Dec 11, 2017 _ The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says there are no grounds to impose provisional measures to protect steel products makers while it investigates claims subsidised Chinese rivals are damaging the local industry. In August, MBIE launched an investigation into steel reinforcing bar and coil (rebar) from the China after Pacific Steel NZ claimed government-subsidised rebar imports from China are causing material injury to Pacific Steel through price undercutting, price depression and price suppression. Pacific Steel is the sole producer of rebar in New Zealand and is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Zealand Steel Holdings whose parent company is ASX-listed BlueScope Steel.
Nov 30, 2017 - Raw material availability is a cornerstone of the U.S. industrial sector, and clearly vital to its growth. So as positive economic indicators continue to point towards manufacturing gains through 2018, it makes sense that the steel industry continues to experience growth as well. The benefits of which are being felt from Willmar, Minnesota to Conroe, Texas.
West Central Steel in Willmar has entered the final stages of its ninth expansion since transitioning from salvage yard operations in 1968. Officially starting last fall, the company has demolished its previous facilities totaling about 55,000 square feet to make room for a new 85,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. The new structure is scheduled to open in December, allowing for the installation of several pieces of new equipment.
This equipment includes a 30’ wide, 1,100-ton Ursviken press brake built in Sweden for bending steel and a Tanaka 6,000-watt CO2 laser cutter from Japan. A Kinetic plate processor from New Zealand, PythonX steel shaping system from Canada, and two Behringer saws will also need to be installed. These investments will be key to preserving the company’s two-day delivery times.
The company, which focuses on custom-fabricated steel parts utilized by manufacturers across a range of industries, will also be adding as many as 20 new employees to the current workforce of 150.
Falcon Steel America in Conroe also has a connection to the number 150. In announcing its acquisition of a 226,000-square foot facility, the steel engineering and fabricating business will bring 150 new jobs to the Houston suburb. The larger facility and workforce will allow Falcon Steel to more than double its manufacturing capacity for high voltage steel-lattice towers and commercial galvanizing and dulling operations. The company is the only fabricator of high voltage steel-lattice towers in the U.S.
The newly created positions will include quality assurance and quality control inspectors, welders, fitters, machine operators, and truck drivers. Falcon Steel uses only 100 percent U.S. recycled steel in its products.
15 Nov 2017 - Max Frank Pecafil Steel Formwork Is More Efficient Than Traditional Formwork
The rate of construction work being done to modernise New Zealand is increasing. In the year ended September 2017, non-residential building consents across the country totalled $6.4 billion – up 5.9 percent from the September 2016 year. The need for better formwork technologies has risen to make construction work faster, more cost-effective and less labour-intensive.
Pecafil is one form of modernisation in the construction industry answering this need for modernisation. It is a formwork solution especially useful for laying foundations formwork, replacing conventional timber or steel shuttering for in-ground construction of pile caps and ground beams.
Designed by Max Frank in Germany and distributed by Fletcher Reinforcing, Pecafil is a specially manufactured material constructed from a steel mesh encased in an outer layer made of reusable, strong, heat-shrunk polyethylene. It is lightweight and self-supporting, supplied by Fletcher Reinforcing as a full sheet or pre-bent off-site according to design requirements. This significantly reduces construction time on-site, promising a quicker transition from breaking ground to pouring concrete.
Continue here to read the full release || November 15, 2017 - 13:07 |||
13 Nov 2017 - Steel prices have risen 14 per cent writes Anna Gibson for the NZHerald earlier today. Rising international prices have prompted Pacific Steel to increase costs to its New Zealand customers by 14 per cent. Stan Clark, Pacific Steel's sales and marketing manager, wrote to customers, telling them of the price hike.
"As an outcome of international steel price movements since the middle of the year, traded steel prices have increased here in New Zealand throughout that period. As a consequence, Pacific Steel has reviewed its prices and will be reflecting this market movement by increasing its prices by approximately 14 per cent commencing for orders placed for manufacture from the November production campaign," Clark wrote
Nov 7, 2017 - Fiji - A local manufacturing company hopes to harness the growth in the construction sector with their recent venture into standardised steel production for local and soon export supply. Gurbachan Singh's Steel Mills Ltd, a steel manufacturing company, has made a lucrative investment in constructing its new major production plant at Lakena in Nausori. The new facility will see the production of thermo-mechanically-treated steel bars or in short TMT bars among many other steel products for construction use.
According to the company's managing director, Jagjeet Singh, fondly known as Jack, the concept behind the new production facility is to produce quality construction rods out of scrap steel metal.
"We will be processing scrap steel to be processed into construction rods. And these are not just any construction rods but TMT deformed steel bars which have high yield strength," Mr Singh said in an interview with this newspaper.
These bars will be made varying in size from 6mm to 25mm.
"We will also make plain rods, angles and strips from this new plant to be recycled from old scrap steel that we will buy locally."
Mr Singh, however, highlighted should the scrap metal not be sufficient in supply, the company will be complementing with billets, which are ready-made steel blocks that are purchased overseas.
But the process of producing such high quality steel bars requires sophisticated technology and equipment.
Mr Singh said the investment included the purchase of equipment and machinery required for steel production from overseas.
This brings the total investment to about $5 million, he said.
"We will cut the scrap steel into pieces which will be put into an induction furnace.
"This will then be heated up to 1200 degrees Celsius which will make it molten," Mr Singh said.
"This will then be poured and made as moulds to make billets or slabs. It is then again re-heated in the furnace to make it hot again which is later rolled as steel bars."
While the company has eyed supplying the local commercial market, particularly the construction sector, it also has ambitious plan to commence exporting to highly competitive international markets.
"The construction of the steel factory has been completed and we are currently in the processing of trial testing the new machinery and equipment," Mr Singh said.
"The reason why we are doing trial tests is to ensure that we meet standards and qualities that is met overseas."
The 2000sqm steel production plant, which sits on three acre land, was fully boosted last week as electricity supply has finally been installed at the site.
This, Mr Singh said, had been a delaying factor to the project which initially commenced in early 2015.
The new venture will also see more than 100 new and existing staff members being employed including specialists who will be coming in from India and Phillipines to operate the steel plant.
"We are expected to run trials on the November 15 and start full production by mid of December," Mr Singh said.
While the company has set its target of 15,000 tonnes of steel for its annual production capacity, Mr Singh added that this would gradually rise as business advances.
"Our Prime Minister has been emphasising a lot on the environment and the importance of recycling. We see a lot of scrap steel like bulky derelict ships that are lying on the harbour," Mr Singh said.
"With this, we are now ready to buy scrap metal and we will pay them according to the quantity. We intend to buy old ships, fresh cans, car bodies, car chassis and industrial scrap."
The production plant is also expected to officially open in January next year given that trial production and tests run smoothly.
Mr Singh, a businessman from Labasa, has been mainly involved in the manufacturing industry for a number of years with his company specialising in several areas and products.
Apart from his recent steel venture, Gurbachan Singh's Steel Mills Ltd, the company also manufactures PVC pipes, trading tyres, garden hose, water tanks among many others.
Memorandum of understanding signed to combine European steel activities in 50/50 joint venture
Positioning as strong quality and technology leader
Annual synergies of €400 million to €600 million expected
Signing of agreement targeted for early 2018 and closing by 2018 year-end
thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel have today signed a memorandum of understanding to combine their European steel activities in a 50/50 joint venture. Their aim is to create a leading European flat steel player to be positioned as quality and technology leader. The new entity is set to have pro-forma sales of about €15 billion and a workforce of about 48,000, currently at 34 locations. Shipments are envisioned to be about 21 million tons a year.
Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of thyssenkrupp AG: “Under the planned joint venture, we are giving the European steel activities of thyssenkrupp and Tata a lasting future. We are tackling the structural challenges of the European steel industry and creating a strong No. 2. In Tata, we have found a partner with a very good strategic and cultural fit. Not only do we share a clear performance orientation, but also the same understanding of entrepreneurial responsibility toward workforce and society.”
Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Steel: “The Tata Group and thyssenkrupp have a strong heritage in the global steel industry and share similar culture and values. This partnership is a momentous occasion for both partners, who will focus on building a strong European steel enterprise. The strategic logic of the proposed joint venture in Europe is based on very strong fundamentals and I am confident that thyssenkrupp Tata Steel will have a great future.”
To be named thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, the planned joint venture will be managed through a lean holding company based in the Netherlands. It is to have a two-tier management structure comprising a management board and a supervisory board. Both boards are to have equal representation from thyssenkrupp and Tata. The codetermination structures in Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain will be retained.
thyssenkrupp intends to contribute its Steel Europe business to the planned joint venture. There are also plans for the joint venture to include thyssenkrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH, a steel mill services provider that is part of the Materials Services business. Tata would add all of their flat steel activities in Europe.
The memorandum of understanding signed today paves the way for thyssenkrupp to involve employee representatives at thyssenkrupp AG and in the Steel business in the process ahead on an ongoing basis. All employee participation rights will continue to be respected as before.
In the months ahead, due diligence will be conducted. In the process, the negotiating parties will give each other access to confidential business documents to the extent permissible between competitors. Based on this as well as on discussions with the entire Supervisory Board, it is envisaged to sign a contract in early 2018. Closing – the effective start of the joint venture – could take place in late 2018 following antitrust approval by the relevant authorities.
Synergies within the joint venture
In the initial years – from closing onward – the joint venture partners plan to focus on establishing the joint venture and leveraging synergies. These are anticipated among other things from integrating sales, administration, research and development, joint optimization of procurement, logistics and service centers as well as improved capacity utilization in downstream processing. After the ramp-up phase, the joint venture partners expect annual synergies of €400 million to €600 million.
Additionally, the production network is to be reviewed starting in 2020 with the aim of integrating and optimizing the production strategy for the entire joint venture. It is not yet possible to quantify the additional synergies from this integration in detail. The scope for optimization also depends on numerous external factors such as the outcome of the Brexit negotiations and the implications that follow. Other external parameters include the development of the regulatory environment in areas such as emission trading and international trade policy.
The two joint venture partners expect that leveraging the cost synergies across the entire entity will require a reduction in workforce over the years ahead by up to 2,000 jobs in administration and potentially up to 2,000 jobs in production. This burden is expected to be shared roughly evenly between the two parties, which means a total of about 2,000 jobs at thyssenkrupp.
“We will not be putting any measures into effect in the joint venture that we would not have had to adopt on our own. On the contrary: By combining our steel activities, the burdens for each partner are lower than they would have been on a stand-alone basis,” said Hiesinger.
The steel industry has faced massive challenges in Europe for many years: Steel demand is characterized by a lack of dynamic. There is structural overcapacity in supply and constantly high import pressure. This leads to the fact that various stages in the value chain are operating well below capacity. Consequently, all producers are under pressure to fill capacity and forced to pass on restructuring gains to the market time and again. The result is a downward spiral and a need for restructuring about every three to four years, with major steel assets coming under threat of closure in the medium term.
Reasons for partnering with Tata Steel
There are five reasons why combining the European steel activities of thyssenkrupp and Tata is the best possible next consolidation move:
Economies of scale: Economies of scale are a key success factor in a market caught up in ongoing consolidation. Combining the No. 2 and No. 3 in Europe results in a powerful new No. 2 for quality flat steel with a very competitive market position and promising growth prospects.
Complementarity: The businesses of thyssenkrupp and Tata are a good complementary fit. thyssenkrupp is stronger in the OEM sector while Tata’s strength lies with industrial customers. The main operating locations in Duisburg, IJmuiden and Port Talbot have good logistics links and serve customers in different, economically powerful regions. That makes for significantly broader overall coverage of customer sectors throughout Europe.
Performance orientation: The steelworks of thyssenkrupp and Tata rank among the most efficient facilities in Europe. Thanks to effective cost management, both producers operate at a profit. The two companies have paved the way for this over recent years, piece by piece and independently of each other: Tata, for instance, with the restructuring of Port Talbot and by selling long steel activities, and thyssenkrupp with the sale of CSA and capacity adjustment at HKM.
Innovative strength: Both partners aspire to quality and technology leadership in the European steel industry and continually develop innovative products and solutions for customers. High-tech steels are frequently the basis of industrial value chains in Europe and a key competitive differentiator.
Culture and capabilities: The two partners each have a highly capable and dedicated workforce who strongly identify with their company. thyssenkrupp and Tata have a cultural DNA equally characterized by the will to embrace change in order to secure their future. And both companies have the backing of strong shareholders through a trust structure that perpetuate the ideas and values of the original owners.
Further milestone on strategic way forward
Steel Europe will be accounted for on the balance sheet as a discontinued operation after signing. From closing of the transaction, the 50-percent share in the joint venture will be accounted for using the equity method, meaning based on the proportionate carrying amount of the investment. When the joint venture comes into effect, this will bring about a significant improvement in key balance sheet ratios for thyssenkrupp AG, most notably in the equity ratio and in gearing (ratio of net financial debt to equity). At the same time, the move creates a solid financial structure for the steel business.
The planned joint venture marks another key milestone on thyssenkrupp’s strategic way forward. In its evolution into a strong industrial group, thyssenkrupp has two priority aims: reducing dependency on the highly volatile steel business and enabling optimum development of all business areas.
Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of thyssenkrupp AG: “We have always targeted the best solution for thyssenkrupp. A joint venture with Tata is the only option that addresses the structural overcapacities in the European steel market, that creates substantial added value through synergies and at the same time is in line with our corporate culture. This also marks a clear commitment to our roots, as the joint venture enables thyssenkrupp to retain its involvement in steel.”
High-strength 50mm diameter reinforcing steel bars in production at Pacific Steel, Ōtāhuhu.
Steel reinforcing bars made in Auckland for the City Rail Link project are the first of their kind to be manufactured in New Zealand.
The steel bars will help hold up the historic Chief Post Office when the rail tunnels are constructed beneath it and keep water out of excavation carried out below sea level. Difficult to source from overseas
Products like this are usually sourced from overseas, but this proved difficult for the CRL because offshore manufacturers could provide it only in quantities much greater than required.
CRL contractors Downer Soletanche Bachy liaised with New Zealand based suppliers over the possibility of manufacturing the bars locally, and Ōtāhuhu-based Pacific Steel took up the challenge.
Pacific Steel is New Zealand’s only reinforcing steel manufacturer. After successful trials, it has been engaged to make the bars, using local materials provided by New Zealand Steel in Glenbrook. Project more efficient thanks to NZ industry
Project Director Chris Meale said that, thanks to Pacific Steel coming to the party, the project has become much more efficient.
"It's great that our contractor has been able to work with a local business for mutual benefit and that in doing so we have created a first for the local steel industry," he said.
| An ourAuckland release || September 12, 2017 |||
The year’s winner of the international Swedish Steel Prize is Kiruna Wagon from Sweden on whom we ran an article on earlier in May. The prize was awarded for the company’s innovative wagon solution, the Helix Dumper. Kiruna Wagon has used high-strength steel to develop a highly durable and far more efficient wagon solution than other ore wagons on the market.
“Kiruna Wagon has successfully updated a good idea and used high-strength steels to turn it into a brand new, superior wagon solution,” says Eva Petursson, Chairman of the Swedish Steel Prize jury and head of SSAB’s Strategic R&D.
This year is the 17th time the Swedish Steel Prize has been awarded and the runners-up, were Fermel from South Africa, JMG Cranes from Italy and Wabash National from the USA.
Engineers say results from the Statistics House investigation will help build more resilient buildings.
New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) President Peter Smith says every earthquake provides new information on how to improve building design.
“Investigations like this are crucial to making our buildings safer. We need to gain access to detailed information on how other buildings performed, to help widen understanding of whole-of-building performance.
“Statistics House illustrated how different factors can combine in unexpected and unprecedented ways.
“In Wellington, this earthquake most severely affected mid-height buildings. Because the earthquake was so far away, only low-frequency waves made it to the Capital. These waves resonated with mid-height buildings, which combined with the earthquake’s long duration meant mid-height buildings experienced severe shaking.
“Basically these flexible, modern buildings experienced a design-level earthquake – an earthquake that met or exceeded what they were designed to withstand.
“At the same time, shorter and stiffer buildings experienced an earthquake that wasn’t even one-third of Code. But these earthquake-prone buildings still pose a significant risk to public safety, especially in an earthquake centred closer to Wellington. It’s really important that vulnerable features on these buildings, such as parapets and facades, are secured during this time of heightened seismic risk.”
Structural Engineering Society (SESOC) spokesperson Paul Campbell says the Statistics House investigation has revealed that buildings with key characteristics may be vulnerable in an earthquake that’s both large and long.
“In a large and long-duration earthquake, these key characteristics are flexible frames in combination with precast floors.
“Flexible frames are designed to bend so that the ends of the beams experience controlled damage.
“But the Kaikoura earthquake has confirmed that if an earthquake is strong enough and long enough, the damage can make the beams grow in length. This means the supports for the pre-cast floor system can move too far apart, potentially causing parts of the floor to lose their support and collapse.
“When Statistics House was built, the Building Code did not allow for this combination of factors – but it does now.
“The Canterbury earthquakes led to Building Code changes – and now more changes are likely given what we have learned from the Kaikoura earthquake.
“Engineers will be working with MBIE to further develop detailed guidance on assessing and retrofitting buildings with these characteristics.”
The first three months of 2017 have brought several surprises that can possibly impact the global transformer industry. These article series will examine the possible impacts that these events could have on the global transformer industry. Only time will tell which if any of these events will come to pass.
January 2017 saw the inauguration of a new president in the United States and a major shift in how the U.S. will look at the world as stated by President Trump in his inaugural address, ‘Buy American & American Made’ being a prime focus. ABB announcing the close of a plant in New Zealand. The British Parliament’s vote to confirm BREXIT. And finally the commissioning of a new GOES production line in Brazil. These are just a few of the events that we examine.
Part I of this report will concentrate on events that can possibly impact global transformer manufacturers. Part II will focus on the possible impacts to the North American transformer industry.
Let’s start with recent BREXIT vote in the United Kingdom. We now know that the UK Parliament will activate Rule 50 on March 29th. In response the EU Commission has stated that terms of the departure will be such that no other country will want to leave the EU.
What will BREXIT do to the transformer industry? Will the UK maintain the import duties on grain oriented electrical steel (GOES)? What about efficiency standards?
Duties on GOES crossing the Channel?
At this point UK does have a mill producing grain oriented electrical steel (GOES), the CORUS Division of Tata British steel. It is possible that with BREXIT that the EU will look at this mill in the same light that they have with mills in Japan, China, South Korea, Russia and the United States. In that case there would be duties on GOES crossing the Channel.
Which brings us to the Tata British Steel / ThyssenKrupp joint venture. Currently Tata British Steel is in negations with ThyssenKrupp to merge Tata’s specialty steel division. Will ThyssenKrupp want to have production facilities across the Channel in a non-EU country with the possibility of import duties, or will they want to move that capacity into their plants in France and Germany?
Experts stated in 2016 that the UK, on its own, could not meet the EU 2020 Efficiency Standards. Not being a member of the EU, will they decide to adhere to the 2020 Efficiency Standard or will they decide to adopt a less strict standard. If the UK adopts a less strict standard will UK transformer companies be forced to produce a line of transformers for export to the EU and a separate design of the UK.
In recent years we have seen the EU transformer industry out-sourcing their transformer core manufacturing. Much of this has gone to Turkey and the Middle East. Some of the reasoning for this has been the duties imposed by the EU on imported GOES and the continued efforts to reduce costs.
EU transformer manufacturers should be concerned about their supply chain
With the relations between the EU and Turkey becoming more strained, should European transformer manufacturers be concerned about their supply chain, not only, for cores but also magnet wire.
The global GOES supply is undergoing changes also.
In 2016 Allegheny Technologies announced that they were leaving the GOES market, while in China the merger of Baosteel and Wuhan Iron & Steel (WISCO) was announced. This meant that the United States lost one of it’s two GOES producer and 115,000 tons of capacity.
The merger of Baosteel and WISCO could represent a reduction in Chinese GOES capacity since neither company has been operating their GOES facilities at capacity for at least the past year.
Just recently AK Steel has stated that they expect reduced shipments of GOES through the first half of 2017.
To offset these concerns, Aperam has just commissioned a new GOES processing line at their Brazilian operation allowing them to produce HiB. This would be a first for South America.
In India, late 2016 the Russian steel producer NLMK signed a LOI with the Indian government to build a mill in India capable of producing GOES. Maybe they will have better luck than POSCO.
| A Power Transformer release | March 27, 2017 |||