CNES replaces roll tables to boost productivity at steel mill

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Corus Northern Engineering Services has completed a rolling mill replacement project at Spartan UK's steel mill in Gateshead, including new roller tables, base and side guide frames.

Spartan UK, the Italian-owned steelmaker, employs more than 100 people at its Gateshead site and produces around 140,000 tonnes of quarto carbon steel plate per year. The company specialises in producing steel plate up to 2.1m wide, between 3m and 25m in length and with thicknesses between 8mm and 150mm. These are used in a diverse range of applications, including wind turbine towers, bridges, shipbuilding, cranes, offshore oil rigs, construction vehicles, pipes and tubes.

Plate production at the site is carried out using a universal reversing mill. Steel slabs are flame cut to the required dimensions to produce the desired final plate size. Slabs are rolled in a reversing mill to the required width, length and thickness. Rate of reduction, temperature and speed are managed to achieve the required physical and mechanical properties.

CNES was contracted to design, manufacture, install and commission new ingoing and outgoing roll tables that would improve availability despite the rigorous working conditions; these roller tables feed the four-high reversing roller mill. This work included replacing or refurbishing the side guides, shafts, drives, gearboxes and roll motors.

The problem centred on the ingoing and outgoing roller tables, which were becoming loose and breaking, causing unplanned production downtime. CNES replaced the design side guides and ingoing roller tables, as well as re-sizing the drives, gearboxes, couplings and bearings.

Project success

As with many improvement programmes, minor teething problems were experienced on start-up. However, these have now been eliminated through minimal design modifications. The tables are now working well, with the expected availability improvements being realised.

Prior to installing the new roller tables, the existing runout table frame had to be cut back, and the first existing runout roller had to be repositioned; the existing crossover bridge on the runout side also had to be modified. Other work included: removal of pipework; moving drive systems; removal of existing roller tables; cutting back existing pulpit base steelwork; removal of existing side guides and foundations; descaling and moving pipework; re-routing mill water feed pipe and existing flush down pipe; and installation of new civil/structural work.

CNES completed the 10-month refurbishment project in August 2007. Dave Gallagher, Project Manager at CNES, comments: "Spartan approached CNES because they knew we had the necessary expertise to cope with the job and to ensure that the work was carried out correctly and safely."

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