New production capacity for tubes and bars in the U.S.A.
The new AQTF (Advanced Quench-and-Temper Facility) heat-treatment line supplied by SMS group to TimkenSteel Corporation at its Gambrinus Steel Plant in Canton, Ohio, U.S.A. has commenced full commercial production. Extensive testing was successfully completed in November 2017, and TimkenSteel issued the FAC (Final Acceptance Certificate) to SMS group. Carolee Vanicek, director of tube manufacturing at Gambrinus, declares: “We found that SMS was able to bring the best technology to meet our needs and satisfy our customer demand. The commissioning effort went very well, and SMS group has met all the expectations we had on the AQTF.”
The new line is able to treat 10 tons per hour of bars and heavy-walled tubes, up to 13 inches in diameter, precisely complying with specified values.
The compact line is characterized by a combination of induction preheaters and combustion furnaces for austenitizing and tempering processes. Subsequent cooling takes place in the newly developed Quenching Shell, an advanced OD/ID water sprayer, characterized by high-quench severity and, at the same time, great flexibility to adapt to changing process conditions.
During the commissioning period, a full array of intensive testing was carried out, beginning with the certification of the combustion heating furnaces in accordance to the SAE ASM2750-E standard, which calls for extremely demanding temperature homogeneity inside the furnace chamber (± 3 degrees Celsius for furnaces of Class 1), as a requirement for producing aerospace-quality material. Different seamless mechanical tubes and SBQ (Special Bar Quality) products have been processed by the AQTF, from 6 inches to 12 inches (out of a selectable range from 4 inches to 13 inches). These products are made up of a variety of different steel grades that reflects TimkenSteel’s vast portfolio. The tests were performed with increasing hourly throughput to stress-test all the line components.
SMS group is a group of companies internationally active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry. It has some 13,500 employees who generate worldwide sales of more than EUR 3 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.