No. 1 | March 2020
In focus: Blast furnace closures 2019/20
– taking necessary measures in a slowing market | 24
Artificial Intelligence in steelmaking Prediction of the steelin-tundish temperature | 44
Predictive Maintenance A look into SMS group’s service workshop | 28
Inside & outside tubes – The tubes market in 2020 & Shaping plate for jacket structures and monopiles | 30
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First impressions count: just like the equipment we write about, MPT requires an overhaul from time to time. In time for the 2020s to kick-off, we have a new look, and with new look goes a new direction for the content, which has already become increasingly evident in recent years. Besides hardware – furnaces, rolling mills, coating lines – the role of software has become a decisive factor in steelmaking – in automation, Artificial Intelligence and all that matters in Industry 4.0. Another dominating megatrend is the obligation for steel to become green and to reduce its harmful impact on the environment, a topic which MPT will be sure to cover in the years to come. But besides Industry 4.0 and environmental sustainability, another significant issue has arisen out of the blue. The coronavirus and its consequences for lives, daily life, and business life. As MPT goes to press, many public events in Europe are about to be cancelled – entertainment events, sports events and commercial events. It will be worthwhile for all of us to follow the daily news, while MPT gives a first impression of how the steel industry is affected. And, before I forget: this is also a hello from your friendly new chief editor, Christian Köhl. Colleagues at your company will know me from my work as a correspondent for American Metal Market, Metal Bulletin, the pre-Platts SBB, and from Kallanish Steel over the past twenty years. For nearly as long, I have been familiar with MPT and its significance to the global steel industry. After a team of competent temporary editors compiled the most recent issues of MPT, I am proud to be taking over the managing role at the start of a new decade, and I am looking forward to working with you for the years to come.
Christian Köhl chief editor, MPT International
MPT International / March 2020
d e n o p t pos
Industry prepares for the hazards of the coronavirus
NEWS 8 People, Places & Companies Fives, HYBRIT, Midrex, thyssenkrupp, and more
10 International Industry African Industries, Liberty Steel, Myanmar, Hebei, Severstal, and more
14 Equipment: Orders & Commissionings Dofasco, Shandong, Al Gharbia Pipe Company, Hoa Phat, and more
18 Calendar of Events ECHT, Hannover Messe, AISTech 2020, VDMA Engineering Summit, and more
BUSINESS & POLITICS 2 0 Industry remains calm but wary about
coronavirus MPT has taken a look at the effect on European plantbuilders
21 Coronavirus postpones wire+Tube The international No 1 trade fair duo for the wire and tube industries – the has been postponed to December
22 Ilva: A healing plan for the Italian Patient
Coronavirus postpones wire+Tube
24 Blast furnace closures – Time to idle,
time to blow in MPT addresses some of the issues a steelmaker faces when taking a blast furnace out of operation for economic reasons
27 Germany inclines towards DRI Direct-reduced iron (DRI) technology might be the landmark technology on the farther horizon, managers of German mills said at a conference in February
PROFILE / PREDICTIVE MAINTENANCE 28 Help in times of need SMS group has positioned its service workshop to be flexible and fast
SPECIAL: TUBES 30 Industry outlook: Challenges
for the steel tubes and flanges industry Frank Harms, managing director of the German steel tubes federation, comments
32 Interview: „An opportunity and at the same time a massive risk“ Dirk Bissel, the CEO of Vallourec Germany on the state of the industry and on energy issues
ArcelorMittal in the first week of March struck a new agreement with the Italian government
March 2020 / MPT International
COVER STORY: Now that the wire+Tube fair has been postponed, we decided to keep the tube part of it, with a Special on new products, fabrication, and outlooks from industry executives
A thought for the road by worldsteel’s Edwin Bassin
Tube fabrication: Offshore rigs and wind farms built by Sif Group using plate from Dillinger
34 Fabrication: Pipes don’t come much bigger Offshore rigs and wind farms built by Sif Group using plate from Dillinger
38 New Products Inline quality control for process optimization by Sikora; Combined tube bending for the automotive sector by Schwarze-Robitec; New surface roughness meter at Schoeller Werk; Square and rectangular tubes made with universal set of rolls by Fimi
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT 40 Europe: The Green Deal sets ambitious
targets for the steel industry By 2050, no new greenhouse gases from Europe should be emitted into the atmosphere. The industry is trying to meet the requirements, but at the same time is sceptical about the possibility of achieving success
42 Opinion: One planet, one mission, one future When it comes to nature and environmental protection, Primetals Technologies has a very clear ambition – here set out by its CEO, Saturo Iijima
INDUSTRY 4.0 / ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
47 Noodle.ai and SMS digital launch AI-fueled application for steel The application will help steel companies improve on-spec mechanical properties of advanced steel products to meet highest demands
MILL TECHNOLOGY / STEELMAKING 48 The competitive substitute of
conventional minimills Danieli tells about its Micromill- MI.DA-technology in the production of spooled coils and wire rod, rebars and smooth rounds
OPINION 53 A thought for the road worldsteel’s Edwin Bassin on „Making steel in the 2020s“
COLUMNS 3 Editorial 54 In the next issue / Advertisers’ index / Imprint
44 Application of AI to temperature optimization Smart Steel Technologies (SST) about its SST Temperature Optimization AI, which offers precise temperature models for the whole steelmaking process
MPT International / March 2020
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Fives supports the restoration of the nave of the musée d’Orsay Fives has signeda sponsorship agreement to restore the central nave of the musée d’Orsay. This commitment highlights the Group’s historic ties with the building, whose structure was built by Fives-Lille teams at the end of the 19th century. Built in the late 1890s, the building now home to the musée d’Orsay originally served as the terminus of the Paris-Orléans railway line for 39 years before being transformed into a national museum in 1986 which today welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. The monumental station was designed by architect Victor Laloux based on an enormous metal structure that is 173-m long and 74-m wide. The structure was built using around 12,000 metric tons of steel – a challenge achieved by Fives-Lille and Moisant-Laurent- Savey who were called on for their expertise in mechanical construction. In 2019, the musée d’Orsay initiated a major project to renovate the central nave and its glass tympanum, notably to improve impermeability, which in turn will ensure the durability of the steel structure and vault, and protect the art collections housed in the museum. Once a station, now a museum, which showcases Fives expertise dating back to the 19th century
New chief executive officer at ArcelorMittal Poland As of January, Marc De Pauw has become CEO at ArcelorMittal Poland. Geert Verbeeck, the former CEO after five years of managing Polish steel plants will become a member of the management committee and chief operating officer at ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India. Marc joined the Group in 1991 in the metallurgical department at ArcelorMittal Gent. He then held several positions
during his career path: project engineer, line manager, support manager, head of progress academy and head of coke and energy plant. In 2014, he became head of the transformation office, Flat Products business division South West. In his most recent role, since January 2018, he has been chief operating officer of the primary operations at ArcelorMittal Asturias in Spain.
Eva Vitell appointed HYBRIT’s new managing director
leadership skills and long experience in the energy sector will be a great asset,” says Martin Pei, CTO at SSAB and chairman of HYBRIT Development. HYBRIT Development AB is a joint venture owned by SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall which aims to develop HYBRIT technology from a laboratory scale to a full production scale to enable the world’s first fossil-free iron-ore based steelmaking. By using hydrogen instead of coke and coal for iron ore reduction, will emit water instead of carbon dioxide.
Photos: Musée d’Orsay- Sophie Crepy; thyssenkrupp
HYBRIT Development AB appointed Eva Vitell as the new managing director with effect from 1 February. Eva Vitell previously headed Customer and Market at Vattenfall Distribution, and before that held keading positions at Vattenfall’s Swedish wind power development and at Vattenfall´s Nordic operations. “Eva’s sound experience and ability to combine technological development, business development, economic and ecological sustainability will greatly contribute to the development of HYBRIT. Her strong drive,
March 2020 / MPT International
Midrex creates COO position with KC Woody Midrex Technologies has announced the promotion of KC Woody to chief operating officer. Signaling a more focused commitment to customer service and support, Woody will be actively involved in the integration of the Midrex Operations and Sales & Marketing teams and the activities of the Midrex offices in India, China, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. In making the announcement, Stephen Montague, President & CEO of Midrex Technologies, Inc., said, “To be successful in an ever-evolving
marketplace, we must be able to anticipate and respond to change. The creation of the COO position will allow us to better coordinate our sales & marketing, global services, and plant operations support teams under the leadership of KC Woody.” Woody, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army for more than eight years prior to Midrex. He joined Midrex in 2010, as plant sales manager responsible for commercial activities in Australia and Southeast Asia.
thyssenkrupp Steel: Desai out, Osburg in Bernhard Osburg is the new chairman of the executive board of thyssenkrupp Steel Europe. He succeeds Premal Desai, who stepped down from his position at the end of February. In its statement on the appointment, thyssenkrupp AG confirmed speculations that the separation from Desai is based on differing views on the direction of the steel business. A mutual agreement on the separation was reached. Desai, who has been with the company for many years, was appointed ceo last summer, when Andreas Goss left after tk Steel’s failed merger with Tata Europe. In a period during which the larger thyssenkrupp AG conglomerate is struggling to redefine itself, with steel as a core business, 50-year old Osburg has been chief commercial officer of thyssenkrupp Steel Eu-
rope AG since last year, responsible for sales. In addition, tk Steel has a new chief financial officer in Carsten Evers (55). Premal Desai most recently held this position in addition to his other duties. Evers was previously CFO of the Automotive Technology business of thyssenkrupp AG.
Outokumpu President & CEO Roeland Baan to step down in May Outokumpu’s President & CEO Roeland Baan has informed the company’s Board of Directors that he will resign from Outokumpu later this spring to take a CEO position in a company outside Finland. Baan will continue as the company’s
CEO until May 15, 2020. The search for Mr. Baan’s successor has been underway since last autumn, and the board expects to make a decision well ahead of Mr. Baan’s departure. As MPT went to press, no decision has been announced yet.
Erratum A mix-up of different activities at Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) occurred in our last edition. The skin pass mill DMS SkinPass 4Hi will be supplied by Fives, not Danieli, and looks like this ➞ The picture to that article erroneously showed equipment supplied by Danieli to SDI’s Columbia City works in Indiana, a new billet welder and spooler line producing spooled coils up to 5 tonnes in endless mode.
MPT International / March 2020
Erection of the 457-foot furnace reactor tower for HBI project at Cleveland-Cliffs.
US iron ore producer Cleveland-Cliffs has revealed additional information regarding the status of the company‘s new hot-briquetted iron (HBI) facility under construction in Toledo, Ohio. CEO Lourenco Goncalves confirmed that Cleveland-Cliffs‘ new HBI plant is scheduled to begin production in the first half of the year. The company plans to price its HBI using US pig iron imports as a point of reference, with the goal to eventually replace imports with a US-made product.
WTO: Trade restrictions at historically high levels Trade restrictions by WTO members continue at historically high levels. Between mid-October 2018 and mid-October 2019, the trade coverage of import-restrictive measures implemented by members was estimated at $747 billion. This is the highest trade coverage recorded since October 2012 and represents an increase of 27% compared to the figure recorded in the previous annual overview ($ 588 billion). WTO’s report notes that new trade restrictions and increasing trade tensions added to the uncertainty surrounding in-
ternational trade and the world economy. The main sectors targeted by the new import restrictions were mineral and fuel oils (17.7%), machinery and mechanical appliances (13%), electrical machinery and parts thereof (11.7%) and precious metals (6%).
thyssenkrupp considers sale of plantbuilding activities thyssenkrupp has started testing the waters for a potential sale of its Plant Technology unit. „We have started addressing the market, sending comprehensive information kits to parties interested,“ said CFO Johannes Dietsch at a conference call, noting that the kit requires a declaration of confidentiality from the receiver. Group CEO Martina Merz pointed out that the group is trying several options simultaneaously „We have learned thinking in different scenarios. This may be confusing to observers, but for us the result is best when we ave more than one option, as the successful sale of Elevator Technology has shown,“ she said. The unit builds coking plants for steelmakers, for example for ArcelorMittal’s Tubarão works in Brazil. Other activities are plants and
services for the cement, chemicals and fertiliser industries, as well as materials conveying machinery for the mining industry. In the last fiscal year, it achieved a revenue of €2.8 billion.
Liberty Steel lines up €2 billion in European Liberty Steel has announced plans to invest €2 billion in its Continental Europe business, following its acquisition of the plants last summer. In doing that, the group puts „ a clear focus on carbon neutrality by 2030,” said Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman of Liberty Steel parent GFG Alliance. The expenditure will cover the Romanian unit Liberty Galaţi with a €1 billion investment programme over ten years for major upgrades to its casters, rolling mills and coating lines, as well as plans to install an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) to significantly reduce emissions and its dependency on imported natural resources, the group says. At Ostrava in the Czech Republic, a €750 million 10year investment programme will allow the business to install new hybrid steelmaking technology - a first in Europe – and start a major modernisation of its rolling mills. Liberty also plans a €100m investment at its Liege-Dudelange works,
March 2020 / MPT International
Source: Business Wire
Cleveland-Cliffs details new HBI facility
to improve the quality, performance and output of galvanised steel products.
Swiss group proposes setting up steel plant in Andhra Pradesh Swiss commodity trading group IMR Metallurgical Resources has proposed to invest in the construction of a major steel plant in YSR Kadapa district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. This was disclosed to information service Steelguru by the representatives of IMR Metallurgical who held discussions with the state’s chief minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. The chief minister said that there would be scope for improving industrialisation in YSR Kadapa district once the proposed steel plant comes up and added that the government was ready to provide all the basic infrastructure facilities. The chief minister said Krishnapatnam port, railway connectivity and highways were readily available for transportation purposes.
Hebei plans multi-billiondollars steel projects
The northern Chinese province of Hebei has planned new steel projects worth 65.2 billion yuan ($9.4 billion). According to official government documents, projects to build new steel equipment include the relocation projects of Handan Iron &
Steel, Tianzhu Steel, and Huaxi Special Steel. They also include equipment upgrade schemes for Xinhui Metallurgy, Jingye Steel and Xinji Aosen. Hebei Iron and Steel‘s (HBIS) Laoting base second phase project and Tangshan Yanyang Steel‘s cold rolled sheet project will also start construction this year. Hebei has furthermore established a special financing vehicle worth 50 billion yuan ($7.1 billion) to help get the local economy up and running again after being hit by coronavirus disruptions.
Severstal announces 2020 capital investment programme Severstal plans to invest approximately 110.5 billion rubles in 2020, focusing on the key areas of the Company’s updated strategy as disclosed during its Capital Markets Day in November 2019. However, as previously announced, should the market situation become less favourable, the company maintains the flexibility to reduce the volume by 30-40%, by postponing those projects that are the lowest priority, it says. The most significant projects in 2020 will be the construction of the new blast furnace #3 (expected to commence operations in 2020), the coking battery #11 (to be launched at full capacity in 2022, replacing batteries #8 and #9) and the flat steel production development programme, aimed at improving the company’s product mix.
Celsa begins construction of rolling mill in France Celsa Group has laid the first stone of the new rolling mill to be developed at the Celsa France facilities, located in the municipalities of Coucau and Tarnos, within the new Aquitaine region. The current Boucau-Tarnos steel mill „will go from making steel billets to making finshed products thus increasing its competitiveness and profitability“, says Celsa’s president Francesc Rubiralta. The project will also enable the steelmaker to improve its presence in the French and Benelux markets, he adds. The planned investment for the launch is estimated at around $67 million.
Outokumpu reviews its long products business Outokumpu has initiated a strategic review of business area Long Prodcuts as part of its „process to determine optimal long-term business mix“, the company says in a short statement. For this purpose Outokumpu will investigate multiple options regarding the business area‘s future including opportunities for consolidation within the stainless long products markets. The strategic review is expected to be finalised at some point during the year 2020.
Outokumpu‘s Long Products business area had net sales of 707 million US-Dollars in 2019.
MPT International / March 2020
Aerial view on Nucor Steel Berkeley
US steel producer Nucor has received initial approval for tax breaks by Berkely County Council‘s Committee on Finance for a prospective expansion of $300 million to its local steel operations. The proposed agreement between the county and Nucor would slash the company‘s property tax rate at the facility by 4.5 percentage points from a 10.5 % rate to a reduced rate of 6 %, the newsletter Kallanish Steel reports. It further writes that Berkeley County is currently in competition with three other unnamed Nucor locations for a tentative expansion. The proposed tax agreement includes information about Nucor‘s prospective plan for its Berkley facility, which includes a 250 million US-Dollars investment for equipment upgrades and a 40 million US-Dollars investment for construction. If approved by both parties, the expansion is expected to create an additional 50 jobs at Nucor within a five-year time period.
African Industries to launch integrated steelworks Lagos-based African Industries plans to comission by end-2020 phase 1 of its
prospective direct-reduced iron-based steelworks in Kaduna State. This information comes from a Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission note. The coal-based DRI plant will be fed by iron ore beneficiated and pelletized at the same site. In recent years African Industries has acquired mining leases for iron ore in Kaduna. It expects to mine 5.4 million tonnes/year of the raw material to feed its DRI plant. The firm will also construct a 36MW captive power plant that will generate power from the waste heat recovered from the integrated steelworks. African Industries produces billet, rebar, wire rod, angles, BRC mesh and nails, exporting some output to other West African nations.
US-Steel unveils 2020 spending budget US-Steel (USS) has unveiled the company‘s total capital spending budget for 2020. In a press release USS announced expected spending for the year to be about $875 million. Half of that is slated for strategic investment projects. In an conference call CEO David Burritt said the highest priority for USS is the completion of the second phase of expansion to its jointly owned Big River facility, which is projected for completion later this year. The expansion will cost an es-
timated $1.2 billion and intends to double hot-rolled steel production to 3.3 million short tons per year. Following this, USS will prioritise $175 million in upgrades to the endless casting and rolling equipment at the company‘s Mon Valley facility in Pennsylvania. The project of third highest priority is upgrades to the company‘s hot strip mill in Gary, Indiana, later this year.
Myanmar steelmakers seek investment Myanmar’s finance and industry ministries are searching for foreign investors to revive a local steel mill in Mandalay province, the steel newsletter Kallanish notes. The No. 1 Steel Mill in Myingyan is estimated to have 1.8 million tonnes per year steel capacity from two EAFs. In addition, the No. 2 Steel Mill in Pang Pet is also planning to attract foreign investments. A spokesman from the heavy industrial department says that nearly $53 million will be needed to complete the construction of the mill and then start operations. The government is willing to consider different investment models such as public-private partnership or the possibility of selling some production lines. The two mills were in the middle of a ma-
March 2020 / MPT International
Nucor receives tax breaks for facility expansion
jor upgrade when these projects were cancelled due to a budget review in 2017.
Steel Dynamics acquires Mexican recycler Zimmer
GFG Alliance acquires Adhunik Metaliks to create Greensteel facility
thyssenkrupp specifies investment volume in steel
Steel Dynamics, Inc. (SDI)today announced that as part of its raw material procurement strategy to support its new Texas f lat roll steel mill, the company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the equity interest of Zimmer, S.A. de C.V. („Zimmer“). Zimmer is headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico and operates a ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals recycling business. Zimmer‘s primary operations are comprised of six scrap processing facilities strategically positioned near high-volume industrial scrap sources located throughout Central and Northern Mexico. The company also operates several third-party scrap processing locations. These combined facilities currently ship approximately 500,000 tonnes of scrap annually and have an estimated annual processing capability of approximately 2 million tonnes.
GFG Alliance, the parent group of Liberty Steel, has completed the strategic acquisition of Adhunik Metaliks Ltd (Adhunik) and Zion Steel Ltd (Zion) in cash deal worth $60 million. The transaction marks GFG’s entry into India.– one of the world’s fastest growing steel markets. GFG Alliance says it will introduce its Greensteel model to revive the plants – combining steel recycling with low carbon and renewable power sources – to create a more sustainable, competitive operation serving local markets. Adhunik is an integrated steel plant located at Chadrihariharpur near Rourkela in Odisha. The plant has both blast furnace and Electric Arc Furnace steel making capability with 0.5 million tonnes per annum capacity, and a 34MW captive power plant. Adhunik along with Zion Steel, its associated steel rolling facility, has a combined rolling capacity of 400k tonnes per annum. The sites produce products for the automotive, energy, engineering and oil & gas sectors.
thyssenkrupp AG has come up with tangible figures about the investments it intends in its steel operations. The group plans to spend some €500 million per year on a regular basis, plus an additional €800 million over the next six years, The German conglomerate used to invest €470m per year in its steel division. „The details of the spendings are currently being worked out,“ its CFO Johannes Dietsch said, and emphasised that „each investment is meant to make an operation profitable by itself and independent from others.“ The group has just successfully sold its Elevetor Technology division, a deal from which it will receive €17 billion. It announced that details for internal investment will be revealed in May.
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EQUIPMENT: ORDERS & COMMISSIONINGS
ArcelorMittal Dofasco (AMD) has awarded SMS group the contract to supply a replacement 320-tonne KOBM converter and gear drive for its steel making plant in Hamilton, ON, Canada. The converter at ArcelorMittal Dofasco is considered the largest basic oxygen converter in North America. The project goals are to replace the existing equipment, which is approaching its end of life, with new equipment incorporating the latest technological developments. One featured technology is the unique SMS group electro-hydraulic torque compensator, which is a system that actively reduces the resultant forces generated by highly dynamic bottom blown converters. This will reduce the dynamic loading on the entire system, with resulting increases in availability and life. The complete converter replacement is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021. Automazioni Industriali Capitanio (AIC) has successfully commissioned the major rolling mill automation upgrade project at Gerdau’s plant in Selkirk, Canada. The scope of the project included the complete rolling mill automation starting from the reheating furnace exit until the cooling bed, including the rougher area, pendulum shear, continuous mill composed by 14 stands and 2 start/stop shears, intermediate and dividing shears, a full complete cooling bed entry conveyor, braking slide and cooling bed. Strategical motor drives were also replaced at site together with the automation upgrade to increase the production capacity of the mill. The first part of
Stopper-rod control system at US Steel
the upgrade has been commissioned and the second part of the upgrade is foreseen for the summer 2020 outage. USA
Danieli Centro Cranes will provide two EOT charging cranes with lifting capacity of 310(430)/100/25 short tons to North Star BlueScope Steel, Delta, OH. Danieli is supplying a meltshop project featuring EAF and LF furnaces and fume treatment plant there. The customdesigned cranes will satisfy the local CMAA Specification 70 standards, and foresees a 16-wheel bridge with end truck equalizing configuration. The arrangement of bridge drives is an A4-type with “open” kinematic scheme (motor-gearbox-external brake-wheel).Both cranes will be equipped with a regenerative system that recovers the braking energy of all the movements. The first crane will be fully commissioned by July 2020 in line with the plant erection schedule, and the second crane will be started up by the end of October. After successful installation and commissioning of Danieli mould-level and
stopper-rod control packages on four strands, US Steel proceeds to revamp a third slab caster. At the end of 2016 US Steel entrusted Danieli to replace the stopper-rod control system together with the mould-level control sensors and automation at its Great Lakes Works and Gary Works. Both plants, which operate one double-strand slab caster and two single-strand slab casters (A-Line and B-Line), improved the casting process stability after the installation, the plantbuilder says Hy-Power electrohydraulic stopper actuator to regulate the steel flow, eddy-current double-coil sensor for a precise measurement of the mould level, and Q-Level+ automation package for a fine control of the entire system (picture top). Automazioni Industriali Capitanio (AIC) was chosen by Chicago Heights Steel to perform rolling mill upgrade with electrical and automation (E&A) supply in Chicago Heights (IL, USA) that allows the plant to improve the diagnostics and the flexibility of the automation system, to reduce the time to identify problems and their solutions, to decrease unscheduled downtime and the maintenance cost. The scope of supply includes new drives, automation & HMI control system for the rolling mill, starting rougher group and going through the bars takeout on the cooling beds.
Galvanized coil at Shougang Jingtang
Shougang Jingtang successfully commissioned the new hot-dip galvanizing line supplied by SMS group. The new line is especially equipped to produce high-strength grades with tensile strengths of up to 1,350 MPa. The capacity is 360,000 tonnes per year of
March 2020 / MPT International
Photos: Danieli; SMS group
hot-dip galvanized steel strip, which will be used mainly in the automotive industry to produce structural parts and car body shells for lightweight cars. The first coil was produced on November 13, 2019. Right after the start-up Shougang Jingtang was able to produce 1,000 tonnes of sellable galvanized material. A second campaign of 5,000 tonnes was produced in December 2019. The new hot-dip galvanizing line is the sixth strip processing line SMS group installed for Shougang Jingtang on Caofeidian Island, a man-made island offshore the Chinese province of Hebei. Beihai Chengde Stainless Steel Co. (Beihai Chengde) achieved their full reduction program on their new Power X-HI 3-stand mill on HRAPL#5, exceeding 60 % reduction on 304 grades with white coil process, 55 % on series 200 black coil process. Subsequently, Beihai Chengde awarded Primetals Technologies with the Preliminary Acceptance certificate for the TCM only six months after rolling mill start-up. The 3-stand continuous tandem cold mill (TCM) was supplied to the Beihai plant in Guangxi Province. The rolling mill has a rated capacity of 600,000 tons of cold strip per year and is designed to produce 300 and 200 series steels as white and black coils. It is the first application of a Power X-HI mill for the direct processing of stainless black coils. The new mill relieves the hot rolling mill and allows additional thickness reduction. The mill has been in operation since mid-2019. Shandong Iron & Steel Group Co. Ltd., Rizhao, China, has awarded SMS group the final acceptance certificate, following the successful commissioning of its new continuous caster for ultrawide slabs. The single-strand caster is designed for an annual production of 1.5 million tonnes of steel slabs with widths of up to 3,250 millimeters and a thickness of 150 millimeters. This means the casting machine is able to cast the widest slabs in the world. It processes structural steels, and micro and low-alloy steel grades. Peritectic grades make up more than 45 percent of the overall production output. The slabs are hot charged to the Steckel mill which rolls them down to sheet and hot strip. Shandong Iron & Steel also ordered latest quality-enhancing digitalization solutions for the casting machine. The digital alignment assistant HD LASr (High Definition Laser Aligning System
MPT International / March 2020
News in brief
The first slab produced on the new continuous casting line at Shandong
remote) developed by SMS group guarantees, for example, that the shapes and segments are perfectly aligned. Paul Wurth has been awarded with orders for the supply and engineering of Sopreco Single Oven Pressure Control Systems for two top charging coke oven batteries. They are intended to be part of the new coke making plant of Xiangtan Iron & Steel in Xiangtan, Hunan province, in Central China. Each battery counts 50 coke ovens with a height of 7.3 meters equipped with Sopreco, Paul Wurth’s solution for individual oven pressure control and coke oven battery emission control. This is the second cokemaking technology project for Paul Wurth in China. The contractor Shandong Province Metallurgical Engineering Co. Ltd (SDM), with whom Paul Wurth had concluded a cooperation agreement back in 2013, issued the orders. Based on this cooperation, top charging batteries of Jumbo type have been commissioned at Rizhao Iron & Steel in 2017/18. Guangdong Shaoguan Iron & Steel, a unit of Baosteel group, has selected Friedrich Kocks for the supply of a RSB 370++ /4 in 5.0 design for its 490.000 t/a bar mill line. Shaoguan intends to further expand and strengthen ist share in the SBQ sector for high quality engineering steels for the automotive industry. The RSB 370++/4 will produce straight bars step less in a range between Ø 17 to 80mm with a very close tolerance level and excellent surface onto the cooling bed. The RSB 5.0 will be located as a finishing unit after the roughing and intermediate mill, consisting of 20 stands in H/V arrangement. Further Kocks scope of supply is a roll shop for offline stand and guide preparation as well as supervision for erection and commissioning. The start-up of the new RSB® is scheduled for 2021.
Hilco Industrial Acquisitions has purchased the rebar mill from Posco SS Vina, Vietnam, which was delivered by Danieli in 2015. It consists of a walking beam furnace, 18 roll stands and cold plate shears. The Vietnamese company intends to concentrate its remaining section mill on the manufacture of section products such as H-beams in the future. In December last year it was announced that the Japanese Yamato Kogyo Group had acquired a 49 percent stake in Posco SS Vina. Primetals Technologies has received the Final Acceptance Certificate (FAC) for the modernized rolling mill for long products at JSW Steel Ltd. in Salem, India. The core of the modernization project was the new reversing roughing group with Red Ring stands, which enables to increase the size of the blooms to be processed to 220 mm. This consequently enables to extend the range of rolled products, both in terms of size and grade. With a high rigidity, the Red Ring stands also improve the rolling quality, with consequent reduction of defects and increase of metallic yield. Automazioni Industriali Capitanio (AIC) was contracted to perform the revamping of the reheating furnace Level 1 combustion control system for the CMC Steel Florida mill in Jacksonville. One of the targets of this project is to reduce gas consumption and scale at the reheating furnace area. UHT has received an order for a Granshot metal granulation unit to voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl. The granulation unit will be integrated in voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl’s new special steel plant project in Kapfenberg, Austria. Granshot metal granulation converts liquid metal into granules by rapid solidification in water. UHT will deliver a complete plant, including process engineering and automation.
EQUIPMENT: ORDERS & COMMISSIONINGS
Primetals Technologies has commissioned a new Level 2 system at Jindal Stainless on AOD converter No. 1. Initia experiences in operation have shown that production processes would now be much more stable. The core of this level 2 process automation is a dynamic process model, which should enable both a preliminary calculation and an online simulation of the process. According to Primetals, errors could be avoided by pre-calculating the casts, as the feed materials can be prepared in good time. A further advantage of the modernization would also be a „Digital Twin“ through which all important process data would be collected. This data can then be used for further optimization or new development. JAPAN
The Techint-subsidiary Tenova was awarded a contract for the supply of a Consteel EAF (Electric Arc Furnace) for Nippon Steel Corporation. This new EAF is the first one for the Nippon Steel Group in Japan - and it will be installed at their Hirohata works. Production is targeted to start in the first half of the 2022 financial year. With this new installation, Hirohata plant wants to save about 400,000 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions. According to Tenova, its exclusive Consteel technology is the only fully proven industrial process that continuously heats and feeds metallic charge into the EAF, while simultaneously keeping gaseous emissions under control. SOUTH KOREA
Andritz has received an order from South Korean Hyundai Steel for the supply of process equipment for Furna-
Model of an Andritz Selas Direct Fired Furnace (DFF)
ce 1 in the continuous galvanizing line at the Dangjin mill. The so-called „Selas DFF“ (Direct Fired Furnace) will eliminate current problems such as soot formation and cracks in the burner nozzle. The order also includes the engineering, supervision and commissioning. The project is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of the year. TAIWAN
China Steel Machinery Company (CSMC), a subsidiary of Taiwanese steel producer China Steel Corporation (CSC) has placed an order with Primetals Technologies to supply staves for its blast furnace 2 at the company’s Kaohsiung plant. The new staves are part of the third rebuild of blast furnace 2. The aim is to extend the furnace´s lifetime by a further 18 years. In future, five out of six blast furnaces operated by CSC and their subsidiary Dragon Steel will operate with equipment from Primetals Technologies. Final delivery is expected for end of June 2020. VIETNAM
On 25 November 2019, Dung Quat Blast Furnace #2 was successfully blown-in by Hoa Phat Steel. This is the second of four greenfield Danieli Corus Blast Furnaces that are being built under a single contract signed in Summer of 2017. Blast Furnace #1 was blown-in on 29 June 2019 – within 24 months after contract signature. Each of the four furnaces will have a 1,080m³ working volume, and each is designed for an annual production of 1 million tons. The first two furnaces are in operation and Blast Furnace #3 and #4 are clearly distinguishable in the Dung Quat skyline. These furnaces will be commissioned within 2020. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Al Gharbia Pipe Company has successfully taken into operation its new LSAW (Longitudinal Submerged Arc Welded) pipe plant. The new LSAW large-diameter pipe production facility was built at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), by a consortium of Larsen & Toubro Limited and SMS group as the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) partner. The plant is designed for a production capacity of 240,000 tonnes per year. The pipes to be produced on the LSAW facility supplied by SMS group, will mainly come in grades suitable for use as onshore & offshore line pipes, including
LSAW large-diameter pipe mill at Al Gharbia Pipe Company
sour-gas applications. Al Gharbia is going to produce up to 12.2-meter-long pipes with outside diameters ranging from 18 to 56 inches. The maximum wall thickness is 44.5 millimeters; steel plates up to grade X80 can be processed.
The Australian company Grange Resources recently replaced its belt conveyor at its Port Latte pellet plant with a steel plate conveyor from Aumund. According to the German conveyor engineers, this is designed for hot material (KZB-H) of up to 1,000 °C. This should enable the hot iron ore pellets to be transported continuously and troublefree from the shaft furnace to the cooler. Grange Resources intends to use this measure to avoid regular plant shutdowns. These were unavoidable because the belts of the old plant had to be replaced approximately every 40 days. This also increased production costs. Commissioning is expected to take place in May of this year.
Danieli Automation has completed the upgrade of the 35-t AC EAF at AFCAcciaierie Fonderie Cividale, Italy. The AC electric arc furnace is now powered by Q-ONE, a Danieli-patented system based on Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) power electronic technology. Two Q-ONE modules sized 12.5 kA each for a total power of 15MVA have been installed. Thanks to the newly installed technology, arc stability was improved considerably, generating improvements in the overall melting process that, though preliminary, showed an initial saving of 5-10% energy consumption and up to 25% power-on time reduction, while the expected 20% electrode consumption reduction will require more heats to be confirmed.
March 2020 / MPT International
Photos: SMS group; SusanneLindholm
Feralpi Siderurgica has contracted Automazioni Industriali Capitanio (AIC) to perform a coil-handling upgrade at wire rod rolling mill in Lonato, Italy. Besides a complete revamping of the wire rod finishing area with electrical and automation (E&A) supply from laying head exit to coil management, the scope of the project also includes a new coil lowering station and the extension of the coil handling area with a new trimming machine designed according to an upgraded continuous process due to the installation of a new welder machine. RUSSIA
No. 6 Blast Furnace at NLMK’s main site in Lipetsk, Russia, has been completely rebuilt during a furnace outage stretching from May until October. NLMK’s order awarded to Paul Wurth foresaw engineering, supply of equipment and site supervision related to the complete rebuild of BF6’s central unit, i.e. the blast furnace proper and directly attached systems and equipment. Paul Wurth’s scope of supply comprised the blast furnace shell, hearth lining with super-microporous carbon and ceramic cup, all other refractories, all cooling elements (copper and cast iron staves, copper cooling boxes, tuyeres and tuyere coolers), low energy tuyere stocks and a completely new bustle pipe. The original Bell Less Top, Paul Wurth’s first ever reference in the former Soviet Union and in operation since 1978, has been replaced completely by a new, state-of-the-art parallel-hopper type system (60 m3 hopper volume) including the pressure equalizing and bleeder valves (picture top right). Tenova LOI Thermprocess was recently awarded an order from the JCS Pervouralsk Pipe Plant, Russia, for the delivery and installation of a continuous roller hearth system for stainless steel pipe. This extremely flexible furnace type is characterized by uniform heating, a definable holding time and subsequent material-specific cooling. The high temperature uniformity and the low energy consumption of these systems ensure reproducible processes, which can be precisely adapted to the desired heat treatment of the material. The drive sections can be optimally matched to the respective annealing process. The heat treatment system for the JSC Pervouralsk Pipe Plant is designed as a roller hearth furnace for the bright annealing of 2,000 kg/h of austenitic stainless steel and nickel-based al-
MPT International / March 2020
NLMK’s blast furnace 6 after complete relining
loy pipes. The solution annealing of these high-alloy steel grades is carried out in the temperature range of max. 1,100 °C to 1,200 °C. The tubes are heat-treated in this continuously operating roller hearth system using a 100% hydrogen atmosphere as process gas. SWEDEN
ABB has been commissioned to supply a complete package for the automation and electrification of the HYBRIT pilot plant in Luleå, northern Sweden. The acronym of the so-called „Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology“ is a project to reduce CO2-emissions in the steel industry by replacing the use of coal within the production process with hydrogen. With this initiative, the companies SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall have set themselves the goal of reducing Sweden‘s total carbon dioxide emissions by ten percent. To maximize the energy efficiency of the pilot plant, ABB will supply dry-insulated Resibloc transformers, which ABB claims have a low environmental impact. The company is also integrating its ABB Ability system, including a software simulation so-
The HYBRIT pilot plant in Luleå, northern Sweden
lution. This will allow users to learn and test processes in a safe offline environment, ABB says. This will enable rapid commissioning afterwards. SPAIN
For Acerinox Europa in Cádiz, Spain, SMS group has successfully commissioned a torque retainer for the 120-ton AOD converter no. 2. The customer issued the final acceptance certificate shortly thereafter. The aim of the revamp, which was to minimize the destructive forces on the gear unit, bearings, and foundation when operating the AOD converter, was fully achieved in every respect. In addition, the use of the new electrohydraulic torque retainer has significantly reduced uncontrolled vibrations in the gear unit and the converter vessel. The target values in terms of reducing torque were achieved under production conditions shortly after commissioning. SMS group supplied the torque retainer as a compact electrohydraulic unit. UKRAINE
ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih began hot tests of its new twin ladle furnace and continuous casting machine No. 2 (CCM2). In parallel, the company is bringing continuous casting machine No. 3 (CCM3) to design capacity. The construction of two new twin ladle furnace and CCM2, 3 with a total design capacity of 2.8 million tonnes per year is one of the key investment projects of the company. Its cost is over $160 million. The supplier of main technological equipment for construction of CCM-2 and 3 is SMS group. Overall, over 25 big international companies have become the suppliers of equipment, including Siemens, Weihua and Borthhold. Over a dozen different local contractors participated in this large-scale construction project.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
ECHT 2020 25-27 March 2020 Antwerp, Belgium The 2020 edition of ECHT will bring the focus back on carbon as an essential element. Its role is well established in the treatment of steel as well as in the treatment of tools and for
ers a wide range of technologies and is a one-stop-shop for those looking to get an overview of the UK’s manufacturing landscape. MACH is renowned for attracting the industry’s top companies, not only to exhibit but to provide an audience with real buying power - over £200 million in business was generated at the last exhibition in 2018. www.machexhibition.com
obtaining special properties under specific conditions. The technological and environmental evolution put new challenges for the further development. The conference will address all aspects of carburizing and carbonitriding, from structural process conditions to properties and applications, including modelling and simulation. Sessions will also be dedicated to carbon-based surface engineering methods including DLC coatings and graphene-based treatments. www.a3ts.org/echt2020/
MECSPE 26-28 March 2020 Parma, Italy MECSPE. Training, youth and sustainability are key words for the future of the manufacturing industry. These increasingly popular topics among entrepreneurs are at the heart of MECSPE, the place of innovation and reference to the Italian and international Industrial Plan 4.0 at the next edition of the fair at Fiere di Parma, 28 to 30 March. www.mecspe.com
MACH 2020 20-24 April 2020 Birmingham, UK MACH 2020 is the UK’s largest manufacturing technology exhibition. It cov-
today’s global market. AISTech is an event for anyone involved at any level of today’s steel marketplace, providing perspective on the technology and engineering expertise necessary to power a sustainable steel industry. Whether you present, attend or exhibit, take advantage of this opportunity to network with industry peers and discover ways to improve your productivity. www.aist.org
27-29 April 2020
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
20-24 April 2020
The Eurocoke Summit brings a growing group of key decision makers from the coke, coal and steel industries to network and get up-to-speed on the latest technologies, processes and hot issues. The 16th edition of Eurocoke will see over 280 industry professionals participating. Attendees will access key learnings around the global outlook for coke, coal and steel, increasing profitability through plant operations and maintenance, developments in India, index pricing and what’s new in industry. www.metcokemarkets.com
NASCC 22-24 April 2020 Atlanta, Georgia, USA NASCC: The Steel Conference is the premier educational and networking event for the structural steel industry, bringing together structural engineers, structural steel fabricators, erectors, detailers, and architects. The Steel Conference offers nearly 250 sessions on topics ranging from “Lions, and Tigers, and Bearings, Oh My” to “The Stability Game Show - 2nd Edition” to “The World’s First Metal 3D Printed Bridge.” https://www.aisc.org/nascc
AISTech 2020 4-7 May 2020 Cleveland, Ohio, USA AISTech 2020 — Steel’s premier technology event in the USA will be held at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. This event will feature technologies from all over the world that help steel producers to compete more effectively in
Hanover, Germany Predictive maintenance is a major focus theme at this year’s Hannover Messe. Many of the show’s exhibitors are pro-
viders of AI-powered software solutions that predict faults and prevent costly unplanned shutdowns in connected manufacturing plants and systems. www.hannovermesse.de/en/
Engineering Summit 23-24 June 2020 Wiesbaden, Germany The Engineering Summit of Germany’s mechanical engineering association VDMA is the unique discussion forum for managers of German and European industrial plant construction, operators and suppliers. This event offers the opportunity to discuss the technological future perspectives of the global large industrial plant manufacuring sector. Topics inlcude Globalization trends in plant construction, Modularization and standardization, Digitalization / Industry 4.0 in plant construction, Service concepts in large-scale plant construction, and New business models. www.engineering-summit.de
March 2020 / MPT International
Sources: Shutterstock; Hannover Messe
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Industry remains calm but wary about coronavirus What started as a primarily Chinese problem has quickly spread along the paths of globalisation. It affects Chinese companies’ production in other countries, just as it affects the activities of European companies in China.
Danieli took timely measures in protection of its site in the Changshu Industrial Zone. After some weeks of closure—partly due to the Chinese New Year celebrations—it recommenced operation. Its precautions involve a daily body temperature check, disinfection of workshop and office space, and distribution of materials like protection suits, antiseptic cotton and masks.
applied for early reopening to the Changshu Industrial Zone Government. It got the approval under strict requested measures to reopen the production on 10 February. “Fortunately, and thanks to our committed employees, we were able to contain suspensions and delay to a minor consequence to our customers and us, and the local government from Changshu recognised our safety measures and
collaboration,” said Martino Francois David, CEO of Danieli China. Due to the employee quarantine period, Danieli China resumed work at some 50% of capacity and expects to be back at 100% in the second half of March. According to Martino, production at most customers’ keeps going. In the meantime, meetings with customers are done by conference calls, as it is difficult to travel.
March 2020 / MPT International
Source: Danieli China
o far, there is no comprehensive data in terms of real figures to what extent China’s steelmaking and steel processing industries are hit, and the impact has been spreading further in many sectors. In February, for example, the FCA confirmed that it had halted production at its car plant in Serbia due to the lack of some components from China. It was the first direct impact on car-making in Europe after which similar moves were announced by other companies in Asia. MPT has looked at the effect on European plant builders, which have a considerable share of their business in China. Germany’s Kocks, which specialises in rolling equipment for SBQ products, for example, stated in February that it had brought some of its China-based German staff home from China. Tenova does not give details but states that “Our first thought was for our people, in China and around the world. We immediately implemented measures and procedures to guarantee them the highest safety and security, as well as the fulfilment of our contractual duties, in the interest of our customers.” More details came from Danieli, which closed its leading site in China for an additional week after the Chinese New Year holiday. During that week, white collars worked from home, and the company
Relax, it’s Venti.
wire + Tube postponed due to coronavirus
d e n o p t pos After the first cases of coronavirus infections occurred in Germany, Messe Düsseldorf GmbH postponed wire + Tube, the international trade fair duo for the wire, cable, tube and pipe industries. In close coordination with all partners involved, 7 to 11 December has been chosen as the alternative date.
e are following the recommendation of the German government’s crisis management,” Messe Düsseldorf says in a statement. The trade fair organisers assessed the situation based on the recommendation and the recent significant increase in the number of infected persons throughout Europe. The company cites the uncertainty of numerous exhibitors and visitors of the events and the complicated travel situation, especially for international customers.
We protect against corrosion.
A word from the Lord Mayor “This decision was not an easy one for all concerned,” says Thomas Geisel, Lord Mayor of Düsseldorf and chairman of the supervisory board of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. “But given the increasingly dynamic developments, postponement is necessary to ensure the safety of Messe Düsseldorf and its customers.” Initially scheduled for 30 March to 3 April 2020, some 2,600 exhibitors were registered to be at the “trade fair heavyweights” for the wire and tube industries, on a net space of over 118,000 square metres in 16 exhibition halls. The new multi-purpose Hall 1, which holds up to 10,000 people, was ready to offer Tube exhibitors new presentation options. WTT Expo, a trade show for industrial heat recovery, heat exchangers, and heat transfer technology systems, was also supposed to be part of the wire + Tube.
METAV also cancelled Messe Düsseldorf also postponed some of its other trade fairs: ProWein, Beauty, Top Hair and Energy Storage Europe. Another steel-related trade fair scheduled for Düsseldorf in March and now cancelled is METAV, the exhibition for metalworking technologies, organised by the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW). For the wire+Tube, a solution was announced shortly before MPT went to press. The fair duo will take place from 7 to 11 December 2020. Visitor tickets already purchased will remain valid for the new date. On the respective websites, readers will find up-to-date information on the list of exhibitors and the ticket shop, along with answers to all other relevant questions.
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The operation of the technically obsolete Ilva steelworks is running in the background. The Tamburi workers‘ quarter, in the foreground, is one of the most polluted quarters of Taranto.
A healing plan for the Italian patient The struggle to save the Italian works known as Ilva eventually has come to a promising result. ArcelorMittal, which has been the owner of Europe‘s largest steelmaking site, and some months ago threatened to waive its ownership, in the first week of March struck a new agreement with the Italian government. AUTHOR: Niklas Reiprich
ArcelorMittal‘s employees point towards the ongoing work of the group on a roofing of the Ilva coal and iron ore dumps. The group has invested 300 million euros in this measure.
trial plan for Ilva, which involves investment in lower-carbon steelmaking technologies. The core is the construction of a DRI facility to be funded and operated by third-party investors and an EAF to be constructed by AM InvestCo. Also, the European Green Deal, which the European Commission pre-
sented at the end of last year, offers the Italian state the opportunity to demand up to EUR 4 billion for the ecological rehabilitation of the heavily polluting Ilva steelworks. This was confirmed by David Sassoli, the Italian president of the European Parliament. The support could further ac-
March 2020 / MPT International
Sources: MikeDotta/Shutterstock; ; ArcelorMittal
n 4 March, ArcelorMittal announced that its Italian unit, AM InvestCo, and the Ilva commissioners signed an amendment to the original lease and purchase agreement for the steelworks. This now outlines the terms for significant investment by Italian state-sponsored entities into AM InvestCo, thereby forming the basis for an important new partnership between ArcelorMittal and the Italian government. The equity investment by the Italian government in Ilva, to be executed by 30 November 2020, will be at least equal to AM InvestCo‘s remaining liabilities against the original purchase price for Ilva, says ArcelorMittal in a press release. The Amendment Agreement between ArcelorMittal and the Italian government is structured around a new indus-
celerate the investment of the Italian state in the company, in partnership with ArcelorMittal.
Long chain of problems The relationship between the Ilva steelworks, the Italian government and European steelmaker ArcelorMittal has been a subject of much debate. In 2018, the ArcelorMittal won a tender procedure by the Italian government for Ilva and subsequently announced its intention to take over the unprofitable steelworks with around 10,000 employees. Including the purchase price, EUR 4.2 billion were to be invested. MPT International already summarised the concrete measures ArcelorMittal has lined up in issue 06/2019. Among them was the enclosing of the raw materials yard, the transformation of the environmental performance of the coke batteries, a modernisation of the sinter plant and proper rainwater runoff. At the beginning of November last year, ArcelorMittal paused and announced its intention to withdraw from Ilva. This was met with strong protest from the Italian government, and both parties decided to make another attempt to save the troubled plant. First details about the plan involved the ramp-up of production from the 6 million tonnes per year suggested by ArcelorMittal, to 8 million tonnes per year. However, for this purpose—and in favour of the high investments—the group projected to cut almost 4,700 jobs at the Ilva plant over the next three years. This was not acceptable to the Italian authorities.
Job security vs environmental protection Ilva’s employees and trade unionists in Taranto demonstrated their rejection of the extensive plans for job cuts and went on strike shortly afterwards. Ilva is considered the largest employer in the region, and around 15,000 families would be affected by a shutdown. But these same families also complain about the devastating environmental impact of Ilva. For decades, black coal dust and the red dust of the iron ore dumps trickle down on the residential areas of Taranto. Especially residents of the nearby Tamburi workers’ quarter have for years been demanding a clean-up of the works. This environmental disaster has brought many managers and politicians to court in the past, according to a short study by the European Parliament.
The story behind Ilva The Ilva steelworks was opened in 1965 by a state-controlled company, which was temporarily known as Italsider. Ilva was built in the southern Italian city of Taranto, located in the Apulia region of Italy, with almost 200,000 inhabitants. The fact that a large, emission-intensive industrial site was built near residential areas is attributed to the industrial development model prevailing at the time. In 1995, the plant was sold to Riva, a privately-owned Italian steel company. Due to massive environmental violations, a receiver was appointed by government decree in June 2013 to clean up the plant in Taranto. In the same month, the company was split organisationally into Ilva SpA and Riva Forni Elettrici SpA. The receivership has continued until this day.
The idled blast furnace at ArcelorMittal Krakow is about to be restarted to fill in for a reline at ArcelorMittal Gent
Blast furnace closures – Time to idle, time to blow in Last year has seen the idling of many blast furnaces in various parts of the world. In addition to the temporary shutdowns for scheduled maintenance/relining, many more were taken out of operation for economic reasons. AUTHOR: Christian Köhl
he decision to idle a blast furnace in times of slackening demand is not an easy one. Blast furnaces are made to run, best at full capacity. Any interruption causes technical costs that can be higher than the loss of production and sales. And it is always a delicate decision for the people in charge. Have we assessed the market properly? Is there no alternative? Will the economic lull last long enough to justify a stoppage? Why should we when others don’t? Then there are the technical challenges of shutting down and restarting at a later date, both serious interferences of plant operation. In this article, we address some of these issues.
Insufficient data It is by no means clear how many blast furnaces have been idled as a measure
in a bad market. Worldsteelorg, for example, does not collect that kind of data, citing antitrust reasons. The most complete data is available in Europe is by Eurofer. In North and South America, there is some data by AISI and Alacero, but not necessarily the full picture. In Asia, it is virtually impossible to obtain an authoritative impression that’s comprehensive and satisfactory. ArcelorMittal, for example, is relatively open about its closures, but still refrains from giving the full picture. “The last formal disclosure we made on blast furnaces was when we announced our Q3 results, in November 2019. At the time, we said that for Q4 2019, we would operate 41 out of 51 blast furnaces worldwide,” its statement reads. The company refrains from giving details on individual projects, like a reli-
ning at Gent in Belgium, which is supposed to be taken off-stream for some time at some point this year, but when is not quite clear yet. One of few announcements made public in Asia came from Nippon Steel Nisshin. According to a press release, the company decided “to bank”* its no. 2 blast furnace at the Kure Works around mid-February 2020. Two blast furnaces have been operating at a low capacity after a fire accident at the Kure Works in August 2019, which, together with the deteriorating demand for steel, caused for the company to decide to put a blast furnace on pause. (*The company defines “banking” as measures to temporarily stop blast furnace production but make it possible to restart production at a later date by stopping the air blast f low.)
March 2020 / MPT International
Plants that had blast furnaces idled for economic reasons: (List is subject to change; closures may have been temporary) Europe • ArcelorMittal Krakow, Poland • ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine • ArcelorMittal Bremen, Germany • ArcelorMittal Taranto (possibly delayed) • Salzgitter AG, Germany
• Liberty Ostrava, Czech Republic • Acciaierie Bertoli Safau (ABS) in Sisak, Croatia • ArcelorMittal Dunkirk • U.S. Steel Kosice, Slovakia • SSAB Raahe, Finland • SSAB Oxelösund, Sweden North America • U.S. Steel at Gary Works, Indiana • U.S. Steel at Great Lakes Works in Michigan
• AK Steel in Ashland, Kentucky • ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbour West Latin America • Altos Hornos de México (Ahmsa) • ArcelorMittal Tubarão, Brazil (+ possibly one or two other companies in Brazil) Africa • ArcelorMittal South Africa in Vanderbijlpark
EU Steel Industry Situation
Source: Company and press announcements
Economic and technical challenges of idling and restarting a blast furnace (BF) A brief look at what to keep in mind when deciding. By Aurelio Braconi, senior manager Circular Economy & Raw Materials at Eurofer.
t’s not easy with blast furnaces (BFs), as even only reducing the production means to modify the thermal profiles. To stop a BF, you need to gradually reduce volumes, the daily output of hot metal and then give the BF time to
adjust. This requires three months. The bricks in the BF need time to cool down gradually. They are a critical part of this process. If the process goes even a little bit too fast, it can cause damages to the bricks, and the equipment attached. From the outside, a BF is like a big pot. You have an internal layer, the cooling system elements, and a water flow to control the temperature. Changing volumes must happen gradually.
Thermal shock produces different responses It is a challenge to keep the thermodynamic parameters. Hot metal causes reactions. All changes to the equilibrium affect the BF. The thermal shock produces different responses in different materials that change their volumes differently, thus creating internal forces/stresses in the materials that can break. There are varying opinions on the matter, but I firmly believe that if you want to do
it right, it takes three months. I have heard stories of it being done in only a few weeks, but I have serious doubts they are true. When the BF is off, we remove all bricks. It’s an opportunity to upgrade the cooling system, install new instruments and then reline all the bricks. It takes a lot of money and time. Replacing all the bricks would cost 100 million euros or more, it depends on the dimensions of the furnace—the composition, geometry. After relining, 20 years or more is added to the service life.
A delicate decision Switching off a BF is a delicate decision for a company. The market is never really stable, but you need a very comfortable market to have enough confidence. It is more efficient to have a BOF running at full capacity. Ideally, a company has 3 BFs—2 running, 1 off. In thermodynamic terms, this is the most efficient method. Taranto used to have 4 BFs, with 2 running. Piombino and Trieste have a troubled past, and they show that restarting a BF is not easy; you need investors (money) and the right conditions. Even projects for converting a BF site into an EAF (see Piombino) appear to be a complicated process. A BF is a perfect reactor with a configuration. You have the best performance if running at full capacity. One message
Aurelio Braconi, senior manager Circular Economy & Raw Materials at Eurofer
is: Guys, a BF is not an EAF. Keep in mind; it is very capital-intensive. It needs to run at full capacity. Some mills in the past kept the BF running, only to produce more ferrous slag as a by-product.
Would Europe be better off with more EAFs, rather than BFs? BFs deliver the highest quality steel for most demanding applications—even more
for crash impact, energy absorption. The more perfection you expect from steel, the more you must use the oxygen route. It’s a good theory having all steel come from EAFs, but in practice, there are limitations to the quality of ferrous scrap as used in EAFs. It is not clean enough. It’s perfect for long products and applications that are not very demanding in terms of steel cleanness. But certain special qualities can only be achieved with a BF. You do get some clean scrap from industry, but the largest amount is from society with the waste you need separate. There is more production from EAFs in the US, where the scrap comes mainly from pre-consumer, from production. Essentially, they buy clean scrap from stamping car sheet, for example, and they charge a lot of prereduced iron. If we did that in the EU, we would need to consider the higher price for reducing gas. One alternative is DRI / HBI. We can do it in the EU, but is our structure ready for this in terms of energy availability, etc.? If so, companies may give it a thought. The US has cheap shale gas, and some US steelmakers have DRI installed abroad and import it. DRI and HBI can be a solution, but infrastructure and investments are needed before this type of transition can take place.
How to deal with the salamander BFs are big shaft reactors (~3000 m3 internal volume). They are full with solid and liquid materials during normal operation. Burden and liquid descend, while gas ascends. The lower part of the BF that collects the molten hot metal is the hearth. BFs are equipped with tapholes to extract the liquid from the inside of the hearth in normal operation. The tapholes are placed around two meters above the bottom of the hearth. The room between the tapholes and the bottom of the hearth remains filled with molten hot metal. This is called the salamander. • If the stoppage is long, the salamander will solidify. • In a later stage, during blow in, it will gradually expand while heating-up. • This termal expansión (=dilatation) can crack the refractory blocks of the internal hearth linning. • Therefore, ArcelorMittal practise consists in extracting the salamander in case of long stoppages. A special salamander drill at the bottom of the hearth has to be carried out, in order to evacuate the liquid hot metal. Information & pictures: ArcelorMittal
The physical shape of a blast furnace
The salamander drill
Gas ascension Hot blast
BFs are big shaft reactors (~3000 m3 internal volume). They are full with solid and liquid materials during normal operation. Burden and liquid descend, while gas ascends.
special salamander drill
A special salamander drill at the bottom of the hearth has to be carried out, in order to evacuate the liquid hot metal.
March 2020 / MPT International
Germany inclines towards DRI The temporary closure of many blast furnaces comes at a time that public concern about CO2 emissions has reached a peak and steel companies are forced to make moves towards cleaner steel. On the way there, direct-reduced iron (DRI) technology might be the landmark technology on the farther horizon, managers of German mills said at a conference in February. AUTHOR: Christian Köhl
Photo: Uta Wagner / Euroforum Deutschland GmbH
t the “Zukunft Stahl” conference organised by business daily Handelsblatt in association with organiser Euroforum in Düsseldorf, Germany, the heads of thyssenkrupp Steel and Saarstahl/Dillinger presented their visions on how to address the requirements of the EU’s Green Deal. “We need to get away from the blast furnace route to meet the political targets,” said Tim Hartmann, joint CEO of Saarstahl/Dillinger Hütte, and cautiously suggested DRI as a possible alternative. Premal Desai, the outgoing CEO of thyssenkrupp Steel, was more outspoken on the matter. “We will have to convert to DRI, and we are already telling our staff that our works’ skyline will look similar from the (autobahn) A 42.” The statements were remarkable, given that they come from some of the major oxygen-route mill operators in Germany. thyssenkrupp Steel recently started employing hydrogen in the blast furnace process, but even when fully implemented it will only achieve a CO2 reduction of max. 20%, Desai said. “I am very happy to hear that DRI is emerging as such a desirable topic today,” said Uwe Braun, CEO of ArcelorMittal Hamburg, also a speaker at the conference. The mill was the second DRI plant in the world when started in 1970 and is still the only one in Europe. Last year, ArcelorMittal started a major project to convert the mill’s gas feed to hydrogen generated with power from renewable sources.
Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann,
Tim Hartmann, joint CEO of
CEO of Salzgitter AG
CEO Tata Steel Europe
Steel needs politics and PR In a panel round, the participants highlighted the need for winning the favour of politics and public opinion. The quality of steel as a material cannot be denied, and the steel industry is a sector that is used to research & development, and where trendsetting innovations take place, Saarstahl’s Hartmann said. “We are helping politics to be credible,” he claimed. thyssenkrupp Steel’s Premal Desai pointed out that unlike the coal industry, steel has an undisputed future. “There will be no de-steelisation,” he said. However, steelmakers will need political and public support to bear with the efforts of decarbonisation. “The farmers have given us an example of how to turn the public opinion,” said Hartmann, referring to a rally of German farmers in Berlin. “This is the new way of making politics,” he said. One example to be highlighted was that one-quarter of Dil-
linger’s plate output these days is used for wind power plants. “That is the share we used to sell to pipeline production,” he emphasised. Salzgitter AG’s CEO Heinz Jörg Fuhrmann connected with that theme when he criticised the legal dilemma that wind turbines are required to be at a certain distance from residential premises. This “counters the efforts for green power in a grotesque way.” He noted that the country needs some 1,900 terawatt-hours of extra capacity until 2050, “and we need to get going with it; otherwise, we won’t get there.” The steel managers were encouraged by the federal minister of environment, Svenja Schulze of the Social Democrats (SPD). “We need to step up in this regard, and much faster than it has happened so far,” she said. “and this is not a question of technology – it’s a question of how to win over the public.”
Debate: Will DRI be the future of steel? The thoughts German top steel managers expressed in Düsseldorf may be echoed, but may also be questioned. We would like to hear your opinion on the topic. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
MPT International / March 2020
Help in times of need When plant operators reduce their scheduled summer and winter shutdown periods from four to approx. 1.5 weeks it means an enormous rise in availability, productivity and thus profitability. But, a lot needs to be taken into account before implementing such a change. The concept developed by SMS group for the service workshop in Mönchengladbach, Germany, provides a framework for this, allowing for significantly shorter downtimes. CONTACT: Filipe Martins Ferreira,
SMS group, Email: FilipeMartins. Ferreira@sms-group.com
Why size and flexibility do not contradict each other Filipe Martins Ferreira, head of Service Workshop Europe at SMS group explains that “customers often think that such a big company like SMS group is only strong when it comes to developing and supplying innovative technologies, however, in dealing with repairs and maintenance our size is associated with slowness and bureaucracy. But the opposite is true: we have positioned our service workshop to be flexible and fast.
Markets are changing digital transformation, new high-strength materials and increased competitive pressure require an increasingly higher level of specialization and focus on core competencies. Technologies and plant components have become too sophisticated for customers to do their maintenance and repairs completely inhouse. According to Ferreira, SMS Services customers’ also benefit from OEM product developments. “When, for example, new contours for straightening rolls become available through our research and development, we can introduce these during a service or repair job. So, while maintaining the functional capability of their plant, customers also enhance their productivity and quality through new technologies.”
Why intelligent use is also important for state-of-the-art equipment “In 2013, we launched a new concept for our service workshop. It was set up
Training young people to maintain the know-how of the repairshops
based on various analyses, including customer requirements. While previously the workshops were in various locations, we have now integrated them into one powerful unit.” The service workshop in Mönchengladbach has been fully operational since 2016.
How key competences better support customers The SMS service workshop focuses on manufacturing plants of bright steel, wire rod, pipes and tubes, steel bars, the manufacture of sections and all forging plants and presses. The range of services includes three major areas: • Short-term repairs • Performance of scheduled maintenance shutdowns • Servicing within the scope of predictive maintenance Other tasks also include modernisations and the production of so-called highvalue spare parts, i.e. manufacturing demanding spare parts.
Maintenance shutdowns and predictive maintenance Maintenance shutdowns and predictive maintenance services are among the main tasks of the service workshop and are arranged together with the customer. Predictive maintenance measures allow plants to be serviced proactively, which significantly reduces downtimes. It is more targeted than regular maintenance during periods of scheduled downtime. “The more information is available beforehand, the more our maintenance work and any required parts can be prepared in advance. This is a prerequisite to making sure that downtimes are considerably shortened, and applies to predictive maintenance as well as scheduled maintenance shutdowns,” comments Ferreira. A second key factor for valuable time savings is overhauling complete assemblies. Thanks to a modulated machine structure, complete assemblies
March 2020 / MPT International
Photos: SMS group
How service benefits from strategic partnerships
can be replaced. The assembly is then locally machined either by SMS group’s Technical Service or by SMS group’s service workshop in Mönchengladbach, where stocked spare parts or provided semi-finished products adapted on the plant can be accessed by the shortest route. For example, SMS group’s service workshop overhauled the gear unit of the loop laying head during a maintenance shutdown for Thy Marcinelle S.A. (T.M.) in Belgium, which is part of the Riva Group and operates a two-strand wire rod mill. The gearbox was delivered to the service workshop on December 18, 2019 and was returned to the customer on time on December 30, 2019. Thy Marcinelle’s head of maintenance was very satisfied. “Proper maintenance work can only be ensured by good planning. We are pleased to have SMS group as partner guaranteeing reliability.”
How to optimally prepare for short-term repairs Things always seem to happen when you least expect them, which requires repairs to be done as soon as possible. One of the strengths of SMS group’s service workshop experts is to be ready when unexpected cases or damage occurs. “We have established our machine capacities and our personnel resources specifically for these occasions. Our flexible shift planning enables us to be adequately prepared to handle customer emergencies immediately, even at night. We are aware that the smallest damage can cause our customers significant financial losses. Therefore all repair orders are important to us. We treat each order as a priority, regardless of the contract volume.” Manufacturing on-demand is available in the workshop for the repair of parts, and service experts can manufacture required parts expeditiously.
Why OEM upgrades are worthwhile Modernisations are also part of the workshop’s scope of services, and it is an advantage that as-new solutions can be created from old installations. Equally important is the possibility for certification, in particular for plant operators who manufacture components for the aerospace industry or automotive applications. A good example of this is a general overhaul of a horizontal forging machine from 1978. The clamping and upsetting slides, overload protection and ot-
MPT International / March 2020
On duty around the clock, thanks to flexible shifts – assisting the customer in emergencies day and night
her assemblies were overhauled, allowing the customer to benefit from a significant increase in efficiency and productivity. But the example also shows which extensive experiences SMS group’s service experts have gained. Although we live in the digital age and all data and plans of younger machines are instantly provided digitally for service orders, this is not the case for older installations. SMS group machines are often 30 years old, or even older, but that is not a problem. “We can repair everything that has ever been manufactured by us!” states Ferreira.
Experienced service staff members He regards his staff members as extremely important for the service workshop. “In our business, which includes maintenance work, repairs and modernisations, the know-how and the experience of our experts are the most important. Everything is built on that. I can only provide perfect quality with excellently trained and experienced staff members. Everything needs to meet the standards the first time around,” says Ferreira. To ensure that this is also possible in the future, SMS group is intensively training suitable junior staff for the service workshop. “We want young people to be enthusiastic about the varied tasks, the technology, individual liberties and responsibilities. Our experience mustn’t be lost, and our knowledge needs to be shared. This is a great challenge which we manage well. As a result, an average of 60 per cent of the
trainees is employed in our workshops every year.”
How digitalisation affects the service workshop According to Filipe Martins Ferreira, digitalisation is ground-breaking and future-oriented for the Technical Service. SMS group’s Technical Service offers numerous innovative solutions such as predictive maintenance, Genius CM®, the electronic parts catalogue eDoc and Smart Alarm. For the service workshop, digitalisation means that specialists are supported intelligently during their work with plant and machine data. Customers benefit from the transparency of the status of repair and maintenance orders being available at all times. This enables plant operators to adapt their planning better and earlier.
Where is the service workshop going in future For Ferreira and his team, a future vision is mapped out. “We are working intensely to ensure that the global expertise of SMS group’s service workshops is brought together for our customers to benefit from, which means that expert knowledge is localised, linked and transferred. In doing so, we learn from each other since we are working all over the world in different markets and cultures where service requirements differ from each other. We have to bear this in mind to make sure that tailor-made services contribute to solutions and a high level of customer satisfaction. I believe that this is what our customers expect from us as a leading partner in the metal industry.”
Large-diametre pipe production is exposed to fierce international competition
Challenges for the steel tube and flange industry Frank Harms, managing director of the German steel tubes federation Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahlrohre and flanges federation Fachvereinigung Stahlflanschen, comments ...
CONTACT: Tel: +49 211 / 4564 - 130,
he year 2019 as a whole developed weaker than expected. Raw material price trends did not prove to be a strong base throughout the year. Iron ore prices rose quite significantly until the middle of the year but fell sharply again by the end of the year. Prices for coking coal and steel scrap were even weaker, Frank Harms with the world markets mainly going downhill over the course of the year. The valuations of the main alloying elements for stainless steels on the London Metal Exchange were particularly volatile and went through a rollercoaster ride. Nickel prices on the LME, for example, were below €10 per kg in January, rose to €16 per kg by
September and fluctuated around €12 per kg at the end of the year. Such developments cannot be planned. Price formation on the global market happens and is influenced by economic and trade policy factors.
... on the investment climate in oil & gas Over the year, crude oil prices hovered around the $55/barrel mark, with relatively minor fluctuations compared to previous years. Extremely low oil prices, such as at the beginning of 2016, lead to a reluctance to invest on the part of the energy industry. Back then, this resulted in lower exploration and drilling activities, particularly in the fracking industry in North America, with correspondingly weak demand for steel tubes and flanges. However, the efficiency of the fracking industry in North America has in-
March 2020 / MPT International
Sources: WV Stahlrohre
AUTHOR: Frank Harms, WV Stahlrohre
creased significantly since then, so that the current price level has resulted in a relatively stable demand from the oil and gas industry.
countries were increasingly self-sufficient, and they are now competitors on the world market. The trade war between the USA and China has further dampened demand.
... on energy costs in Germany
....on the outlook for the steel tube and flange industry
In Germany, the energy price development has hardly been able to relieve the industry. According to surveys by the Federal Statistical Office, the electricity price moved downwards in 2019, with the VIK base index falling to 170 points, but this must be seen against the background that this index was still well below 120 points at the beginning of 2016 and peaked at 190 points in 2018. Compared to the rest of Europe, German industry has to cope with disproportionately high energy prices, which have only been partially offset by compensation payments such as the electricity price compensation.
... on the pricing of tubes There have been some advantages for manufacturers on the cost side, but the markets are now so transparent that such developments are often promptly implemented on the sales side as well, at least in day-to-day business. With market dynamics slowing, the worldwide overcapacities were also clearly noticeable in the pricing in 2019. As usual, this development was dampened by medium and long-term contracts. The presentation of market prices published by the Federal Statistical Office clearly shows that the price trend for seamless steel tubes, in particular, was downward last year, especially given the development of input materials, energy and personnel costs in recent years. The extent to which the market is challenging manufacturers in this respect was made clear by press reports of short-time work and even plant shutdowns. In addition to the rather burdensome factors on the purchasing side, trade policy uncertainties and an economic slowdown meant that demand, which was quite dynamic at the beginning of the year, weakened over the year. Also, major projects were cancelled or delayed, resulting in significant cuts in the pipeline business, for example, especially compared to the strong previous year.
....on shifts in global tubes production Worldwide, not much has changed in terms of market supply. In 2019, the production of steel tubes was almost unchanged at 173 million tonnes, and the share of seamless steel tubes also remained almost unchanged at 25%. The expansion of infrastructures and the growing industrial demand in emerging markets generated a further increase in demand, but from the perspective of our industry, this was particularly true for products that can hardly be manufactured at internationally competitive costs, especially in Germany. The steel tube industry was generally characterised by fierce international competition. This was felt by the manufacturers of seamless steel tubes and welded line pipes as well as the large-diameter pipe industry. Manufacturers of precision steel tubes were still able to keep their production volumes comparatively stable, but also recorded sales losses, particularly due to a restrained development in demand from the automotive industry. German manufacturers in both sectors are concentrating their production more and more on high-quality products with such high added value that the costs incurred here for energy, environmental regulations and personnel can be covered. Overall, both industries felt that former target markets in third
MPT International / March 2020
The development of the steel tube and flange industry will continue to be influenced by global economic trends and, in particular, by developments on the raw material markets, especially in the oil and gas sector. Should there be a slowdown in the global economic development, e.g. due to a significant deterioration of the situation in China in connection with the coronavirus, our industry will also feel the effects of this, at least in the short term. However, we do not anticipate any longer-term distortions. Despite trade policy uncertainties, the global economy should remain on a moderate growth course, from which Germany, as an exporting country, will continue to benefit. The Chinese economy will also continue to grow moderately. The overcapacities existing worldwide, especially in the steel tube industry, continue to lead to structural changes. Capacity reductions have already been implemented in the EU, and more are foreseeable. In China, overcapacities are expected to persist. Market mechanisms cannot have a regulatory effect there due to the still-dominant influence of the state. In the current year, the guidelines to compensate for the higher energy costs for energy-intensive companies in Europe due to CO2 emissions trading will be revised. If the current compensation regulations are curtailed, there is a risk of a loss of competitiveness, particularly in Germany, due to the high energy prices. Politicians have, however, recognised this and are endeavouring to ensure that fair competition is maintained.
About the German Steel Tube Association The German Steel Tube Association (Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahlrohre e.V.) represents the interests of the German steel tube industry. International interests are covered by the membership of the European Steel Tube Association (ESTA), the European umbrella organisation of the steel tube industry. Chairman of the Executive Board of The German Steel Tube Association is Dr Dirk Bissel, Vallourec Deutschland GmbH. Managing Director of the association is Frank Harms. German steel tube manufacturers are strong on the world markets with seamless hot-rolled steel tubes, â€žsmallâ€œ welded steel tubes up to 16â€œ outside diameter, welded large-diameter tubes with outside diameters above 406.4 mm as well as seamless and welded precision steel tubes.
Longitudinal and spiral welded Tubes for the transport of natural gas, oil, water and other media
Bangkok Airport – 40,000 tonnes of structural steel hollow sections supplied by Vallourec give the roof and the supporting structure of the terminal building its futuristic style and the necessary strength and stability
“An opportunity and at the same time a massive risk”
MPT International: What tubes prod-
ucts does your company specialize in, and what makes it outstanding in this field? Dirk Bissel: Vallourec provides benchmark tubular solutions for the energy sectors and for other applications, including some of the most demanding: from oil and gas wells in extreme conditions to next-generation power plants to daring architectural projects and
extremely high-performing mechanical equipment. Adapted to the challenges of the 21st century, our comprehensive, innovative solutions are designed for three main markets: oil and gas, low-carbon energy, and industry. MPT International: Which noteworthy
shifts do you see for tubes demand, both in terms applications/markets. What is “in”?
Dirk Bissel: Intelligent digital services and of course tubular solutions which support the global energy transition. Our industry is running through a huge digital transformation. Our Vallourec. smart service offering is supported by advanced innovative digital solutions to optimize our customer’s operations and save time and money. Vallourec’s “Smartengo Best Fit” for example is a
March 2020 / MPT International
Source: nhungboon / Shutterstock.com
Dirk Bissel is the CEO of the German operations of Vallourec, a French-based manufacturer of seamless Tubes with production sites in various parts of the world. He is also the chairman of the executive board of Germany’s steel tube association. MPT has received some insightful views from Mr Bissel, on the state of the larger industry, and especially on energy issues.
Groupe Vallourec • In 2019, Vallourec achieved a full-year revenue of €4,173 million, up 6% year-on-year (+5% at constant exchange rates), driven by ist activities in oil & gas notably in Asia and the Middle East • Its EBITDA more than doubled at €347 million versus €150 million in 2018 • Its net debt broadly stable at € 2,031 million as of December 31st 2019 versus €1,999 million as of January 1st 2019. • The group reports progress on its transformation plan: the initial target of €200 million gross costs savings over 2019-2020 is to be over-achieved, with gross savings of €141 million in 2019 • For its German operations, it decided to close the Reisholz Powergen plant in Düsseldorf in H2 2020.
new digital solution for traceability, fit-up and pipeline construction. A perfect example for a green solution development is our Cleanwell technology – an intelligent solution that make our customer’s business cleaner and therewith “greener”. Cleanwell is a non-polluting coating applied in the mill to threaded connections replacing both storage and running compounds. Delivered “rig-ready”, means reduced handling operations, both in the yard and on the rig. It ensures rapid and safe running in challenging operations, provides excellent sealability and improved protection against galling and corrosion. The result: an environmentally friendly solution that leads to lower operating costs. MPT International: The EU’s Green
Deal to reduce CO2 is a hot topic for steelmaking mills. Is it also for the pipemakers? Dirk Bissel: The drastic reduction of CO2 emissions in steel production and further processing into steel tubes can
MPT International / March 2020
be seen as an opportunity and at the same time as a massive risk. Opportunities arise from the innovative strength of the industry and the claim to international technological leadership in newly developed and industrialized processes. This would not only make a strong contribution to securing long-term competitiveness, but also create new jobs in a very promising environmental protection industry. The risks lie in an uncoordinated approach, driven by regulations that prevent strategic and targeted action. The goal must be to define and implement a long-term transformation process that avoids counterproductive competition for green energy between different sectors (automotive, chemicals, steel etc.) and emphasizes synergies. MPT International: Would the Green
The goal must be a process that avoids competition for green energy between different sectors.
Deal involve a change of costs /subsidies for electricity consumption at company like yours? Dirk Bissel: Both the production and further processing of steel is extremely energy-intensive for technological reasons. Access to electricity and gas at competitive conditions is consequently existential! Regulations that enable pipe manufacturers to be exempted from the increased costs of renewable energy maintain competition and safeguard their existence. Such regulations must be unambiguous and resilient in order to be able to calculate their effects transparently in cost accounting.
Pipes don’t come much bigger!
AUTHOR: Andreas Thieme, Dillinger CONTACT: Tel: +49 (0)6831/47-21 46,
if Group B.V., based in the Netherlands, is one of the most important fabricators of steel tubular elements (“cans”) for the construction of oil and gas platforms and the foundations of offshore wind farms. For decades, the company has used heavy plates sourced from Dillinger.
This also applies, for example, to the jacket structure for the Edvard Grieg oil and gas platform and the monopiles for the 150 wind turbines that make up Gemini, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms. For these projects alone, Sif used more than 100,000 tonnes of Dillinger steel, primarily thermomechanically (TM) rolled plates. Sif has more than 450 employees at its home site in Roermond and in Rotterdam and can produce up to 300,000 tonnes of tubular steel annually, for use in offshore foundations. The company, founded in 1948 and converted to a
March 2020 / MPT International
Source: Ludin Petroleum
The challenges faced by the offshore industry are typified by extreme working locations subject to arctic temperatures and enormous mechanical and dynamic loads. The demands made on the design and materials selected for drilling rigs and wind turbines are correspondingly high.
For the Edvard Grieg platform jacket, Dillinger delivered 12,400 tonnes of thermomechanically rolled steel of the grades S355G10+N/+M, S420G2+M and S500G2+M
truss structure are used to drive three to four piles into the seabed like nails for anchoring. In the case of the Edvard Grieg drilling rig, this foundation structure supports a platform—also known in offshore jargon as a topside module— equipped with highly complex technology, living quarters for 100 persons and a helideck and weighing in at 22,500 tonnes.
TM plates for greater fabrication efficiency
joint-stock corporation in 2016, is a leader in welding technology and productivity and has completed more than 1,700 offshore foundations—in the form of deliveries of tubular elements for jacket fabricators or offshore wind projects— in the seventy years of its existence. Sales in 2016 totalled €400 million. At the parent site in Roermond, tubular shell sections are produced around the clock using highly automated processes in twelve fabrication buildings housing five production lines. These sections are then joined to make XL monopiles (large-calibre tubular elements) with diameters of up to eleven metres and up to 2,000 tonnes finished weight. Pipes with diameters of up to 3.5 metres are typically used for the steel structures required in the oil and gas industry, known as jackets. The legs for the jackets are connected through a sophisticated network of struts, via so-called bracings, i.e., thinner tubular elements and tube nodes. Stabilising sleeves at the lower intersections of the
MPT International / March 2020
Offshore facilities like these are exposed to high static and dynamic loads from water, wind, waves and low temperatures. In some locations, such structures are required to reliably withstand waves of over 25 metres in height and gale-force winds gusting at up to 160 kilometres per hour or more. In the North Sea, or even further north, temperatures can reach 10° C or below, demanding dependable material toughness properties at test temperatures of 40° C or even lower. The requirements made on the grades of steel used for the construction of jackets, topsides and monopiles are correspondingly high. Only excellent mechanical properties appropriate to the application, consisting of yield strength, tensile strength and toughness, can give such structures the necessary stability and safety. In addition, the availability of large plate formats, with excellent dimensional and flatness tolerances and weldability properties which have already been verified in a welding-qualification inspection at the manufacturer’s plant, are definitive preconditions for cost-efficient production for fabricators such as Sif. The offshore industry uses two differing groups of standards, which are selected based on construction conditions. The differentiation criterion is, above all, the precise origin of the Charpy V-notch impact test specimen, which is taken either at one quarter (the EN 10025, series of standards on hot-rolled structural steels for offshore use) or at half-plate thickness (the classical EN 10225 series, dealing with “Weldable structural steels for fixed offshore structures”). The origin of the samples from zones of differing solidification morphologies makes it possible to achieve differing maximum thicknesses, depending on the group of standards. Dillinger meets these offshore industry requirements with thermomechanically rolled heavy plates of up to 35 tonnes in weight, which can be supplied with maximum degrees of deformation in thicknesses of up to 150 millimetres in the case of structural grades and of up to 110 millimetres for classical offshore grades. The portfolio also includes normalised and quenched + tempered (QT) steels, in some cases in even greater thicknesses. This performance profile assures safety at all points. The plates, with their specifically tailored properties, large formats and high item weights, also assure optimum preconditions for efficient production and constantly dependable fabricated structures at Sif. Sif has found that thermomechanically rolled steels supplied by Dillinger combine high saving potentials on fabrication time and costs with excellent mechanical and technological properties. For William Lafleur, head of Welding Technology at Sif, the German steelmaker’s plates are the best anyone could wish for in materials for the offshore industry. His department’s first step in checking a draft design for a jacket is to verify the technical requirements stated. Sif will then draft, based on the customer’s finalised design drawings, welding schedules, in which the distribu-
tion of the shell sections, the circumferential and longitudinal welds, bracings, and all welding details, such as weld preparation operations, are shown. The plates are ordered from Dillinger as soon as these workshop drawings have received approval. “Our good cooperation with Dillinger is extremely important to us,” William Lafleur notes. “In many cases, we don’t know the precise dimensions, but we reserve tonnage amounts for specific calendar weeks.” Plate length is in all cases the circumference of the planned shell section, and plate width its height. The large dimensions available from Dillinger make a decisive contribution to cost-efficient fabrication, since the size of the plates supplied means that the scope of welding work can be reduced significantly compared to the use of smaller plate formats. In close coordination with the experts at Dillinger, Sif supplies specifications for every individual plate based on graphical product overviews of steel grades, delivery condition, wall thickness, length and maximum weight. In the case of the sixteen jacket piles ordered for the Edvard Grieg platform, for example, this specification included twenty-four items, with the result that it was necessary to draft specifications for 384 plates for the piles of this rig. Twelve further plates per sleeve for the shell sections of the pile sleeves were also added, in addition to the material for bracings and the platform’s four main legs. It was also necessary to repeatedly shorten the already short delivery times of twelve weeks typical for this industry: in some cases, Dillinger achieved delivery of urgently needed plates within six weeks.
Four welds simultaneously Since it depends on customers’ individual requirements, the order of component fabrication always differs greatly at Sif. A single leg, with a sleeve, for example, could just as easily be needed first of three sleeves and specific bracings. The first operation is to produce the welding edges on the plates, which can be done at Sif or at Dillinger. Plates for wind turbines are generally ordered from Dillinger ready-prepared for welding, with milled edges and a coat of weldable primer to protect against corrosion. The milled edges are made precisely to the customer’s specifications using two large-format milling machines, which assures significantly better welds at Sif. For William Lafleur, the necessary plate dimensions and quantities also argue in favour of this solution on economic criteria. Sif cold forms Grade S355 plates of up to 160 millimetres in thickness and 4.20 metres in width into cylinders or half-
Sif manufactures XL monopiles from thermomechanically rolled steels from Dillinger in thicknesses of up to 140 millimeters.
The formed plates are welded together internally and externally by a longitudinal weld.
shells. The half-shells are then welded together firstly internally and then externally using a longitudinal weld, to produce shell sections of a maximum weight of 70 tonnes. Circumferential welds of a diameter of 6.8 m, as needed for the monopiles of the Gemini offshore wind farm, are by no means unusual in this context. The shell sections are dimensionally and geometrically inspected after every welding operation. Assembly of the completed ring elements takes place in a parallel process: a system operator controls four welding heads, which make four circumferential welds simultaneously. Each welding head operates with four electrode wires, thus assuring an extremely high deposition rate.
Pre-qualification - a plus for piles Dillinger supplied 12,400 tonnes of thermomechanically rolled steel in grades S355G10+N/+M, S420G2+M and S500G2+M for the 134-metre high jacket of the Edvard Grieg platform. Sif used this steel to fabricate sixteen jacket piles, two gripper piles and eighteen pile sleeves. S420G2+M steel was used for the funnel-shaped, 12-metre-long sleeves, with wall thicknesses of up to 35 millimetres. The diameter of these elements expands from 2,736 millimetres at the bottom to 3,292 millimetres at the top. The closing element of the two-piece sleeve, which also performs the function of guiding the piles correctly during fixing, takes the form of a 1.5-metre high so-called catcher plate with external reinforcements on the 30-millimetre thick wall. Sif also applied thirty-one single-layer welded beads—each twelve millimetres in height and 24 millimetres wide—onto the inner side of the sleeves. In the case of the piles, these welds were applied externally with an analogous height but slightly offset horizontally, and thus served as the anchoring system during subsequent grouting, the filling out of the space between the sleeve and the pile with concrete. The Edvard Grieg jacket is permanently anchored to the seabed at a depth of around 100 metres through the four main legs located at its four corners. The 134-metre-long legs, with a diameter of 1,800 to 3,300 millimetres and welded together from three sections, have wall thicknesses varying between 60 and 120 millimetres. Extremely high wall thicknesses are needed at the nodes and are, in fact, also additionally reinforced. Sif selected Grade S355G10+N for the 120-millimetre-thick plates, and thermomechanically rolled Grade
March 2020 / MPT International
Sources: Sif Netherlands B.V., geminiwindpark.nl
For the 150 monopiles for the Gemini offshore wind farm, Sif relied on th Dillinger‘s TM plates.
S420G2+M for all the other plates. The extremely fine grain structure of TM plates assures the high required mechanical strength and toughness data with simultaneously excellent weldability. Thanks to higher toughness reserves, the structure also assures safety and stability even in the heat-affected zone of the welds. The significantly lower CET carbon equivalent at the same time has a positive effect on the weldability properties of these plates. They thus require, despite the high plate thicknesses involved, significantly less preheating, as is also reflected in correspondingly shorter cooling times and thus greater overall cost-efficiency. For William Lafleur, an important factor, in addition to the high wall thicknesses and yield strengths available in TM plates from Dillinger, is the pre-qualification already performed by the rolling mill, thanks to which he can read off the safety reserves of the material directly from the welding report, an additional, time- and money-saving plus which Dillinger also offers on all offshore grades. Whether Charpy V-notch impact testing, CTOD (crack-tip opening displacement) testing, minimal segregation (thanks to the Soft Reduction technology used during continuous casting at Dillinger), or the high degree of deformation from slab to plate assured by the large feed-material thicknesses—on the criterion of safety, these steels easily beat conventional grades.
Thick plates in large amounts and short times The Gemini offshore wind farm is situated at one of the windiest locations off the Dutch coast, around 85 kilometres to the north of Groningen, and occupies an area of 68 square kilometres, with water depths of up to 36 metres. The 150 wind turbines installed here have rotor diameters of 130 metres and a total output of 600 MW. Sif used a total of
MPT International / March 2020
94,500 tonnes of Grade S355ML—with individual plate weights of 32 tonnes—for the monopiles, and transition pieces ordered. The length of the piles varies from 66 to 73 metres, with the same diameter, depending on the exact position of the turbines in the overall field, and thus as a function of differences in the seabed or water depth. The diameter tapers from 6.8 metres for the bottom shell sections to 5.5 metres at the top, on the flange, on which the tower is supported. The piles consist, in total, depending on their length, of twenty to twenty-two shell sections with wall thicknesses of up to 85 millimetres and a weight of up to 914 tonnes. Dillinger’s capability of supplying such large quantities in short times is indispensable for Sif when working on such major projects. “Dillinger has not only extremely good competence in thick-walled plates, and constant high quality in such large series, but also great capabilities in steels with high yield strengths, which are what we need for our offshore projects,” affirms William Lafleu, noting that Dillinger’s price, as well as quality, are right. He also emphasises yet another benefit resulting from this cooperation: “Dillinger has its own welding laboratory and thus an extremely large range of pre-qualifications. We use these findings for cost and time reasons, to economise on our own process tests.” William Lafleur has been at Sif for twenty-seven years, but the two companies were working together even before he joined. Trusting cooperation between equal contact partners is typical of this decades-long business relationship. “We understand each other”, Lafleur continues. “When we place an enquiry, Dillinger knows what we need. In many cases, even without us having to state our requirements in detail.” And: “The main reason Sif puts its faith in Dillinger steel is its excellent weldability.”
Inline quality control for process optimization With the Radar Scan 6000, the Sikora company offers a system for non-contact inline measurement of the diameter and ovality of metal pipes and rods. According to the manufacturer, it is based on high-reso-
lution radar technology and records the measured values over 360 degrees of the product circumference with micrometer accuracy. Due to its slim design, the system is also easy to integrate into the production process and is used for both hot and cold measurement. In addition, trend and statistics functions as well as data logging are available. Other products that Sikora will present in Dusseldorf are the Planowave 6000 for thickness measurement of slabs or metal strips and the Laser Series 2000 for measuring the diameter and ovality of tubes, wires and bars during production.
Sikoraâ€˜s Radar Scan 6000 is designed to provide accurate diameter readings under all environmental conditions including heat, dirt and steam.
Combined tube bending for the automotive sector The Schwarze-Robitec company wants to address the high demands of the automotive sector with regard to speed and efficient use of material resources. For this reason, it has refined and further developed its tube bending machines. Its fully electric multi-radius tube bending machine CNC 80 E TB MR is capable of bending tubes with diameters of up to 80 millimeters and can cut them in one process step by means of an integrated fully electric cutting unit. By combining bending and cutting processes, the machine enhances efficiency and saves resources during processing, leading to shorter turnover times and up to a 90 percent reduction of material waste.
Schwarze-Robitecâ€˜s fully electric multi-radius tube bending machine CNC 80 E TB MR is tailored to the requirements of the automotive industry.
March 2020 / MPT International
New surface roughness meter
The new surface roughness meter (profilometer) should allow stainless steel tubes to be precisely tested at each 10th or 20th standard production length.
Schoeller Werk has introduced a new surface roughness meter (profilometer). The product should ensure compliance with relevant standards in the food and medical technology sector and allow stainless steel tubes to be precisely tested at each 10th or 20th standard production length. In addition, the surface roughness values can be measured both in longitudinal and transverse direction. Beyond that, the company has recently introduced a new device for the measurement of surface roughness values. The MarSurf GD 120 is controlled by software and permits the creation of its own measurement routines. In this way, Schoeller Werk can use pre-programmed settings for material samples, without having to alter the device setting manually to test a tube of different diameter.
Sources: Sikora; Schwarze-Robitec; Schoeller Werk; Fimi
Square and rectangular tubes made with a universal set of rolls FIMIGroup has extended its product portfolio by tube mills able to produce square and rectangular tubes with a universal set of rolls and with an automatic adjustment system controlled by the PLC. This decreases dramatically the time needed to change size and permits to have the possibility to produce all the sizes needed without delivery time lost for rolls manufacturing, the company says. Moreover, the direct forming of the 90Â° edges of these tubes, without passing from the round mother tube, permits also to save raw material. Effectively, the thickness on the edges decreases instead of increasing as in the traditional forming when the round tube is squared. For this reason, the starting width of the coil can be from 4% to 8% narrower, saving tonnes of steel every year on the total production. The standard configuration of the mill is with eleven stands before the welding head, two or three sizing stands depending from the range of thicknesses
MPT International / March 2020
required and two turk heads. The first five stands are used to form the lips from the flat strip. Then, four stands complete the most of the forming using the internal rolls. Two fin-pass stands are then completing the forming creating the V channel with the shape to weld the tube correctly.
Fimiâ€™s eleven-stand tube mill allows for narrower edges
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
The Green Deal sets ambitious targets for the steel industry Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, compared her recently presented climate plan in Brussels with the US programme for the moon landing in the 1960s. By 2050, no new greenhouse gases from Europe should be emitted into the atmosphere. Industry is trying to meet the requirements, but at the same time is sceptical about the possibility of achieving success.
drogen can then be stored and converted back into electricity or heat at a later stage. Steelmakers such as ArcelorMittal, thyssenkrupp Steel Europe and Salzgitter are already experimenting with this technology to improve their carbon footprint. The aim is to create an alternative to the current conventional process for steel production, which uses the integrated blast furnace (BF). Using a BF, the carbon-containing fuel coke (C) is used to dissolve the oxygen. This oxygen combines in the blast furnace to
form carbon dioxide (CO2), which subsequently ends up in the environment.
Competitiveness of the EU steel industry must be maintained Generally speaking, the European steel industry supports the objectives of the Commission, but reminds the political decision-makers that “investments and the need for regulation will be massive,” emphasises Axel Eggert, Director General of Eurofer. “The steel industry is al-
March 2020 / MPT International
he Commission has put on its agenda that the emissions of the association of states must be 50 to 55 per cent below the 1990 level by the interim target of 2030. As part of this, the EU requires the steel sector to significantly reduce its process emissions by switching to hydrogen, which is produced exclusively with renewable energy (Power-To-X). For this purpose, water (H2O) is energised in an electrolyser, so hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) are separated from each other. The hy-
Wind farms are likely to enjoy high subsidies in the future, according to the EU Commission. There should be an end to power generation from coal.
neutral steel production, including Eurofer, the VDEh-Betriebsforschungsinstitut (BFI) and the European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP). The project intends to develop a technology roadmap and define both mid-term and longterm pathways for the decarbonisation of the steel industry. It also wants to analyse funding options and assess the economic, social, environmental and industrial leadership impact of the EU policy measures. Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the German Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl, also thinks that fundamental changes in the political framework are necessary to achieve climate neutrality. A broad mix of political instruments in the form of start-up financing, investments and the creation of “green” lead markets is required. Kerkhoff also states that an energy policy infrastructure must be provided first. Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), expressed his concerns more radically. The constant tightening of climate targets, which is leading to uncertainty among consumers and companies, is “poison for longlasting investments”, Kempf said in a press release. For him, the future viability of Europe depends on more than the ecological goals of the Green Deal: “International competitiveness must be an equally important goal because a competitive and innovative industry must make the necessary investments in climate and environmental protection.”
Agreement subject to the risk of carbon leakage
For Ursula von der Leyen, the Green Deal is her first major project as President of the European Commission.
ready working on several low to carbon-neutral solutions which, with an optimal regulatory framework, could lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 95 per cent in 2050,” Eggert continues. The “Green Steel for Europe” pilot project is regarded as an example of such efforts. Ten project partners are working on solutions for low-carbon or
MPT International / March 2020
According to Eurofer, the transition to low-carbon steel production requires 400 TWh of electricity, of which 5.5 million tonnes are needed to produce hydrogen. The Commission must ensure that there is a market for this “green” steel, the production of which could cost 35 to 100 per cent more than the processes currently used, Eurofer said. There is also a risk of carbon leakage, a problem which arises as soon as companies relocate their production to other countries with less stringent emissions regulations because of the costs associated with climate measures. If companies from the EU import steel from countries that have a low level of climate protection, they must expect a CO2 price of initially 10 euros per ton of CO2 from 2021, is the current decision of the Commission. As inter-
national competitors would not have to bear the costs of the climate tariff, border adjustments would be necessary for imports to maintain the competitiveness of the European steel industry. Eurofer already discussed the topic in June 2019 at the European Steel Day. In the context of the current Green Deal, the association has advocated a more comprehensive system to adjust the forthcoming CO2 pricing for countries outside the EU. This should provide these steel producers with an incentive to reduce their emissions.
Climate tariffs endanger international relations At the global political level, it becomes problematic as soon as the climate tariff affects diplomatic relations. As German newspaper Die Zeit reported in December, there are already first signs of this happening. Chinese government advisor He Jiankun signalled this on the fringes of the last international climate conference which took place in the Spanish capital Madrid, from 2 to 15 December. Jiankun forewarned that a tariff could strain relations with the People’s Republic. In the USA, too, the measure could be considered provocative and aggravate geopolitical conflicts. One thing is certain; the real winners of this economic revolution will be energy companies. Because if the EU member states want to become climate-neutral by 2050, this already promises a boom for wind turbines, solar plants, bioenergy and future energies such as Power-To-X. Thousands of jobs have been created in the wind power industry in particular, as Siemens recently pointed out. In 2018, the electrical engineering company opened one of the world’s most modern wind turbine factories in Cuxhaven, following investments of around 200 million euros. It is still unclear what the European Union’s path towards climate neutrality will look like. The European Council’s declaration explicitly states that “Some member states have declared that they use nuclear energy as part of their national energy mix.” Poland, for example, doubts that the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 can be achieved without nuclear power. Finland has found a solution for storage, which is why approval for nuclear power has been increasing since the second half of the year, and France is planning to build new nuclear power plants.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
One planet, one mission, one future When it comes to nature and environmental protection, Primetals Technologies has a very clear ambition. So says its CEO, Saturo Iijima. The ambitions he is talking about do not only cover the technology for steel production, but also the promotion of a lifestyle among the workforces that goes with the idea of sustainability. AUTHOR: Saturo Iijima, CEO, PrimetalsTechnologies
in 2030 and beyond. In that sense, Primetals Technologies has only one mission when it comes to environmental matters: it is to pioneer the solutions that will make even greener metals production a reality.
e know that mankind has only one planet and must care for it. Therefore, whenever we design new solutions for our customers, we do so in line with the global needs shared by the world‘s societies. This is especially important because we all share one future, and we therefore must prepare for it together. To me, this preparation doesn‘t just mean anticipating what‘s to come. Rather, it‘s about taking proactive steps. I always encourage my engineers to find new ways of shaping the future—by developing innovative technologies that will form the basis of steel production
Supporting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals ....
Our green technologies are the biggest lever we have as a company in terms of facilitating change. We certainly also aim to make our operations greener, and have committed to supporting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals—especially Goal 13 on global climate action. Our locations around the world do their very best to continually address their carbon footprint and to promote a lifestyle
March 2020 / MPT International
CAD design of a pilot plant for a carbon-free, hydrogen-based direct reduction technology by Primetals
For Primetals, the green future of steelmaking is a matter of pioneering.
stitute” strip as thin as 0.6 millimeters. Well, this solution is already here, and it is called Arvedi Endless Strip Production.
... in emissions filtering
among their workforces that is geared toward greater sustainability. But while these efforts do matter, it is through our products that we will make the biggest positive long-term environmental impact.
Imagine sintering, but with 99 percent of all emissions filtered from the off-gas: the fine dust particles, nitrogen compounds, dioxins, sulfur, mercury, lead, and more. This is already a reality, and the name of the solution that makes this possible is MEROS. We expect that the 12 MEROS plants ordered to date will have filtered a total of one million tons of pollutants by 2024.
...in casting and rolling
.... in efficient heating
Imagine a production line for thin-slab casting and rolling that uses only 55 percent of the energy required by a traditional line, and that reduces CO2 emissions by 39 percent. A line that is not only more energy efficient and environmentally friendly but also more technologically advanced and much more compact. A line that can produce “cold-rolled sub-
Imagine an electric arc furnace that helps to save energy by preheating 100 percent of the scrap it uses with its own off-gas. Or waste-heat recovery systems that ensure consistently optimal energy use. Cold mills that enable the production of thinner and lighter strip, which is then used by the automotive industry for the manufacture of lighter and more
economical cars. Automation systems that power down parts of the steel plant that aren’t in active use, or that comprehensively streamline each and every part of the production process. All the technologies I have described thus far are already available. They are just a few examples of the larger portfolio of green-production solutions from Primetals Technologies. But I also care deeply about the innovations that are still ahead of us. A few decades from now, hydrogen will likely have become an important energy source in many areas of our lives, including steel production. New technologies will transform the image of the steel industry as one of the world’s major CO2 emitters. And Primetals Technologies, together with its customers, will continue to pioneer the future of metals production—with green innovations that will help to safeguard our planet for generations to come.“ www.primetals.com
WORLD MARKET LEADER IN MEASURING SYSTEMS Surface Inspection Systems for Cold Rolling Mills
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Application of AI to temperature optimization in steelmaking Precise temperature control in steelmaking from BOF/EAF via secondary metallurgy to the caster is mandatory for both process stability and solidification conditions for required cast product quality. The temperature behaviour of the steel in a ladle depends on a large variety of variables. It is impossible for conventional models to exactly consider all upcoming parameters and uncertainties which are necessary to implement precise temperature guidance
CEO & Founder and Dr. Otmar Jannasch, VP Metallurgy, Smart Steel Technologies GmbH, Berlin
mart Steel Technologies (SST) offers the Artificial Intelligence-based software SST Temperature Optimization AI, which includes precise temperature models for the whole steelmaking process based on advanced Machine Learning technology. Based on the increased precision provided by Smart Steel Technologies, temperature buffers are reliably minimized, thus lowering energy consumption, reducing CO2 footprint and increasing casting stability. At the same time, the software provides a solid basis for optimization of timing and the analysis of irregular temperature deviations.
Fundamental Differences to Conventional Process Optimization Conventional process optimization is based on hand-written formulas and averaged measured values per unit. High-resolution time series are reduced to a single number. This over-simplification results in permanent information loss • Complex temperature curves are reduced to a handful of numbers. • Thermal behaviour of ladles is reduced to one number. • Interdependencies in steel production are complex and non-linear. For instance, subtle deviations in timings may be averaged away. The conventional approach of process optimization requires manual tuning of models over years that must be redone each time substantial parts of the process are modified.
Further increase in productivity and quality require the application of advanced non-linear methods to high-resolution data. This is the approach of Smart Steel Technologies: • Full processing of time series information without information loss • Multivariate modelling including all Level 1 and Level 2 signals
• Implementation of today’s most successful supervised learning methods in steel production • Installation of profound steel production know-how in all models Smart Steel Technologies routinely processes thousands of process signals, automatically extracts relevant process parameter combinations from mass
Temperature guidance from tapping to casting
Sources: Smart Steel Technologies GmbH
AUTHORS: Dr. Falk-Florian Henrich,
Example of source code
March 2020 / MPT International
Rough processes @
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Prediction of the steel-in-tundish temperature for heat H6 in ladle L1
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Process parameters considered by the calculation
data, and provides models specifically designed for analysing steel manufacturing processes. Smart Steel Technologies substantially exceeds the market standard of Machine Learning and incorporates the latest research results from the field of Causal Inference into software development. The metallurgical expertise and process know-how possessed by the team at Smart Steel Technologies is an integral part of its software. Because of this, metallurgically or technically irrelevant conclusions are excluded from analytical results. Process optimizations of SST contain appropriate actions with a robust cost-benefit ratio.
A 360 Degree View of Steelmaking Smart Steel Technologies includes all relevant process parameters and measurement data into their model’s calcu-
lation, especially those parameters most recently set and measurements most recently taken. The diagram below highlights the prediction of the steel-in-tundish temperature for one heat H6 in ladle L1 while it is treated in the ladle furnace. In the running casting sequence, the heats H1 in ladle L1, H2 in L2, and H3 in L3 have already been cast. At the time of the prediction, heat H4 in ladle L4 is being cast, while heat H5 in ladle L5 is on its way from the ladle furnace to the continuous caster. For the calculation of the temperature prediction for heat H6, Smart Steel Technologies considers the following parameters according to the diagram below: • All process-related parameters and measured data starting with tapping of heat H6 at EAF/BOF • The ladle history of ladle L1; the course of the temperature during all previous cycles of ladle L1, i.e.,
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during processing and casting of the heat H1 in L1 • The history of the tundish used in the running casting sequence • The position of the current heat H6 within the running casting sequence • The circumstances of the running casting sequence, in particular, at the time of the prediction, the tundish temperatures for the running heat H4 that have already been measured Based on measured data, the Smart Steel Technologies temperature model will, via machine learning, be automatically fit to the specific properties of each melt shop: its specific process routes, its equipment and its produced steel grades. The supervised self-learning system permanently improves the model optimization heat by heat, day by day. The following schema depicts the data flows and operational principles of SST Temperature Optimization AI.
Temperature Guidance at BOF/ EAF, LF, and Caster Temperature guidance is implemented as follows at BOF or EAF, LF and at the casting machine. Electric Arc Furnace: Optimization of Energy Input During Flat Bath Phase During the flat bath or superheating phase, electrical energy is introduced to the steel via electrodes. At the same time, carbon and oxygen, which reacts to CO, is injected to form a foamy slag. This and the carbon loss of the electrodes introduce chemical energy to the steel. At the beginning of the flat bath phase, the following temperatures are computed by SST: • Expected actual tapping temperature • Expected casting-end temperature (last actual tundish temperature at the time when the ladle is closed) • Recommended optimal EAF tapping temperature The software derives recommendations for the operator based on the difference between recommended optimal tapping temperature and expected actual tapping temperature. Both temperatures and recommended changes are displayed in the main HMI. Thus, the operator can set setpoints. Further, the SST Temperature Optimization AI software provides extensive browser-based visualizations to analyse
Principles of the SST Temperature Optimization AI
the correlation between tapping temperature and oxygen activity.
Basic Oxygen Furnace: Optimization of Dynamic Decarburization Phase At the end of the main decarburization phase, a sample is taken to determine temperature and chemical analysis of the steel. Based on these values, the dynamic decarburization is controlled in terms of oxygen flow, lance height and duration to achieve the final or tapping carbon content and temperature. The carbon content at this point is already low. Further increase of the steel temperature by carbon and even iron oxidation appears during the dynamic solidification compensated by the addition of cooling agents upon request. In the end, a reduction phase takes place. At the sample taking time, the following temperatures are computed by SST. • Expected actual tapping temperature • Expected actual ladle furnace entry temperature • Expected casting-end temperature (last actual tundish temperature at the time when the ladle is closed) • Recommended optimal BOF tapping temperature Upon the difference between recommended optimal tapping temperature and expected actual tapping temperature the software provides recommendations to minimize this difference: • Optimization of the dynamic decarburization phase in terms of duration, oxygen flow and lance height • Minimization of cooling agent addition and oxygen consumption Predictions and recommended changes are displayed in the main HMI for easy handling.
Ladle Furnace: Optimization of Energy Input During Electrical Heating Directly at the availability of ladle furnace entry steel analysis and steel temperature, the following temperatures are computed by SST: • Expected actual heating end temperature • Expected casting-end temperature (last actual tundish temperature at the time when the ladle is closed) • Recommended optimal heating-end temperature (the temperature at the end of LF heating) Upon the difference between recommended optimal heating-end temperature and expected actual heating end temperature, the software provides recommendations displayed in existing HMI to minimize this difference. Casting Machine: Prediction of Tundish Temperature for Current and Upcoming Heat At the caster, the following temperatures are computed by SST: • Casting-end temperature of the current heat • Casting-end temperature of the upcoming heat • Expected actual ladle furnace exit temperature for the ladle being processed in the ladle furnace directly after the end of the heating The software permanently updates all temperature calculations and can provide a prediction of the full tundish temperature curve. All outputs of the software are displayed in the main HMI. Thus, the operator can adapt setpoints.
March 2020 / MPT International
Noodle.ai and SMS digital launch AI-fueled application The AI application will help steel companies improve on-spec mechanical properties of advanced steel products to meet the highest market demands.
rtificial Intelligence provider Noodle.ai and SMS digital, the digitalisation unit of SMS group have launched MPV (Mechanical Properties Variability), the first joint AI-driven application for the steel industry following the announcement of their partnership in June 2019. As steel industry margins continue to shrink, one promising way for manufacturers to increase profitability is to pursue more advanced, high-strength steel production for applications such as automotive and electrical. However, production of these advanced steel grades requires much tighter control of the overall production process, which is impacted by numerous parameters across the mill. The MPV application utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a unique ‚sense, predict, and recommend‘ framework that addresses challenges associated with the variability of mechanical properties in steel production. Mechanical properties include things such as yield strength, tensile strength, and elongation. The application senses patterns within mill data to fully understand the drivers of mechanical property variability. It then predicts when increased variability will occur and recommends the optimal input parameters, or PDI (Process Data
MPT International / March 2020
Inputs) settings, required to optimise target mechanical properties such as yield strength, tensile strength, and elongation. As a result, the MPV application can help steel manufacturers achieve cost savings three ways: by reducing mechanical properties variability, reducing alloy costs due to better variability control, and minimizing out-of-spec production, which are sold as secondary grades or scrapped. One steel manufacturer using MPV is anticipating savings of two million US dollars per year. “Our ability to deploy AI to produce steel with tighter tolerances allows us to address the requirements of high margin segments such as automotive and electrical, which immediately impacts our top line revenues in addition to the obvious cost savings,” said Denis Hennessy, director of product development at Big River Steel, after implementing the MPV application. In addition to addressing these challenges in mechanical properties variability, the AI and machine learning solutions that Noodle.ai and SMS digital have co-developed will also help steel manufacturers optimise product quality, asset availability and production efficiency. Together, Noodle.ai and SMS digital combine manufacturing equipment experti-
se, process modeling experience, and cutting-edge data science to accelerate time to value, enabling customers to quickly realize bottom-line impact. “This partnership with SMS digital was created to make efficiency improvements that not only help steel manufacturers’ bottom line, but to rid the world of unnecessary industrial waste that often plagues this industry,” said Stephen Pratt, founder and CEO of Noodle. ai. “We are encouraged by the results we’ve already seen with this application developed in partnership with SMS digital, and anticipate being able to assist an even larger list of steel manufacturers as we enter 2020 with MPV and the other applications we develop together.” Noodle.ai applies advanced data science to industries at the core of the global economy to create a world without waste. With Noodle.ai’s advanced Enterprise AI applications, business leaders are empow¬ered to make better decisions, reduce wasted energy, money, and resources, and ensure their businesses are built to last. SMS digital GmbH, the digital subsidiary of SMS group GmbH, and SMS group Inc. Digital Solutions collectively are a supplier of digitalisation for plant and equipment used in steel and NF-metals production and processing.
The competitive substitute of conventional minimills It all began in the early 2000s in the USA, when a minimill customer asked Danieli to design an innovative mill to compete with the country’s big steelmakers in terms of operating costs and overall investment. The development of the Danieli MicromillMI.DA-technology followed from the successful application of the endless casting and rolling technology to the production of spooled coils and wire rod, rebars and smooth rounds.
MI.DA. size evolution from a single, 300,000-tpy co-rolling line into two 1.5 Mtpy twin co-rolling lines
CONTACT: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
oday, for Danieli the MI.DA. technology is a strategic product and a primary element of its vision of the near future. With the Twin-MI. DA.-configuration it is possible to design and supply a large-scale micromill capable of producing up to 1.5 Mton of finished products in endless configuration, with very high efficiency both in terms of environmental sustainability and energy savings to minimize CO2 emissions, as well as to preserve natural resources. The MI.DA. was initially conceived as a regional plant capable of producing up to 300,000 tpy, equipped with a single rolling line with a maximum hourly productivity of 50 tons. It was designed to meet the demand of a limited area surrounding the plant, with more competitive operating costs compared to traditional minimills of greater size. In the past decade, the MI.DA. technology made it possible to define new milestones in the progress of minimills, and to achieve goals that led Danieli to conso-
lidate its technological position in the endless casting and rolling process, a development that started in 1998 with the ABS Luna plant. Since then both process and technology have been consolidated and several successes have been achieved, starting with CMC Arizona in 2009, passing through the latest startup of the two Egyptian Steel MI.DA. facilities for IIC in 2016 and NPSS in 2017, and the CMC #2 plant early in 2018. Through the years Danieli has been able to cast steadily at speeds up to 7.0 m/min with even higher speed peaks, as well as to increase the overall process yield to 99% with 94% plant uptime. Now, thanks to the latest technological developments, Danieli ECR Endless Casting and Rolling process is a well-proven, reliable and cost-efficient way to produce rebar in bars, spooled coils and wirerod, and is presumably going to completely supersede the conventional minimill concept, mainly due to the revolutionary introduction of the twinstrand application to produce up to 1.5 Mtpy of finished products to match the ever-increasing market demand. In the
last two years Danieli has sold six MI.DA. plants with production capacity varying from 300,000 tpy up to 1.4 Mtpy, as a prompt response to ever-increasing demand for plants with higher productivity, larger product range and higher level of automation. Today, in China – a country of big numbers – the regional steelmaking concept is being expanded to meet customers demand for maximized production, while maintaining the consolidated operational advantages of MI.DA.
Key Technologies Such a productivity can be achieved due to the application of the latest FastCast Technology which is the new generation of continuous casting machines with increasingly competitive transformation costs. The Eco Power Mould is a further development of the Power Mould concept with the following improvements: • New geometry of the cooling channels with higher thermal exchange • Lower overall Cu thickness • New coating layer to improve rigidity • Reduced off-corner cracks resulting in increased sub-surface quality
March 2020 / MPT International
Source (7): Danieli
AUTHOR: Andrea De Luca, Danieli
Additional stengthening coating
Eco Power MouldTM copper alloy
ECO Power mould design
• • • • •
Improved cooling system Adaptive heat transfer Up to 60,000 t service life Reduced media consumption Easy to install on existing conticasters
standard hydraulic system comprised of hydraulic unit, accumulators, servo-valves and hydraulic interconnecting piping.
The combination of the cartridge-type Eco PowerMould with the latest design of the FastCast Cube oscillator characterized by high stiffness, low oscillation mass and inertia for higher frequencies in oscillation, bearing-free suspension system and maintenance-free philosophy, has made it possible to reach the casting speed performance of up to 7.2 m/min, which is equivalent to a productivity of approximately 56.6 t/h for 130x130 mm square sections on a single casting strand and up to 120 t/h for larger sections.
Guilin Pinggang Iron & Steel is equipped with one co-rolling line to produce 700,000 tpy of ribbed wirerod and a second line to produce 700,000 tpy of rebars. While the Pinggang production of both straight rebars and wirerod products will start right from the beginning on the two endless casting and rolling lines, Shanxi Jianbang plant initially will utilize only one of the two straight rebar lines, while the second line will be started up in a later phase. Both plants will be located within existing steel complexes: At Guilin Pinggang liquid steel will come from a scrapbased EAF, while at Shanxi Jianbang liquid steel will come from a BF-BOF shop. These aspects show the flexibility in terms of liquid steel sources allowed by the MI.DA. technology. In both projects, the rolling mills are configured with an upstream induction heater for billet temperature equalization, 20 H/V hou-
Hy-Power drive The high frequency in oscillation is achieved through the revolutionary Hy-Power drive, which is a hydrostatically actuated system installed on board of the hydraulic cylinder and fed by just one simple electric cable, replacing the
Hydraulic pump Coupling
Brushless motor Hydraulic block
singless rolling stands, apron line and DRB-Direct Rolling & Bundling system, as well as wirerod line, with finishing areas according to their configurations. Starting from 190-mm square billets cast on the 12-m radius conticasters, Guilin Pinggang will produce straight rebars from 10 to 16 mm with DRB, from 20 to 28 mm with apron line, and ribbed wire rod from 6 to 12 mm.
Process With a dedicated and optimized chemistry, it is possible to minimize and even avoid the use of alloying elements starting from low-carbon and low-manganese steel through low surface-temperature rolling. In this way the low mechanical properties that result from poor chemistry are balanced by the microstructure obtained via the UFG-Ultra Fine Grain process. Both plants will adopt the UFG process that promotes a very fine microstructure and enhanced final mechanical properties, minimizing or even avoiding the need for alloying elements, to comply with the Chinese regulations for structural steel, i.e., martensitic-free structure products with higher ductility, which can guarantee better performances in seismic regions. Grain-size-controlled grades can ensure high stress ratios and Agt values thanks to a dedicated controlled temperature rolling strategy. With the UFG process it is possible to obtain a grain-size definition from 5 to 1 µm, which makes it possible to have a material with higher ductility because the lower grainsize prevents any potential crack from propagating.
Energy Savings & Environmental Sustainability Hy-Power drive
MPT International / March 2020
The current production process of structural steel for construction pur-
Twin MI.DA. Pinggang plant layout configuration
poses is going to be drastically changed, as is already happening in the USA, as well as in most countries like China that are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact and starting to minimize CO 2 emissions and preserve natural resources. In this regard, China is progressively replacing the existing blast furnaces with the lower-polluting EAFs, avoiding the use of RHF for billet reheating from ambient temperature to more than 1100 °C before entering the rolling mill. The complete absence of RHF in our ECR process avoids a huge waste of energy and gives net savings in terms of NG consumption of about 30 Nm3/ ton, equivalent to approximately 300 kWh/ton which corresponds to a reduc-
tion in CO2 emissions on the order of 100 kg/t.Twin MI.DA. plants can generate a considerable reduction of about 150,000 ton per year in CO2 emissions, corresponding to 75,000 circulating cars.
Industry 4.0 The ECR process has been constantly supported through the years by a strategy that aims to guarantee performance in terms of CapEx and OpEx, thanks also to the wide application of digital technologies with the aim of transforming conventional plants into Smart Plants. A Smart Plant constitutes a safe, flexible, efficient and environmentally friendly manufacturing concept based on the extensive digitalization of processes, full integration of cybernetics
and strong interconnection between humans and intelligent artificial systems. Increased automation complexity requires a different approach to assist operators in realizing the full potential of a Smart Plant. In this regard, the 3Q Digital Pulpit provides a full “soft-desk”, totally based on computer screens through which the operator can both monitor the plant and operate it, in an ergonomical and userfriendly approach.
Summary The MI.DA. plant size and configuration has evolved continuously and steadily over the years. It has taken just a few years for it to grow from its original size of 300,000 tpy up to today’s 1.5 Mtpy production capacity through the
Standard process microstructure
UFG treatment microstructure
Macro of the material core showing the dimensions of the grain
March 2020 / MPT International
MPT International / March 2020
Year of start-up
JianBang Group - China Pinggang Group - China ETRHB - Algeria Nucor Corp. - USA MENA region plant Asia region plant Nucor Corp. - USA MENA region plant VIJA - Vietnam Dana Y - Vietnam NPSS - Egypt CMC OK - USA MENA region plant IIC - Egypt CMC Arizona - USA Sidenor Sovel - Greece
development of the TWIN MI.DA. configuration. Advanced automation and digital solutions, fully integrated and optimized into the MI.DA. ecosystem, have led to a broad flow of information to support operators in their decision making and to replace them even in the most uncertain and dusty places. This makes the MI.DA. concept, in combination with the E.C.R. process, a proven and reliable technology to meet the market demand for high efficiency and energy savings in the production of reinforcing steel long products, both straight and coiled coils, including wire coils.
3Q Digital Pulpit
190x190 190x190 200x200 130x130 160x160 140x140 130x130 160x160 150x150 130x130 165x165 130x130 130x130 165x165 130x130 140x140 300.000 t
MI.DA. productivity evolution
The key to success The supplier directory of the steel industry in a new edition THE
THE KEY DUSTRY
TO STEEL IN
KEY TO STEEL IND UST
• Current overview of international delivery contacts in 27 categories and 120 sections • Leading reference work for producers from the iron and steel, supplier and processing industries
e ad! e Frwnlo Do
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A THOUGHT FOR THE ROAD
Consolidation and mergers ahead
Making steel in the 2020s As we enter not just a new year but a new decade, the steel industry continues to face its traditional challenges - overcapacity, restructuring and trade frictions to name just a few. In addition, a number of other pressures will become increasingly significant. Edwin Basson, Director General of global steel association worldsteel takes a look at issues that will caracterise the decade. AUTHOR: Edwin Basson
developed a matrix for our 30 most important material inputs and their assour customers and society at ciated sustainability risks depending on where they are sourced from. In the large are demanding greater transparency and accountability new year we will be widening the scope in all aspects of our work, especially of our work on steel scrap, something with respect to safety, environmental that will become increasingly important and labour standards. this decade as the availability of scrap increases and we see The tragedy at the Brumadinho iron ore mine in the a higher percentage of global early part of last year highcrude steel produced by recylights the importance of this cling scrap in electric arc furwork to the steel industry in naces. particular. Responding to presThe activism of Greta sure from their own custoThunberg, Extinction Rebelmers, the construction, autolion and others has heightmotive and other sectors want Edwin Basson ened public awareness of to know more and more about climate change. Having worhow our products are made and where ked with worldsteel for some time now, and how we source our raw materials. the International Energy Agency (IEA) Supply chain management and rewill this year publish its technology roadporting will become a critical part of map for the steel industry, which will set our industry’s licence to operate. Inout a strategy for decoupling increases deed, we may see our raw material supin steel production from related CO2 pliers wanting to work with us more emissions. We as an energy intensive closely than ever before to show their sector with hard-to-abate CO2 emissions stakeholders that we are using their will have to clearly explain why decarboproducts responsibly. worldsteel’s Susnising the global economy will be a steeltainability Reporting Expert Group has intensive process. It will partly depend
MPT International / March 2020
on our 100 % and infinitely recyclable material. We will also have to communicate the capital-intensive and technically demanding work our members are doing in developing breakthrough technologies that will see virgin steel produced with net zero carbon. This includes technologies that reduce iron ore with renewably-produced hydrogen and which thus reduce the need for coking coal. Although such technologies will likely not be commercially viable in the next decade, worldsteel, through its step up programme, will in the meantime work with its members to drive short and medium-term process efficiency gains in raw material quality, energy efficiency, process yield and process reliability, all of which will reduce the industry’s impact on the climate. Our industry is already making headway in responding to these new pressures, but there remains much to do. Fortunately, both the steel industry and steel as a product already play an important role in driving the sustainability that society expects. www.worldsteel.org
IN THE NEXT ISSUE
Business & Technology
Profile Smart Steel Solutions, a Berlin-based startup, develops AI-based solutions for the likes of ArcelorMittal. The company sees an enormous potential for improvement in dealing with the complex data that accrue in the production process.
Automated coil trimming system for wire rod mills in the digital era Primetals USA tells about a new patent-pending approach responds to the challenge of trimming the head and tails of wire coils.
This preview may be subject to change. Photo: Shutterstock
Will DRI be the future of Steel? Following up on ideas expressed on page 27, we will try a survey of opinions from other regions and from technicians. Your opinion counts!
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