Big River Steel and SMS group to build most eco-friendly steel mill in the U.S.A.

The ground has been broken. The ceremony marking the start of the ambitious greenfield steel project on the Mississippi River in Mississippi County, Arkansas, U.S.A. took place on September 22, 2014.

The SMS group will be responsible for the supply of the entire plant technology. SMS can look back on more than 30 years of successful and trustful cooperation with John Correnti, the initiator of the Big River Steel project. As early as in July 2014, Big River Steel LLC. and the SMS group had signed the contract for the construction of this future-oriented steel complex.

As early as in July 2014, Big River Steel LLC. and the SMS group had signed the contract for the construction of this future-oriented steel complex. As a provider of integrated systems, SMS will supply all plants complete with the electrical and automation equipment, and the environmental systems. “The first touchdown has been scored,” says John Correnti, Chairman and CEO of Big River Steel. “Now, we will need some good passes and a high-speed 25-yard sprint once in a while to make sure that this project becomes a success. With the SMS group, an experienced systems supplier and reliable partner, at our side, we are certain that we will accomplish this goal.” Steel production is scheduled to start in spring 2016.

The new mill’s product range will be focused on demanding steels, such as tube grades for pipeline construction, silicon steels for electrical applications and AHSS grades (Advanced High-Strength Steels). There is a growing market for these products in the U.S.A. “Especially the automotive industry needs AHSS grades,” explains Correnti. “The carmakers are looking for higher-strength and lighter-weight steels. High strength is needed to be able to fulfill the exacting safety requirements, and lower weight to reduce fuel consumption.“

Setting up the new steel complex at a location in the southern part of the U.S., brings Big River Steel very close to important players of the automotive industry, its future customers. The fact that the U.S.A. is still required to cover a considerable portion of its steel demand by imports indicates that there is definitely a market for steel. “In future, we will be the most modern steelmaking facility in North America,” adds Correnti.

“We are extremely pleased to continue our longstanding cooperation with such a large-scale project.” John Correnti was instrumental in initiating the SeverCorr complex which SMS Siemag constructed in 2007, also in the southeast of the U.S.A. “We can contribute our experience from comparable large-scale projects. In addition to our proven technology, we will also employ new-generation systems at Big River Steel,” explains Project Manager Axel Sprenger of SMS Siemag. Big River will receive all plants and equipment, including the mechanical, electrical and automation systems and the coil logistics, from systems supplier SMS. In the first construction phase, the mill will produce 1.5 tons per year of hot strip, which will be directly processed into cold roll strip and hot-dip galvanized sheet in the downstream processing facilities. It is planned to step-wise double the production and broaden the electrical sheet portfolio in several expansion stages.

For the first construction phase, SMS will supply a 150-ton electric arc furnace, a 150-t ladle furnace with two treatment stations and a 150-ton RH-TOP plant (Ruhrstahl-Heraeus). The steel mill will be equipped with a gas cleaning plant, which will ensure compliance with the stringent environmental standards in place. The dust will be collected and filtered in a baghouse facility. “This steel mill will certainly be one of the cleanest steelmaking facilities in the U.S.A.,” says Sprenger.

With a maximum strip width of 1,930 millimeters, the downstream single-strand CSP® plant with a six-stand rolling mill will be the widest of all CSP® plants in operation in the market. The initial annual capacity will amount to 1.5 million tons. At a later stage, a second casting strand will be added, increasing the annual capacity to 3.0 tons. Approximately one third of the products made on the CSP® plant will be sold as hot strip of various grades. The other two thirds will be processed in the pickling line. Approximately 120,000 tons per year thereof will be sold as pickled and oiled hot strip. The pickling line will be coupled with a five-stand tandem rolling mill.

About 900,000 tons of the pickled hot strip will be rolled on the tandem mill. The coupled pickling line/tandem mill will be equipped with an SMS laser welding machine, a descaler and a turbulence pickling section. The laser welding machine will also be able to reliably join the high Si-steels planned to be produced at some time in the future. Approximately one half of the cold rolled strip will be further processed in the continuous galvanizing line (CGL), the other half in the batch annealing furnace (BAF).

The offline skin-passing mill, arranged downstream of the batch annealing furnace, will be designed to operate with a rolling force as high as 18-MN, facilitating elongation rates of up to 8.5 percent. The strip widths will range from 914 to 1,880 millimeters, thicknesses from 0.28 to 1.4 millimeters. The rolling speed will be 1,000 meters per minute.

The Big River Steel project is one of the biggest orders in the history of the SMS group. SMS will supply all electrical and automation systems for the plant equipment. The X-Pact® automation package will include process automation (level 1) and the technological process models (level 2). The automation systems will be tested with the Plug & Work procedure developed by SMS Siemag before they are installed on site, ensuring trouble-free processes and smooth operation. For the DC electric arc furnaces, SMS will also supply the high-current system including the transformers.

Big River Steel plans to produce hot strip in various grades as well as cold strip made of carbon steels and of non-grain oriented (NGO) silicon steel in the new steel mill. Non-grain oriented Si steel is used in electrical engineering applications, for example, for making rotating parts in motors. The continuous process route will produce hot-dip galvanized cold strip, including strip made of multi-phase steels. These products will be used in automotive applications, mainly for structural parts.

Source: www.bigriversteel.com / www.sms-group.com

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CHINESE STEEL LOSING SOME OF ITS COMPETITIVE EDGE – MEPS

UK steel industry analysts, MEPS, reports that, in October, a profound change developed in the relationship between Chinese export steel prices and domestic selling values in the rest of the world.

According to the company’s latest report, CHINA STEEL REVIEW, Chinese exporters lowered their steel prices last month for most rolled steel products. The median reduction was US$13 per tonne. However, average domestic selling figures in North America decreased by US$17 per tonne in the same period. Local average steel selling values in the European Union decreased by US$27 per tonne and those in East Asia fell by US$35 in October.

The differential between Chinese export delivered prices and domestic selling values is a key item in the decision making process to purchase from China. Improved quality from Chinese mills has also, however, played its part.

It is possible that, in the near future, China’s steel products could become less attractive to buyers in the industrialised countries of the world, particularly, if their steel market conditions deteriorate further.

Total Chinese exports of all steel products, including tubes and semi-finished goods, totalled 51.54 million tonnes in the first eight months of this year. This represents an increase of 36 percent on the outturn in 2013. Foreign supplies of the nine finished rolled steel mill products, which had not undergone further processing, were recorded at 44.2 million tonnes – up by almost 45 percent in the same period.

The most popular finished rolled steel products for export remain hot rolled coil, wire rod and merchant bar. Statistics for the latter item are dubious, because it is widely believed that a proportion of billet sales were recorded as merchant bar in the official documentation to avoid export taxes. The tonnage sold under the banner of merchant bar has increased by approximately 75 percent so far this year. This figure is almost double the average increase for all the other products.

The Chinese mills were able to lift their sales volumes of rolled steel products because of their ability to compete on price with other manufacturers around the world. This developed despite the cost of freight and extended period of time for delivery. A change to this situation may be on the horizon. Chinese steel exports may decline in 2015. Watch this space.

Source: MEPS China Steel Review – October Edition

US STAINLESS STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS

Stainless hot rolled plate sales volumes, in the United States, are steady, according to the latest report by MEPS. Consumer confidence has been boosted by low oil prices. Business activity is described as “not great” but is at a higher level than that in Europe. Consequently, suppliers from across the Atlantic are making attractive offers, putting downward pressure on selling values.

Cold rolled coil sales activity has slowed in recent weeks. Many buyers have delayed placing orders in anticipation of lower alloy surcharges in November. This drop-off in demand and imminent reduction in effective prices prevented full implementation of the mills’ proposed basis price hike, which was due to take effect at the beginning of October.

Order activity for stainless steel bar has slowed in October. No upturn is anticipated before the New Year. With low stock levels at service centres, buyers are turning to master distributors to secure material at short notice. Market participants report an increased number of offers from European mills.

Source: MEPS – Stainless Steel Review – October Issue

SOUTH KOREA STEEL MARKET ROUNDUP FROM MEPS INTERNATIONAL

According to MEPS, import volumes of hot rolled coil, in South Korea, are soaring at the same time as domestic output escalates as Posco’s new hot strip mill comes on stream. This, combined with sluggish demand, is creating negative price pressure. However, after conceding a large discount in September, local producers have managed to maintain selling values.

In September, domestic shipbuilders fell behind their Japanese rivals in winning new orders for the third time this year, disadvantaged by the weakening yen. Local selling values for commodity plate have come under further pressure, down by 2.5 percent since our last report. There is severe internal competition, together with attractive import offers.

Although sales, of cold rolled coil, to local distributors are poor, demand from the automakers has picked up as their output revives. However, there is strong competition from Chinese cold rolled coil imports, which continue to swell in volume. During recent negotiations, customers have won another decrease.

Domestic car sales are improving, where auto output rose again in September, year-on-year. Export business is also healthy. However, there has been no substantial revival in construction demand for coated steel and the local electronics industry remains dull. Steelmakers have been forced to accept lower prices in the general market.

September’s rise in the wire rod market proved to be short lived. Selling values have now reverted to their recent downward tendency, in a lethargic trading environment.

Hyundai has failed in its efforts to lift its structural section selling values by the proposed KRW30,000 per tonne, but customers have accepted a portion of the rise. There is still a threat from Chinese exporters, despite the instigation of an anti-dumping investigation.

Declining scrap costs have encouraged Hyundai Steel, to cut rebar list prices by KRW5000 per tonne for fourth quarter contracts. In the marketplace, last month’s small improvement lasted a short time. Demand remains slow and selling figures have lost 3.3 percent.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – October Issue

ANDRITZ to modernize continuous annealing line for ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein, Germany

International technology Group ANDRITZ has received an order from ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein, Germany, to modernize continuous annealing line No. 4 at the Andernach plant, the largest production site worldwide for packaging steel. The line for production of carbon steel is to resume operation at the end of 2015.

The scope of supply of ANDRITZ METALS comprises an extensive electrical package, including drive and automation technology, instrumentation, measurement value logging, new operating concept, comprehensive safety features and equipment, as well as substantial adaption and extensions to the plantʼs mechanical and hydraulic equipment. The plant speed will be increased and terminal equipment optimized as part of this modernization project.

One of the decisive criteria in award of this order was ANDRITZʼs successful modernization of continuous annealing line No. 3 for ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein in 2012.

Source: ANDRITZ

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ThyssenKrupp continues to grow in China: New automotive supply plant opened in Changzhou

Components business is investment focus in China / New manufacturing process has opened growth opportunities in Asia, South America, Europe

ThyssenKrupp CEO Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger has today opened a new plant for automotive components in Changzhou. At the new location for powertrain technology in the Jiangsu province cylinder-head covers for the Chinese automotive market are manufactured. ThyssenKrupp has invested around 40 million euros in the new plant. From now on, up to 200 people will produce about one million cylinder-head covers there per year.

“As a broad-based technology company the Chinese market plays an important role for us. Our strategy focuses especially on China’s mobility sector. In recent years, we have strongly expanded in this industry with our elevator division and components business,” says Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger.

Five of ThyssenKrupp’s business areas have operations in China today. In the last three fiscal years, the Group has invested over 400 million euros in new production facilities. For the financial year 2013/14 ThyssenKrupp expects sales of 2.5 billion euros in China. This represents a growth of about 16 percent compared to the previous year. ThyssenKrupp operates currently more than twenty production sites in the country and employs about 16,800 employees in China.

ThyssenKrupp’s investment focus in China in recent years was on the component business for the automotive industry. In the last 24 months alone, the large industrial company has started operation in five new plants. The investment for those new facilities amounts to around 340 million euros.

“Since 1995 we are represented as a supplier of chassis and powertrain components in the country. Over the last years, we have been keeping pace with the dynamic growth in the Chinese auto industry and intend to continue growing with our customers in China,” said Dr. Karsten Kroos, CEO of the Business Area Components Technology at ThyssenKrupp.

The Components Technology Business Area, which manufactures components for the auto, construction and wind energy sectors, currently operates eleven production sites in China. They employ more than 4,000 people and in fiscal 2012/2013 generated sales of around 750 million euros, with automotive components accounting for around two thirds of this.

The product range extends from powertrain components like crankshafts, camshafts and cylinder-head covers to chassis components such as steering systems, shock absorbers, springs and stabilizers. Moreover, at three sites in China components for construction equipment and wind turbines are manufactured.

The new plant for cylinder-head covers with integrated camshafts in Changzhou is the fourth such plant being built or taken into operation around the world by ThyssenKrupp in the last 12 months. The company has already begun manufacturing cylinder-head covers in Dalian (China) and Ilsenburg (Germany) last year, while a further plant in Poços de Caldas (Brazil) is currently under construction and scheduled to start series production next year. Plans for a further plant in the NAFTA region are well advanced.

The strong demand and high growth potential particularly for cylinder-head covers are based on a new development in camshaft technology and a production process which has been perfected by ThyssenKrupp. In a special process, the camshafts and other components are integrated directly into the closed cylinder-head cover. As a result, ThyssenKrupp can now supply its customers with a complete valvetrain module instead of individual drive components as in the past. This delivers weight savings of up to 30 percent, lowers fuel consumption and reduces harmful emissions. Faster and more efficient engine assembly at the car plant is a further advantage.

Source: ThyssenKrupp

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