Plate Mill Automation Upgrade for Chinese Steel Producer

Chinese steel producer Xiangtan Iron and Steel sought to modernize obsolete automation systems to improve product quality. The resulting order was an extensive upgrade from Primetals Technologies for the Xiangtan plate mill in Xiangtan, Hunan province.

Founded in 1958, Xiangtan Iron and Steel employs some 10,400 people. Annual production capacity is 12 million tons of steel in the form of wide and heavy plates, wire rods, and bars. The steel producer serves several markets, including shipbuilding, construction machinery, marine engineering, bridge construction, and pressure vessels. Steel products from Xiangtan have been used for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge, the world’s longest cross-sea bridge, and Abu Dhabi International Airport.

FAC Granted

Primetals Technologies received the final acceptance certificate (FAC) two weeks ahead of schedule. With the implementation phase lasting only six weeks, the quality of the products exceeded customer expectations almost immediately after the start of production.

The open communication between Primetals Technologies and our technical staff was efficient, allowing the project to run smoothly and to be completed ahead of schedule. It demonstrates Primetals Technologies’ technological and organizational strengths.”  

Li YuXiang
Vice Chief Engineer of Electrical Automation
at Xiangtan Plate Mill
Xiangtan Iron and Steel’s plate mill
The upgrade of the Level 2 automation system at Xiangtan Iron and Steel’s plate mill has improved the produced plates’ quality.

Upgraded Level 2 Automation System

The upgrade of the process optimization system ensures that the predictions of roll force and roll torque are improved—both of which are key parameters during the rolling process. In addition, the complete rolling process is stabilized, mainly when rolling small lots and different steel grades. A part of the Level 2 system, Set Point Monitor makes the rolling process more flexible by synchronizing the Level 1 and 2 automation systems, for instance, after pyrometer adaptions, interventions by operators, or after any unplanned events.

Another module of the Level 2 system, Path Keeper, locks the desired thickness at a predetermined part of the rolling process and onwards until the plate leaves the mill. Thanks to this module, the process automation system is protected against noisy data—i.e., data that might result in false conclusions. Additionally, Path Keeper ensures stable calculations of the pass schedule, which is particularly helpful when rolling thin gauges.


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