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Developing technology

Last Friday Byelorussian Steel Works started to implement one of the biggest investment projects of the recent time: modernization of continuous casting machine No.3 at melt shop No. 2.

We asked Mr. Maxim Murikov, first deputy technical director for new technique and technical equipment – head of RUE “BMZ” technical board.

— Byelorussian Steel Works is one of a few enterprises of the Republic of Belarus which increased its production output from year to year investing funds into reconstruction, modernization and technical revamping. Starting with the plant’s commissioning in 1984, liquid steel output grew by more than three times compared with the planned 700 thousand tpy. At present further production output increase is impossible without reconstruction, erection and commissioning of new production facilities. The plant has exceeded its estimated output long ago. That is why a peculiar feature of the investment programme implemented at the enterprise is its direction towards a complex large-scale reconstruction and modernization of the technological stages.

This programme anticipates introduction of power- and resource-saving technologies and equipment which meets the world highest level of development of science and technology of the steel making industry. At the same time a transition to the production of goods of a principally new quality and consumer properties corresponding to European and American standards and world best analogues takes place as well as reduction of the specific power consumption of the production process and improvement of environmental safety of the technology and the production on the whole.

The existing global financial crisis impacts not only on the production activity of the steel making branch in CIS, but foreign countries as well. Experts point out decrease of the production rate in Russia and the Ukraine, reduction in force in Europe and the United States. Besides, if you take into consideration cycling of the processes taking place on the global steel markets it becomes clear that in the period of decline it is most appropriate to carry out measures aimed at modernization of the existing production, arrange conditions for a sharp start up during a impetuous growth of the steel market. These things are very urgent for most CIS enterprises which have worn-out equipment.

The complex reconstruction of BMZ steel cord and wire production shops which took place in 2003—2006 has done its job. In 2006 growth of steel cord and wire production output was 112,2%, in 2007 — 122,6%. The existing investment programme is aimed at modernization and technical revamping of the steel melting shops. A new pipe facility equipped with an integrated technological process control and monitoring system allows the plant to manufacture high quality products corresponding to the highest requirements of the existing and future standards that are in demand on the market. This can be proved by the certificates of approval of the pipe products issued by TÜV NORD in accordance with European standards and by The American Petroleum Institute in accordance with API 5L standard.

In 2007—2008 projects of intensification of melting processes with the use of oxygen methods at EAF Nos. 2 and 3 were carried out. Due to introduction of new steel melting technologies delivered by Danieli, Italy, a world leading producer of metallurgical equipment, we got a possibility to increase each furnace efficiency up to 1 million tons of liquid steel per year and to reduce the specific consumption of electric power per 1 ton of steel by average 7,3%. In 2008 we studied and implement measures to increase the production output of the secondary metallurgy complex, started arrangement of new objects to provide the plant with lime and industrial gases.

What will the modernization project of CCM-3 in melt shop No.2 bring to our enterprise? A complex modernization of CCM-3 is called forth by the following factors: — necessity to increase the machine output up to 1 million ton of steel per year so as to eliminate the imbalance between melting and casting (the capacity of EAF No.3 exceeds the possibilities of casting); — increased quality requirements of the products manufactured; — decrease of the prime cost of the products made at the subsequent technological stages; — release of new products.

According to the scheme of steel making existing at BMZ, continuous casting machine No.3 produces cast billet cross section 250х300 mm and 300х400 mm which is either shipped to the end users as commodity output or is transferred for further processing in the reverse-type rolling mill 850. In the end, rolled section of various range is produced out of concast billet cast in CCM-3 ( hot-rolled round, square), and billet 125х125 mm for further production of wire rod in rolling mill 150.Rolled section is demanded by machine-building enterprises in Belarus, CIS, and foreign countries. Wire rod manufactured in mill 150 is mainly used for hardware production of our plant: steel cord, bronzed bead wire, hose wire etc. as well as for hardware production at Rechitsa plant which is a member of PA “Byelorussian Steel Works” since 2006. Increase of the quality requirements of steel cord to be used for manufacturing of ultra high-tensile constructions was one of the reasons for CCM-3 modernization and installation of extra equipment to improve the quality of ingot and to reduce non-metallic inclusions. The necessity of a large-scale reconstruction at RUE “BMZ” coincided with erection of a seamless pipe production facility which as has been already mentioned was put into operation in 2007.

The initial material for a seamless pipe is a round billet diameter 140—200 mm. At present production of seamless pipe out of hot-rolled round diameter 140 mm has been implemented in rolling mill 850. But so as to decrease the prime cost of pipe produced, the technical services of the plant faced the task of avoiding rolling in mill 850 where billet 300х400 mm is rolled into round diameter 140 mm.

On June 8th, 2007 an agreement for the delivery of a set of equipment, engineering and services for CCM-3 modernization was signed between RUE “BMZ” and Danieli, Italy. In the result of the modernization CCM-3 will produce high-quality steel.

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