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TMK optimizes product control and item counting at STZ with machine vision

TMK has introduced machine vision technology at its Seversky Pipe Plant (STZ) to track and count finished pipe and tubular products. The new digital solutions make control processes more accurate and much faster while also automating data collection.

The projects were implemented through collaboration with TMK’s R&D facility in Moscow, now housing a center of digital excellence. Machine vision is used in the electric-weld pipe shop to count pipes in bundles before shipment to the customer. The new digital solution replaced the time-consuming manual item counting by metal sorters. The Machine Vision app that is installed on employees’ smartphones analyzes photos of pipe bundle ends and displays the results on the screen. Two photos are enough for the system to do the counting, with the algorithm now enabling pipe recognition in both the shadow and bright areas.

Another solution currently rolled out at STZ’s pipe rolling shop will track the movement of pipe bundles loaded into railroad cars for shipment. Images of pipe bundles are captured by video cameras on cranes at pipe shipping sites and transmitted to the database. This information is used in automated generation of documents and quality certificates for the ready-for-shipment products. By tracking an order until it is loaded into railroad cars, we eliminate the impact of the human factor.

Dmitry Markov, Managing Director of STZ, said: “TMK enterprises consistently digitize their operating processes to drive efficiency. By using machine vision, employees have delegated labor-intensive routine tasks to the computer, increasing the accuracy of operations. Additional digital monitoring of shipments has enabled even better control of the process and automation of required data collection. All in all, these solutions save employees’ time, help us keep track of the progress of orders and strengthen the Company’s image as a reliable and responsible supplier.”

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