23.08.2021. thyssenkrupp Steel Europe (TKSE), Germany, has placed an order with SMS group covering the supply of an annealing and insulating line for electric strip. With this investment, TKSE is going to renew core elements of its production network in order to meet future customer requirements. For this purpose, the focus of activities at the Bochum site will be on e-mobility.
From 2024 on, the new annealing and insulating line will turn out more than 200,000 t/a of non-grain-oriented electric strip which will mainly be used to produce efficient electric motors and generators for electric vehicles, for example.
Annealing and insulating line
In the annealing and insulating line, the structure of the cold rolled strip will be recrystallised during the annealing process. Thereafter, the material will be provided with an insulating layer.
In addition to the entry and exit ends with horizontal loopers, the line will be equipped with an effective cleaning section, annealing furnace, coating section and drying furnace. The finished material will have a width from 700 to 1,350 mm and a thickness between 0.2 and 1.0 mm.
SMS is to supply the complete line, including all mechanical equipment, process technology, furnace technology as well as electrical and automation systems. The scope further includes line installation and technical assistance in the commissioning phase.
An outstanding feature of the line is its resource-saving processes and the high degree of automation and digitalisation.
3D model of the line
The new facility will be integrated in an existing hall and arranged over several floors. For layout and plant planning, the 3D model of the line was transferred to a 3D game engine allowing a full 360° view. Thus, potential collision hazards could be detected at an early stage and it was possible to check and optimize concept suitability. In the upcoming phase of implementation, the 3D model will be particularised and, in the spirit of a transparent planning process, be advanced jointly with thyssenkrupp. This way a digital twin of the plant will be created which will be tested and pre-optimised prior to installation to the proven Plug & Work concept under near-reality conditions.
The technological heart of the line is the heat treatment and coating process. For heat treatment a resource-saving Drever furnace will be installed able to map an optimised annealing curve. For this purpose, the furnace will be equipped with a patented rapid heating system for up to 900 °C by a combination of radiant-tube furnace and inductors. Further heating will be accomplished by electrical heating elements, while several different cooling systems will be installed for subsequent targeted cooling. Using the intelligent furnace concept (I-Furnace) it will be possible to predict material data, such as magnetic properties, with the aid of data-driven models, and thus to intervene in the production process in a prescriptive way. The required data will be prepared in the SMS DataFactory. This concept will help attain high material quality, an improved CO2 balance and finally low production costs.
For the coating process, two horizontal roll coaters and a flotation furnace will be integrated in the line, with the furnace drying the insulation layer free of contact and without any flaws. This technology permits demanding insulation layers to be produced such as backlack which are gaining in importance.
Another special feature is the modular, custom-tailored electrolytic cleaning section. Its X-Pact® high-current switch-mode power supply units will ensure more sustainability, energy and CO2 savings as well as reduced costs involved in maintenance, installation, commissioning and repair.
Intelligent digital systems like Smart Alarm and Genius CM® will optimise the production and maintenance process and hence boost line productivity.
(Source: SMS group)