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EU Steel Prices Remain Under Negative Pressure

European strip mill product prices continued to erode, in December. Domestic steelmakers are prepared to offer concessions in order to secure production volumes. Despite the tendency of most steel mills to try to increase basis values, the reality is that they are struggling to hold on to current figures. Material, in the general market, is plentiful. This is partly due to the significant reduction in demand from the auto sector. Mill delivery lead times continue to contract. Competitively priced imports are available.

Steel Tariffs and Quotas

Meanwhile, customers are reluctant to book forward orders, expecting further downward price movements. They are beset with uncertainties. These include the lowering of European manufacturing output, the EC safeguard quota system, political problems in Europe and other parts of the world, plus the threat that tariffs may be imposed on car sales to the USA. Moreover, inventories, particularly at the service centres, are, currently, sufficient. This enables buyers to postpone purchasing decisions until the future pricing trend becomes more clear.

German Steel

The German manufacturing sector lost further momentum, in November. Strip mill product prices declined in December, owing to reduced demand, from all steel-consuming sectors. Many customers are minimising their inventories, ahead of the year-end. The decrease in activity appears to be a symptom of seasonality and a fall in consumption, especially by the auto sector. Steelmakers are not fully booked, with short-term availability for standard grades. Pressure exists from third country imports from sources in Turkey and Asia.

French Steel

Activity on the French market is, generally, at a good level, in December, although strip mill product prices remain under slight downward pressure. Negotiations for annual and half-year contracts with OEMs are still underway. In the general market, selling figures declined further, in December.

Italian Steel

The downturn in the Italian manufacturing sector continued, in November. The political problems between the Italian government and the EU are negatively affecting investment. This is reflected in the steel business, with buyers lacking the confidence to place forward orders. Prices continue to trend downwards. Companies are destocking for the year-end and adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude as they anticipate further price erosion in the near-term. Distributors’ resale margins are extremely low as end-users insist on discounts. Strong import pressure is noted, from Turkey, South Korea and Russia.

UK Steel

Basis values steadied, in the UK, in December, after falling, in the previous month. Demand is low, for seasonal reasons. Moreover, the country’s impending EU exit is causing great concern in business circles. Companies are destocking. Service centres supplying the auto market are suffering because of a lack of orders from that sector. Overall, distributors are managing to maintain their resale margins.

Belgian Steel

Belgian strip mill product values remain under negative pressure, in December. Inventories are sufficient for today’s needs, so buyers are only purchasing replacement material, on a month-by-month basis. European suppliers still claim increases for the first trimester of 2019. Imports are available at competitive rates. Service centres report slightly reduced sales volumes. Competition between distributors is fierce.

Spanish Steel

Spain’s manufacturing sector strengthened again during November. In the steel market, EU producers continued to adjust basis values downwards, for January 2019 deliveries. The move was driven by the continuing decline in import prices for shipments into the early part of next year. Demand has slowed over the last two months. The decrease is primarily apparent in the auto sector. Many service centres have sufficient material, either in stock or already on order, as they expected better sales.

Source: MEPS European Steel Review – December 2018

Primetals Technologies to Supply Twin Ladle Furnace to Jiangsu Shagang

  • This third twin ladle furnace will enable a total of 2.8 million metric tons of liquid steel to be treated per annum
  • Ladle furnace will improve liquid steel quality for use in continuous casting machine and allow for development of high value added products
  • The order corroborates customer satisfaction with Primetals Technologies´ twin ladle furnace technology

Primetals Technologies has received an order from Jiangsu Shagang Group Company Limited (Jiangsu Shagang), a Chinese steel producer, to supply a third twin ladle furnace to its converter steel works in Zhangjiagang. A new 140 metric ton twin ladle furnace will be added to the two existing 120 metric ton twin ladle furnaces, which were also supplied by Primetals Technologies. The additional ladle furnace will enable the entire annual production capacity of 2.8 million metric tons of liquid steel to be treated. Also, the new ladle furnace will improve liquid steel quality for use in a continuous casting machine and allow for development of high value added products. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2019.

With an annual production of over 38.4 million metric tons, Jiangsu Shagang is the largest private steel producer in China. The production capacity is 39.2 million metric tons of steel and 37.2 million metric tons of rolled products. The range of products includes heavy plates, hot-rolled coils, steel wire, ribbed steel and special round steels.

Steel is produced in Jiangsu Shagang with the aid of LD converters. The new 140 metric ton twin ladle furnace from Primetals Technologies will be used to help set the desired steel grades and the correct casting temperature for the downstream bloom caster. Some melts will pass through the ladle furnace twice, once before and once after vacuum treatment. A transformer with a rated power of 26 MVA will provide the electrical energy for the ladle furnace. This will enable heating power of over 4 °C per minute to be achieved. Primetals Technologies will be responsible for engineering the twin ladle furnace and supplying key components. The scope of supply also includes the associated electrical and automation equipment, such as the Melt Expert electrode control system and associated level 2 models. Primetals Technologies will also supervise installation and commissioning, and train the customer’s staff.

Source: Primetals Technologies

JFE Chita Works Orders Second Premium Threading Machine from SMS Group

SMS group has received a new order from JFE Steel Corporation, Chita works, Chukyo Industrial Zone, Japan, for a premium threading machine.

This new machine, which will be JFE´s second threading machine from SMS group, will enable the producer of premium threads to expand its production capacities.

The threading machine of type TCG 43/4 is able to thread pipes in the diameter range from 139.7 to 406.4 millimeters with wall thick­nesses from 7.0 to 50.8 millimeters and lengths of up to 15 meters.

JFE Steel Corporation, Chita Works.  Threading machine with rotating pipe supplied by SMS group

Type TCG threading machine with rotating pipe supplied by SMS group to JFE Chita Works.

The machine operates according to the “stationary tool – rotating pipe” principle. With this method it can cut standardized inside and outside threads as well as all premium threads.

Thanks to latest FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) technology and temperature control, the machine has an outstanding stability and produces threads of highest quality. The powerful drive achieves excellent acceleration and deceleration rates, resulting in a high output of premium threads and of high performance chromium grades. The pipe threads comply with the production standards for all API 5CT steel grades, JFE grades and other international standards.

Source: SMS Group

AST Terni, Thyssenkrupp Group, Chooses Danieli EAF Technological Packages

Aiming to lower electrodes consumption, AST Terni, part of ThyssenKrupp Group, recently awarded Danieli Centro Met with the order for two Q-Smartec dynamic EAF electrode cooling systems.

Q-Smartec is a proven technology installed on almost 30 plants worldwide, that applies dynamic and independent control of the cooling water flow during the EAF operating phase to achieve the most efficient electrode cooling. This allows a drastic reduction of electrodes consumption related to air oxidation, up to 15% compared to conventional electrode cooling systems.

Considering the actual cost of electrodes a typical ROI is between two and six months, depending on production capacities.

With a production capacity of 1 Mtpy, Italian steelmaker AST Terni is a world leader in the production of stainless steel flat products in all sizes and finishes for a wide variety of applications.

Source: Danieli

Fuzhou Wuhang Steel Orders TMbaR Mill from SMS Group

Fuzhou Wuhang, China, has placed an order with SMS group to upgrade its existing mill with the TMbaR technology for thermomechanical rolling of rebar. This is the third order for a TMbaR mill in China within one year, right after Yancheng Lianxin Steel and Laigang Yongfeng Steel placed their orders.

Fuzhou Wuhang, located in the Changle District of Fuzhou, focuses on the economic and efficient production of structural steel products. It has an annual capacity of about two million tons.

The new line will be designed for an annual production of 700,000 tons of rebar in diameters ranging between 10 and 18 millimeters at a maximum rolling speed of 45 meters per second and the possibility to produce rounds in the 14 to 20 millimeter range. SMS group will supply all key equipment including the electrics and the automation package. The plant is scheduled to be started up by mid 2019.

Fuzhou Wuhang chose SMS group´s TMbaR technology in order to be able to respond to the ever increasing quality requirements in the market while cutting production costs. Technological highlights of the equipment to be supplied are the well proven loop technology which allows achieving an ideal temperature across the feeder section within an optimized mill bay length, and SMS group´s MEERdrive® finishing blocks. The single drive concept of these blocks provides utmost technological and economic benefits over other drive concepts in terms of overall processing costs. The robust cartridge-type design makes for consistently high performance with minimized maintenance requirements. The equipment has been specially designed for long rolling campaigns under the high rolling load demanded by the TMbaR process. In combination with the state-of-the-art High Speed Delivery (HSD®) system, the TMbaR technology offers exceptional technological and economical benefits which have convinced Fuzhou Wuhang to place this order with SMS group.

By putting its trust in the long-standing experience of SMS group and in the advanced TMbaR technology, Fuzhou Wuhang is expanding the cooperation between Wuhang and SMS group and will be able to respond better and faster to market demands, achieve improved material properties and save on alloys and operating costs.

Source: SMS Group

Primetals Technologies to supply billet caster and bar rolling line for mini mill project of Naveena Steel, Pakistan

  • Enables Naveena Steel to enter growing market for regional infrastructure projects
  • Production capacity is 270,000 metric tons of rebars per year
  • Smaller diameters are rolled in multi-slit mode to increase productivity
  • Direct rolling of hot billets will reduce fuel cost

Primetals Technologies has received an order from Naveena Steel Mills (Private) Limited (Naveena Steel) to supply a continuous billet casting machine and a bar rolling mill for a new mini mill in Port Qasim, Karachi. The billet caster will be supplied by Concast (India) Ltd., a Primetals Technologies group company. The new mill will enable Naveena Steel to the enter the growing market for regional infrastructure projects.

The mini mill  will produce around 270,000 metric tons of reinforcing steel (rebars) per annum with diameters ranging from 8 to 40 millimeters. Diameters up to 12 millimeters will be rolled in multi-slit mode to improve productivity. As a special feature of the new plant, billets will be directly charged in hot condition to the rolling mill, which will provide significant energy savings. An inline induction furnace placed before the first rolling stand will serve to equalize the billet temperature, providing the seamless integration of the caster and rolling processes. Commissioning is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2019.

Naveena Steel was founded in 2018. It is part of the family-owned Naveena Group. Established in 1971, it is active in the textile, wind-power and real-estate areas. Current production sites are in Karachi, Lahore, Pakistan and Dubai, UAE. In the context of the implementation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project in Pakistan, infrastructure development is expected to increase steel demand. For this reason, Naveena Steel is planning to set up facilities for melting, casting and rolling with a total capacity of 270,000 metric tons per year. The mini mill will be located in proximity to Port Qasim, Karachi, resulting in cost effective import of basic raw materials like scrap.

The continuous casting machine consists of two strands, with provisions made to add a third strand in the future. The caster has a curved tube mold, and is a multiple-radius machine, with a basic radius of 6 meters and a second radius of 11 meters. Maximum casting speed is 4 meters per minute. Concast (India) is responsible for designing, engineering and manufacturing of ladle support, tundish and tundish support, mold and oscillator, straightener segments, secondary cooling, dummy bar system as well as pusher and cooling bed. Concast (India) will also supply the basic automation (level 1) and HMI system. The caster produces the starting material for the bar rolling mill, 9 meter long billets of low and medium carbon steels, with a square cross-sections of 130 x 130 millimeters.

The billets will be hot charged to the rolling mill, which will produce rebars with diameters ranging from 8 to 40 millimeters. In order to increase the productivity of the plant, bars with diameters between 10 and 12 millimeters will be rolled in two-slit mode, and those with diameter 8 millimeters in three-slit mode.  The rolling line will consist of a furnace discharging area, a 6-stand roughing mill in VHVHHV arrangement, a 6-stand intermediate train in HVHVHV arrangement, and a 4-stand finishing train in HHHH arrangement. The type of all rolling stands will be Red Ring Series 5. The maximum rolling rate is 45 tons per hour, the maximum finishing rolling speed amounts to 12 meters per second.

An inline PQS quenching system gives the bars a tempered martensitic case and a ferritic-pearlitic core, enabling Naveena Steel to obtain the YTS UTS A% values required by applicable standards (like DIN, ASTM, and Indian standards). The downstream hot dividing shear is equipped with an optimization system to maximize the utilization of the cooling bed and guarantee the pre-set number of commercial-length bar layers per bundle. The cooling bed is 54 meters long and 8 meters wide, with the possibility to extend it in future to a total length of 66 meters. A cold static dividing shear, handles the final cutting of the rolled bars. This is followed by automatic bundling, binding, weighing and dispatching of bundles. The scope of supply also includes fluid systems and operational parts, such as stand-by Red Ring stands, rolling rolls and guides.

Primetals Technologies will also supply HMI hardware and system software, control desks, the basic (level 1) automation, as well as motors and drives for the rolling mill. In addition, Primetals Technologies will deliver services for erection, commissioning and training.

Naveena Steel Mill

The inline PQS quenching system from Primetals Technologies gives bars a tempered martensitic case and a ferritic-pearlitic core. The PQS is part of Primetals Technologies´ supply of a continuous billet caster and a rebar rolling mill for the mini mill project of Naveena Steel in Pakistan.

Source: Primetals Technologies