Big River Steel successfully commissions expansion of SMS group supplied steel mill

9 December 2020

U.S. steel producer Big River Steel has successfully commissioned the second construction stage of its steel plant in Osceola, Arkansas, supplied by SMS group.

Also for the mill expansion, which doubles the mill’s annual production capacity to approximately three million tons of steel, SMS group supplied the mechanical equipment, the electrical and automation systems, and the digitalization technology.

Now, with the second construction stage completed, Big River Steel operates two electric arc furnaces and two twin-ladle furnaces. The steelworks has also been equipped with a further gas cleaning system as part of the project. The CSP® plant has seen the addition of a second casting strand, a second tunnel furnace and another downcoiler. Big River Steel’s CSP® plant produces up to 1,930 millimeters wide coil, making it one of the widest CSP® plants in the world.

Commenting on the project, Burkhard Dahmen, Chairman of the Managing Board of SMS group, said: “Despite the constraints resulting from the measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to complete the installation and commissioning of the new systems about two months earlier than originally scheduled. This was possible, above all, thanks to the excellent cooperation based on mutual trust between the BRS and SMS group teams.”

SMS group’s PQA® (Product Quality Analyzer) system is a central element of the process automation implemented in the first phase and it is equally so in the automation of the newly added units and systems. PQA® monitors, documents and assures quality along the complete production process down to the finished cold strip.

Most of the hot coil produced in the CSP® plant is processed into high-grade cold strip in the downstream coupled pickling line/tandem cold mill. As part of the expansion, another coil preparation station was added to the entry end of the PLTCM, and the adjacent continuous galvanizing line received an additional downcoiler at the exit end. For all newly installed plants, SMS group supplied the mechanical equipment and the X-Pact® electrical and automation systems, including level 3.

Since commissioning of the new mill in December 2016, Big River Steel has been producing high-quality steels, including tube grade sheet for pipeline construction, silicon steels for a wide range of uses in energy generation and electric motor manufacturing, and advanced high-strength steels for the U.S. automotive industry.

SMS group is a group of companies internationally active in plant construction and mechanical engineering for the steel and nonferrous metals industry. It has some 14,000 employees who generate worldwide sales of more than EUR 2.9 billion. The sole owner of the holding company SMS GmbH is the Familie Weiss Foundation.