PAO Severstal boosts production of tandem cold mill by 200,000 tons per year through revamp by SMS group

Russian steel producer PAO Severstal has granted SMS group the final acceptance certificate for the comprehensively modernized tandem cold mill “2100” at the Cherepovets facility in northwest Russia. The revamp was completed in an exceptionally short time.The mill upgrade by SMS group comprised the complete replacement of the entry section and the four mill stands, and the installation of rolling technologies of the latest generation. These include the four-high mill stands with CVC®plus technology and numerous other technological actuators, the X-Pact® electrical and automation systems with level 1 and level 2, the X-Shape flatness measuring and control system and an assistance system to optimize threading and tailing out at each stand. A major challenge was to implement the replacement of the complete stands. The individual construction phases had to be scheduled such that the production was not to be affected until the main shutdown of the mill. SMS group planned and implemented the dismantling and assembly closely with PAO Severstal. In three of the mill stands the existing Leonard-type rolling motors were to be retained for further use, however, with state-of-the-art controls. Fitting those motors with modern control equipment was another challenging task. Only the first mill stand received a completely new drive train consisting of a modern synchronous motor and the pertaining converter equipment, resulting in an increase in rolling speed. As a result of all these measures, rolling mill “2100” is now fit to satisfy future growing customer requirements on high-grade carbon steels, and high-strength and micro-alloyed silicon steels.

The main shutdown took only three months. During that period, the existing equipment was dismantled, the new equipment installed and commissioned, including the successful rolling of the first coil. Thanks to the meticulous planning, the Plug & Work concept implemented by SMS group and the efficient cooperation of all parties involved in the project, the conversion work and the subsequent commissioning of the plant could be performed in a record time.

The TRC® (Total Roll Gap Control) function implemented by SMS group has led to reduced off-gage lengths and minimized coil changing times. This function includes a model-based level-2 pass schedule system which offers the customer full flexibility in calculating target values for new product grades. Use of this function achieved product properties that were in all cases superior to those guaranteed.

Through this revamping project, PAO Severstal has increased its overall capacity by 200,000 tons to 1.3 million tons. This increase is the result of a rise in plant availability and a decrease in the coil-to-coil time.

The SMS group is a group of companies internationally active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry. Its 14,000 employees generate sales of over EUR 3.3 bn.

Source: SMS Group

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STAINLESS STEEL PRICES FORECAST TO PEAK IN APRIL

According to MEPS, April’s austenitic stainless steel prices are predicted to represent the peak values for 2017, in Europe and North America. Alloy surcharges for grade 304 flat products will increase by around €50 per tonne, in Europe, and by US$15 per tonne, in the United States, next month. Thereafter, the reduction in the European ferrochrome contract price, for the second quarter, will have a negative effect on surcharges. Furthermore, LME nickel values have dipped in recent weeks, adding to the likelihood that alloy extras will soften, for May.

In the Philippines, President Duterte’s support for mine closures, on environmental grounds, has had a positive effect on nickel commodity values. This has been counteracted by the Indonesian government’s reversal of its ore export ban.

Nickel prices are forecast to climb above US$11,000 per tonne, in the second half of this year, but this will be offset by a weakening in other mill raw material costs, in the alloy surcharge calculations.

Market sentiment is positive, in Europe and North America, although demand has eased, slightly, after a bright start to the year. Nevertheless, basis figures are forecast to be relatively stable, throughout 2017.

A number of factors restraining price development have been noted, despite increasing consumption. Global overcapacity persists, in stainless steel production facilities. Currently, suppliers have healthy order books and delivery lead times are extending. Mills, particularly in the West, however, are not manned to operate on a 24/7 basis and are, therefore, unable to produce at their theoretical maximum capability.

In Europe, while antidumping duties have, effectively, removed Chinese cold rolled coils from the market, competitively priced imports, from Asia, are still widespread. The moderate levy on coils from Taiwan, has not prevented sellers from offering material from that country at prices that are attractive to European buyers. In recent times, steel from the Indian producer, Jindal, has gained a foothold in the EU market.

Although its material is subject to protectionist measures in many countries, Chinese production continues to expand. This contributes to substantial oversupply in the Far East, with the consequent negative effect on prices.
Source: MEPS – Stainless Steel Review – March Issue

ANDRITZ to supply production lines to Nucor Steel Arkansas, USA

International technology Group ANDRITZ has received an order from steel producer Nucor to supply turn-key production lines for its new specialty cold rolling mill complex at the company’s sheet steel mill in Hickman, Arkansas, USA. Start-up of the plant is scheduled for the second half of 2018. The 650,000 short ton p. a. expansion project will increase Nucor Steel Hickman’s production of specialty grades, including third-generation, advanced high-strength steels, high-strength low-alloy steels, and high-efficiency electrical steels.

The ANDRITZ METALS scope of supply includes a high-performance push pickling line with line speeds of up to 200 m/min for pickling hot-rolled carbon steel. Besides complete ANDRITZ in-house electrics and automation, an advanced ANDRITZ multi-roll leveler for highly effective shape correction and a powerful ANDRITZ 4-high skin pass mill are included. Thanks to the multi-roll-leveler and the skin pass mill, the push pickling line will achieve superior material flatness in addition to the well-known, excellent ANDRITZ strip surface.

The order also comprises a reduction cold rolling mill equipped with the ANDRITZ S6-high technology as well as a temper rolling mill in 4-high design, including reduction mode (prepared for future S6-high mode as well). With rolling speeds of up to 800 m/min, the mills process advanced high-strength steel of the third generation and even beyond for material grades of up to 2,000 MPa. All rolling units (skin pass, reduction, and temper mill), which are operated with state-of-the-art ANDRITZ in-house electrics and automation, are equipped with correspondingly fast and automated roll change equipment, integrated bridle rolls, advanced strip drying, and gauge controls to ensure tightest tolerances.

Nucor Corporation, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, is the largest steel producer in North America and the largest “mini-mill” steelmaker (i.e. it uses electric arc furnaces to melt scrap steel as opposed to blast furnaces to melt iron). The company is also North America’s largest recycler of any material.

Source: ANDRITZ

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DEVELOPING MARKETS STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

The business environment remains challenging in the Russian Federation, according to MEPS. Downstream steel buyers are reluctant to make deals as they would like to get a clearer market picture. The flat product purchasers reiterate that the latest price initiative is unwarranted and does not reflect real demand.

Indian stockists queried whether the latest domestic long product offers are supported by market and economic fundamentals. MEPS detects a reluctance on the part of end-users to commit to forward orders.

The outlook for the Ukrainian market is unchanged. Domestic steelmakers are forecasting that the second quarter will be a difficult trading period. MEPS notes little appetite for purchasing amongst construction firms, at present.

Buying sentiment in Turkey remained unsettled, in March. Local service centres plan to persevere with conservative inventory levels in the interim period, citing that the uncertainty surrounding the April constitutional reform, had depressed activity in the construction and industrial sectors. Exporters are focusing on the Asian market, owing to increased competition, from Russian and Indian suppliers, in the Middle East and North African regions.

Demand for construction steel in the United Arab Emirates remains muted. The distribution network is in a ‘wait and see’ mode as a result. Importers are hesitant about booking forward orders, with the month of Ramadan (commencing May 26) and summer season looming. Business traditionally slackens in the finished steel segment, during this period.

South African stockists expect sales volumes to stay muted in the second quarter, citing weak economic fundamentals and the government’s failure to promote a well-defined industrial policy. End-user groups are purchasing material only for immediate needs.

Mexican distributors are wary of carrying too much inventory over the next two months, fearing a price correction. Developments across the border in the United States continue to be watched carefully.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – March 2017 Edition

GLOBAL STEEL PRICE RECOVERY EXPECTED TO FALTER SOON

The global steel market is, currently, unrecognisable from that prevailing at the start of 2016, according to MEPS International. The negative situation in early 2016, of low selling prices, global oversupply and claims of unfair trading conditions is almost a thing of the past. It is now being replaced by an atmosphere of mild optimism.

The industry appears to have come to a less confrontational stance. After the imposition of numerous antidumping cases by western and eastern countries, against Chinese and other major exporting nations, the flow of steel has reduced. The “race to the bottom” for steel prices has been replaced by a “drive for the top”.

However, it is likely that, in the flat products sector, global prices are near to peak values in the current cycle. Supply and demand are moving more into balance. However, any decrease in selling values is likely to be less severe than those experienced in previous cycles.

Lessons appear to have been learned. Building up an industry to production levels well beyond domestic demand will inevitably create retaliation from the authorities in those countries that are affected by imports of the resultant oversupply.

In China, the environmental problems from the many outdated and polluting facilities have now prompted the government to instigate real cuts in capacity. Many of the older steelmaking units are now scheduled for permanent closure. For other plants, the management will be forced to install equipment to solve the current pollution situation.

The new policy of the Chinese authorities will be welcome news for the local population. It could be a forerunner to more normalisation in the trading of steel in the future across the world. A reduction in Chinese steelmaking capacity to nearer domestic requirements would be welcomed in the international steel market. It would also avert any rapid reduction in steel selling figures as the producers ramp up output to take advantage of the current high prices.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – March 2017 Edition

Primetals Technologies modifies continuous caster at Gerdau Cartersville in the USA

Conversion will permit casting of an additional beam blank format

Primetals Technologies has received an order from Gerdau to modify the continuous caster at its location in Cartersville, Georgia, USA. The project will give the capability to produce an additional beam blank format. This will allow Gerdau to roll larger finished products for applications in the building and construction industries. Commissioning of the modified plant is scheduled for the end of 2017.

The four-strand continuous caster was installed by Primetals Technologies in 1998/99 and is designed for annual production of 692,000 metric tons. The plant features a curved mold, a machine radius of eight meters and a metallurgical length of 23 meters. Low and medium carbon steels are cast. Up to now it has been possible to produce two billet formats, two bloom formats and one beam blank format. The upcoming modification of the caster by Primetals Technologies will enable casting of an additional beam blank format with larger dimensions.

Primetals Technologies is responsible for the basic and detail engineering as well as the production and supply of new molds, segments, dummy bar systems and the withdrawal unit. Moreover, a new secondary cooling system will be installed that is adapted to the requirements of the additional beam blank format.

Gerdau is the leading maker of long products in the Americas and possesses an installed capacity of 25 million tons of steel per year. Gerdau’s plants in the U.S. and Canada possess annual capacity of around 12.4 million tons of finished products, including bars, SBQ (special bar quality) and reinforcing bars, structural steel, flat steels and wire rod. Gerdau Cartersville primarily manufactures sectional steel products such as brackets, channels or wide flange beams.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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