Qian‘an, China, May 29, 2018

SMS group plants for silicon steel grades meet all requirements

SMS group delivered seven lines for the production of silicon steel strip to Beijing Shougang Co., Ltd. in Qian‘an, China. Between 2011 and 2013 all lines went into operation. Qi Jiebin, Deputy Director and Metallurgical Equipment Engineer of the silicon steel business unit at Beijing Shougang Co., Ltd, on the cooperation with SMS group, the technology and the silicon steel market.

Mr. Qi, when you look back at 2011, how was the start-up of the new lines?

On the whole, the commissioning process went very smoothly. All parties worked hard and hand in hand. Furthermore, the quality of commissioning was ensured even in a very tight project schedule. That was the basis for the later-on safe and stable operation. Also the Plug & Work integration test was very beneficial; it is a very advanced and convenient process.

When you look back, what was crucial for your decision to select SMS group as supplier of your new production facility?

First of all, SMS is for sure a metallurgical player with long-standing experience and a large number of successful references. In addition, the appropriate design concept and know-how of SMS was recognized by us through the technical exchange meetings. We also appreciate the earnest attitude and pragmatic spirit. All these things made us choose SMS eventually.

What do you appreciate about the cooperation with SMS group?

Every team member took his job conscientiously. Everyone shared the typical German spirit of meticulousness and exquisiteness. The team had rich work experience and strong ability of troubleshooting. Any problem during project execution was solved in time. The project management of both parties established effective communication mechanisms, ensuring consensus on major issues as soon as possible. In conclusion, I am very satisfied with our cooperation and it is an impressive memory for me.

High-permeability grain-oriented material is for sure very difficult to produce. How much time did it need to get into the market for the high-grain oriented material?

The silicon steel production process is very long and difficult, but the processing lines by SMS meet all requirements of high grain-oriented silicon steel production. Certain local optimizations and adjustments have been carried out, based on the fact production technology has been adjusted. The first coil of high grain-oriented strip was successfully produced in March 2012. The first 500-kV-transformer was placed in network operation in 2014, and in 2015, the production line reached the design capacity of 150,000 tons. In 2017, successful application in the first 1,000-kV-transformer was accomplished.

What kind of products are you producing today?

Today, Shougang produces the full range of silicon steel strip products. Non-grain-oriented silicon steel has formed four series which cover 86 products. In 2016, our output of non-oriented electrical steel strips reached 1.29 million tons. This made Shougang the biggest producer of non-grain-oriented silicon steel in China and worldwide. When it comes to grain-oriented grades, Shougang implemented low-temperature heating technology, which made us globally one of very few companies applying this process. Our products cover the thickness range of 0.30, 0.27, 0.23, and 0.20 millimeters in the quality range from 20SQGD070 to 30SQG120 according to our product nomenclature. Also, small batch production of materials with a thickness of 0.18 millimeter is possible. With our high grain-oriented products we rank among the first-class suppliers for the transformer industry. Our products have gained the certification of worldwide well-known transformer enterprises like TBEA, ABB, Siemens and General Electric. The products are widely used in 500-kV, extra- and ultra- high voltage (EHV and UHV) transformer manufacturing, and there is a major breakthrough in the project of State Grid Corporation of China to develop and manufacture an AC transformer with 1,000 MVA/1,000-kV.

I am very satisfied with our cooperation, and it is an impressive memory for me. Qi Jiebin, Deputy Director and Metallurgical Equipment Engineer of the silicon steel business unit at Beijing Shougang Co., Ltd.
What is approximately the percentage of high grain-oriented material concerning your total grain-oriented production?

We’re producing all of our materials with the “low-temperature plus nitriding” technology and we’re producing 100 percent high-grain oriented material!

Which industrial sectors are provided with the silicon steel strip you’re producing right now?

Shougang electrical steel products serve the complete life cycle of energy saving, emission reduction and environmental protection. The products are widely used in power generation motors, transformers, air conditioning compressors, refrigerator compressors, EI iron cores, small and medium-size micro motors, and so on. At present, one of two domestic inverter air conditioners is made of Shougang electrical steel. These air conditioners are also exported to over 20 countries worldwide.

How do you expect the market for non-grainoriented material to develop?

Do you feel an increased demand due to the e-mobility trend? With the rapid growth of electrical vehicles in China and worldwide, we expect that the demand will further increase. Also, the growing air conditioning industry leads to an increased demand for non-oriented electrical steel.

And how will the market for grain-oriented material develop?

In China, the National Energy Administration issued the plan of construction and transformation of the distribution network, and put forward that the investment in the distribution network should be no less than two trillion yuan (approx. 250 billion Euros) from 2015 to 2020. At the same time, the International Energy Agency disclosed in the world energy investment outlook from 2014 to 2035, that the investment in the global power field will reach 16.4 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. In many areas in the world efforts focus on extending the power grid and making it more efficient. Thus, the demand of grain-oriented electrical steel will gradually increase; especially the market for high-magnetic thin products will grow