On March 1, 2017, the American steel producer Big River Steel (BRS) officially opened its new steelmaking plant in Osceola in the U.S. State of Arkansas. Numerous guests from the steel industry, politics and economy attended the grand opening, among them Asa Hutchinson, Governor of the State of Arkansas.
With the new plants supplied by SMS group www.sms-group.com, Big River Steel will produce, at its Arkansas site, grades for pipelines, silicon steels for electronic sheets and advanced high strength grades for the automotive industry in the U.S. As a systems provider, SMS group supplied all equipment and process know-how required for the steel mill complex and supported BRS in the commissioning phase. The company has seen a steep ramp-up curve in the production of hot strip which is at record level.
During the grand opening, David Stickler, Chief Executive Officer at Big River Steel, said: “We are very satisfied with the progress of our new steel mill complex. Having SMS group by our side we are sure to achieve our ambitious project targets.”
Burkhard Dahmen, Chairman of the Managing Board of SMS group, supplemented: “The good production start is the result of a strong and trusting partnership. Since SMS group is a supplier of the complete process chain, it was able to meet the challenge of providing this complex with all required mechanical equipment as well as electrical and automation systems. Harmonized process sequences and the use of cutting-edge technology are basis and proof of the good ramp-up curve. For the first time, SMS group supplied the complete know-how needed to produce the latest steel grades.”
Big River Steel is running North America’s most modern steelworks on an area of 567 hectares. In the first construction stage, the mill will produce 1.6 million tons of steel per year. Increasing the annual output to nearly 4 million tons of steel will be accomplished stepwise by several expansions. All plants, comprising mechanical equipment as well as electrical and automation systems were supplied by SMS group. The steelworks was commissioned in December 2016 together with the CSP® plant while the RH-TOP facility is to follow in June this year. Adding the second proposed construction phase equipment, the steelworks will have two electric arc furnaces and two twin-ladle furnaces. The gas cleaning system complies with the strict environmental standards.
The CSP® plant comprises CSP® caster, tunnel furnace, laminar cooling system and downcoiler. With a maximum strip width of 1,930 millimeters, Big River Steel operates the widest of all CSP® plants in North America. The hot strip leaving the CSP® plant will be processed to high-quality cold strip on the adjoining combined pickling line/tandem cold mill that will go on stream soon.
In combination with the two downstream strip processing lines, the tandem cold mill supplies a wide range of products. Hot-dip galvanized cold strip is produced on the continuous process route via the annealing and galvanizing line together with an inline skin-pass mill. The offline skin-pass mill stand installed downstream the batch annealing furnace impresses with its very high rolling force. Big River Steel is able to produce sizes ranging from 914 to 1,880 millimeters width and 1.4 to 0.28 millimeters thickness.