Steelworks successfully expanded

CSP continuous caster No. 2 with pendulum shear © SMS-Group
CSP continuous caster No. 2 with pendulum shear © SMS-Group

The US steelmaker Big River Steel (BRS) has successfully commissioned the expansion of its steel mill in Osceola, Arkansas, supplied by the SMS Group.

For this expansion stage, too, SMS Group supplied BRS with the mechanical equipment, the electrical and automation systems, and the digitalization technology. The expansion doubles the plant’s annual production to around three million tons of steel. Following the current expansion, the steelworks now consists of two electric arc furnaces, two double ladle furnaces and a further gas cleaning plant. The CSP plant was extended by a second casting strand, a second tunnel kiln and a further underfloor reel. With a maximum strip width of 1,930 millimeters, Big River Steel operates one of the widest CSP plants in the world.

Burkhard Dahmen, CEO of the SMS group: “Despite the objectively difficult conditions with regard to the pandemic restrictions, the erection and commissioning could be implemented about two months ahead of schedule. This was mainly due to the excellent and trustful cooperation between the teams of BRS and the SMS group.”

The PQA system (PQA = Product Quality Analyzer) of the SMS Group is also a central module of the process automation in the expansion stage now realized. PQA monitors, documents and ensures the product quality up to the finished cold-rolled strip throughout the entire production process.

Most of the hot strip from the CSP line is processed into high-quality cold strip on the downstream coupled pickling/tandem line. As part of the expansion stage, the inlet of this coupled pickling/tandem mill was extended to include a coil preparation station. Furthermore, the adjacent Continuous Galvanizing Line was provided with an additional recoiler at the outlet of the line.

For all plants of the expansion stage, the SMS group supplied the mechanical equipment and the XPact electrical and automation systems, including the Level 3 system. Since the start-up of the new plant in December 2016, Big River Steel has been producing high-quality steels, including pipe grades for pipelines, silicon steels for numerous applications in power generation and electric motor manufacturing, as well as AHSS grades for the automotive industry in the US.