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Products and solutions, 2000-06-09, 02:00 AM

AST expands stainless hot strip capacity

Acciai Speciali Terni (AST), Terni/Italy, a company of Krupp Thyssen Stainless GmbH (KTS), has embarked on the expansion of its stainless hot strip capacities. Under an investment plan the current capacity of 850,000 metric tons per year (tpy) will rise to 1,500,000 tpy by 2002/2003. The plan includes the construction of a second AOD converter and a thin slab caster.

In the first stage of the project the new converter will be built, increasing stainless hot strip capacity by around 300,000 tpy in 2001/02. The next stage will see the construction of a thin slab caster which will further raise capacity to a total of 1,500,000 tpy as of 2002/03.

AST's facilities in Turin and Terni mainly manufacture stainless steel flat products, with electrical strip and carbon steels also produced on a smaller scale. With a 4,000-strong workforce, AST achieved sales of around 1.2 billion Euro in fiscal 1998/99. The overall Stainless group of TK Steel AG has some 12,000 employees and generated sales of approx. 3.2 billion Euro in the last fiscal year.

Stainless hot strip capacity is being expanded at AST in response to increasing world demand for hot strip, but in particular to secure supplies to KTS's cold rolling facilities in Europe, Asia and the NAFTA region.

Following successful commissioning of the strip caster at Krupp Thyssen Nirosta's Krefeld plant in December 1999, KTS's investment at AST is a further sign of the group's technology leadership. In the past few years thin slab casting technology for stainless steels has been developed to production maturity at a pilot plant in Terni under the lead of AST in association with the research institute Centro Sviluppo Materiali (CSM) and SMS Demag AG. The planned investment will for the first time allow AST to cast stainless steel slabs of around 60 mm in thickness which will be fed directly to the existing hot strip mill via a tunnel furnace. This shortening of the production route from liquid steel to hot strip is expected to produce significant cost reductions. Once the thin slab caster has been commissioned, AST will close down one of the two existing continuous casting lines.

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