Düsseldorf, July 01, 2020

Fifty years of expertise in secondary metallurgy

Secondary and tertiary metallurgy of SMS Mevac to be operated under the SMS group brand

When it comes to the most advanced technology for melt treatment and refining, one name has topped the global list for years: SMS Mevac. Now, as part of a reorganization, SMS Mevac is to be merged with its parent company, and secondary metallurgy equipment will be traded under the "SMS group" brand. It goes without saying that the know-how and expert customer support will be maintained as before.

The secondary metallurgy is the link between the production of crude steel in a converter or electric arc furnace and the downstream casting of the refined molten steel on a continuous casting machine. The secondary-metallurgical post-treatment of the melt in the ladle furnace or under vacuum is employed to attain the desired level of quality and the right alloy.

From Messo and Vacmetal to SMS Mevac

SMS Mevac was created in 1999 from the merger of Messo Metallurgie and SMS VACMETAL, thus combining the extensive expertise and numerous references in the field of secondary metallurgy.

Messo was founded in 1953 when Dr. Theo Messing and Alfred Sowen established the company known as Messo-Gesellschaft für Verfahrenstechnik. It entered into a collaborative partnership with Standard-Kessel-Gesellschaft in Duisburg. This collaboration proved successful and resulted in the creation of Standard-Messo Duisburg in 1960. Its portfolio included the manufacture of equipment for biochemical products and vacuum metallurgy. The company was subsequently taken over by Mannesmann Demag and incorporated as Messo Metallurgie into the Mannesmann Demag Metallurgy division.

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RH-OB plant, Usinor Dunkerque, France (today: ArcelorMittal Dunkerque)
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VAD (Vacuum arc degassing) plant
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1989: VD plant ESAC (Evergreen Superior Alloys Corp.), Taiwan

In July 1969, Hoesch und Fried. Krupp Hüttenwerke founded a joint subsidiary under the name of VACMETAL Gesellschaft für Vakuum-Metallurgie. The objective was to make joint use of the patents that had been acquired in the field of industrial-scale vacuum steel degassing. As part of the Hoesch and Krupp merger, MAN GHH obtained a majority shareholding in the Dortmund-based company in 1993. In turn, SMS took over the construction business for blast furnace and steelmaking plants from the Industrial Plant and Equipment division of MAN GHH in 1997. VACMETAL then became SMS VACMETAL. Up to this point, the company and its cooperation partners had already built over 350 plants worldwide. 

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1970: British Steel Corp., Port Talbot Works UK, DH plant, 340 tons (today Tata Steel)
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1988: British Steel Corp., Llanwern Works UK, first Duplex-RH plant, 200 ton
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2001: EKO Stahl, hot-metal desulphurization plant, 205 tons charge weight, first Eco-injection plant (today ArcelorMittal Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany)
SMS Mevac as a center of excellence for secondary metallurgy within SMS group
2011: Dragon Steel, Taiwan, RH-TOP plant, 250t

Following its creation in 1999, SMS Mevac quickly became a byword for extremely advanced technology and service for secondary metallurgy. Its product portfolio included not only vacuum systems (RH and RH-TOP plants, tank degassers of type VD, VOD, and VD-OB) but also various different types of ladle furnaces and equipment for hot metal treatment. Around the world, SMS Mevac has designed and built over 430 vacuum steel degassing facilities and over 300 secondary metallurgy plants that are operated under atmospheric conditions.

A unique selling point of SMS Mevac was its unparalleled wealth of experience in secondary metallurgy, built up over decades. Over the years, process models for the various metallurgical techniques and plant components were developed that guarantee customers a high degree of process stability as well as optimized operational expenditure (OPEX).

In addition to new plant business, the overhaul of existing equipment in secondary metallurgy, too, has moved further into the spotlight in recent years. Here, too, SMS Mevac impressed customers with technical solutions that can bring secondary metallurgy equipment and processes up to current technological standards in no time.

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2012: Fuxin Iron & Steel, China, VD-VOB, 150 t
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2016: Big River Steel, USA, RH plant, 150 t
Tertiary metallurgy

Following its success with plant and equipment for secondary metallurgy, SMS Mevac then turned its attention to tertiary metallurgy. The objective here is to manufacture isotropic materials for highly demanding applications. These materials are used especially in the aerospace, energy, and automobile industries, as well as in the oil and gas sector.

One milestone that stands out here was the commissioning of the 8/18-ton VIM plant for Liberty Speciality Steels (formerly TATA Stocksbridge) in the United Kingdom in 2015. The VIM plant contains special vacuum chambers for melting and casting that are interconnected by launder and tundish units. The melting vessel is delivered with a vacuum-tight power supply unit and can be easily replaced with a sophisticated lifting system. The mechanical pump system generates an extremely powerful vacuum.

SMS group to continue secondary and tertiary metallurgy

As part of a reorganization, SMS Mevac was merged with its parent company at the start of 2020, so that secondary metallurgy plant and equipment will now be traded under the "SMS group" brand. This also meant that SMS Mevac was relocated from Essen to Düsseldorf, where the secondary metallurgy experts now work even more closely with their colleagues from upstream and downstream process stages in metallurgy and continuous casting technology. The service portfolio still includes the entire product life cycle, from research and development through engineering, delivery of the equipment, erection and startup supervision, training, and services for smooth operation and efficient revamps. This also ensures the continued success of secondary and tertiary metallurgy in the decades to come.