Automation and productivity: New slitting line
línea de corte longitudinal (slitter)

In response to the increasing difficulties in finding skilled operators in sufficient numbers currently facing the U.S. labor market, many companies in the coil slitting and processing sector are turning to automated solutions to maintain and/or improve productivity.

This is the case of Feralloy, which has installed a new automated slitting line (slitter) from Fagor Arrasate at its Sinton, Texas plant. This processing line is equipped with automatic and semi-automatic systems that autonomously perform different processes and make it easier for workers to operate them.

The ability to automatically carry out the different processes required for the operation of a slitter allows for a considerable improvement in productivity, by reducing the time required for each function and eliminating the possibility of human error. At the same time, the automatic cycles make it possible to carry out different auxiliary processes, such as strapping or scrap extraction, simultaneously or without having to stop production, thus increasing the ton/hour ratios of coil processed.

Feralloy, (founded in 1954,) is one of the largest high-volume steel processing companies in the United States, supplying processed flat-rolled steel. It operates a network of 10 processing centers throughout the U.S. and Mexico that provide processing of hot-rolled, pickled, cold-rolled and coated sheet metal products to manufacturers and producers, as well as two independently operated manufacturing plants under the subsidiary GH Metal Solutions.

Knives change

One of the most outstanding automations is the blade change system, with a turret that allows the insertion and extraction of the different sets of cutting discs automatically. Thanks to its four arms, the operator can prepare the loading of other groups of cutting tools while the line is still running. The short cycle time gives great flexibility when changing production.

Line end

Another good example of the ability to carry out processes simultaneously to save time is the line end. The system detects that the coil is running out and starts the automatic band end cycle. When the coiler is finished, a trolley with a piano system removes the coil and takes it to a turret for strapping, without the need to have the line stopped for this purpose, ready at all times for threading and processing of the next coil.

Coil loading

The entire coil loading is also automated, so that it has a turret warehouse with an automatic coil loading cycle on the mandrel. It has a turret with arms where it is possible to place the coil without performing precise operations with the crane.


After this step, the end of the coil is passed from the uncoiler to the feeder to start the automatic threading cycle. The line is equipped with feeding and straightening rollers to ensure the correct threading of the sheet and an automatic strip centering device.

In addition, it has an automatic cutting cycle of the coil tip and elimination of the first few meters of damaged material from the foundry.

Automatic separators

Another automatic feature that characterizes this slitter is the incorporation of automatic separators to separate the straps. This system can modify its configuration and positioning without human intervention, decreasing downtime between coils and eliminating possible errors, as well as testing times.


In a line of these characteristics, one of the key elements is the tensioning of the sheet to ensure the perfect winding of the sheet. For this purpose, the line has a felt press and rollers that adjust the tension of the coil, so that the coiler folds the strips tightly, without leaving gaps between them. It also has additional rollers, to be able to work with delicate surface materials.

Regarding the installation of the line, it has required a simple foundation because it is placed at level 0, which facilitates access to it, and has a double loop system to reduce the depth of the pit.

Scrap chopper

The line is also equipped with an edge chipping system and a corresponding automatic scrap extraction system.

Safety locks by zones

All this is complemented by a system of safety locks by zones to ensure that the handling and preparation of the line is carried out without risk for the operators and to avoid possible accidents.

COIL 106,000 lb (48 tn)
SPEED 1.312 ft/min (400 m/min)
THICKNESS 0.010” (0.25 mm) – 0.150” (3,81 mm)
WIDTH 78” (2m)

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