Enhancing the steel tube manufacturing process with a zero defects approach

João Sousa, José Ferreira, Carlos Lopes, João Sarraipa, João Silva

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The continuous thrive for working safety, customer satisfaction and increasing profits for companies has led to numerous manufacturing and management strategies. One of the most promising strategies nowadays is Zero Defects that focuses on the elimination of defected parts in the manufacturing processes. The benefits of Zero Defect implementation in the manufacturing industry are mainly related to the reduction of scrap material, and everything that does not bring any added value to the product. The result is a reduction of the company's expenditure for dealing with defective products. In spite the concept not being new, the practical application of such strategies were limited by technological constraints and high investment costs. With the Industry 4.0 evolution, some Zero Defects concepts are more accessible due to the availability of sensors and data related techniques such as Machine Learning and Big Data although a lot of work is still required for component integration to enhance the capability of the heterogeneous technologies. The quality of the steel tubes is evaluated by sampling and relies on the expertise of the operators for checking for nonconformities. When a defect is detected, the process parameters are adjusted based on prior experience. However, since this is a continuous process, the delay between the appearance of a defect in the process and its awareness leads to a considerable amount of produced scrap material. Worst-case scenario, the defective product can be delivered to the customer damaging the customers trust and leading to additional replacement costs. This paper addresses the application of the Zero Defects approach to the steel tube manufacturing industry. This approach is part of the Zero Defects Manufacturing Platform EU project that is based around a Service Oriented Architecture and microservices approach capable of building, running and managing specific use-case oriented software applications called zApps. The Zero Defects methodology to design a zApp based on key criteria for the steel tube industry is described. Additionally, the envisioned zApps to monitor all the produced steel tube during the manufacturing process are detailed. The inspection systems uses a scanning camera and a laser profile scanner to capture the steel tube defects during manufacturing and prior to packaging. Although the ultimate goal is to eliminate the cause of the defective products, the objective of the zApp is to increase the number of detections of defective products based on industry standards and reduce the amount of generated scrap material.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Manufacturing
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780791884492
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2021
EventASME 2020 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 16 Nov 202019 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)


ConferenceASME 2020 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2020
CityVirtual, Online


  • Data acquisition
  • Digital manufacturing platform
  • Image processing
  • Industrial internet of things
  • Zero defects


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