Within a shutdown of merely twenty days, SMS group managed to complete the modernization of the CSP® plant at the Alexandria production site of Al Ezz Dekheila Steel Company (EZDK). The customer could resume production after a short ramp-up phase. SMS group talked with Mohamed Fouad Emam, General Manager for Technical Affairs at EZDK about the project.
Before the upgrade, we produced one million tons of flat steel per year. We used to produce several steel grades from low- to medium-carbon and HSLA grades and limited quantities of API and dual-phase steel. But our point of excellence is the production of thin gauges which requires highly skilled operators and perfect mill condition.
After the modernization we are looking for more added-value products such as API-X70 thicker material 12.7 millimeters in thickness, silicon steel, dual and multi-phase steel. Moreover, we are planning to produce gauges with 1.0 millimeter thickness as part of commercial production. Currently, the minimum gage is 1.2 millimeters.
The main reason was the obsolescence of automation system hardware, but we found it wise to upgrade the models in order to make use of the development in the past 20 years. In addition, we included some mechanical upgrades like liquid core reduction and super-reinforced cooling to fully utilize the new models’ capabilities.
Basically, SMS group was the machine builder and leader of the consortium that originally supplied the plant. Through the past years, we had very good cooperation with SMS, and we were very satisfied about the mill’s excellent performance and the level of technical support from SMS group. Also, SMS group was the only supplier capable to offer us an integrated project covering electrical and mechanical extents.
In fact, it is one of the key factors for a successful project to have everything in one hand to guarantee the integration of the project. The difficulty of an upgrade project compared to a green-field project made us put more focus on such integration. In addition, SMS group was the only supplier who offered us the complete solution.
We are on a high level of teamwork which is attributable to the long-term cooperation between the two companies. In addition, our engineers stayed in Germany after training for joint programming, which enhanced their skills and formed the two teams into one.
We have been pursuing very closely the development of Plug & Work since its early start. I personally visited the test field together with a group of my team even before starting our project and was very impressed by the test field and the simulation. This concept saves a lot of time and effort during commissioning.
As I mentioned before, our engineers stayed about three months and participated in the software development side by side to SMS engineers. This is really an example of good relations between supplier and customer that have reached the level of a partnership.
The new models are much more powerful compared to the old systems, which provides more control and facilitates analysis and troubleshooting for both operation and maintenance groups.
I can see it very clearly that the new systems are much more user-friendly and comfortable for the operators. The layout design and even the selection of colors are really comfortable and very informative. Our operators became familiar with the new systems in a very short time.
No doubt, we trust in SMS and definitely recommend this company to any customer looking for a successful project.