NLMK to increase hot strip mill capacity at La Louvière in Belgium

Russian steelmaker Novolipietsk Steel (NLMK) has started the pre-assembly of three new finishing mill stands for the hot strip mill upgrade at its La Louvière plant in Belgium. Once the modernization of the plant is completed La Louviere’s capacity will increase to 2.2 million mt/year of hot-rolled coils, up from 1.8 million tpy. Meanwhile the 1.5 million mt/year sheet pickling line will upgrade its product capability, a company spokeswoman told S&P Global Platts on Sept. 2.

The project will enable the mill to expand production of high-strength thin hot-rolled coils and increase the range of high-strength products but also to provide customers with “best-in-class” surface tolerances.

The pre-assembly is planned to last through November, then dismantling of the old finishing mill stands will begin, followed by the installation of the pre-assembled and tested new ones. The first phase of the mill transformation is scheduled for completion by the end of 2020; the second phase will be completed in 2021.

The finishing mill stands are being supplied by Primetals Technologies, which was awarded with the Eur150 million contract in 2019.

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

NLMK La Louvière focuses on the production of hot- and cold-rolled coils for the automotive, construction, and engineering industries. NLMK Group is the largest steelmaker in Russia and produces products used in various industries, from construction and machine building to the manufacturing of power-generation equipment and offshore wind turbines.

NLMK operates production facilities in Russia, Europe, and the US. The company’s overall steel production capacity exceeds 17 million mt/year.

— Annalisa Villa