Officials from ChangBao and SMS , signing a contract on for a new seamless tube plant

Changbao Orders World’s Most Advanced Seamless Tube Plant

Jiangsu ChangBao Precision Steel Tube Co., Ltd based in Changzhou in Jiangsu Province, China, has awarded SMS group the contract to supply a new, state-of-the-art PQF® (Premium Quality Finishing) seamless tube plant and related automation. Particular highlights of the scope of supply include various performance modules and a KR I 35/45 CNC groove dressing machine. This highly automated plant will enable ChangBao to meet the growing demand for precise, high-strength tubes on the local market.

The PQF® ordered will be used to produce tubes within a diameter range of up to 6 5/8 inches and wall thicknesses of between 4 and 20 millimeters. Its annual capacity is 300,000 tons of tubes. These are used in oil and gas production (OCTG tubes) and must satisfy very high quality and tolerance requirements in accordance with API standards.

With the BCO-type PQF® plant (Bilateral Change-Over), the stands are changed at both sides of the mill. The compact, easily accessible construction enhances the user-friendliness of the plant. The drive is simpler in design and is easier to service. In addition, the hydraulic capsules (hydraulic adjustment) are positively connected to the mill frame. This ensures the rolling forces are distributed symmetrically over the mill, resulting in a further significant improvement in wall thickness variations. This increases both the efficiency and flexibility of the mill.

World Steel Prices

The order also includes the full automation of the machinery and plant sections, as well as state-of-the-art laser technology for measuring the wall thicknesses downstream of the PQF®and the stretch reducing mill (SRM). What’s more, the CaliView® measuring system developed by SMS group allows for fast, inline calibration of all rolling mills, and so guarantees the perfect alignment of the mill line over a period of time. A networked, CNC-based groove dressing machine (KR) for high-precision machining of the SRM stands will also be supplied.

The use of LASUS® technology means the otherwise commonly applied radioactive isotope measuring technique can be replaced by a safe laser technology, which is extremely environmentally friendly to operate and ensures monitor control with the PQF®-SecControl-Technology® as well as front and tail end sharpening in real time with the FTS system.

Any yield losses are minimized using the latest modules in the CARTANEO technology system. The well-known functions CEC (Crop End Control for reducing thick ends), WTCA (Wall Thickness Control, Average), and WTCL (Wall Thickness Control, Local) have been significantly improved thanks to self-learning algorithms (Artificial Intelligence, or AI).

With this investment ChangBao is banking on ultra-modern, highly stable tube production. The lower material stress allows the product range to be extended to include even thinner-walled dimensions and higher-alloy steel grades. The high level of digitalization of all equipment was what convinced the customer to be well equipped for the future.

The new seamless tube plant is scheduled to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2020.

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 14,000 employees who generate worldwide sales of about EUR 3 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.

Source: SMS Group


Erdemir Relies on Danieli Technology for New Slab Inspection and Grinding Plant

Erdemir, part of Oyak Group, awarded the turnkey supply contract to Danieli Centro Maskin for a complete inspection and conditioning plant, to be installed at Zonguldak, Turkey.

It will process approximately 400,000 tpy of slabs in ultra-low, low- and medium-carbon and alloy steel grades.

The grinding plant consists of a SuperGrinder and a lateral unit for edge and corner grinding, featuring HiGrind digital system for control of grinding depth and safety functions, the E-Cube system for grinding at variable, stepless angles, and the Cast-t-Grind system for processing hot slabs up to 800 °C.

Based on acquisition and rendering of 3D images, the IntelliGrind system will ensure automatic detection and classification of surface defects by artificial intelligence and training of the neural network.

Source: Danieli Group


Poor Demand Restricts Steel Price Rises as Raw Material Costs Increase

Raw material costs put upward pressure on prices, in northern Europe, in March, but demand was insufficient to support proposed hikes. Flat products selling values, were, for the most part, unchanged, in euro equivalent terms. Regional mills have spare production capacity and delivery lead times remain short. Supply chain inventories are at a high level. Asian import offers are, in most cases, not sufficiently cheap to be attractive.

Danish domestic selling values for hot rolled coil were rolled over, from the previous month. Swedish industrial output is at a lower level than last year. Prices are quite stable. Construction activity has decreased in Finland, in recent months. Prices are unchanged, in the Netherlands, amidst customer uncertainty and subdued demand. Business activity is flat, in Norway.

Hot rolled plate consumption is steady in Austria, Sweden and Norway. Market activity is subdued, in Denmark. EU safeguard quotas are adding to buyers’ reluctance to place import orders. Finnish domestic sales are weak, and selling values slipped. Delivery lead times, from European suppliers, are very short. Buyers, in the Netherlands, note an increasingly firm stance, on prices.

European-produced cold rolled coil is plentiful and substantial shipments from Asia are expected. Selling values are unchanged, in Denmark, this month, despite the regional mills’ wishes for increases. Finnish service centres are well stocked. End-users are resistant to price increases. Austrian stockists believe that prices are at the bottom of the current cycle. Norwegian buyers are, increasingly, sourcing from third country suppliers. With no application of EU tariffs, offers from these sellers are very attractive.

Weak demand for coated sheet and coil from the automotive sector persists. Galvanised material is abundant, in Denmark, and regional mills are operating below full capacity. Market observers believe that the peak for Swedish manufacturing activity has passed. Orders from the auto supply chain remain depressed, in Finland. Buying activity, by industrial consumers, is weak, in Austria. Norwegian domestic demand is subdued.

Sales of wire rod to Swedish manufacturers are declining. Prices are unchanged from those of last month, in euro equivalent terms. Finnish consumption is fair, but pricing is tentative. Ex-mill prices rose by around €10 per tonne, in the Netherlands, this month, despite mediocre demand.

The Danish domestic market for medium sections and beams is quite stable, although supply chain participants report that significant rebates may be achieved, for large orders. The declining building sector has been a major factor in the downturn in Swedish industry, during the past year. A modest increase in Finnish domestic selling figures was agreed, this month, as a result of rising raw material costs. Construction industry participants, in the Netherlands, report a positive outlook, but current demand is subdued. Mills issued increased list prices, in March, but only small increments were agreed with purchasers.

Soaring mill input costs supported rising reinforcing bar values, in Sweden, in March. However, the effects, on the market, of the Vale mine disaster, in Brazil, are expected to subside, soon. Buyers, in the Netherlands, report offers of small parcels of Ukrainian material. Rising raw material costs led to modest increases in rebar values, in Austria. Local producers pressed for price hikes in Norway but purchasers resisted.

Many EU buyers are refraining from placing orders on UK producers of merchant bars. They are wary of the possibility of imminent post-Brexit tariffs being applied. This has the effect of tightening supply, in the region.

MEPS International Ltd is a Steel Market Analyst, tacking prices of steel products around the globe. Publishing monthly steel reviews as well as online steel price data. to find out more about MEPS visit www.meps.co.uk

Source: MEPS International – European Steel Review Supplement – March 2019


European Steel Price Rises Thwarted by Lacklustre Demand

Price hikes of €30 per tonne were proposed, in mid-February, for domestic sales of strip mill products. This followed a similar announcement, in late January. The steelmakers cited strengthening raw material costs, and the limited availability and increased price of imported steel. However, European basis values were largely static in Northern Europe, in March. The producers secured small rises in Italy and Spain – reducing the differential between selling values in the north and south of the region.

The implementation of the price initiative was constrained by a number of factors. Business confidence remains weak, due to economic and political uncertainty. Service centre buyers are reluctant to commit to forward orders, given plentiful inventories and reduced levels of downstream demand. Moreover, regional mills have spare capacity, due to a substantial reduction in orders from vehicle manufacturers. Domestic delivery lead times are relatively short.

German demand remains slow, at present. With the auto sector still weak and the machine building segment sluggish, it is difficult to envisage any immediate pickup in activity. Local mills, despite their price hike announcements, are keen to secure orders. Consequently, they are prepared to be flexible during price negotiations, especially when high volume bookings are available. Import opportunities are limited. Turkish producers are uncompetitive. Indian suppliers are not offering.

Market fundamentals, for 2019, are quite weak, in France. However, activity in the steel sector, in March, looks more promising than in the previous month. Many buyers are able to negotiate stable selling values, for April delivery. Customers are reluctant to finalise orders despite price rise proposals from the mills. Those local service centres supplying the auto industry still reported strong sales, in the first two months of the year, despite forecasts for 2019 indicating a slowdown.

In Italy, the economy is entering a period of negative growth. Downstream steel demand is extremely weak. However, import price offers increased, due to cost pressures in supplying countries. This enabled Italian steelmakers to lift their domestic basis numbers, in March – thus shrinking the price differential between north and south Europe. Nevertheless, the number of actual transactions is quite low as service centres struggle to maintain their resale values. Consequently, the implementation of the mills’ target increases of €30/35 per tonne was only partially successful.

UK distributors report that demand, with the exception of auto-related sectors, is holding up, despite the uncertainties associated with Brexit. Their resale margins are tighter than of late but still acceptable. Despite steelmakers’ price hike ambitions, selling values are unchanged, this month. The pound sterling strengthened, in early March, reducing the cost of imported material. Little stock building, to ensure supply beyond Brexit, was noted.

Uncertainty persists in the Belgian market. Economic growth forecasts for 2019 are lower than previously announced. The steel sector remains rather quiet. Large service centres are carrying higher inventories than are necessary for today’s demand. Their resale margins are under pressure. No further downward movements were noted for strip mill product basis prices, this month. Buyers believe that the bottom has been reached, as domestic suppliers push for price increases. Rising price offers from overseas mills led to reduced import competition, in Spain. This enabled domestic steelmakers to propose increases on basis values for strip mill products. Buyers confirm that they had little choice but to accept rises of €10/15 per tonne, for April/early May delivery. The steelmakers continue to push for further hikes. Service centre activity is more lively than earlier in the year. However, resale values do not reflect replacement costs. Distributors hope that the mill increases will help them to recover lost margins.

MEPS International Ltd is a Steel Market Analyst, tacking prices of steel products around the globe. Publishing monthly steel reviews as well as online steel price data. to find out more about MEPS visit www.meps.co.uk

Source: MEPS International – European Steel Review – March 2019


sunset behind blast furnace at evraz ntmk in Russia

Paul Wurth Blast Furnace Equipment – Long-Term Solutions for EVRAZ NTMK

LBy October 2020, EVRAZ will complete a technical upgrade of No. 6 Blast Furnace of their integrated steel works NTMK located at Nizhnij Tagil in the Urals, Russia. The modernization will concern all systems of the existing installation and enables increasing the nominal capacity by about 40% compared to the previous campaign design. With a hearth diameter of 9.8 meters and an inner volume of 2,200 cubic meters, the new furnace will be able to produce 2.5 million tons of hot metal per year.

Paul Wurth will supply the following systems to equip the furnace: a parallel-hopper type Bell Less Top (BLT®) charging system, a complete top gas cleaning plant, copper staves for the high heat-loaded areas of bosh, belly and lower stack, the complete hearth refractory lining with ceramic cup as well as, on behalf of TMT, fully hydraulic clay guns, tap hole drill and main runner cover manipulators, all for two tapholes, as well as tilting runner drive units. The technical solutions and the equipment basically repeat the technology installed at NTMK’s new No. 7 Blast Furnace which went into operation in February 2018. The BLT and the tapping machinery are going to replace competing systems, thus contributing to consolidating the leading market position of these Paul Wurth and TMT technologies.

Taking a look back into history, in 2003, it was exactly for NTMK’s that-time brand-new BF6 when Paul Wurth was awarded the first ever order from Russia for technology not related to top charging: an annular gap scrubber, copper staves and cardan-type tuyere stocks. These systems have been in operation to the full satisfaction of the customer during a full blast furnace campaign lasting for almost 14 years until EVRAZ stopped the furnace in last spring. Finally, also BF5 has been operating with a similar Paul Wurth/TMT equipment package from 2006 on up till now. With the recent orders received for the new equipment for BF6 at Nizhnij Tagil, Paul Wurth can claim the position of a truly Leading Partner for EVRAZ in technology and plant for ironmaking.

Source: Paul Wurth


North American Steel Price Rises On The Horizon

According to recent research by MEPS International Ltd, North American steel prices are expected to recover in the short term. This follows the substantial reductions recorded in the past seven months.

Attempts by steelmakers to lift prices are forecast to be gradually accepted in the market, in the coming months. A degree of inventory replenishment is anticipated. Furthermore, upward pressure on transaction values is predicted as a result of escalating costs of ferrous scrap and iron ore.

However, following the Section 232-related surge, last year, steel prices are likely to remain substantially below the peak values, recorded in that period.

Source: MEPS International News Alert