SMS group: Inauguration of new manufacturing and service workshop in Bhubaneswar, India

On November 27, 2014, the SMS group inaugurated its new manufacturing and service workshop in Bhubaneswar, in the Indian state of Odisha, built for an investment of approximately 31 million euros. In the presence of more than 250 guests from politics and industry, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who attended the event as a guest of honor, cut the red ribbon in a festive ceremony. Then, as a traditional Indian inauguration ceremony, a lamp was lit by Naveen Patnaik together with Dr. Heinrich Weiss (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the SMS group), Burkhard Dahmen (Spokesman of the Managing Board of the SMS group), Sam Schreiner (Ambassador of Luxembourg to India), Rainer Schmiedchen (German Consul General in Kolkata) and Christian Klein (CEO & Managing Director SMS India).

The new manufacturing and service workshop, built with an investment of approximately EUR 31 million and covering an area of 21,000 square meters, is one of four locations operated by SMS India. The new manufacturing facility will focus on the supply of steelworks equipment and services tailored to the growth market India.

Currently, SMS has more than 1,000 employees in India. In future, at Bhubaneswar, some 200 SMS employees will form a further pillar of the SMS group’s worldwide network of quality-manufacturing sites. With this new asset, the SMS group is consistently pursuing its customer-focused strategy by expanding its local service presence in the important growth market India.

“This investment strengthens our manufacturing network for steelworks equipment in India,” says Burkhard Dahmen, CEO of SMS Siemag and Spokesman of the Managing Board of the SMS group. “It is an important step for the SMS group in tapping this growth market and participating in the upswing taking place in this country. Annual steel production in India is expected to grow from its current level of 80 million tons to 300 million tons over the next 15 years.”

The new manufacturing workshop, equipped with machinery of the latest state of the art, is strategically located centrally to the customers of SMS. Most of them are within a range of some 300 kilometers. This makes it possible to fulfill individual customer requests locally and in real time. Moreover, it will also be possible to supply customers outside India with components made at the Bhubaneswar workshop via the marine port of Paradip, which is just 130 kilometers away.

The steelworks components manufactured at Bhubaneswar will be specifically aligned to the requirements of the Indian steel market.

The range of equipment made at the workshop will include electric arc furnaces, secondary-metallurgy plants like ladle furnaces and RH plants (Ruhrstahl-Heraeus), and BOF plants, including cooling stacks for gas cleaning systems. For continuous casting plants, ladle turrets, tundishes, tundish cars and roller tables will be supplied. All the plants will be manufactured, assembled and tested in Bhubaneswar. This ensures high quality of the equipment.

As a systems supplier, SMS also offers a broad range of services, including spare parts services, the manufacture and repair of plant components in OEM quality, the manufacture of value-added components (segment rollers, spindles, mandrels), copper plating of casting molds as well as technical assistance in on-site installation and maintenance activities.

The service workshop of SMS India is equipped with various high-tech machines. These machines are critical to meeting OEM standards in the rendered repair and maintenance services.

The new location also has plenty of capacity for customer training courses provided by the TECademy.

In his address, Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, the state where the new SMS workshop is located, emphasized the outstanding importance of the new manufacturing and service workshop for consolidating the relationship between the SMS group and its Indian customers.

It is planned to expand the workshop in the future and continue to invest in modern machinery and additional qualified personnel.

Source: SMS Group

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CHINA’S OFFICIAL STEEL OUTPUT STATISTICS REVISED UPWARDS – AT LAST

In early November, Worldsteel, the body representing the international steel industry, published its latest issue of Steel Statistical Yearbook. Included in the document, was a significant upward revision to the figure for Chinese crude steel production in 2013. It now stands at near 822 million tonnes – more than 30 million tonnes above the last recorded outturn.

MEPS has consistently been indicating, in its regular reports on the Chinese steel sector, that the actual annual crude steel and pig iron output exceeded the officially recorded figure by 30/40 million tonnes.

The crude steel under-reporting was recently confirmed by Mr Xu Lejiang, Chairman of Baosteel Group, who stated that the outturn for production in 2013 was 822 million tonnes. This figure appears to have now been accepted as a true figure. It is in line with the calculated MEPS data, published early this year.

Revisions to crude steel output are not the only industry statistics which require modification. MEPS contends that pig iron production has also been understated for all of this decade by similar tonnages to those for steel.

It is important that the Chinese authorities investigate the reasons for errors in the historic output statistics and rectify the situation. This would enable accurate steel output trends to be identified. Related industries depend heavily on reliable data for investment planning etc. This is a pre-requisite for governments, like China, which operates a system of central planning.

The amount of under-reported iron and steel production represents slightly less than 5 percent of the total. However, the misinformation has served to mask any quantitative assessment of the amount of extra air and water pollution which was being put into the country in recent years.

It is difficult to understand how the steel sector’s reporting system failed so badly. The industry supplies a plethora of information which is poured over and evaluated in great detail by the press and other institutions – specifically designed to prepare strategies for the future.

Perhaps the growing private steel sector in China needs to be given the same degree of scrutiny as that sustained the publicly owned mills.

Source: MEPS China Steel Review – November Edition


SUBDUED STAINLESS STEEL MARKET TO PERSIST INTO NEW YEAR

Worldwide stainless steel sales activity and prices are going through a subdued phase at present, according to MEPS. A seasonal slowdown is to be expected as producers, distributors and end-users all strive to minimise their inventories for the end of December, which is, for many, their financial year-end.

Other factors have contributed to the current lull. The LME nickel cash price fell by more than 25 percent between early September and late October. This resulted in substantial cuts in alloy surcharges, for austenitic grades, in November and December. The knock-on effect of this has been further delays in purchasing by customers, as they await the low point in the price cycle before placing their orders.

There are some bright spots. Business activity has been increasing in the United States. Basis values for hot and cold rolled coils have increased, although, of course, this has not been enough to counteract the effect of falling alloy surcharges. On the other hand, in Japan, an upturn in demand has been sufficient for producers to maintain their effective list prices, this month. Transaction values on the open market, in that country, have even increased a little.

However, consumption in the rest of the Far East is disappointing and market participants do not anticipate an upturn until after the Chinese New Year. Business is also subdued in most of Europe and there may be no immediate, seasonal pickup in sales or basis prices at the beginning of 2015.

Nickel supply remains in surplus. Since the Indonesian ore export ban came into operation at the beginning of 2014, this source of nickel has been, in part, replaced by material from the Philippines and New Caledonia. However, there has been some depletion of the nickel stockpiles of Chinese nickel pig iron and stainless steel producers.

LME nickel stocks have recently been at all-time high levels. Some observers predict that the Chinese situation will result in a reduction in these stocks at some point in 2015. This would trigger a change in speculators’ technical trading behaviour, which could, in turn, precipitate rising nickel prices and increased purchasing of nickel and stainless steel.

Source: MEPS – Stainless Steel Review – November Issue


Liberty Cold Rolled Coils

ArcelorMittal to invest €15m at its Bourg-en-Bresse plant to support the development of its customer Technip

Bourg-en-Bresse, 26 November 2014 – ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, will invest €15m to expand the production capacity of its plant at Bourg-en-Bresse and support the development of its customer Technip, a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry.

The initial partnership agreement signed in 2013 has been extended in duration and volume.

The plant will also strengthen its team with the recruitment of around 20 people.

In 2015, the Bourg-en-Bresse plant will be equipped with a new heat treatment furnace and a new rolling mill.

In September 2013, ArcelorMittal was chosen by Technip to supply high-performance, high-strength steels used in the manufacture of flexible pipes for the development of deepwater and ultra-deepwater oil and gas fields, particularly at depths in excess of 1500 metres. The five-year partnership agreement(1) between ArcelorMittal and Technip, the largest European contract for ArcelorMittal’s wire business, has been extended by two years.

The partnership agreement signed in 2013 sustained the operations of the Bourg-en-Bresse plant, and this agreement extension will reinforce it.

ArcelorMittal Bourg-en-Bresse has become Technip’s supplier of choice for high-end technological and innovative solutions. The site supplies Technip flexible pipe manufacturing plants located in France, Brazil and Malaysia.

The commercial contract comes with a research and innovation contract that strengthens technological progress at the Bourg-en-Bresse plant. The Bourg-en-Bresse plant is developing new wire solutions tailored to Technip’s requirements.

ArcelorMittal is now the centre of excellence for the production of steel wire for flexible pipes for the buoyant offshore market. It also demonstrates that the group and its French production sites can market ever better products in response to customers’ requirements and the challenges that they face.

Patrick Laudamy, CEO of ArcelorMittal Bourg-en-Bresse, said: “This investment demonstrates ArcelorMittal’s confidence in the technical speciality markets. In one year, the Bourg-en-Bresse plant has become Technip’s preferred partner for the supply of high-strength steels. Today, we are strengthening our teams and our production capacity to support our customer. We will also pursue our research and innovation efforts in order to offer our customers increasingly high-performance products.”

“ArcelorMittal provides us with an indisputable competitive advantage in the market.  Technology and innovation are an integral part of the design of our flexible pipes and we therefore invest in R&D and pay particular attention to the quality of our supply chain. The contract that we are extending today forms part of this approach. We are proud to strengthen our partnership with ArcelorMittal and thus contribute to enabling it to expand the production capacity of its Bourg-en-Bresse plant,” added Jean-François Niel, Group SVP Global Manufacturing, Technip.

(1) the contract awarded to ArcelorMittal by Technip has a value in excess of €200million

Source: ArcelorMittal

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MEPS GLOBAL STEEL PRICE HITS SIX MONTH LOW IN NOVEMBER

According to MEPS, despite relatively healthy demand, US flat product transaction values have continued to slip over the last month, mainly as a result of cheaper raw materials and import pressure. High prices in North America have attracted a great deal of interest from steelmakers elsewhere in the world. Imports are at historically high levels. Domestic mill delivery lead times have shortened. Service centres report that sales have already slowed as we head into December. Their inventories are adequate to high. However, they are anticipating robust demand in 2015, with many projects about to come on stream.

There has been some softening in the Canadian market for seasonal reasons. Mill delivery lead times are reducing. Import volumes are on the rise. There has been some marginal price erosion but producers are trying hard to resist further downward movements. Recent mill price rise announcements are viewed as a tactic to keep transaction numbers stable.

Chinese manufacturing growth continues to slow, leading to weaker domestic steel demand at the same time as supply increases and the producers’ raw material costs tumble. Market players are pessimistic about the future direction of steel prices. Overseas sales volumes hit record highs in October. However, increasing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures against Chinese steel products could hinder future developments, as could the speculation regarding the removal of VAT rebates on exports.

The Japanese economy slipped back into recession in the third quarter. September statistics show that steel orders dropped by 2.8 percent, year-on-year. Exports are weak. Domestic demand was relatively stable. Flat product values were all revised downwards in November, reflecting fierce import competition, especially from China and South Korea. Tokyo Steel has decided to keep official list prices for December deliveries unchanged from the previous month. The company cited an imbalance in supply and demand. Inventories stood at a thirteen year high at the end of September. Moreover, the rapidly declining yen is making imported raw materials more expensive for the producer.

Steel output continues to climb in South Korea as more new capacity comes on stream. Local estimates suggest that annual production will reach a record high by the end of the year. However, domestic mills continue to struggle with significant import pressure and slowing economic growth. Chinese and Japanese steelmakers are gaining market share. Local mills continue to reduce transaction values in an effort to compete.

The overall Taiwanese economic outlook is said to be moderately optimistic. However, major integrated steelmaker, CSC, has decided to cut domestic list prices for the January/February 2015 period by an average of 1.7 percent, compared with figures for December contracts. Demand in the home market has weakened as downstream mills and finished goods manufacturers are facing increased competition in export markets as the Japanese yen and South Korean won devalue against the US dollar. Moreover, iron ore costs are declining.

Polish activity has improved slightly but service centres are expecting it to slow in December for seasonal reasons. The mills have failed to lift prices in euro terms but exchange rate fluctuations have pushed up selling figures when measured in zlotys. Czech/Slovak prices have hardly changed on a euro basis. Economic forecasts have recently been revised in the Czech Republic and, although there are some optimistic signals, overall expectations are a little lower than previously estimated.

West European flat product prices remain under negative pressure due to domestic oversupply, weakening raw material costs and flat demand caused by poor macro-economic conditions in several nations. Third country imports are unattractive as local offers are at similar prices, with shorter delivery lead times.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – November Issue

 


CSI commissions pipe welding line from SMS Meer

CSI Tubular Products, Inc. (CSITP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of California Steel Industries, Inc. (CSI), based in Fontana, California, U.S.A., has successfully commissioned an electrical resistance welding (ERW) line for up to 24-inch diameter pipes supplied by SMS Meer, Germany. The plant achieves production speeds of up to 35 meters per minute and is capable of producing up to 400,000 tons of pipe per year. SMS Elotherm, Germany (www.sms-elotherm.com) supplied the necessary induction HF welding and seam annealing technology.

The first welded pipe at CSI.
For the equipment supplied to CSI Tubular Products, SMS Meer has further developed its plant and process technology. Coil pay-off can now be performed from above and below, meaning better strip alignment within the plant’s forming process, depending on the direction of rolling of the inserted strip.

The SMS Meer inline and offline quick-change systems for the URD® stands are more productive than changing systems for conventional stand designs. The quick-change system is supported by the CSS® Quicksetting system, which sustainably improves the product quality by database-assisted plant settings. The stand drives can be separately controlled.

SMS Elotherm’s EloWeld™ 1800 pipe welding plant is integrated into the central section of the pipe mill and ensures reliable welding of the longitudinal seams. The downstream EloSeam™ 3000 pipe seam annealing plant allows for post-annealing, where necessary, thanks to its ability to be traversed longitudinally. This is required if, for example after a standstill of the plant, a portion of the non-annealed pipe does not meet the quality requirements. The output is therefore higher than with conventional, stationary seam annealing plants.

The new plant is able to produce pipes with outside diameters of between 8 5/8 inches (219.1 millimeters) and 24 inches (609.6 millimeters). Wall thicknesses range from 0.157 inches (four millimeters) to 0.750 inches (19.1 millimeters), with pipe lengths of between 20 ft. (six meters) and 80 ft. (24.4 meters).

Source: SMS Group

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