Maintenance outsourcing for MMK

Lifecycle partnership
Caster maintenance with digital tools

Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel (MMK) ranks among Russia’s largest steel producers, accounting for 20% of the country’s production. Founded in 1932, the company today covers the entire process chain of iron and steel making – from ore through to strip processing.

The relationship between MMK and SMS group dates back to these beginnings, ranging from the construction and delivery of complete mills to modernizations, revamps, spare part deliveries, multiple service contracts and cooperations. There is almost too much to mention, without writing a book about it. So, let’s focus on just a few of the more pre-eminent examples:

SMSgroup Image SMSgroup Image SMSgroup Image SMSgroup Image

A new slab caster

In December 2006, MMK commissioned its new continuous slab caster No. 6. MMK's new slab caster was designed, constructed and supplied by SMS group, integrating the latest X-Pact® electrical and automation technologies and smart maintenance solutions. The high quality of the new caster's slab micro-structure allowed MMK to produce plates with special strength and plasticity characteristics. Due to the unique technologies applied at the continuous slab caster No. 6, MMK were able to produce plates of high strength grades, which secured their leading position among high strength grade plate producers in Russia.

Technical Outsourcing Service

This was augmented with the unique SMS group on-site Technical Outsourcing Service (TOS). Over 80 maintenance experts from SMS group were entrusted with the maintenance of the plant around the clock. With its Integrated Maintenance Management System (IMMS®), SMS group organized the entire maintenance. The services includes the spare parts warehouse, online maintenance (mechanical and electrical components and media systems) as well as offline maintenance. The team repairs and maintains all technological system components. These include the strand segments and the mold plates, whose service lives are extended with specially developed special coatings. The service experts support the automation of the system 24 hours a day via remote access. The steady, close cooperation with the central MMK workshops on complex repairs highlights the exemplary partnership between the two companies.

Learn more about IMMS

Extension of maintenance outsourcing to six casters

MMK’s benefits at caster No. 6 included a higher performance, a ramp-up curve, which was 33% better than planned and a plant availability of 86 percent. With regard to savings, the SMS maintenance team decreased the life cycle costs of the annual maintenance budget by more than 15 percent compared to equivalent plants in the MMK group. Impressive results.

As a result, MMK extended the cooperation on caster No. 6 by three more years. Based upon the success with this caster, SMS group took over the servicing of MMK’s remaining 5 slab casters, which are actually third-party systems – built in the 1980’s and 1990’s – increasing the number of SMS group service crew members to a total of 650.

Results (Caster No. 6)

  • Reduction of maintenance budget by more than 15% compared to equivalent plants in MMK group​
  • Trouble-free operation since April 2012 (a unique milestone under given conditions)​
  • Ramp-up curve: 33% better than planned​
  • Plant availability: 86%

A revamp during Covid-19

The long-standing cooperation between MMK and SMS group also laid the foundation for successful teamwork also under extremely challenging conditions. In February 2020, MMK decided to reconstruct and upgrade the two-stand four-high Compact Cold Mill. The mill was originally supplied by SMS and had been in operation since 2002. After a thorough assessment of the equipment jointly with SMS, MMK decided to integrate the state-of-the-art and future-proof technological features, which were already operative in their slab casters, including an extensive service contract with the SMS group Technical Outsourcing Service (TOS).

“Given the current, global COVID-19 crisis, we were faced not only with technological challenges in this project. My special thanks goes to MMK’s and our own teams. Thanks to their strong commitment, dedication and pragmatic approach, it has been possible – even under the restrictions due to the pandemic – to complete this project according to schedule, with the production of the first coil after only twelve months.”

Marc Hoffmann, Executive Vice President, Flat Products of SMS group

Working on the future of metals

This long history of cooperation has put MMK and SMS group in an excellent position for future developments. In that spirit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works and SMS group in 2021, cementing common goals. This MoU states the intention of both companies to cooperate in the development and use of decarbonization technologies in order to reduce CO2 emissions, potentially to zero. ‟In today's reality, due to the imminent introduction of the EU’s cross-border carbon regulation (CBAM), reduction of the ‘carbon footprint’ is fast becoming one of the key tasks and the biggest challenge for global metallurgy”, said Pavel Shilyaev, CEO of MMK.

The Resumé

The ongoing partnership between MMK and SMS group is certainly extraordinary. Dating back almost 100 years, both companies have found extreme value in each other’s body of work and their mutual understanding of what is needed in today’s steel production. If a good example of a Lifecycle Partnership can be found anywhere, it must be here.