MEPS Predicts EU Steel Price Upturn in September

The MEPS EU all products composite steel price, in July, stood at €50 per tonne below its April peak but €44 per tonne above the corresponding figure in July 2016. Contrasting fortunes were witnessed for the two major product categories. Last month, the MEPS EU flat product composite price increased by €77 per tonne, year-on-year, whereas that for long products fell by €6 per tonne, during the same period. A number of factors can be noted behind this divergent trend.

A key driver for the upturn in flat product selling figures was increased costs for blast furnace steelmakers. Coking coal prices surged in September-November 2016, following enforced output cuts at Chinese mines and supply problems at a number of facilities worldwide. Values spiked again, in April 2017, as a result of damage to transportation routes in Australia in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

With the exception of a dip in the second quarter of this year, iron ore prices have been strong, surpassing many observers’ previous predictions. High Chinese crude steel demand supported mill input prices, despite plentiful supply, following recent mine expansions. In addition to the rises in steelmaking raw material costs, coated coil transaction figures received a boost from strong zinc selling values.

Ferrous scrap costs, a significant influence on long product prices, also increased, during the past twelve months. However, the gains were not as noticeable as those for coking coal and, to a lesser extent, iron ore, used in the manufacture of flat products.

The supply/demand balance was much tighter for flat products in comparison with long products, during the past year. The automotive sector was a standout performer across the major steel end-user segments, boosting demand for cold rolled and galvanised coil. Previous temporary closures and production problems at a number of local mills resulted in extended delivery lead times and, therefore, upward price pressure.

The construction industry, the main consumer of long products, has recorded only gradual improvement. Supply of bars, rods and beams was plentiful, with strong competition between domestic mills. Furthermore, producers, particularly in southern Europe, were adversely affected by a downturn in export demand from overseas customers.

In the flat product segment, import prices have a significant influence on EU domestic price trends. A number of trade defence measures were implemented during past twelve months. However, volumes from overseas fell by a modest amount, as local buyers continued to secure offshore supplies due to the restricted domestic availability. Nonetheless, with the exception of a downturn in the second quarter, import prices climbed sharply.

Transaction values for both flat and long products are forecast to rise when business resumes, following the summer holiday period. Globally, steel selling figures increased markedly in recent months, led by the uptrend in China. Furthermore, mill input expenditure is escalating.

A lack of competitively priced import offers should enable European flat product steelmakers to secure rises, in the short term. Moreover, bullish sentiment in China is driving up spot prices for coking coal and iron ore. As a consequence, transaction values for hot rolled plate are expected to follow the uptrend in coil, supported by elevated slab costs.

Following the small upturn in early July, the rebound in European long product prices should accelerate markedly, in September. Mills are making concerted efforts to lift their selling figures, after the substantial erosion in profit margins, during the past twelve months. Sentiment has improved since the return of the key Algerian export market. A sharp downturn is developing in the volume of Chinese steel exports for rebar and billet, due to government mandated capacity closures and better-than-expected domestic demand. This has resulted in substantial rises in billet and scrap prices, worldwide. Furthermore, along with elevated scrap costs, mill expenditure for electrodes and ferro-alloys is rising.

MEPS predicts a seasonal softening in prices for both long and flats products, in the fourth quarter of the year. However, a portion of the gains secured in September should be retained.

Source: MEPS – European Steel Review – August 2017 Issue

SMS group successfully completes modernization of Vizag Steel converter shop

The start-up of the third converter at Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (Vizag Steel) in India marked the successful completion by SMS group of the modernization of converter shop No. 1. The modernization will help to increase annual steel production from three to 3.5 million tons while achieving highly effective environmental protection.“With SMS group we have a reliable partner by our side and this is especially important when handling highly complex modernization projects. We are fully satisfied with the performance of the converters upgraded by SMS group”, says Ponnapalli Madhusudan, Chairman and Managing Director of Vizag Steel Plant.

The third converter was started up in May 2017, 18 days before the target deadline. Always two converters had been in full operation throughout the duration of the modernization project. Both the main and ancillary facilities of shop No. 1 have been equipped with X-Pact® electrical and automation systems.

Following the revamp and modernization of the environmental facilities, the plant is now able to meet the customer’s high requirements in this respect.

The scope of supply of SMS group comprised the engineering and manufacture of core components for three new 150-ton converter vessels. The vessels are equipped with the SMS group-developed maintenance-free lamella-type suspension system, bottom stirring equipment for combined blowing, oxygen lance systems, as well as converter tilt drives manufactured in the SMS group workshop.

The primary dedusting system has been upgraded, and the three converters have been provided with new secondary dedusting systems. The gas cleaning system is designed as a wet dust-collection facility with venturi scrubber.   All erection and commissioning activities were performed by SMS group.

SMS group has built another X-Melt® converter shop for Vizag Steel at the same location. Converter shop No. 2 is designed to produce 2.8 million tons of liquid steel annually.

SMS group is a group of companies internationally active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry. It has some 13,500 employees who generate worldwide sales of more than EUR 3 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.

Source: SMS Group

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Major upgrade to Tata Steel Europe DVL#2 Hot Dip Galvanizing Line for automotive strips

This project at Ijmuiden in The Netherlands will lead to a new production capacity of 460,000 tpy for coated steel, with a new product mix focused on higher-value steel grades.

The contract includes design, equipment manufacturing, installation and commissioning activities for a major furnace upgrade, new automation and optimization of the entry and exit sections.

The furnace section of the line will be extended by installing an additional free-flame zone and radiant tubes, in order to add extra thermal power capability for the increased in production.

A completely rebuilt Gas Jet Cooling section will grant extremely high cooling rates and improved uniformity for strip temperature at the exit of the section, as well as optimized dynamic response of the furnace during transitions between different coils, both in terms of steel grades and of strip sizes.

The electrical and automation systems will be completely replaced with a new solution developed by Danieli Automation, and based on advanced automation system controllers to integrate existing and new equipment in a uniform automation platform.

This investment will further strengthen Tata’s leading position among automotive market suppliers in the years ahead.

Source: Danieli

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Primetals Technologies to upgrade continuous slab caster for China Steel Corporation in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

  • Molds and associated equipment will be thoroughly modernized
  • Technology packages will increase flexibility, product quality and minimize breakouts

In June, Primetals Technologies received an order from Taiwanese steel producer China Steel Corporation (CSC) to upgrade the continuous slab caster S6 at the company´s Kaohsiung plant. The project includes the replacement of obsolete or redundant features via the modernization of the mold and the installation of proven technology packages. The aim is to increase flexibility, product quality and to minimize breakouts. The upgrade will also consider possible additional enhancement features in future. Start-up of the modernized caster is expected in mid-2018.

China Steel Corporation (CSC) is the leading flat steel producer in Taiwan with an annual production capacity of around 9.9 million metric tons per year. Around two thirds of the production is for the domestic Taiwanese market, the rest is exported. The CSC plant in Kaohsiung includes two BOF shops with a total of seven 2-strand slab casters and three 4-strand bloom casters. The slab casters mainly produce carbon and low alloy steels.

The two-strand continuous slab caster S6 originally started up in 1996 and is equipped with a straight mold. The machine radius is around 9 meters and the metallurgical length is around 44.7 meters. It produces slabs with a thickness of 250 millimeters with widths ranging from 750 to 1,880 millimeters. Grades cast include ultra-low and low carbon steels, peritectic and high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels, micro alloyed and low alloyed steels as well as pipe grades.

Primetals Technologies will equip the caster with three new technology packages, namely the DynaWidth hydraulic mold width adjustment to allow accurate slab width change during or between casting, the Mold Expert breakout prevention and mold monitoring system to minimize the possibility of breakouts, and the DynaFlex hydraulic mold oscillation with a new frame type oscillator which gives complete flexibility over oscillation control during casting to maximize as cast product surface quality. Primetals Technologies will be responsible for design and supply, and will also provide advisory services during erection and commissioning. New mold parts and a new frame type DynaFlex oscillator will be manufactured in Taiwan by CSC-owned China Steel Machinery Corporation (CSMC). The casters S4 and S5 in the same shop were revamped by Primetals Technologies in 2005.

Source: Primetal Technologies

Hadeed Saudi Iron & Steel Company signs off on performance certificate for Tenova’s i DRI® technology project

Tenova’s i DRI® technology achieves demonstrated performance in the areas of yield, productivity, electrical and Power on Time (PON)

Thursday, August 3, 2017 | 14:14

Mississauga, 3rd August 2017 – Hadeed Saudi Iron & Steel Company has signed a final acceptance certificate for the Tenova i DRI® project for the successful delivery of the Furnace Optimization System on DRI fed Electrical Arc Furnace (EAF) 5 at Hadeed Plant.

The i DRI® technology project at Hadeed has demonstrated performance in the areas of 1.42% yield increase, 4.1% productivity increase, 3.23% reduction on electrical consumption and 1.6 min reduction on Power on Time (PON).

As applied to the DRI process, the models are responsible to calculate the most important parameters used by the control modules. Working alongside the plant PLC, performance of the system was achieved through validation of several fundamental outputs, inclusive of: off-gas measurements using EFSOP® technology; a downstream analyzer; temperature and off-gas flow sensors; furnace and auxiliary service automation; process modeling for real-time mass and energy balance; chemical energy control and optimization of the oxygen lances; and DRI feed rate control.

Source: Tenova

Primetals Technologies to modernize automation system in Novelis Pinda aluminum hot strip mill

Primetals Technologies receives additional modernization order for Çemtaş bar rolling mill in Turkey

  • New equipment improves productivity and yield
  • Hot dividing shear allows the use of the longer 200 mm billets in production.
  • Abrasive disk saw is able to cut wider layers of bars
  • Automatic bundling and packing system replaces a manually operated system

Turkish steel producer Çelik Makina Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. (Çemtaş) has awarded Primetals Technologies another order to modernize its bar rolling mill in Bursa. The rolling mill will be equipped with new dividing and handling systems. The new hot dividing shear allows the use of the longer 200 mm billets in production, the new abrasive disk saw is able to cut wider layers of bars and a new automatic bundling and packing system replaces a manually operated system. With these measures, existing systems can be used more efficiently and current productivity limitations can be overcome. The modernization is due to be finished in the fourth quarter of 2017.

This current project is part of the second phase of an overall plan for mill modernization, which included the supply of a reversing sliding roughing stand and an intermediate train by Primetals Technologies as well as the modernization of the existing finishing. This first phase was successfully concluded with the reception of the FAC in October 2016. Also, Primetals Technologies is currently modernizing an electric arc furnace at the Bursa plant. The new equipment will shorten the melting time and reduce the consumption of electrodes, electricity, oxygen and carbon.

Primetals Technologies is responsible for the engineering of the complete process equipment, the design of the supplied equipment as well as for advisory services to erection, startup, commissioning and training. The scope of supply also includes main and auxiliary drives and motors, the basic automation (level 1) and interface with existing mill automation and the mechatronical packages for the new equipment.

The new hot dividing shear for rounds and flats replaces an existing shear and has a higher cutting capacity. It allows the use of longer 200 mm billets in production.This way, the reheating furnace can be used at higher production potentiality. This will increase the final yield of the rolled products. The shear has a direct type drive which starts and stops every cutting operation and features low maintenance requirements due to simple its mechanical arrangement. It also allows for high and repeatable cutting accuracy for increased yield. Reduced cycle times results in easier setting of cooling bed lengths.

The new abrasive disk saw is also designed for both rounds and flats. While the existing saw is using a maximal diameter of 850 mm disks and can cut a layer of maximum 750 mm, while the existing roller table barrel length already accomodates layers up to 1,000 mm. The abrasive saw has a maximum diameter of 1,250 mm and is able to use the whole roller table length in order to cut a maximum layer 1,000 mm of bars. This overcomes the present productivity limits.

An automatic bundling and packing device for flats and rounds will be installed to replace the second manual packing device in Hall A of the plant. An H/V roller table downstream the automatic stacker will transfer the pack to the binding area, which will be equipped with two automatic strapping machines and a wire binding machine. The stacking system is capable to handle also flat bars, so that they can be orderly piled in a stack with a neat shape that allows easy and quick storage/handling operations.

Çemtaş had placed a first modernization order of bar rolling mill with Primetals Technologies in early 2014. The mill is designed to produce 200,000 metric tons of long products per year, including rounds with diameter from 15 to 100 mm and flat bars with thicknesses ranging from 5.5 to 62 mm at widths between 46 and 140 mm. Steel grades encompass spring, high and low carbon, case hardening heat treatable grades as well as HSLA (high-strength low-alloy), free cutting, boron microalloyed, bearing and stainless steels for a wide range of application, including the automotive and construction industries.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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