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Arvedi ESP – technology and

plant design
The new Arvedi ESP® (Endless Strip Production) technology, a direct evolution from ISP (In-line
Strip Production), is the first to apply a completely endless concept that connects casting and
rolling without interruption, thus allowing a very thin transfer bar to enter the rolling mill to
produce thin gauge quality steel in a very compact line (180m long) and with significantly lower
energy consumption than a traditional cast slab hot strip mill route. Following commissioning
in June 2009 the plant produced 400,000t that year. Since the start of 2010 production has
averaged 300t/hr. The minimum gauge so far obtained is 1.2mm, while development down to
0.8mm gauge is expected by June 2010.

Authors: Gerald Hohenbichler, Federico Mazzolari, Bernd Linzer and Andreas Jungbauer
Siemens VAI and Arvedi

A rvedi ISP ESP®technology was developed to exploit


the thermal energy of liquid steel to produce, in an
effective and compact line, quality hot rolled thin gauge
and materials used in the mould and SEN), the bow-type
caster and the induction heater are the basis for this
technology, making it:
steel to replace cold rolled products.
The idea (patented worldwide as ISP®) was applied at ` The first industrial-scale plant using a new and unique
the Acciaieria Arvedi steelworks in Cremona in 1992 as mould system with liquid core reduction
Europe’s first and the world’s second mini-mill for flat rolled ` The first plant based on cast-rolling (the direct
steel based on thin slab casting. Implemented through the connection of the casting phase, achieved in a bow-
cast-rolling concept which, for the first time, connected type continuous caster, with the rolling phase in the
casting and rolling without interruption, allowing a very special high reduction mill)
thin transfer bar to enter the rolling mill, it consequently ` The first application of a continuous induction heater
produced thin gauge quality steel in a very compact line (IH) for steel strip
(180m long) with significantly lower energy consumption ` 15 years of excellent results confirm the validity of the
than a traditional cast slab hot strip mill route. idea, with average earnings (EBITDA) of 15%, 60% of
The new Arvedi ESP® technology, a direct evolution from the production mix in high added value special steels
ISP, is the first to apply a completely endless concept. A (high strength, low alloy HSLA, DP dual phase, etc),
series of innovations (covered worldwide by 420 Arvedi- and more than 50% of production in quality thin
owned patents) relating to the mould system (the shape gauges (1mm at full table width)
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

r Fig 1 Layout of the Arvedi ESP line

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FORMING PROCESSES

r Fig 2 Caster main features and technical data

THE ARVEDI ESP LINE – CREMONA PLANT 2 enable the rolling of strip to thicknesses between 12 and
The new cast-rolling line is made up of four main sections 0.8mm (and even thinner) at strip widths up to 1,570mm.
(see Figure 1). The installation of an advanced cooling system at the
The first section consists of a thin-slab caster followed exit of the finishing mill is an important pillar for the
by rolling in a linked 3-stand, 4-high reduction mill (HRM) production of a wide range of steel grades including HSLA
at the exit of the continuous caster. An important factor and multi-phase steels.
in the internal quality of the cast slabs is that liquid steel The fourth section consists of a high-speed dividing
core reduction is carried out with Smart® caster segments shear and downcoilers where the strip is coiled in weights
prior to the HRM. up to 32t.
The HRM rolls the slab with a special thermal thickness For ESP, the integration of technological automation
distribution (TTD), which is an inverse thermal profile, systems and packages developed by Siemens VAI is a
ie, the core is hotter than the subsurface, which in turn decisive factor for achieving excellent production and
is hotter than the surface. The low specific resistance product quality parameters.
to deformation in the core leads to improved material The core components of the plant have already been
structure, excellent isotropic material properties, reduced described in detail in various papers1–11, and can be
energy consumption and a significantly improved crown. summarised, from a technological point of view, as follows:
After the HRM the transfer bar is 8–20mm thick and mould and caster, directly connected 3-stand HRM,
already has a flatness and thickness profile as well as intermediate area with pusher piler and sample cutting,
quality parameters that fully satisfy the standards of hot- induction heater and descaler unit, 5-stand finishing train
rolled coil and plate. and laminar cooling and high speed cutting units, all of
In the second section, the temperature of the intermediate which are essential to the success of ESP technology.
strip is adjusted to the requirements of finishing rolling in In order to create a highly profitable plant that produces
an induction heater. The temperature of the strip is the key high quality hot rolled coil with minimum energy
to good process performance in a fully continuous cast- consumption, and thus minimum conversion costs, the
rolling line. Induction heating allows highly flexible and following components are of the utmost importance.
precise control of the temperature and can also provide a
high energy input within a very short space. More details PLANT COMPONENTS
are given later. Thin slab caster The desired mass flow arises from a
The third section comprises a high-pressure descaler to combination of the slab thickness (about 100mm) and
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

accurately remove scale and minimise temperature loss, casting speed and this determines the caster design. In
and a 5-stand finishing mill equipped with the Siemens our case only a low head bow-type caster with vertical
VAI SmartCrown technology package. It is designed to mould and appropriate slab support system with a long a

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Arvedi and Siemens VAI on plant design and technology
resulted in the design and construction of the mould
system. Key features are:

` Proven and well-established funnel-shaped copper


plates patented by Arvedi
` Fast mould cooling with heat removal of up to 4MW/m2²
` Hydraulic narrow face adjustment for online taper and
width corrections
` Advanced mould level control by fast eddy current system
` Instantaneous process feedback by Mould Expert
` Hydraulic oscillator for up to 450 cycles/min and
possibility of online stroke, frequency and wave shape
changes
` EMBR controls the liquid steel flow into the mould

An EMBR operates with a high mass flow and thus is very


effective for influencing and controlling the liquid steel
r Fig 3 Mould, EMBR, bender and bow segment flow in the mould, achieving more stable conditions at the
meniscus. It consists of four coils which, together with the
core and yoke, generate the magnetic field. The coils with
metallurgical length fulfils the requirements for ESP the iron core are retractable in order to have free access to
operation. Moreover, casting speed must be taken into the strand guide equipment below (see Figure 3).
consideration as it directly determines the entry speed and
temperature to the HRM. The process parameters dictated Strand guide segments The first segment below the
by the ultra-high casting speed, thin slab thickness and mould is the bender, which has some special features in
reduction obtained through liquid core reduction (LCR) order to fulfil several functions (see Figure 3):
determine the design features of the caster and demand
highly reliable and flexible machine components. The main ` Tong-type segment with a mechanical joint on its top
process figures and characteristics are as follows: and a hydraulic clamping device on its bottom
` LCR with thickness reduction typically of up to 20mm,
` High steel flow rate up to 5.9t/min improving the material properties by less macro
` Casting speeds above 6.5m/min, depending on slab segregation and finer grains
thickness ` Bending of the strand through a continuous bending
` Flexible strand thickness – mould exit 90-110mm and curve
strand guide exit 70-90mm ` Application of powerful cooling equipment
` Remote and dynamic adjustment of the roll gap profile
Figure 2 shows the longitudinal section of the caster area enables dynamic soft reduction (DSR) and gap closing/
including the main features and technical data. The low opening procedures for LCR
head caster has a metallurgical length of 17m and a bow
radius of 5m. Important features of the thin slab caster Spray cooling A maximum cooling rate of up to 3.5l/kg
ensuring high speed casting are: was designed and by applying a powerful cooling system
and Siemens VAI’s dynamic cooling model, Dynacs®,
` Funnel mould with high precision hydraulic oscillator extremely robust casting and high internal enthalpy at the
and electromagnetic brake (EMBR) end of the strand guide are achieved. The cooling system
` Slab guide segments with small roll diameters and is split into two parts. High pressure water cooling at high
roller pitches, including optimised secondary cooling flow rates in the bender and bow segments ensures high
` Well-defined metallurgical length closely connected to cooling efficiency to strengthen the initial strand shell. In
the HRM the lower part of the machine, from the straightener to the
last segment, air-mist cooling at normal pressure and flow
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

Funnel mould The mould, as the heart of caster, initiates rates enables a wide range of operation, predominantly to
the solidification process and is therefore crucial to thin provide a strand of high and adjusted internal enthalpy to
slab casting with high mass flow. Collaboration between the first HRM stand. Depending on the casting width, the

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FORMING PROCESSES

r Fig 4 Main equipment of the ESP line

r Table 1 ESP design highlights

centre and margin nozzles have different water deliveries


so as to equalise the temperature over the width and keep
the edge temperature high.

ESP rolling mill area The layout of the equipment is


shown in Figure 4. Table 1 shows the design highlights.

High reduction mill (see Figure 5) This is located


immediately downstream of the continuous casting
machine and consists of three 4-high rolling stands,
equipped with 3,000kW and 5,500kW motors. The main
emphasis of the design is on reliability and trouble-free r Fig 5 High reduction mill
operation to allow up to 12 hours’ continuous operation.
Work roll material and roll cooling were the main
challenges for the designers as the equipment is not
only in operation for long periods of time but also has
to withstand a rapid temperature rise at the start of
operation. The wiper design was specifically engineered to
ensure good sealing of the roll cooling water.
To control the profile of the strip a positive and negative
work roll bending system was implemented to make use
of the advantageous possibilities offered by the inverse
temperature profile unique to this process, leading to
particularly low deformation energy consumption.
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

Tiltable heat conservation covers These are mounted


between the pendulum shear and the rotary shear in highly r Fig 6 Induction heater and high pressure descaler a

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Parameter Value
Thickness range down coilers 0.8–12mm
Thickness range flying shear 0.8–4mm
Max strip speed 17m/s
Coil outside diameter 1,980mm
Strip temperature range 185–800°C
Max coil weight 32t (45t emergency)

r Table 2 High speed shear and


downcoiler parameters

r Fig 7 Actuator/measurement systems

r Fig 9 ESP finished coils


r Fig 8 Laminar cooling
reflective, robust, low heat capacity refractory material
which very quickly rise to high surface temperatures. Thus,
heat losses are minimised in this area, except for the start
and end of the cast-rolling process. The pendulum shear is
Normalised energy consumption

used to disconnect the dummy bar from the cast strand and
to cut the transfer bar into plates discharged by means of
the pusher/piler equipment, if chosen. The design allows a
wide range of cutting thicknesses (10mm to 110mm).

Induction heater (IH) and descaler The IH units are


located closely upstream of the highly efficient low heat
loss descaler which, in turn, is followed by the finishing
mill (see Figure 6). Both units allow the automation system
r Fig 10 Normalised energy consumption for S235JR to adjust the temperature of the transfer bar to the right
depending on casting speed and strip thickness values for finishing rolling operations.
The heating equipment comprises 10 induction coils of
modular sealed-box design. Each module has an installed
power of 3MW and can raise the temperature of the
transfer bar substantially. The descaler consists of four
high pressure descaler nozzle bars operating at up to 400
bar, delivered by a series of piston pumps.

Finishing mill (FM) The FM gives the product its final


reduction and defines its geometric quality (thickness,
profile and flatness).
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

To meet this requirement the machine is equipped


with modern hydraulic actuators (long stroke cylinders,
max 35MN), work-roll bending (T-block design, positive

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FORMING PROCESSES

Steel grade,hot Thickness range mm Steel grade,cold Thickness range mm


DD12 0.80–10.00 DD12 0.15–2.00
S235 JR 0.85–12.00 S235 JR 0.25–2.00
S315 MC 1.00–12.00 S315 MC 0.30–2.00
S355 MC 1.20–12.00 S355 MC 0.35–2.00
S420 MC 1.20–10.00 S420 MC 0.35–2.00
S700 MC 1.80–8.00 S700 MC 0.60–2.00
DP 600 1.20–5.00 DP 600 0.35–2.00
DP 1000 1.50–5.00 DP 1000 0.45–2.00
r Table 3 Hot and cold rolled products

r Fig 11 ESP line with pickling and cold rolling

bending), work-roll shifting (Smart Crown®, wear headers to be very quickly added and precisely controlled.
compensation), dynamic work roll cooling and a roll gap A high speed shear is used to determine coil size in endless
lubrication system on the early stands (see Figure 7). When operation. Positioned approximately 10m upstream of the
all these systems are combined, highly flexible and reactive downcoiler, it must be readily available and cut accurately.
control can be achieved. Siemens VAI’s Hot Planicim® Roll, The equipment is made up of an entry and exit pinch roll
a flatness measuring gauge, allows precise closed loop unit and a rotary-style shear. The shear is of single-blade
flatness control during endless operation, since the strip is design (1 per drum) and works on the principle of an
continuously under tension. eccentric drive to activate the cut.
All these together allow endless strip production in a The three downcoilers downstream of the flying shear (2
wide range of strip thicknesses with close tolerances within operational, 1 standby) are designed for ultra-thin gauge
a single casting sequence, even for hard steel grades. production (4 wrapper rolls, air blow-down system, cradle
Most important from an energy point of view is the very roll indexing).
short space occupied by the stands (4.5m), optimised work
roll diameters and specifically selected work roll materials. PRODUCTION RESULTS
Following commissioning in June 2009 the plant started
Laminar cooling, high speed shear and downcoilers production of strip for sale. For three months it worked
The main energy consideration for this equipment is with two shifts. In the 4th quarter of 2009 it moved to
related to the overall cooling strategy, in particular the use three shifts, taking production at year end to 400,000t. At
of low pressure cooling, large openings and an extra-short the start of 2010 it moved to four shifts with an average
cooling length, as well as low motor power rating for the production of 300t/hr. Figure 9 shows finished coils at the
high speed shear and limited strip tensions for thin gauge end of the compact plant.
coiling (see Figure 8 and Table 2). Basic structural and high strength steels, soft steels for
All the cooling strategies required for various products can re-rolling and galvanising grades are currently produced in
be accommodated (dual-phase, early cooling and standard large quantities, and production tests have been carried
cooling). The equipment offers tilting headers designed out with HSLA steels with positive results. The minimum
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

to facilitate easy removal of the product in the case of gauge so far is 1.2mm with excellent surface quality,
stoppage. In the unlikely event of speed-up at the tail end structure and dimensional tolerances. Development
during batch operation, the header design allows active down to 0.8mm is expected by June 2010, and a further a

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FORMING PROCESSES

extension of the industrially and commercially produced the descaler, a further energy saving of 10-15% will be
steel grades portfolio is expected by the end of the year. achieved, leading to conversion energy savings of more than
World record in energy saving The ESP plant’s lower 25% with respect to the ecologically and economically best
direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse and noxious available technologies. MS
gases (NOx and CO2) are strictly linked to low energy
consumption. They amount to 40-50% on normal gauges Gerald Hohenbichler is General Manager, ESP
and 65-70% on thin gauges. The new concept will achieve Technology, Bernd Linzer is with Hot Rolling Technology
the world’s lowest energy consumption for producing hot and Andreas Jungbauer is General Sales Manager ESP,
rolled coil from liquid steel. This is in part due to the all at Siemens VAI, Linz, Austria. Federico Mazzolari is
reduced demand for deformation energy as the strip is Senior Advisor at Finarvedi, Cremona, Italy.
rolled while still soft in the centre.
Arvedi ESP requires less energy when increasing line CONTACT: rainer.schulze@siemens.com
capacity and productivity, unlike other thin slab process
technologies. The slab heat is used for the first reduction REFERENCES
step in the HRM, with the advantages of the inverse 1 G Arvedi, Finarvedi, Italy, ‘The technological innovation
temperature profile. Reheating of the transfer bar is done of flat steel products’, AIM, Milan, 6 April, 2000.
by the IH to the minimum required and just in time. During 2 A Bianchi, Acciaieria Arvedi, Italy; C Mapelli, AIM,
downtimes (turnover time between production sequences, Italy, ‘Solidification and cooling patterns’, AIM – Thin and
maintenance shifts, etc) the IH is turned off. strip casting, Milan, Italy, 27 June, 2001.
Measurements have been taken during several production 3 G Arvedi, Finarvedi, Italy; A Bianchi, A Guindani, L
runs and have been compared to offline simulations for Manini, Acciaieria Arvedi, Italy, ‘Latest results from Arvedi
S235JR steel grade. After tuning of the models, reliable ISP Technology’, Stahl und Eisen, 123(3), pp57-65, 2003.
predictions can be made for different thicknesses and 4 J Siegl, G Holleis and A Angerbauer, Siemens VAI,
casting speeds. Austria, ‘The Arvedi Endless Strip Production (ESP) line –
Figure 10 shows how thinner gauges result in an From liquid steel to hot-rolled coil in seven minutes’, METEC
increase in energy consumption of 20% due to the higher InSteelCon, Düsseldorf, Germany, 11-15 June, 2007.
deformation energy required if the final thickness is 5 G Arvedi and F Mazzolari, Finarvedi, Italy; J Siegl, G
halved, whereas higher casting speeds lead to a reduction Holleis and A Angerbauer, Siemens VAI, Austria, ‘Acciaieria
in energy consumption of approximately 20% for each Arvedi Cremona Works – From ISP to ESP ultimate casting
m/min of casting speed increase. and direct rolling technology’, Rolling and Processing
Also promising is the use of thin gauge hot rolled strip Conference, Linz, Austria, 16-17 September, 2008.
instead of cold rolled strip, saving the energy needed for 6 R Shore, J Watzinger and G Holleis, Siemens VAI,
cold rolling, annealing and skin passing. The high quality Austria, ‘Casting technology and machine design solutions
thin gauges provided by the endless process will bring a for ESP plants’, Rolling and Processing Conference, Linz,
steadily growing acceptance of thin gauge hot rolled coil. Austria, 16-17 September, 2008.
Arvedi ESP offers the advantage, starting from a thin hot 7 R Burger and A Gruess, Siemens, Germany, ‘Integrated
rolled product with excellent precision, dimensional and process automation – A necessity for successful ESP process
flatness characteristics, of 0.2–0.3mm gauges with a limited implementation’, Rolling and Processing Conference, Linz,
number of cold rolling steps, resulting in reduced investment Austria, 16-17 September, 2008.
and processing costs (see Figure 11 and Table 3). 8 F Mazzolari, G Arvedi and M Calcinoni, Finarvedi, Italy,
‘ISP and ESP technology in integrated mills and mini mills –
PROSPECTS New potentials for steel producers’, Rolling and Processing
Energy savings of more than 60% against conventional Conference, Linz, Austria, 16-17 September, 2008.
production routes and up to 15% against the best available 9 A Flick, A Jungbauer, G Eckerstorfer and J Watzinger,
technologies (eg, ISP) have already been achieved in the ‘Technology and Plant design of Arvedi ESP’, Stahl und
six month start-up period. Eisen 129(11), ppS91-S101, 2009.
Energy optimisation has just started, since the start-up 10 D Rosenthal, SMS Demag, Germany, ‘CSP – compact
curve is not yet finished, and with improved operational strip production: 20 years of success of an outstanding
practice and casting speeds, further energy savings will be technology’, Proceedings of the 2009 International
obtained. We expect that by optimising roll gap lubrication Symposium on Thin Slab Casting and Rolling, Nanjing, PR
MILLENNIUM STEEL 2010

(especially beneficial in endless mode), even higher efficiency China, 13-15 May, 2009.
in the induction heater, minor improvements on the heat 11 D Springorum, VDEh, Stahl und Eisen 115(12),
conservation panels and reduced water consumption by p49, 1995.

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