In September, Chinese steel producer Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel (VAMA) produced the first coil at its Phase 2 upgraded pickling line and tandem cold mill (PLTCM) in Loudi, Hunan province, China. Implemented by Primetals Technologies, the upgraded tandem cold mill is designed as a 5-stand 6-high rolling mill and is set to produce steel grades for the automotive industry.
In 2014, Primetals Technologies supplied the PLTCM, and the main reason why VAMA seven years later awarded the Phase 2 contract to Primetals Technologies was their good experiences from the former project. The PLTCM will, thanks to the upgrade, handle an increased production capacity coming from an additional, recently implemented processing line. During the Phase 2 project, Primetals Technologies upgraded the PLTCM with a second entry passline, an additional mill stand, and a pickling tank. New drives, automation hardware, extension of the Level 2 automation system, and supervision of the mechanical and electrical implementation were also included in the Phase 2 upgrade.
The team at Primetals Technologies faced several challenges during the project. The current shortage of electrical components, for example, microchips and automation equipment, resulted in difficulties to get all the equipment ready for shipment to China on schedule. In addition, Covid-19 restrictions in China added complexity and a level of uncertainty to the project. However, despite the challenges and thanks to a successful collaborative approach, the first coil was produced on time. A joint venture between Valin Steel Group and ArcelorMittal, VAMA is a steel producer focused on automotive steels with an annual production of 1.5 million tons. The annual capacity will increase when Phase 2 is completed for the whole plant.