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8 September 2010

NLMK implements steel production upgrades

A second high-capacity ladle furnace has commenced production at NLMK’s main site in Lipetsk. The 4 million tonnes per year (‘mtpy’) ladle furnace operation will allow a reduction in refining costs, ensure maximum quality improvement and will boost output of new steel grades for automotive products, white goods and tube manufacturing.

NLMK is collaborating on this project with Siemens VAI (Austria) as part of Stage II of its Technical Upgrade Program. The facility is intended for out-of-furnace treatment before slab casting by continuous casting machines and is the second to be installed at the Lipetsk production site. This March NLMK commissioned a similar high-end production complex at the Lipetsk plant.

The total capacity of the two ladle furnaces amounts to approximately 8 mtpy, serviced by 60 new employees. Investments into the construction of the two facilities has amounted to over RUR3 billion.

As part of its production upgrade NLMK is planning to commission two more ladle furnaces with the total capacity of 4 mtpy at the Lipetsk production site in 2011. In total these new facilities will be able to process about 12 mtpy of steel.

For reference:

LMF Steel Treatment Process
The treatment process includes melt homogenization in terms of temperature and chemical composition. The advantage provided by these new production facilities involves the possibility to obtain ultra-low sulphur content of up to 0.001%. This will allow significantly expanding the product mix, including steel for manufacturing large-diameter gas pipes. Fully automated process control and up-to-date fume extraction and gas cleaning system ensure their superb environmental performance of the facility. Using this technology will result in an average 0.5% reduction of gross air emissions for BOF Shop#2.

Technical Upgrade Program
The main objectives of Stage II of NLMK's Technical Upgrade Program for the period from 2007 to 2012 are:
- Increase of liquid steel capacity by 40% to 17 mtpy, including from 9 to 12.4 mt at the Lipetsk site;
- Maximum self-sufficiency in basic raw materials;
- Increase in finished product output by 25% to over 10 mtpy due to revamping the existing finished flats rolling facilities and constructing new ones;
- Increase in labour productivity and reduction of environmental impact.