A project of this size takes about two years to build. It is a complex process that has a large number of milestones to it. A first milestone for the public was the METEC 2015 trade fair, where visitors had the opportunity to get a first impression of the scope of supply at the SMS group booth. There, a drive spindle was exhibited, which was to be driving one of the CSP® mill stands at Big River Steel. The drive spindle had been manufactured at the SMS group workshop in Hilchenbach.
From mid-2015 on, the plant equipment arrived at the Big River Steel site in Arkansas. Mark Bula, Chief Commercial Officer at Big River Steel:
"We right now receive about 40 to 50 crates a day from overseas, from all over where SMS is producing this equipment. The next major milestone for us is beginning to assemble this equipment. The tandem cold mill is the next large step in our process."
Among the shipments were six millstands, each weighing about 105 tons, which were manufactured at SMS group workshop in Germany and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the USA. David Stickler, CEO at Big River Steel, on the mill stands of the cold rolling mill.
"One of the things that I am most looking forward to is the arrival of the millstands. Those millstands were fabricated over in Hilchenbach. Some of my colleagues had the opportunity to travel to Hilchenbach and see those millstands actually being fabricated. That will be a very, very large milestone for this project. I think it's a compliment to SMS that the millstands are arriving ahead of schedule. The inspection of those millstands before they were loaded on the ship was very, very, outstanding."