NLMK progresses with La Louvière coil mill upgrade

Russia’s NLMK tells Kallanish that its La Louvière plant in Belgium has received the first lot of major equipment for its hot strip mill upgrade. This will enable the company to expand the production of thinner, stronger and more environmentally friendly steel for customers in the European Union, NLMK says.

Two 100-tonne mill housings for the first finishing mill stand were delivered to La Louvière on 5 May. This is one of three stands to be replaced by the end of the year. The mill housings for the first finishing mill stand are being supplied by London-headquartered technology supplier Primetals Technologies which was awarded the contract to modernise the hot strip mill in 2019.

Investment in the hot strip mill modernisation is part of NLMK Group’s Strategy 2022. With the improved capability, NLMK La Louvière will increase its share of the niche HRC market, the steelmaker says. The total value of the upgrade is €150 million ($162m).

The extensive upgrade and modernisation includes the installation of a modern automation system. It also comprises three new and three upgraded roll mill stands, new drives and motors as well as new run-out table, modernized cooling and water systems, and a new down-coiler.

The project will enable the mill to expand the production of high strength thin hot rolled coil as thin as 1.2mm, MLMK says. It will also increase the range of high-strength products beyond 1 000 MPa yield strength and provide customers with best-in-class surface and dimensional tolerances.

The first phase of the mill transformation is scheduled for completion by end-2020, and a second phase will be completed in 2021.