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Catching the wave: Fives and Baowu launch new electrical steel lines

A wave of investments to serve the growing needs of e-mobility has prompted steelmakers to launch new electrical steel production facilities.

Baowu Steel Group, the largest steel producer in China, is massively investing into the production of high-performance electrical steel at its Shanghai site.

Fives, a leading engineering group with broad expertise in steel processing and technology, has designed and delivered thermal sections for a new annealing and pickling line (APL) and two new annealing and coating lines (ACL). The lines designed to produce high quality non-grain oriented (NGO) grades for electric vehicle motors delivered their first coil between December 2022 and February 2023.

Key technologies

The thermal section is key for the quality and performance of electrical steel. It includes a horizontal furnace capable of reaching a strip temperature of 1,100 °C with the AdvanTek® combustion system, as well as the Best Available Technology for furnace atmosphere management, utilizing seal gates, high hydrogen-rich and dew point controlled sections to reach the required steel properties.

“This is a very important project for Fives Group with a privileged partner. The production of silicon steel grades presents a challenge to steelmakers, as it requires advanced technologies to produce high flux density materials with minimal core losses at high working frequencies. Fives has a broad experience in such technologies, as well as process expertise to accompany steelmakers on their road to new markets with new applications”, says Benjamin Michel, Chief Executive Officer of Fives Stein, a subsidiary of Fives, specialising in thermal technologies.

“This global project from the operational point of view has been implemented during challenging times of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Resilience was a determining factor in succeeding to overcome difficulties and produce the first coil on all three lines, respecting the client’s targets and schedule”, adds Guillaume Burstert, Project Manager of Fives Stein in China.