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An expert’s view of the new CSP® Nexus at JSW Steel

This is what the future of casting and rolling looks like

Indian steel producer JSW Steel (Dolvi Works) has ordered a CSP® Nexus plant, which will change the production of flat steel. We have discussed some fundamental questions about this project with SMS group experts. What are the global strategic advantages of the new CSP® Nexus plant for the steel industry? How will the integrated digital solutions, artificial intelligence, and automation technologies transform Dolvi Works' production processes? And how do technological innovations affect energy efficiency and sustainability?

The CSP® Nexus plant for JSW (Dolvi works) will be the third of its kind worldwide. It not only promises maximum productivity but also expands the product range in terms of widths and thicknesses. It guarantees peak values with regard to performance, efficiency, and decarbonization.  As a pioneer in thin-strip technology, SMS group is once again setting standards in the steel industry that fundamentally revolutionize the market. The new plant will be built at the Dolvi location on the west coast of Maharashtra in India and is scheduled to go into operation in 2026.

For JSW STEEL, the CSP® Nexus plant is opening up entirely new perspectives in terms of flexibility. For the first time, it is possible to produce hot strip in conventional sizes as well as in sizes for light plate applications on a single plant for use in shipbuilding or wind turbine construction, or for API tube grades, for example. The company is able to utilize this plant technology to respond immediately to market changes and demands with the right products. The new plant also illustrates how innovative technologies and sustainable production methods can be combined to create efficient and environmentally friendly production processes.

The next innovation stage: How CSP® Nexus is transforming steel production

Michael Schäfer, Executive Vice President Flat Products at SMS group, highlights the transformative role of the new CSP® Nexus plant for the global steel industry. “Four decades ago, SMS group revolutionized steel production with the introduction of CSP® technology, which made us a pioneer in the cost-effective and environmentally friendly production of hot strip,” explains Schäfer. Since SMS group put the first CSP® plant into operation at Nucor in Crawfordsville, USA in 1989, 30 more individual plants have followed around the world.

Michael Schäfer: “Now, the CSP® Nexus marks another significant step into the future. It takes the benefits of a mini-mill to a completely new level, offering our customers unique competitive advantages.”

According to Michael Schäfer, JSW Steel has already gained excellent experience with its first CSP® plant from SMS group: “The customer achieved record performance with the existing CSP® plant and is now continuing this success story with the new CSP® Nexus.”

The new plant will enable strips to be produced in widths of up to 2.6 meters and thicknesses of 32 millimeters. “With the CSP® Nexus, JSW Dolvi is the world’s first manufacturer to close the gap between traditional hot rolling mills and light plate mills,” adds Michael.

He also emphasizes the profitable market opportunities offered by the new technology: “With the CSP® Nexus plant, JSW Steel will be able to expand its energy-optimized production to include new product dimensions. This taps into completely new market potential for JSW Steel but also for us as an integrated systems and plant supplier.”

Innovation partners with shared values: Why JSW Steel chose SMS group

Ramesh Ayya, Head of Sales TMP Greater India, explains the decisive reasons for choosing SMS group as its supplier: “JSW Steel looked at several aspects. These included the reliability of the plant builder and its ability to meet their requirements. Technological expertise and a mutual understanding of what a collaborative partnership entails. SMS group performed best on all these points.” JSW Steel paid special attention to the challenge of implementing the largest strip width to date on a CSP® plant. Here, too, confidence in SMS group was greatest.

“Thanks to our joint success with the conventional CSP® plant, which we had delivered to JSW in the past, there was already a very good basis for a mutual understanding of what the future plant and the technologies should achieve,” continues Ramesh Ayya. The experts on both sides have shared ideas and concepts for the new generation of CSP® plant. “The JSW operations team is looking forward to the new possibilities offered by the CSP® Nexus based on their experience so far,” says Ramesh Ayya. Not only that, the customer’s team will be able to bring with them the qualifications and skills required to achieve maximum productivity and quality on the new plant and to fully utilize the benefits of this new flexibility in terms of the product mix.

JSW Steel is India’s leading steel producer and SMS group is the leading plant builder. This unites us.

Ramesh Ayya goes on to explain how the new CSP® Nexus facility will strengthen JSW Steel’s market position: “With this CSP® Nexus, JSW Steel can now also tap into the market for thinner strip in a very cost-effective way. Thanks to the casting and direct rolling technology, the customer benefits from considerable savings in opex costs, which improves overall profitability. The plant will also be able to produce conventional hot strip at very high productivity levels, which will also save operating costs.”

For Ramesh Ayya, the new order continues the long-term strategic partnership between the two companies: “JSW Steel is India’s leading steel producer and SMS group is the leading plant builder. This unites us, because both companies have similar DNA when it comes to our fundamental values and readiness to innovate. Together, we will continue to shape the future of CSP® technology and successfully realize new opportunities.”

A win-win situation, both ecologically and economically: CSP® Nexus is leading the steel industry into a sustainable future

Cosimo Cecere, Head of Integrated Process Solutions Casting and Rolling Plants at SMS group, is just as enthusiastic about the technological advances, the flexibility, and the ecological and economic benefits of the new CSP® Nexus plant: “The CSP® Nexus preserves the core idea of casting and direct rolling, with the significant difference that it achieves a higher throughput and a larger slab thickness with the curved casting machine. Furthermore, it includes an independent roughing and finish-rolling process, so that the best of both worlds, namely HSM and CSP® technology, comes together in one plant. For the first time, we will make it possible to produce hot strip and plate dimensions on a single plant for use in shipbuilding or wind turbine construction, or for API tube grades, for example. With CSP® Nexus, our customer can enjoy previously unmatched product range flexibility on one line. With our innovative plant technology, JSW Steel is able to respond immediately to market and demand changes by offering the right products.”

The combination of quality and reliable partnership throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant makes us the preferred partner in the industry.

According to Cosimo Cecere, CSP® Nexus thus meets growing market requirements with regard to production and maximum product quality, while at the same time significantly reducing CO2 emissions.

In response to the question of competitive advantages, Cosimo Cecere says that SMS group is investing significant resources in research and development and is continuously working on optimization: “We manufacture all of the quality and process-relevant core components in our own SMS workshops worldwide, and we always place the spotlight on the benefits for our customers. This combination of quality and reliable partnership throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant makes us the preferred partner in the industry.”

According to Cosimo Cecere, this also includes sustainability. “In view of global warming and international climate targets, sustainability is more urgent than ever,” he says.

With CSP® Nexus, it is possible for plant owners to manufacture high-quality products in a much more eco-friendly manner. This is not only about energy optimization, it also represents a huge step toward carbon-free steel production. “For example, as part of the H2 Green Steel project in 2025, we will be putting into operation the first carbon-neutral CSP® Nexus plant in northern Sweden,” says Cosimo Cecere proudly.

Technological excellence: The challenges and solutions behind the CSP® Nexus plant

For Björn Kintscher, Senior Expert CSP® Technology at SMS group, the technological innovations developed for the CSP® Nexus plant for JSW are especially challenging. He describes one example from the planning and design phase: “The world’s widest hot strip and the maximum thickness of 32 millimeters are a first for plants that combine casting and direct rolling. These dimensions, together with an annual production capacity of up to four million tons, called for the development of specific solutions covering the whole production line. In other words, from the caster to the rolling mill, the cooling section to the coilers. To this end, we designed each part of the plant to be stronger and heavier.”

According to Björn Kintscher, attaining the required throughput from the caster is a particular challenge. “Thanks to our reference plant at SDI Sinton, where the caster achieves a record throughput of 8.7 tons per minute at a stable level, we believe we can build a caster that can handle up to 10 tons per minute for JSW,” he adds.

Another outstanding feature is the induction heater the behind the caster. The system enables heating on demand that is individually tailored to the requirements of each product. What’s more, the induction system contributes to higher efficiency and a lower carbon footprint.

Digital future: AI and automation paving the way for efficient steel production at JSW Steel

New plant components and new process sequences also call for innovations in automation and digitalization. This is one of the responsibilities held by Manish Bhatt, Technical Sales Automation, Digital and Service Solutions. He explains the digital products and services planned for the CSP® Nexus plant at JSW Steel in Dolvi: “The plant’s automation system will be ‘digital ready’ right from the start, which allows the direct integration of digital tools in later phases too. To achieve this, the meta information provided by the automation data is harmonized, and the data flow is optimized at all automation levels. This means we can ensure the plant is ready for digitalization, both now and in the future. In addition, we are implementing the SMS DataFactory Suite, which is designed to establish a uniform data repository that can be accessed via standardized API (application programming interface) technology.”

According to Manish Bhatt, various AI tools and applications that support the production processes are also planned. “Our Data Correlator, a fully integrated Quality Execution System (QES) application, provides users with a tool for exploratory data analysis. The focus is on root cause analyses, comparative analyses, and predictive models,” explains the digital expert. In addition, the system facilitates the export of the results for monitoring quality and predicting quality risks.

The QES system optimizes the production of high-quality materials. It enables operators to respond quickly to process deviations and ensures compliance with high quality standards. Not only that, it also provides the conditions required to certify the product quality.

A further highlight is the Genius CM® (condition monitoring) system. It plays a vital role in analyzing the condition of the installed equipment and in detecting damage early on. Unscheduled shutdowns can be forecast before they occur. “The customer directly obtains measurement data, analysis results, and process information online in a software environment. Which is a huge advantage, because in the past this was only possible through laborious and costly individual analyses,” says Bhatt. As soon as a measured value exceeds the specified tolerances, the system automatically sends an alarm early on, thus preventing major damage caused by overloading or prolonged outages due to unscheduled shutdowns. Manish Bhatt continues:

“Our Genius CM® system is able to detect patterns in the process data and predict potential tolerance violations. In this way, we enable JSW Steel to take proactive measures before any violation actually occurs. Moreover, the system can learn from the type and frequency of certain tolerance violations and gain valuable insights from these that help our customers to continuously optimize their production process and ensure consistently high quality for their products.”

The main goal is to achieve maximum process stability.

In addition to numerous process controls and models, harmonized process data and communication tools, which are operated on the most advanced automation platforms, the self-optimizing X-Pact® Integrated Temperature Model combines all process steps from the continuous caster to the coiler and makes recommendations with the primary aim of further enhancing product quality and output. The individual models include the optimum cooling parameters provided by X-Pact® Solid Control, which is SMS group’s predictive and dynamic process model that ensures optimized cooling strategies in the continuous caster. This approach guarantees maximum temperature homogeneity along the entire strip length, resulting in optimal mechanical properties.

“To improve the efficiency of day-to-day production, the main goal is to achieve maximum process stability,” says Bhatt. “X-Pact® Centerline Control functions as an integrated strip guidance solution that improves rolling stability, reduces the number of unscheduled roll changes, and supports the operator by providing a suitable means of visualization. The system uses a closed-loop control algorithm to calculate the strip centerline deviation and issues a correction signal for adjusting the mill housings. This is one of our latest, yet already established applications that is paving the way for fully automatic flat rolling,” adds Manish Bhatt.

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