Yasuda Metal Industries orders HybrEx extrusion press from SMS Meer

Yasuda Metal Industries, based in Osaka, Japan, has placed an order with SMS Meer for an extrusion press of type HybrEx 14. Yasuda intends to use the press, which can attain a maximum force of 14.5 MN, to produce light-metal sections for windows and facades.

HybrEx is the latest generation of extrusion presses from SMS Meer. In photo: The HybrEx 25. Yasuda Metals has ordered the machine in the version with 14.5 MN maximum press force.
It is capable of processing billets of up to 800 millimeters in length and has a capacity of around 5,000 tons per year. Thanks to the drive technology used in the HybrEx 14, energy savings of up to 55 percent can be achieved compared to conventional presses.

The HybrEx press developed by SMS Meer uses its hydraulic system solely to generate the forming forces required for manufacturing semi-finished long products, with only the auxiliary movements of the extrusion press produced by dynamic, electric servo drives. Compared to the drives used in conventional presses, these drive systems can reach twice the speed, i.e. 1,000 millimeters per second. A reduced non-productive time of just one second means production can be increased by up to 100 tons per year.

In terms of its hydraulic drive, the HybrEx also offers significant operating cost savings. Key factors here include, in particular, the new press cylinder with integrated prefill chamber as well as the air-tight tank with degassing unit. The press is equipped with the new OxiStop technology. The air portion in the oil is thus reduced from ten percent to around one percent, which in turn has a positive influence on the service life of the pumps, valves and other wearing parts. Compared to conventional presses the tank volume is up to 90 percent smaller.

Speaking of the investment in this new extrusion press, Tatsuaki Yasuda, President and Owner of Yasuda Metal Industries, commented: “What convinced me was the basic idea of not just achieving energy savings of up to 55 percent, but also of increasing productivity by up to 20 percent. With this new HybrEx 14 we are keeping our business consistently focused on the future.”

The press is to be brought into service in the third quarter of 2016.

Source: SMS Meer GmbH

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Primetals Technologies to modernize rolling mill drives for AMAG rolling in Austria

  • New drive technology to increase availability
  • Short conversion time minimizes plant shutdown

Primetals Technologies has won an order from AMAG rolling GmbH, located in Ranshofen, Austria, to modernize the entire drive technology on its four-high hot rolling stand. The project includes the supply of the motors, converters and converter transformers, as well as couplings, disk brakes, mechanical adaptations and spare parts. Primetals Technologies is responsible for the layout, engineering, project management and training of the operator’s personnel, and will also handle the dismounting, installation and commissioning of the components. The purpose of the project is to increase plant availability. The modernization is scheduled to take place during a brief plant shutdown at the end of 2015.

AMAG rolling GmbH is a globally active manufacturer of high-quality rolled aluminum products. The company belongs to the Austrian AMAG Group. It is one of the leading premium suppliers of high-quality cast and rolled aluminum products, which are used in a wide range of industries, such as the aircraft, automotive, sports equipment, lighting, mechanical engineering, construction and packaging industries.

Primetals Technologies is implementing a solution for the four-high hot rolling stand that is based on a front motor/rear motor arrangement for the stand, as well as individual motors for the coilers and uncoilers. Sinamics Active Front End converters feed the rugged, water-cooled induction motors. A Sinamics SM150 converter drives the two 3.3 kV rolling motors, each of which has a power of 3,300 kW and a speed ranging from 240 to 600 rpm. Sinamics S120 converters drive the 690 V coiler motors, each of which has a power of 950 kW and a speed ranging from 330 to 1,200 rpm, as well as the driver motors and trimming shear. The new drive technology will replace the existing Siemens DC infeeds and third-party DC motors. The conversion and commissioning is scheduled to take place during a brief plant shutdown at the end of 2015.

Strip production at AMAG rolling GmbH in Ranshofen, Austria. Primetals Technologies is going to modernize the entire drive technology of the four-high hot rolling stand (photo: AMAG rolling GmbH)

Source: Primetals Technologies, Limited

THE MEPS GLOBAL STEEL PRICE IS DOWN 4 PERCENT IN MARCH

Flat product prices have continued to plummet in the US. While underlying consumption is generally good, overblown inventories and perceptions of lower prices in the future are masking true demand. Imports from all over the world have rapidly gained market share, encouraged by the strong US dollar and slow economies in Europe and Asia. Domestic capacity utilisation rates have dropped sharply, to below 70 percent. As orders on local mills have slowed, producers have continued to offer discounts to try to generate new business.

In Canada, domestic mill output has slowed as orders dry up. Local producers are striving to match import prices, so transaction values continue to spiral downwards. Customers are not replenishing their inventories until they are sure the bottom of the price cycle has been reached. The hope is that market conditions will improve once spring arrives.

Chinese market sentiment remained weak following the lunar new year holidays. The anticipated demand improvement failed to materialise and prices have continued their negative trend. Further pressure has been put on selling values by the ever-declining cost of iron ore. Overcapacity remains a serious problem, producing a supply glut in an economy that is not growing at the speed seen in the past.

Slowing activity and rising steel stocks have hit prices in Japan. Consumption fell by another 10 percent in January, compared with the previous month – the fifth consecutive monthly drop. Export volumes are also declining – down by 5.5 percent in February, year-on-year.

After surging dramatically during 2014, imports into South Korea have started to decline. They fell by 7 percent in February, compared with the previous year, as volumes from China dropped significantly. There is still internal oversupply due to the number of new production facilities that have been brought on stream in recent years. All this material continues to weigh heavily on selling values, which have undergone further negative developments this month.

In a climate of weak demand from domestic downstream customers, declining export orders and stiff competition from cheap imports, Taiwanese steelmaker, CSC, has decided to cut domestic list prices for April/May shipments by an average of 5.2 percent, compared with the figures published for March. The reduction is the steepest over the last six months. In the domestic marketplace, transaction values have continued to fall.

As anticipated by buyers, this month’s Polish domestic transaction values for flat products are unchanged. Suppliers are talking of increases for the second quarter. Consumption is reasonable but imports continue to take up a large market share. We have noted some small upward movements in the Czech/Slovak region as the economy slowly recovers. The Czech central bank will continue with its currency intervention policy until at least the second half of next year, in a bid to promote exports.

In Western Europe, slow purchasing activity over the last month has not supported the domestic mills’ desire to lift basis values for flat products. However, local steelmakers have reasonably good order books, thanks to improved export business on the back of a weak euro. Moreover, Ilva has been out of the market. Furthermore, a number of mills have been carrying out planned maintenance and/or have had production problems. All these factors led to a tightening of supply.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – March Issue

AUSTENITIC STAINLESS STEEL PRICES SLIDE IN USA BUT STEADY IN EU THIS YEAR

A rapid reduction in the cost of raw materials, most notably nickel, has led to a substantial cut in stainless steel prices in recent months. At least, this is the case in United States, or in countries where prices are denominated in US dollars.

LME nickel cash figures plummeted from a high of US$16800 per tonne during December, to a low of US$13920 per tonne, during February – a decrease of more than 17 percent. As this drop was factored into alloy surcharges, transaction prices for grade 304 cold rolled coil, in the US, fell by 8 percent, between January and March. These price reductions have discouraged buyers at the service centres from placing forward orders.

However, in the European Union, the value of the euro dropped by around 10 percent, against the US dollar, during the same period. Consequently, the effect of the slide in LME nickel values was offset, in this region, by exchange rate movements. As a result, the changes in European alloy surcharges were minimal. To illustrate this point, transaction prices for grade 304 cold rolled coil, in Germany, expressed in euros, decreased by just 0.13 percent.

European stockists have, therefore, not been subject to the same devaluation of their inventories as those in the US. Accordingly, those making purchases in Europe should have been less pessimistic than their US counterparts about placing orders.

Source: MEPS – Stainless Steel Review – March Issue

DEVELOPING MARKETS HIGHLIGHTS – FROM MEPS INTERNATIONAL LTD

The Instituto Aço Brasil (IABr) has reported that domestic finished steel sales in February totalled 1.48 million tonnes – down 15.6 percent, compared with last year’s figure. Nevertheless, the Brazilian steel industry remains upbeat over the general outlook for 2015.

The business environment remains challenging in the Russian Federation. Local trading houses have queried whether the latest domestic price levels are supported by market and economic fundamentals. There is reluctance on the part of end-users to commit to forward orders.

Indian stockists remain cautious about the strength of underlying consumption in the April-June period. The majority are booking for immediate requirements only, due to continuing price fluctuations. Moreover, the Union Budget failed to provide the domestic steel industry with any respite. The import duty on both flat steel and long steel products was maintained at 7.5 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively.

In Ukraine, distributors have struggled to adapt to the unpredictable business environment. Shipments to industrial companies continued to deteriorate in the trading period surveyed.

Turkish steelmakers have had mixed success in their efforts to advance transaction values to distributors. End-users are reluctant to take positions, following the recent volatility in both domestic and import quotations.

Business sentiment is unchanged in the United Arab Emirates. Distributors are holding off purchasing to see how demand develops. Moreover, Emirati rolling mills are likely to reduce their April selling figures.

Business sentiment remains subdued in South Africa and prices are unchanged this month. Local stockists expect sales volumes to stay muted in the second quarter.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – March Edition

ITALIAN STEEL PRICE ROUNDUP FROM MEPS INTERNATIONAL LTD

In Italy, hot rolled coil basis prices are unchanged month-on-month, according to MEPS. Buyers report that third country imports are less aggressively priced. The weak euro has damaged their competitiveness.

Commodity plate selling figures have fallen over 2 percent. Re-rollers continue to benefit from low slab prices out of Russia and Ukraine.

Many service centres are living off their cold rolled coil stocks, for now, as they become ever more cautious about ordering forward. Some gaps in inventories did occur due to a lack of deliveries last month, when Ilva had legal problems. The dispute is now settled and there is plenty of material in the marketplace. Russian suppliers are offering at competitive prices.

Coated coil basis prices are stable. The auto sector is faring better now. The new Fiat models are very popular. However, no real improvement is envisaged in construction investment in the near term.

After holding selling values steady in February, low carbon wire rod suppliers have agreed a minor discount in March. A poorly performing construction sector continues to cause lacklustre demand for recoil. Although structural sections and beams sales are sluggish, customers agreed to pay the small advance implemented last month.

The rebar market is extremely poor, with low consumption due to a lack of investment in the building sector. Suppliers are unlikely to secure a rise.

There is less aggressive selling by Chinese suppliers because of the devaluation of the local currency. This has enabled domestic mills to roll over last month’s merchant bar price for March business. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of building activity.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – March Issue