Innovative products generate around 11% of sales by Novolipetsk and 16% of its revenues, excluding slabs supplied to NLMK Group companies. These are cold-rolled, dual-phase steels, ultra low carbon steels, steels with additions of titanium for extra deep drawing (IF steel), laser-treated grain oriented steels, high-strength galvanised products made of low alloy steel, high-quality standard-size slabs up to 2,200 mm wide and 355 mm thick, and other products.
Steels for energy and electrical equipment
NLMK Group is the leading global supplier of electrical steel to the energy and electronics industries, producing non-grain oriented dynamo (NGO) and grain oriented transformer (GO) steels.
Developed in Russia, the grain steel technology was first introduced at Novolipetsk in 1960 and then at VIZ-Steel in 1994. The unique technology involves low-temperature heating of slabs, nitride coating and decarburisation after rolling to intermediate thickness.
Reduce processing costs
Produce nanostructured steel
Improve performance of transformers made of NLMK steel
GO steel processing costs were reduced by 10-15% compared to US and European competitors through the development of new technology for controlling structuring and texturing during cold and hot rolling and heat treatment processes. This technology was also adopted between 2005 and 2012 in China, Poland, Germany and Czech Republic. Today, around 30% of GO steel is produced using this Russian technology.
Improved transformer performance was achieved through innovative, patented techniques such as decarburisation, nitriding and laser machining of GO steel. Laser machining technology, developed in conjunction with PULSAR, reduces core losses by 8-10% without damage to electrical insulation coatings. The technology has been patented in Russia; and an international patent application has been filed.
NLMK’s patented technologies help achieve a 15% reduction in per unit energy losses in transformers.
Nanostructured high permeability GO steel is a brand new product developed by NLMK and now being introduced at the Lipetsk site. After the technology is tested and debugged at Novolipetsk, it will also be adopted by VIZ-Steel, which has almost completed preparation and relevant equipment upgrades.
NLMK DanSteel A/S produced 200 tonnes of high-strength steel plates of special sizes for a European research programme, the PISA (Pile Soil Analysis) project, to make pilot offshore wind turbine foundations in 2014.
As part of a drive to expand into promising new markets, NLMK Group now supplies steel for the construction of offshore oil and gas platforms and wind turbines.
In 2012, NLMK DanSteel installed a new 4.2 m wide mill to make a vast range of sheets tailored to the needs of the European research project (fr om 5 to 200 mm thick and up to 4,000 mm wide).
The aim of the project is to develop improved design methods for offshore wind turbine foundations; to cut the costs incurred; and to make wind energy more attractive for investment. Other participants of the project are Danish energy company DONG Energy and Bladt Industries A/S, manufacturer of wind turbine foundations.
The offshore wind turbine foundations will be installed and tested in the coastal waters of Dunkirk (France) and Cowden (UK). Findings will be used to create large-scale prototypes of new generation wind turbine foundations.
Steel for machine building
With manufacturers of machinery and equipment among its key customers, NLMK Group is constantly expanding its special product line for this highly competitive sector. NLMK Clabecq, the Group’s Belgium-based company, has upgraded its equipment in order to introduce and develop the quenching and tempering technology for making thick steel plates. NLMK Group offers new premium steel products for manufacturers of construction and mining equipment and machinery:
Quard plates (Quard 400, Quard 450 and Quard 500 with an average hardness of 400, 450 or 500 HBW, respectively, from 4 to 40 mm thick and 1,500 to 3,100 mm wide) are designed for use in manufacturing construction and mining equipment and other specialist equipment and machinery (crushing and grinding equipment, excavators, tippers, earth movers, hoppers, mixers, etc.). Quard steel helps to achieve:
- A 40% reduction in the weight of a structural element along with a 5% increase in its volume.
- Lower fuel consumption and a 45% reduction in production costs.
Quend plates (Quend 700, Quend 900 and Quend 960 with a yield strength of 700, 900 and 960 MPa, respectively, from 4 to 50 mm thick and 1,500 to 3,100 mm wide) are used in the manufacturing of truck chassis, lifting and handling equipment, trailers and other machinery wh ere high strength is essential.
Quend is designed to:
- Reduce the weight of structural elements by over 20%, making it possible to cut production costs and improve performance.
NLMK Group continues to work on improving the chemical composition of Quard and Quend steels, reducing impurities and refining the contents of alloy additives to improve the performance of products made of NLMK steel.
Steel for the automotive industry
NLMK offers steel grades with high ductility and strength for improved safety and reduced weight and fuel consumption. Seeking to advance their manufacturing technology, NLMK Group companies now produce the following types of steel:
- DX57D: high ductility galvanised steel products made of steel with an ultra low carbon content and additions of titanium (IF steel)
- HX380LAD: high-strength low alloy galvanised steel
- HCT600X: dual phase cold-rolled steel which combines high ductility and strength
- HC220Y: high-strength cold-rolled IF steel
NLMK continues to upgrade equipment and improve technology to expand its product range and meet the growing demand from carmakers both in Russia and overseas.
Steel for the construction industry
The construction industry is a key market for NLMK Group, generating up to 80% of the Company’s Russian sales. In an effort to further expand its market share, NLMK has over the past few years launched the following products for the construction market:
- Hot-rolled steel-based galvanised steel products with thickness ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 mm. Available technologies make it possible to produce both high ductility and hardened galvanised steel, which is in high demand in the construction industry.
- Hot-dip galvanised steel 0.22 to 0.29 mm thick made by continuous hot-dip galvanising of cold-rolled steel. The only hot-dip galvanised steel available in Russia before was electro zinc coated sheet.
- Steel with thick and textured highly resistant colour coating based on special enamels.
- Casting, rolling and long steel grades alloyed with nanophase nitride and carbonitride particles using atomic nitrogen. Tests carried out by Novolipetsk and NSMMZ showed an up to 50% reduction in the manganese ferroalloy content and a 20–30% increase in impact strength and yield strength. Other improvements include a 15% increase in resistance for products made of casting grades (similar to the 65G). The grades can be used for structural steel in the construction industry.
NSMMZ, NLMK Metalware and NLMK Kaluga continue to work on developing a wide range of long steel products and improving the production process.
Products for further processing
NLMK Group companies continue to improve their methods of manufacturing semi-finished products for further processing. Priority areas include:
NLMK Group teamed up with OMK to develop a new technology for making slabs with a low sulphur and hydrogen content (0.002% each) and achieving a higher degree of precision in alloy content and non-metallic inclusions. The Company can now supply large diameter pipe manufacturers with unique large high-quality semi-finished products meeting extremely stringent chemical and physical requirements.
In 2014 South Stream Transport obtained certification for use of large diameter pipes manufactured by OMK from Novolipetsk’s slabs in the subsea South Stream pipeline.
NLMK Group’s coke operations; Novolipetsk and Altai-Koks; are working to develop new coke products and to streamline production. Innovations include:
- A new method of making coal tar pitch, which is used as a binder in electrode materials. The method can be employed in the electronics industry to produce B1 and V coal tar pitch grades (according to GOST 10200 standards) from coal tar with a low volatile content and high yield of coal tar pitch.
- Furnace charge for coking; and coal blending method. Addition of solid coal tar pitch to the furnace charge and its use as a sintering component during coking for improved coke properties allows Altai-Koks to reduce consumption of costly fat coal while meeting stringent quality requirements in a competitive market environment. This helps mitigate coking coal price risks sand creates a foundation for the use of alternative technologies to reduce coal and gas consumption by blast furnaces.