Tube and Pipe Training: Reduce Tube and Pipe Mill Metal Scrap

Tired of pulling into your parking lot and seeing this pile of tube or pipe scrap sitting there?

If you are, take the time to read the following recommendations and then contact Roll-Kraft - we will guarantee to reduce your pile of scrap.

  • Inconsistent incoming material, which includes chemistry, slit edge condition, strip width-to-gauge tolerance, crown, and camber
  • Improper end welds.  Ensure end welds are sound, will not break, and have a low profile, so they cannot damage tooling or mill components as they pass through the tube mill or pipe mill.
  • Misalignment of entry strip to first breakdown.  Off-centered strip will result in improper forming, especially with modified edgeform and “W-style” designs.
  • Improper tooling setup.  Tooling which is not set up according to a setup chart cannot perform as designed.  There is no certainty derived in setting up a tube mill or pipe mill totally by feel, or using a “seat of the pants” technique.
    • Insufficient cooling section. Does the tube have enough interface time in the cooling section to allow proper cooling before it reaches the sizing section?  If not, bowed tubing will result after the tube cools down, resulting in scrap or the necessity of rework.
  • Insufficient or non-existent preventative maintenance (PM) programs can result in poor integrity/condition. Are your tube mills and pipe mills scheduled for mill maintenance at regular intervals, or is your mill maintenance on a “crisis management” system?  It can make a difference. 
  • Poor mill alignment. When was the last time the mills were aligned?  The standard in the industry is to have mills aligned annually or after performing any major preventative maintenance.
  • Worn tooling.  Do you have a formal tooling maintenance program in place?  Do you know when to send your tooling in for rework?  Worn tooling is a major cause of quality and scrap metal issues.
  • Failing to document a good mill setup.  When you properly document a good mill setup, and then return to those numbers when running the same size in the future, you will consistently reduce time and scrap.  Single-Point Adjustment (SPA) features and digital readouts on all stands, driven and idle, can save as much as 75% on setup time and even more on scrap metal. 
  • Improper tooling designs.  Are you using yesterday’s designs for today’s new material properties and quality requirements?  When was the last time your tooling designs were evaluated?  Proper tooling design can certainly improve production and reduce costs by reducing scrap.
  • Inadequate or lack of formal training.  How long has it been since your personnel was formally trained in proper mill maintenance, mill alignment, mill setup, mill operation, and tooling maintenance?  Do you have standard operating procedures (SOP) in place for all these areas?
  • Inadequate exit, material handling equipment.  Is your prime tubing coming off an old dump table system that bends, scratches, or damages your finished product before it can even be properly bundled?  Are your bundling carts and racks designed and set up for efficient end product handling and removal?  Is an upgrade in order? .  It is important to maintain ordering and receiving standards at all times to identify and avoid these core complications.

Addressing each of these issues can go a long way towards preventing metal scrap.  Of course, there is no way to completely eradicate it, but keeping it to a minimum can provide great benefits.

Author:  Robert A. Sladky, Vice President Tube Mill Engineering, Roll-Kraft.

To learn more about the benefits of single point adjustment here.

Find more tube and pipe articles here.


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