the steel industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the global and South African steel and stainless steel markets, South Africa’s major steel producers and events that have shaped these markets.
This Week's Magazine
Multinational semiconductor chipmaker corporation Intel announced its national campaign to further acquire partners to drive its She Will Connect programme, an initiative that aims to expand digital literacy skills to young women in developing countries, further into...
South Africa's MeerKAT radio telescope array programme should get back on schedule within a few months. This assurance has been given by SKA South Africa (SKA SA) associate director: science and technology Prof Justin Jonas. Early last month, Science and Technology...
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) Metrorail service will remain a subsidised service following its current multibillion-rand rolling stock, station, depot and signalling upgrade programme. PRASA group CEO Lucky Montana has allayed fears that...
The uncertainties around the remediation of affected areas as addressed in the Contaminated Land Provisions in the National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 of 2008 will possibly spark litigation and disputes between landowners and businesses, contractors...
South Africa is currently the largest component of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) active portfolio in Southern Africa, comprising 62.5% of the bank’s $7.9-billion exposure to the 12-country region – the second largest beneficiary is Mauritius, which...