NLMK La Louvière, one of the leading producers of flat steel coils in Belgium and a company of NLMK Group, has embarked on a 150 million euro project to revamp its hot strip mill, expanding production of thinner, stronger and more environmentally friendly steel.
The investment is a part of the NLMK Group Strategy 2022. With this upgrade NLMK La Louvière will increase production from 1,7 mt to 2,2 mt by 2022 with a bigger share of the niche HRC market in the EU.
The extensive upgrade includes installation of the state-of-the art automation system, three new and three upgraded roll mill stands, new drives and motors as well as new run-out table, modernized cooling and water systems.
The project will enable the mill to expand production of high strength thin hot rolled coil (down to 1.2 mm), increase the range of high-strength products beyond 1000 MPa yield strength and provide customers with best-in-class surface and dimensional tolerances.
The first phase of the mill transformation is scheduled for early 2020, for completion in 2021. The contract has been awarded to Primetals Technologies, a leading supplier of solutions for the metals industry. The company has finalized basic engineering and launched production of the equipment.
Ben de Vos, CEO of NLMK International, said:
“This project helps achieve one of the key targets of NLMK Group’s Strategy 2022: to increase value added sales by 1.7 million tonnes globally. The increase is set to be delivered through the expansion of product mix and tolerances and following the evolving demands of our customers who continuously look for lighter, higher strength steels. This groundbreaking project is the biggest investment in our La Louvière site and its customers in the last decades and will be a cornerstone of its further development.”
Chinese steel producer Zenith Steel Group Co., Ltd. (Zenith Steel) awarded an order to Primetals Technologies to modernize a 10-strand billet caster in its converter steel making plant #3 in Changzhou. The billet caster will be the first one worldwide to be equipped with the new SRD (Single-Roll DynaGap) segments. The SRD segment has been specially developed for use in the area of final solidification, and it enables the upper rolls to be pressed down individually onto the solidifying strand. This enables the final solidification point to be followed precisely. Technological packages like DynaPhase, Dynacs 3D and DynaGap SoftReduction 3D will further improve the internal billet quality with regard to center porosity and center segregation. Start-up of the modernized casting machine is expected for March 2020.
World’s first application of SRD (Single-Roll DynaGap) segments in billet caster
SRD segments enable final solidification point to be followed precisely
Soft and Hard Reduction to be applied by SRD segments
Individually controlled rolls adjust optimally to strand condition
Technological packages further enhance internal billet quality
The 10-strand billet caster of Zenith Steel in its Changzhou, Jiangsu Province plant has a rated capacity of 2 million metric tons per year. It produces section with a cross section of 160 x 160 millimeters at a maximum casting speed of 2.4 meters per minute. Steel grades processed include low, medium and high carbon steels as well as tube, spring, cold heading and tyre cord steels.
Precise knowledge of the final solidification point and the associated soft reduction is needed to reliably produce billets for steel grades that require high internal quality. The new SRD segments from Primetals Technologies can be applied to the final solidification precisely. This enables each individual roll gap to be adjusted dynamically as a function of the steel grade, overheating, cooling or casting speed. Each roll transmits an individual force, which makes even higher thickness reduction rates possible, and reduces the segregation and porosity in the center of the strand. Additionally, thickness reduction of the billet or bloom also after final solidification is possible. This process is defined as Hard Reduction and can furthermore reduce the porosity of the cast billet and bloom.
SRD segments are designed for long operating cycles and easy maintenance. For example, each roll has its own overload protection, which prevents damage to the bearings and surfaces of the rolls. The rolls are embedded in a function unit so that they can be quickly replaced in a maintenance workshop. The individual roll units can also be tested and calibrated before installation of the segments in the caster.
Technological packages to be supplied by Primetals Technologies include process models for soft and hard reduction, namely DynaPhase, Dynacs 3D and DynaGap SoftReduction 3D. The DynaPhase online thermodynamic phase transformation model calculates material properties like thermal enthalpy, thermal conductivity, density and solid fraction. The Dynacs 3D secondary-cooling model is capable of calculating the full 3D strand-temperature profile at any position along the strand for optimum adjustment of the secondary-cooling setpoints and the determination of the point of final strand solidification. Finally, DynaGap SoftReduction 3D fully automatic roll-gap control system allows for dynamic soft reduction to minimize centerline segregation for improved internal strand quality
Within the current modernization project, Primetals Technologies is also responsible for the basic and detail engineering and supply of mechanical equipment like roller blocks, spray header and WSU units as well as the complete basic (level 1) automation system.
Zenith Steel is privately owned and operates an integrated steel mill in Changzhou in the Jiangsu province of China. The company’s steel mill has a production capacity of more than ten million metric tons of steel per year. Zenith Steel manufactures a wide range of end products, including steel pipes, bearing and spring steel, and various structural steels. In 2011, Primetals Technologies supplied a bloom caster for big round casting sections, and in 2016 added a casting section format of 280×320 mm.
In March 2019, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein GmbH has awarded SMS group an order covering the modernization of the oil application system of the tandem cold mill No. 2.
With the current modernization, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein wants to adjust the oil application system of the tandem cold mill to the continuously increasing future market requirements regarding product quality and thus further expand its market position.
At the time of commissioning in 1971, the six-stand tandem cold mill No. 2 was considered the latest cold rolling mill of this type in the Federal Republic of Germany. It already had a high degree of automation and achieved very good strip qualities at rolling speeds of up to 2,400 meters per minute.
The modernization is aimed at achieving a high degree of flexibility regarding the control of various process-influencing parameters for the production of state-of-the-art end products.
In addition to providing the required design services and supplying all mechanical equipment as well as the electrical and automation systems, the contracted scope of SMS group and Lux Automation GmbH, a company of SMS group, includes the dismantling of the old systems as well as the erection and commissioning of the new equipment.
The modernization will be implemented in two stages of construction. Commissioning of the second construction phase is scheduled for 2021.
thyssenkrupp Rasselstein GmbH is a subsidiary of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and ranks among the three largest packaging steel producers in Europe. At the world’s largest production site for packaging steel in Andernach, Germany, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein produces tinned and special chromium-coated thin sheet (tinplate) on the basis of cold-rolled sheet steel.