Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


EddyEyes Report Summary

Project ID: 728974

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EddyEyes (Novel System for surface inspection and quality control for steel industries.)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

• What is the problem/issue being addressed? Surface quality control in metallic long products is essential to avoid downstream problems. There are many environments which it’s really difficult such us hot rolling mill plants. Due to the production speed and temperature, human participation needs to be reduced to the minimum. On the other hand, every quality control method must be contactless with the material to be tested. Currently, eddy current is the most reliable, repetitive and widely used, but it’s difficult to understand for non-skilled people. There have been many projects to use artificial vision in stand-alone mode so it’s easy to understand, but unfortunately, these project have been rejected because the of the complexity related with the training of the system. ISEND is proposing to integrate both technologies taking the best of each one: eddy current as primary testing method and artificial vision as confirmation method.

• Why is it important for society? Improving the surface quality of long products will redound in several aspects for the society:

o Increasing the competitiveness of euroepan stell companies against Asian imports. Customer are demanding more and more quality at more reduced prices, so they need ways to reduce costs without kill margins.
o Reducing energy costs. Many tubes are needed to conduct combustible. Many cables to conduct electricity. Reducing surface defects will prevent from corrosion, breaks, transport losses, etc.
o Increasing the safety of cars, trains, aircrafts and other means of transport.
o Increasing the quality of health and home products.
o Increasing productivity in the works, because a right quality management will reduce scrap, raw materials, oil and gas, etc.

• What are the overall objectives?
o The main objective of this project is to design, manufacture and deploys a new surface quality testing system for metals production.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

From the beginning of the project until now, there are many results that deserve being highlighted. In a few words the most important one is that we’ve obtained real images of defects that have been detected with eddy current testing. It means a significant improvement because the quality inspectors won’t need to inspect the final products directly. Attaching images to the ET signals will improve the most important processes related to the quality assurance such us:
- Will increase the analytic capabilities that will be directly related to process and product global improvement.
- Will increase the company knowledge about the defects and their causes.
- Will reduce claims and returns through the improvement of the quality sorting.
- Will reduce energy and labor costs related to reprocess bad or returned products.
- And the most important one: will help to detect 100% of defects including longitudinal ones.

There are many aspects that need to be improved in the short term which conclusions are detailed in this report:
- Until now, we’ve developed basic software functions, especially those related to image capture and screening, but we need to improve the user experience, report management and alarm management.
- We’ve researched different optics and electronics, but in the future, we need to adapt the specifications to each customer segment.
- We’ve obtained good quality images, but in the future, we need to optimize the resolution in order to reduce processing times and storage.
- We’ve adapted the EDDYEyes to hot rolling mill shops, but in the future, we need to develop also cold versions, because lightning, vibrations, access to the surface, etc., are quite different from “red hot” products that “grey cold” ones.
From the market point of view:
- We’ve confirmed that the solution is coming to fill a big gap between ET signals and real defect shapes.
- We’ve confirmed that vision solutions working in stand-alone mode are not enough to be considered as main detector. The risk of losing defects with only vision is high; however, with the ET system working together the customer will have two different methods in just one pass.
- We’ve performed a deep market research which main conclusion is that in addition to hot rolling customers, we must address our future developments also to some specific cold segments.
In summary, until now, our project has confirmed that it is going to produce a high value solution that will solve one of the most common compelling reasons to act: having real time graphic and electronic information will help to improve terrifically the process and product improvement that is the way to face off the challenge of get high quality products at a reasonable price.
Until now, from the Technical point of view, the most remarkable results are:
- We can obtain and attach real images from cameras to eddy current signals.
- We’ve defined and tested the main elements such us: cameras, lightning sources and electronics.
- We’ve developed the basic software functions to show the information.
- We’ve defined the ways for future development and improvement.
- We’ve got a wide technical knowledge.
And from the sales and distribution:
- We’ve performed a deep market research.
- We’ve segmented the customers to be addressed.
- We’ve defined our competitive position
- We’ve modified our preliminary scope to include also cold producers.
- We’ve settled our value proposition and main sales strategy.
These results already obtained have been disseminated through five major channels:
- We’ve modified our web page to include EDDYEyes.
- We’re participating in social networks spreading the basic information.
- We’ve performed more than 20 customer face to face meetings.
- We’ve prepared our key business partners to identify new opportunities
- We’ve given technical keynotes in the most important fairs and events until now: Dusseldorf Tube 2016 (Germany); Aistech Pittsbourgh (PA-USA) and Fabtech Las Vegas (NV-USA.
And the exploitation of results is being doing by several ways, such as:
- We’ve modified our sales presentations and papers.
- We’ve created a customer network of knowledge.
- We’ve obtained a prototype for cold that is being used in demo processes.
- We’ve included the information and results in our technical keynotes and training courses.

The main confirmation of our success is that most of our competitors are moving fast to create a similar value proposition, but the only way to be successful is to be a leader in eddy current technology.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

With this project, all the metal producers will have an alternative to analyze, have decisions and improve the production process. It means, in fact, the implementation of big data technics and the evolution of traditional production process to web based sensors system to control the production.
We consider this evolution as a way to keep and make the steel industry profitable in most of the countries.
The idea is simple: if you can test 100% of your production with a friendly system that help you to optimize your quality control activities, then you’ll have more resources to reinforce the core business activities. If you can guarantee 100% of your products, the end customer will be more profitable and loyal.

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