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Forgemasters rolls out Asian contracts

13 August 2008

SHEFFIELD Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) is producing its largest plate-mill rolls for the Asian steel market in two deals worth more than £4.5m.

Forgemasters' engineers are on the verge of completing the first pair of eight 170 tonne back-up rolls, which work to create many tonnes of pressure required in steel plate rolling mills, for the huge steel mills in India and China.

The first four back-up rolls, produced for Siemens VAI, will be shipped to Chinese steel company Wuhan Iron and Steel Group Corporation in a deal worth almost £2.5m.

The company is also producing four back-up rolls for India's third largest steel company, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, in a deal worth more than £2m.

Martin Wilks, senior sales manager at SFIL, said: "Forgemasters is one of very few companies in the world which has the capability to supply steel rolls of this size.

"As a company we have been very proactive in developing a unique new ingot mould  using the latest in engineering and design techniques to help us produce some of the largest mono block steel back-up rolls for the emerging wide plate mills around the world."

In 2005 Forgemasters began a two-year project to develop a giant new ingot mould to match the huge expansion of capacity in large plate mills in Asia. The first 300 tonne ingot was produced last year and Forgemasters is now developing a second mould as demand for 170 tonne rolls increase. 

The new mould significantly increased the size range of Forgemasters' steel rolls. Its 170 tonne rolls can now be used to produce plates of steel over 4.5 metres wide - more than one metre wider than generally produced - ideal for feeding the ship-building and pipe industries in economically developing regions.

Martin added: "The Asian plate mill market is booming right now and companies are looking for the most technologically advanced components for the production of the largest steel plates. Forgemasters' engineering and forging capabilities have made it possible for us to meet the industry needs and play a part in raising the bar for steel industry standards.

"The sheer size of the components that make up the rolls, their handling and the logistical considerations have required a team effort right across the company."

The wider steel plates produced by the rolls not only save massive amounts of welding time but also significantly reduce the time needed to inspect for metal fatigue.