In May, the first plate was processed on a normalizing line supplied by Primetals Technologies to Mexican steel producer Altos Hornos de México S.A.B de C.V. (AHMSA). The line installed in the Monclova works, originally designed for 200,000 metric tons per year had already been ordered from Primetals Technologies in October 2013. A supplementary order received in 2014 included a capacity increase to 300,000 metric tons per year. Right from the processing of the first plate, most components of the line operated in fully automatic mode.
AHMSA operates the largest integrated steelworks in Mexico and is the country's only producer of heavy plate. The company generates more than 5 million metric tons of crude steel every year. The company primarily produces flat rolled steel, including hot- and cold-rolled coils, heavy plates, tin-coated and tin-free sheets, and a variety of heavy sections.
The normalizing line processes carbon steel plates produced by a Steckel rolling mill also supplied by Primetals Technologies. Normalizing results in a homogenous, finely grained structure while simultaneously improving the tensile strength, ductility and weldability of the plates. The normalizing line processes plates with thicknesses between 4.5 and 50.8 millimeters and widths of 1,500 to 3,048 millimeters. The plates can be between 3,000 and 16,000 millimeters long. An automatic gantry crane lifts the plates onto the loading table where their length is measured. Following this, they pass through a blasting machine for descaling. Then the plates are brought to the required temperature in a nitrogen atmosphere furnace before being subsequently cooled on a series of cooling tables. At the outgoing end of the line are a marking machine, and a plasma cutter for taking samples. Finally the plates are unloaded with the help of an automatic gantry crane.
Primetals Technologies undertook the engineering the normalizing line, supplied all plant components and was responsible for construction and start-up supervision. The entire electrical equipment including energy distribution and basic automation (Level 1) and process automation (Level 2) also constituted parts of the order.