• Increased safety through automatic vessel exchange
  • Improves operating costs
  • Dedusting system with provisions for heat recovery system reduces environmental impacts

In September, Primetals Technologies received an order from Aperam Genk in Belgium to supply a new argon oxygen decarburization (AOD) production line and to upgrade the existing AOD 1 production line. The objectives of the project are to increase operational safety, to improve operating costs, and to further reduce environmental impacts via a dedusting system with provisions for heat recovery. Primetals Technologies will be responsible for mechanical equipment, electrics and automation as well as auxiliary equipment. The project will be carried out in a consortium with Austrian erection company SGS Industrial Services. Start-up is expected for mid-2023.

Aperam operates six key production sites in Europe and Brazil, with an annual capacity of 2.5 million metric tons of stainless flat products for a wide range of applications. The company is listed on the stock exchanges in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and Luxembourg. The most important European production sites for stainless steels are Châtelet and Genk in Belgium, and Gueugnon and Isbergues in France. In Genk, Aperam produces hot and cold rolled AISI grades 300 and 400 in coils weighing up to 45 metric tons. Currently, Aperam Genk is operating one line (AOD 1), which was supplied by Primetals Technologies in 2002.

For the new AOD 2 production line, Primetals Technologies will engineer and supply the mechanical equipment, including primary and secondary dedusting system, transfer cars, electrical equipment, level 1 and level 2 automation including advanced process model, a new ladle transfer crane, and extend the existing material handling system. The new AOD will be equipped with the Vaicon drive damper to reduce vibrations loads and extent equipment lifetime. The existing AOD 1 line will receive a new trunnion ring and process gas valve station, as well as an upgrade of the level 2 process model. The trunnion ring for the revamped and for the new AOD will be equipped with the Vaicon Autofix vessel suspension system, which does not require manual interference for the vessel fixation.

The new level 2 automation system for both AOD lines with new process model features will enable cost-efficient dynamic process control with highest accuracy. Condition monitoring solutions to enable predictive maintenance will also be included. Since the new AOD 2 line will be installed in an existing brown field plant, detailed planning of erection procedure is required to minimize downtimes and disturbance of ongoing production.

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