Duferco eyes major Italy beam production centre

Duferco aims for its San Zeno Naviglio mill to become the most important centre of steel beam production in Europe.

The firm previously ordered from SMS Group a new medium sections rolling mill for the steelworks in northern Italy. Following commissioning, the works will reach a yearly output of 1.5 million tonnes of long products (see Kallanish passim).

“Our main goals are to set new standards in customer service, maximise the overall process efficiency and become the best-cost producer in Europe,” Duferco Italia Holding president Antonio Gozzi says in a note sent to Kallanish. “We are committed to making beam production more sustainable, meeting the highest standards in environmental protection and safety.”

Commissioning is planned for the end of 2022.

Thanks to the first green Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that Duferco signed recently, the whole power supply for the new rolling mill will be covered by renewable energy.

An SMS “DataFactory” will also be built, combining the information from the product tracking system with all available data in the plant, from the sensor level up to the higher-level automation systems. In this way, a product genealogy will be created, which is the basis for digitalising the complete production process.

The mill will be equipped with the latest generation of Compact Cartridge Stand (CCS) tandem mill stands “Duferco will have additional productivity reserves and will be able to minimise the hydraulic power consumption. Moreover, the new tandem mill will be supplied fully prepared for low-temperature rolling, which will allow savings on valuable resources such as alloying elements. This is our contribution to cost effectiveness and a smaller carbon footprint,” says SMS executive vice president long products Thomas Massmann.

In December Duferco and former American partner Nucor signed the financial closing that ended their partnership in the joint venture for Duferco’s Italian operations. The Covid-19 pandemic and consequent cut in Nucor’s overall investment budget was at odds with Duferco’s intention to proceed with the €180 million ($218m) investment in San Zeno (see Kallanish passim). The plant currently has a 1m t/year production capacity.