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In-line heat-treating, cleaning and coating

QED specialises in equipment for the in-line heat-treating, cleaning and coating of steel wire. Its furnaces are custom built for multi-strand annealing, stress relieving, patenting and tempering processes.

With patented flow technology, the fluid systems integrate cleaning efficiency with high wire speeds. QED's rugged liquid metal furnaces apply heavy and commercial coatings of zinc, aluminium and Galfan®.

QED can supply new process lines with remote monitoring and control of the equipment's key functions. Networked control panels are further enhanced with software and hardware for communicating directly with the internal network. Siemens-based PLCs work in unison with an Ixon router for seamless LAN integration. The equipment package includes a cloud-based command centre offering solutions such as live production dashboards and real-time messaging alerts.

The remote access capability allows troubleshooting from anywhere in the world. QED's software has status screens that indicate all inputs and outputs, to simplify maintenance and operations.

All temperatures and pressures are graphed for easy visualisation of the process trends. Alarms are logged with the time and date of the incident. This data is critical for product quality assurance and standards compliance such as ISO 9001.

QED AutoCoatTM, an upgrade to existing high-speed zinc and Galfan process lines, utilises independent measurement and fine-tune control to achieve consistent and uniform coating weight application with a precision of ±10g/m2.

The measurement of galvanised coatings on steel wire is achieved via sensors that communicate with a Siemens PLC control panel in real time. The sensors relay current coat weight data, which is instantly compared to a user-set target. The system then regulates a closed PID loop to control output pressure to individual nitrogen nozzles.

With a bed of fine aluminium oxide particles and precise air and gas control, QED's fluidbed furnaces offer an environmentally friendly heat-treating solution in an energy-efficient package. The fluidbed's rapid heat transfer results in shorter furnace length and more compact, easier-to-operate process lines.

The addition of pulse-firing technology to QED's muffle tube austinitising furnace improves the thermal efficiency and increases temperature uniformity, owing to higher average flame velocity and superior convective heat-transfer. Pulse firing also offers a higher turn-down ratio, lower NOx emissions and more flexibility in burner and zone control.