We saw the investment in the HRPF as an opportunity to replace two other 1950s vintage hot mills in our system. We also had the vision to lower our hot-rolling costs by using state-of-the-art automation. The facility has no slab yard, and has a totally automated coil yard. We also saw the opportunity to improve our finishing plant productivities and yields by maximizing the power and size card [capacity and efficiency] of the facility.
Primetals’ leadership in E&A [electric and automation], combined with tailor-made mechanical engineering, allowed ATI to develop what we believe is the most efficient and advanced rolling mill of its kind in the world. This, coupled with the single-source hardware supply, was an important consideration in our decision.
Primetals’ leadership in E&A, combined with tailor-made mechanical engineering, allowed ATI to develop what we believe is the most efficient and advanced rolling mill of its kind in the world.”
As with any large-scale project, there were a number of challenges in design, engineering, installation, commissioning and ramp up. Particularly during the latter stages of the project, we gained synergies from essentially integrating the Primetals commissioning engineers into our manufacturing team to jointly solve problems as they arose. In addition, unlike many other hot-mill installations in the world, ATI’s diverse product portfolio also represented a challenge that we were able to overcome in all phases of the project.
It did in several ways: Firstly, the flexibility of the combustion* and mill delivery system designed into this facility was unique to accommodate the broad range of products we manufacture. Secondly, qualification of the automation systems was performed relatively quickly. Furthermore, our collective teams shared a common goal to quickly ramp up mill production as well.
The HRPF is designed with state-of-the-art air and water quality systems that will easily be able to meet the strictest of environmental standards.
The mill’s designed power, size card capability and technology are unparalleled. ATI will be able to leverage this capability internally and externally for years to come.
*The combustion system includes the induction furnace, soaking pits, heat boxes for heat retention, and car-bottom heating systems.