Section 232 Creates Boom and Bust in US Steel Prices

While US steel selling values continue to be amongst the highest in the world, domestic steelmakers have lost a large part of the pricing gains they secured in late 2017/early 2018.

It is widely accepted that US steel producers capitalised initially, on the speculation, and then the implementation of strong import protection measures, in March, last year. This enabled domestic mills to pass through a succession of list price hikes with little resistance from buyers. Amid a healthy trading environment, US steel values advanced rapidly.

MEPS contends that the Section 232 measures were the catalyst for the rapid escalation of US steel prices – while playing a leading role in their fall, in the subsequent period.

Domestic scrap-based producers, who were enticed by the rising financial returns, took steps to build new facilities or restart idled capacity. Year-to-date capacity utilisation, in the US, is 81.9 percent, up from 75.6 percent in the equivalent period in 2018. However, in the same timeframe, demand from the automotive industry, notably for passenger cars, and the construction sector, has slowed. This has put negative pressure on local steel selling figures.

Despite existing trade legislation, offshore volumes continue to influence the US steel sector. Significant quantities of foreign material are still entering the country, most notably on the west coast and in the southern states.

The Section 232 measures have, arguably, created a level playing field for foreign, and specifically, new suppliers to target sales in the United States.

A number of political and economic uncertainties exist in the US. The ongoing trade disputes with China and the European Union are doing little to boost market sentiment, amid the expectation of a slowing economy. Cross-border trade with near neighbours, Canada and Mexico, is being adversely affected by the tariffs, despite the recent USMCA deal. Both countries have introduced reciprocal measures against US steel exports. This protectionist climate is likely to continue under the current US administration.

Compared with their global counterparts, US steel prices will remain at elevated levels. This is likely to reduce the competitiveness of US manufacturers, both in local and export markets.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – April 2019

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Continuous caster and secondary metallurgy facilities by Primetals Technologies receive FACs from MMKI

  • Annual production capacity increases to four million metric tons of slabs
  • Project included two-strand slab caster, twin ladle furnace, alloying station and dedusting system
  • Expands product portfolio of MMKI
  • Cross-section heat-pacing solution to coordinate steel production with casting operation
  • Reduction of dust content in cleaned gas

In late March, Ukrainian steel producer PJSC “Ilyich Iron and Steel Works of Mariupol” (MMKI) issued the Final Acceptance Certificates (FACs) for a two-strand continuous slab caster, a twin ladle furnace with an alloying station, and the associated dedusting system, all supplied by Primetals Technologies. The two-strand caster CC4 is designed to produce 2.5 million metric tons of slabs per annum. This increases MMKI’s annual production capacity to around four million metric tons, as well as enhancing and expanding its product portfolio to include, for example, HC, UHC and ULC steels. A level 3 heat-pacing solution coordinates the steel production with the casting operation.

MMKI produces steel with three LD (BOF) converters. A new 150 metric ton twin ladle furnace from Primetals Technologies and the associated alloying station help to set the desired steel grades and the correct casting temperature. Due to an Industry 4.0-ready automation on Level 1 and Level 2, this can be done via pre-selectable process models. A transformer with a rated power of 28 MVA provides the electrical energy for the ladle furnace, enabling a heating rate of 4.5 °C per minute. This heating rate and the guaranteed energy consumption value have been over-fulfilled during start-up.

Primetals Technologies designed a dedusting system to clean the off gases from the ladle metallurgy facility. This improves the environmental situation in the city of Mariupol, where MMKI is located. The dedusting system reduces the dust content in the off gases to a level of 12 mg/m3 (maximum), whereas the Ukrainian standards require up to 50 mg/m3 and the European standards up to 30 mg/m3.

The equipment order for the continuous slab caster covered all the installations from the ladle turret and the tundish car through to the exit zone with its weighing, torch cutting, marking and deburring machines. The caster from Primetals Technologies has a machine radius of nine meters and a metallurgical length of 29.8 meters. It casts slabs with thicknesses of 170 and 250 millimeters in widths ranging from 900 to 1,550 millimeters. The maximum casting speed is 2.2 meters per minute. It processes peritectic and peritectic alloyed steels, low, medium, high and ultra-high carbon grades, as well as medium-carbon alloyed steel. The caster is equipped with automatic LevCon mold level control, a straight, cassette-type Smart Mold with the DynaWidth technology package to automatically adjust the width of the slab online, and the DynaFlex mold oscillator. The strand guide is equipped with Smart Segments and I-Star rollers. DynaGap Soft Reduction, the Dynacs 3D secondary cooling model, and DynaJet nozzles was also installed, making it possible for MMKI to produce a wide variety of high-quality grades with improved interior quality of the slabs.

MMKI is one of the largest iron and steel works in Ukraine. The company produces a wide range of flat products made of carbon, low-alloyed and alloyed steel grades for various applications. These include heavy plates for pipelines, shipbuilding, pressure vessels and the construction industry, as well as hot and cold rolled plates and coils.

Slab caster CC4 from Primetals Technologies at PJSC “Ilyich Iron and Steel Works of Mariupol” (MMKI), Ukraine.

Source: Primetals Technologies

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Primetals Technologies optimizes pickling line-tandem cold mill for Hyundai Steel in just a few weeks

  • After a short refurbishment, all performance tests were successfully completed in just four weeks
  • The capacity of the pickling line-tandem cold mill has been increased to supply an additional strip galvanizing line
  • Prior analysis enabled targeted modernization with reduced investment sums

Primetals Technologies optimized the drive and automation equipment of the pickling line-tandem cold mill (PLTCM) no. 1 at the Dangjin plant of Hyundai Steel, a Korean steel producer, within a short period of time. After a refurbishment phase at the end of 2018, all the agreed proofs of performance for the production of more than 20 different product groups were completed by January in a period of just four weeks. The production capacity of the PLTCM was substantially increased at the same time, which now enables it to supply cold-rolled strip to an additional strip galvanizing line at the Suncheon plant. The refurbishment was preceded by a detailed analysis of the weak points of the entire plant and the development of a targeted refurbishment concept. This increased the production potential of the existing lines and minimized the investments needed for new equipment.

The analysis preceding the refurbishment showed that, instead of replacing the entire drive train, only the drive trains on stands two and three had to be replaced to eliminate the weak points. The available installed reserves of stands one, four and five were utilized and the load optimally redistributed to achieve the required increase in throughput for the complete plant. New transformers and cycloconverters were installed on stands two and three, and new motor and gear units were mounted on the existing foundations. The “Motor Utilization Model – MUM” newly developed by Primetals Technologies was used for the first time to make the maximum possible use of the installed performance reserves of the new and existing stand motors. The load was distributed optimally to adapt it specifically to the product mix and to obtain the best possible dynamic use of the forming forces of the individual stands. The objective was to achieve the maximum degree of forming along the complete line, and to come as near as possible to the load limits of the individual stands.

The continuous power of the new machines is around 36 percent higher and they allow the rolling work to be optimally redistributed in the tandem mill. Some of the low-voltage drives were also replaced. For example, the rollers on the infeed side are now equipped with motors and drives that are up to 50 percent larger in order to deliver the required pulling force at higher speeds. In addition to the renewal of the drive equipment, the technological controls in the basic automation and the Level 2 rolling regulations were modernized. The refurbishment of all parts of the plant was planned in great detail and completed right on schedule within the timeframe of 15 days. It was even possible to hold the first tests of the rolling operation one day earlier than scheduled. The first strip was successfully rolled as planned on December 14, and the plant was brought up to its previous throughput within three days.

All the verifications for more than 20 individual product groups – mainly interstitial free grades and other products for the automotive sector – were completed by the end of the first month. The plant also significantly surpassed the contractually agreed parameters within the first few weeks.

PLTCM no.1 at Hyundai Steel’s Dangjin site now has a capacity of around 1.8 million metric tons per annum. It processes cold steel strip in widths ranging from 600 to 1,800 millimeters. The entry thicknesses can vary between 1.2 and 6 millimeter, and from 0.25 to 3 millimeters on the exit side. The maximum strip speed is 1,400 meters per minute. The line consists of four four-high stands and one six-high rolling stand. Primetals Technologies had equipped the line with process automation back in 2006.

Source: Primetals Technologies, Limited headquartered in London, United Kingdom is a worldwide leading engineering, plant-building and lifecycle services partner for the metals industry. The company offers a complete technology, product and service portfolio that includes integrated electrics, automation and environmental solutions. This covers every step of the iron and steel production chain, extending from the raw materials to the finished product – in addition to the latest rolling solutions for the nonferrous metals sector. Primetals Technologies is a joint venture of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Siemens. Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery (MHMM) – an MHI consolidated group company with equity participation by Hitachi, Ltd. and the IHI Corporation – holds a 51% stake and Siemens a 49% stake in the joint venture. The company employs around 7,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at www.primetals.com.

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Nordic Flat Product Prices Pulled in Opposite Directions in April

Regional mills’ input costs are rising but they are struggling to fill their production capacity. Competitively priced import offers are scarce, while local purchasing activity is, mostly, quite weak. Consequently, the majority of selling values reported are slightly down. The remainder are unchanged, with the expectation of imminent reductions.

Demand for hot rolled coil, in Denmark, is subdued. End-users, in Sweden, are reluctant to pay more and distributors attempted to minimise price rises in their quarterly agreements with producers. Sales volumes remain satisfactory, in Norway, but buyers are becoming hesitant.

Plate-consuming sectors, other than agricultural equipment, in Denmark, are performing well. The prospect of falling inventory values is making buyers cautious. Swedish construction activity is slowing. Plate consumption was down, in Finland, in the first three months of 2019, compared with the year earlier figure. No pickup in demand is detected. Sales tonnages, in Norway, are satisfactory.

Ex-mill delivery lead times, for cold rolled coil, are declining, in Denmark. Asian import offer prices are not much cheaper than locally produced material and, therefore, not very attractive. Sales tonnages are down, slightly, in Sweden. The weak Swedish krona makes mill purchase costs expensive. Coils are readily available, in Norway.

Demand for coated sheet and coil, from the German and Swedish automotive supply chains, remains subdued. Orders from the local building sector, in Denmark, however, are at a reasonable level. Sales of galvanised sheet and coil are fair, in Sweden. Activity, in the Finnish automotive and construction segments, is poor. Demand remains muted, in Norway.

In Sweden, demand, for drawing quality wire rod, is mixed. Customers in several sectors report a slowdown, while others remain busy. The market for mesh quality material is softening. Supply is plentiful. Raw material costs have risen, in Finland, but ex-mill selling values are down. Order volumes, from the automotive industry, are weak.

European producers of medium sections and beams sought price increases, in Denmark, in April, but, eventually, struggled to maintain rollover figures. Demand is on the downward part of the current cycle, in Sweden. Exchange rate fluctuations are affecting local prices. Sales volumes are relatively stable, in Finland, but forecasts suggest a negative trend.

Reinforcing bar demand is quite good, in Denmark. Many new residential building and infrastructure schemes are in progress. Sales tonnages, in Sweden, are similar to those during the same period, twelve months ago. Rapid utilisation of the EC safeguarding quotas could lead to price increases, in Europe. A seasonal pickup in activity is reported, in Finland. Many stockists bought large volumes, from Russia, before the quota tonnage was utilised.

Prior to recent developments in the Brexit negotiations, buyers of merchant bars in Denmark, and elsewhere, reported a reluctance to place orders with UK producers, fearing the application of tariffs, in the event of a “no-deal” outcome. Swedish demand reduced, year-on-year, but is steady, at an acceptable level. Finnish sales tonnages are stable. The local market is heavily influenced by Russian suppliers. Norwegian purchasers report consistent offer prices from Chinese and Russian suppliers, while those from Turkey are rising.

Source: MEPS European Steel Review Supplement

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Uncertainties Plague EU Steel Market – MEPS

Strip mill product basis prices began to stabilise in southern Europe, in April, whilst small downward corrections were noted in the north. Overall demand, in the region, is subdued. Sentiment is poor – badly affected by the ongoing reduction in orders from the automotive sector. Moreover, in many countries, concern exists about Brexit, especially if a ‘no deal’ scenario is the outcome. The general weakness of a number of key European economies, together with local and European elections, in May, are exacerbating the feeling of uncertainty.

The substantial import tonnages that arrived at the start of the year will take time to work through the supply chain. The availability of this material allows buyers to adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards ordering from domestic sources.

In Germany, steel demand remains relatively low, due to the marked slowdown in the auto sector. The typical first quarter restocking process failed to materialise, this year. In the distribution sector, severe competition has developed, as companies try to generate cash by reducing stock levels. Pressure from end-users is forcing them to reject the steelmakers’ price hike proposals, because their margins are already being squeezed. The differential between domestic and import prices is quite narrow.

In France, buyers negotiated limited discounts on their purchases of strip mill products. Business activity is lacklustre, amidst relatively high inventories. Customers note that a number of domestic mills are selling quite aggressively in order to try to fill their production schedules. They anticipate further price declines. Those local service centres dealing primarily with the auto industry are now experiencing a slowdown in volumes. Forecasts suggest a drop of 5 percent, year-on-year, for tonnages sold to the carmakers. Import offers are uncompetitive, currently.

Italian manufacturing business conditions continued to worsen, in March. A rapid downturn in orders led to reduced output. This badly affected the steel market. The recent uptick in strip mill product prices came to a halt, with basis values stabilising or developing marginal weakness. Downstream steel demand is dismal. Service centres are under pressure from end-users, who are reluctant to pay increased resale prices. Buyers are purchasing with extreme caution. Downgraded economic growth forecasts, plus the impending European elections, in May, provide additional uncertainties.

Mainland European mills have plenty of material to sell into the UK market. For the moment, strip mill product selling values have been maintained. Distributors report that demand, with the exception of auto-related sectors, is holding up, despite the uncertainties associated with Brexit. Distributors’ resale margins are tighter than of late but still acceptable.

A lack of activity is noticeable in the Belgian market, in April. Demand from end-users, both large and small, is weak. A number of major service centres are offering promotional resale prices, in order to reduce their inventories. As a result of this negative scenario, the steelmakers, whose order books are poor, have discounted basis values of strip mill products by around €10 per tonne. MEPS notes little influence from imports, which are similarly priced to material from European sources.

Spain’s manufacturing sector returned to growth, during March, albeit only marginally. The steel market is relatively stable, with regional variations between the north and south of the country. Nevertheless, market sentiment is negative, due to the impact that the approaching summer vacation period will have on demand and the unwillingness of end-users to pay increased prices. New import quotations are very similar to those from domestic suppliers. Although service centre sales volumes are better than earlier in the year, resale values do not reflect replacement costs.

Source: MEPS European Steel Review

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MMK Selects Paul Wurth for Modernisation of Blast Furnace Cooling System

As part of its development strategy, PAO “MMK” (Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk region, Russia) will conduct a complete overhaul of its No. 2 blast furnace in 2020. After fundamental renewal and modernisation, the blast furnace will appear as a structure without a lintel ring. In this project, Paul Wurth will help MMK define the profile of the modernised furnace by considering the raw materials base and process conditions of the customer. Detail engineering will be provided for the high-heat loaded bosh and belly areas, cooling elements and primary cooling system. Paul Wurth will also supply horizontally arranged copper cooling plates, highly conductive graphite refractory bricks and ramming mass. A complete set of EIC equipment for the dedicated pump house with heat exchangers and the related cooling circuit will be part of the deliverables. On-site supervision will be performed during pre-shutdown and shutdown periods until commissioning.

Paul Wurth received this order as a result of a tender which was explicitly calling for a system with horizontal cooling elements. The supply contract between Paul Wurth and MMK became effective in the beginning of the current year. A challenging schedule foresees fulfilment of the contract obligations within fifteen months.

At present, MMK’s BF No. 2 is a typical furnace developed by AO “Magnitogorskiy Gipromez” with an inner volume of 1 380 cubic meters, two tapholes and a daily production of 3 800 tons of hot metal. In March 2010, it was equipped with a compact-type BLT®, developed by Paul Wurth. In total, six original Paul Wurth Bell Less Top® charging systems are being operated at MMK’s ironmaking facilities.

Source: Paul Wurth

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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

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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

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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

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SMS Group to Supply New Production Facility For Spiral-Welded Pipes To American Spiralweld Pipe

  • Resource-efficient spiral pipe production

AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe Company LLC. has awarded SMS group an order covering the supply of a new Online Spiral Pipe Mill, to be installed in a new greenfield plant (“Plant 3”) at Paris, Texas, U.S.A.

SMS group will be responsible for the engineering, supply and supervision of erection and commissioning of a coil preparation stand and a spiral pipe machine with submerged-arc welding (PERFECT arc®). SMS group’s PERFECT arc® technology enables energy savings of up to 30 percent compared to competitor plants.

The new spiral-pipe production facility is scheduled to start producing in 2020. Material grades up to X-70 can be processed. The pipes will mainly be produced as water pipes according to AWWA (American Water Works Association) standards. The new line will be designed to make pipes of more than 16 meters (55 feet) length with an outside diameter ranging from 610 to 3,658 millimeters (24 to 144 inches). The maximum wall thickness will be 25.4 millimeters (1.0 inch). The mill will operate in the so-called one-step (“online”) process with submerged-arc welding from the inside and outside taking place directly after spiral pipe forming.

Often the productivity of spiral pipe welding systems is restricted by the welding speeds of submerged arc welding. PERFECT arc® power sources allow an increase in productivity of up to 20 percent, while process stability remains constant. The systems operate with IGBT (Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor) power electronics with fully digital welding current control. No transformers are required. As a result, the welding machines can attain an efficiency rate of over 90 percent. Compared to older welding techniques, significant energy savings (up to 30 percent) are possible, depending on the operating point.

This new plant will enable AMERICAN SpiralWeld Pipe to expand its production by a very high tonnage of spiral-welded steel pipes for the municipal water and wastewater transmission markets, industrial, hydroelectric and power markets including large diameter fabrication for treatment plants and pump stations.

Source: SMS Group

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