Gerdau Special Steel North America in Monroe, MI, contracted Primetals Technologies to modernize its electric melting operation, adding a twin ladle furnace and a new material handling system, and installing a series of robots to optimize workflow and reduce operating costs. The goal is to increase the plant's annual production capacity by 180,000 tons to 720,000 tons/year.
The Michigan minimill produces engineered carbon and alloy SBQ steel bars for safety-critical applications in automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturing, construction, agricultural equipment production, distribution, and energy markets
Primetals Technologies will engineer and supply new process equipment for the electric-arc furnace, the 110-mt twin ladle furnace, the material handling system, and the structural steel work. Also, it will supervise the construction and commissioning of all the installations.
The scope of supply also includes all associated electrical and automation systems; the power supply (including transformers); and all new process automation.
The robotics to be installed are three LiquiRob systems to handle molten-metal sampling and other potentially dangerous tasks in the melt shop. More automated capabilities to be installed will include sand refilling, a weighing system, and EAF tapping.
The order is part of an estimated $80-million investment for Gerdau.
Earlier this year, the steelmaker announced plans to convert from casting 210-mm to 240-mm square blooms. The switch to larger cast sections, planned to be effective this month, is intended to result in a greater cast-product reduction ratio, improved surface quality on the cast products, and cleaner steel with fewer inclusions.