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Automatic system to move SRM mill stands – 65 t + 100 t


Automatic system to move SRM mill stands – 65 t + 100 t

A steel tube manufacturing plant in Texas, USA, required a system to move its SRM mill stands, used for the production of seamless pipes. To produce steel tube of different diameters the plant has to change the SRM mill stands on an ongoing basis.


There were as always, a number of challenges to address.

Firstly, the loads to be moved weighed up to 65 tons. Up to 6 SRM mill stands had to be moved simultaneously. The equipment had to be moved in two directions both parallel to and perpendicular to the SRM rolling mill. A heavy-duty trolley system was needed to move one or more SRM mill stands to their required positions. The plant environment itself obviously presented certain operational challenges also.


The solution to optimise the production cycle, utilised 8 heavy duty rail platform carts.

  1. 6 rail carts, with a load-bearing of 65 tons, transported the SRM mill stands into position parallel to the rolling mill. We can call these the ‘mill stand carriers’. These rail carts use an RFID transponder to recognise the specific SRM mill stands.
  2. 2 rail carts, with a load bearing of 100 tons, were used to transport the SRM mill stands and the ‘mill stand carrier’ from their stocking locations. In other words, these 2 rail carts transported both the ‘mill stand carrier’ and their load of SRM mill stands (mentioned in point 1 above).

Morello was responsible for designing and developing the complete system. This included all rail cart operations and movements in response to production requirements, rail cart precise positioning, automatic battery recharging, safety aspects, wifi communications with plant IT systems, all data exchange and diagnostics linked to the central system.

To see the system in operation: