Fives' annealing and pickling line for China's SWSS

Fives, an annealing and pickling line

Fives has just signed off on an annealing and pickling line for hot-rolled stainless steel strips (HAPL) for the steelmaker SWSS (South West Stainless Steel).

Fives designed the complete processing line, which combines a wide range of specialties and technologies that Fives has has developed specially for the steel sector, including thermal, mechanical and chemical equipment. This is a major reference for Fives in the stainless steel market.

A full HAPL line that integrates Fives’ key expertise in steel

The annealing and pickling line has an annual capacity of 700,000 metric tons of hot-rolled stainless steel strips. In order to achieve the required quality level, Fives supplied high-precision equipment designed by its engineers that enables steelmakers to manufacture a finished product to meet their quality and performance objectives.

With a capacity of 128 tons/hour, the furnace can heat stainless steel strips (from 2 to 6mm thick and from 900 to 1,350mm wide - austenitic series 200 and 300) to 1,150°C at process speeds of 80 m/min. It combines a water cooling section with a soft cooling section to secure the cooling control and excellent strip flatness. The technologies in this section optimize and reduce the furnace's energy consumption.

The state-of-the-art pickling section integrates the latest materials and includes automatic features to efficiently and effectively remove the sludge from the system while maintaining the optimum concentration of chemicals. This is combined with a system that minimizes the water consumption by utilizing the spent water from various subsystems, minimizing the flow sent to the waste water treatment facility. All of this is managed by an elegant control system with an intuitive and user-friendly interface.

Fives also supplied the terminal equipment necessary for the smooth continuous strip running all along the line and in particular, mechanical equipment such as, pay-off reels, tension reels, shear, strip accumulators, scale breaker, as well as the strip centering systems. This equipment stems from Fives’ substantial mechanical know-how. A partner supplied the electrical section.

A strong client partnership 

The contract to supply the line was signed in October 2011. The project was carried out over 17 months, from signing the contract to the first coil. The line reached its 500 tons of annealed and pickled coil in the second week of production. It is currently producing more than 2,700 coils per month.   

Private steelmaker SWSS invested in this new line to increase its production capacity, adding another steel processing line to its existing HAPL line. Fives won the bid thanks to the engineering excellence of the equipment it provided and the line itself, but also because it has total control of its manufacturing chain. Like most of the mechanical equipment, the heating furnace was made close to the client at the local Fives plants in China.

Benoît Caratgé, Fives’ Director of the Steel Division, said, "The project was a great example of what Fives is capable of – it is now handling the long-term supply of a reliable high-performance steel processing line to a highly selective client."

Mr. Kang, Vice President and Technical Director of Jinguang Group, praised the work the Fives teams accomplished, as well as the partnership spirit between the contractor and the turnkey integrator, saying, “Two years ago, very ambitious targets were set in terms of production for this new HAPL line. Today we are very pleased with the swift achievement of these operational goals, with a good level of quality and energy consumption 20% lower than line 1.”

The line was Fives’ first contract with the Jinguang Group, SWSS's parent company, which has already chosen to renew its trust in the group, placing an order in December 2011 for two rolling mills for its subsidiary TCSS.