Tag Archives: South Korea

Successful Modernization of AOD Converter at SěAH CSS

Reduced maintenance costs thanks to SMS group torque retainer on AOD converter tilt drive

The 100-ton AOD converter at the SěAH CSS stainless steel mill in Changwon, South Korea, was successfully re-commissioned in March 2018, after installation of an electro-hydraulic torque retainer from SMS group.

The purpose of the modernization was to minimize the destructive forces acting on the gears, bearings and converter car during gas injection.

The scope of supply of SMS group comprised an electro-hydraulic torque retainer including electrical equipment and automation systems as well as the supervision of erection and commissioning.

The installation of the torque retainer was performed during a scheduled maintenance standstill and completed within ten days, including cold and hot commissioning. Hot commissioning even took place two days ahead of schedule under regular production conditions. The guaranteed values were fully reached. Thanks to the new electro-hydraulic torque retainer from SMS group, the dynamic loads on the entire converter equipment have been significantly reduced. This is the result of the successful cooperation between the teams from SěAH and SMS group.

Seungheon Lee, General Manager Steelmaking Facility Team: “The new torque retainer from SMS group has significantly reduced the vibrations of the AOD converter. We experience the benefits of this modernization every day. Maintenance costs will be reduced significantly. We are very satisfied.”

SěAH Changwon Integrated Special Steel produces stainless steel, tool steel and carbon steel at a production volume of 1.2 million tons per year. The produced high-tech steel grades are used in a wide range of applications, for example in vehicles, machinery, aircrafts, nuclear power plants, shipbuilding and electronics.

AOD Converter with/without torque retainer
Vibrations of the AOD converter measured over time. Left: without torque retainer, right: with SMS group torque retainer.

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 13,500 employees who generate worldwide sales of more than EUR 3 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.

Source: SMS Group

People also read: Steel Prices in US at 10 Year High


Hot rolled coil selling figures, in South Korea, remained steady month-on-month, in May, according to MEPS. Demand is subdued, amidst an inflow of low-priced imports from China and a slowing economic recovery.

Domestic oversupply, low-cost Chinese imports and poor demand from an ailing construction industry are depressing commodity plate transaction values. Moreover, the shipbuilding market is sluggish. We have noted another downward price correction.

Orders in the cold rolled coil general market are depressed and vehicle sales are far from robust. This weak domestic consumption, combined with strong rivalry from Chinese suppliers, has forced local steelmakers to concede further discounts.

The South Korean vehicle manufacturers continue to push for price reductions because of slow sales at home and abroad. Building demand for coated material shows no substantial revival. Steelmakers have been forced to offer discounts. Prices have now undergone negative movements for five months in a row.

Rebar selling figures have slipped again. The negative movement has been caused by poor demand from a depressed building sector and highly attractive Chinese offers. Local producers are pinning their hopes on forecasts of better sales in the coming months.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – May Issue


US strip mill product transaction prices have firmed, following recent price hike announcements by all the major producers. The mills appear to be quite disciplined about the implementation of the increase. Moreover, delivery lead times are slowly extending and the threat of trade cases against overseas suppliers has made buyers very cautious regarding booking foreign material. Distributors, who still have plentiful stocks, continue to reduce inventories.

Canadian mill activity is still poor, with short delivery lead times. However, import volumes are drying up as domestic prices become more competitive. Market participants believe that transaction values have now reached the bottom. Service centre sales are steady, but sluggish for the time of year. The high priced stocks that all distributors are carrying are weighing heavily on resale values.

Cheap iron ore continues to undermine market prices in China. Demand from the property market, auto, shipbuilding and appliances is weakening. The People’s Bank of China recently made its third interest rate cut in six months in order to support the economy. Major steelmaker, Baosteel, has left its official ex-works list prices, for the June delivery of most flat products, unchanged from the previous month. June is typically a slow season for the Chinese steel sector.

In Japan, inventories of flat rolled products are still in surplus. Several large steelmakers will cut output, in the April/June period, to try to rectify the situation. In March, shipments of carbon steel finished products were at their highest level for two years but the rise was purely due to better export volumes. Domestic deliveries actually fell. Although overseas business is brisk, export prices continue to tumble. Import volumes, in March, fell 33 percent to the lowest point since September 2013, partly due to the weak yen, but also because of less healthy levels of consumption.

South Korean steelmakers are concerned about the high volumes of low-cost Chinese material entering their home market, even though steel imports shrank by over 8 percent in April from a year earlier. The main reasons for the contraction were slumping demand and climbing inventories. The economic recovery remains lethargic. In addition, more recently, Russian offers to the Southeast Asian market have disrupted South Korean exports to that region.

Chung Hung Steel, one of Taiwan’s major flat product re-rollers, announced lower list prices for May contracts, compared to the figures published for April. The cuts were a similar magnitude to those previously announced by major integrated producer, CSC, for June. Marketplace transaction figures have mirrored the move. Sales remain weak amidst stiff competition from cheap imports.

In Poland, strip mill product prices are stable. Buyers do not believe that significant increases are possible in the present climate. Consumption is reasonable but imports continue to take up a large share of the market. Czech/Slovak transaction values have softened slightly, despite improvements in the economies of both countries. Market sentiment has certainly revived amongst many Czech manufacturing companies due to the weakness of the currency, cheap energy and recovering domestic demand. There is less competition from Ukrainian steel mills as their output has been curtailed by the political crisis in that country.

Flat product numbers are generally unchanged in Western Europe, although we can detect a little negative pressure in certain countries. Activity is picking up, albeit slowly, as the economic climate improves. Some steelmakers have decent order books. However, their raw material costs remain low, providing them with limited backing to lift selling prices. Many third country producers continue to reduce flat product price quotations. Buyers are beginning to show more interest, although, much of this material would be arriving in the holiday period.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – May Issue


Demand on South Korea’s hot rolled coil mills is subdued, amidst an inflow of low-priced imports from China and a slowing economic recovery. According to MEPS, during recent settlements, domestic steelmakers have agreed to further discounts.

Demand from shipyards is forecast to be generally flat, for the remainder of 2015. Sales to the construction sector are also poor and inventories at the distributors are excessive. There is severe internal competition for the little business available and attractively priced import offers are being made. We have noted a further downward price correction for commodity plate.

Poor domestic consumption, combined with strong rivalry from Chinese suppliers, has forced cold rolled coil producers to concede further discounts. The vehicle manufacturers are pushing for large price reductions as their sales are far from robust. Demand for cold rolled coil from other market sectors is also depressed.

Vehicle output fell again in March, year-on-year. Car exports suffered because of competition from Japanese manufacturers who had the advantage of a weaker yen. Building demand for coated material has also shown no substantial revival but forecasts, for later in the year, indicate better conditions. Steelmakers have been forced to offer a small incentive for the fourth month in a row.

Foreign suppliers are taking an increasing share of the H-beam market in South Korea. The country’s steelmakers are urging the government to initiate an anti-dumping investigation into imports from China. Poor sentiment in the building sector, together with high volumes of cheap overseas material, have led to another negative price movement.

Rebar selling figures have slipped, once again. The negative movement has been caused by poor demand from a depressed building sector and highly attractive offers from Chinese suppliers. Forecasters are still predicting improved sales in the coming months.


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



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