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Upgrade at Everaz Highveld Steel
January 2011, Motion Control & Drives

Control Techniques wins contract to upgrade four-strand billet caster.

Control Techniques has won a major contract for the electrical upgrade of M/C4, the four-strand continuous casting machine at the Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium in Mpumalanga, South Africa. This contract follows a long history with the steelworks where Control Techniques drives are standard for the plant. Evraz Highveld is a major iron and steel producer now owned by the global Evraz Group. Products of the steelmaking plant include billets, blooms, slabs and high grade vanadium slag.

The 40-year old billet caster has four-strand continuous casting capability and was predominantly DC controlled. All of the switchgear had become obsolete causing major maintenance problems. The decision was taken to switch to AC control to give greater accuracy with less wastage and greater overall efficiency.

Evraz Highveld approached Control Techniques for a power control solution. The Drive Centre in Johannesburg was responsible for the design, build, installation and commissioning of the 6 panel suite. The suite, complete with bus bars, 2000 A incomer and common drives panels complete with AC motors is integrated with the existing scada system via a Modicon PLC. This was done in conjunction with the steel manufacturer’s PLC engineers, who completed the software side of the project.

The suite incorporates a total of 10 Unidrive SP AC drives of 11, 15 and 45 kW capacity; a Control Techniques HMI with key pad was installed with each drive to provide full status and diagnostic information for the drive as well as for the line interlocking. At Evraz Highveld, the steel is transferred from the steelmaking process by car and crane to the continuous casting plant via the ladle refining stations where temperature adjustment, desulphurisation and final composition adjustments are carried out. The plant comprises four continuous casting machines; two large twin machines for blooms, one for slabs and one for billets. The four-strand billet machine produces billets from 120 to 140 mm. Each strand has a 15 kW, 6-pole motor fitted with force cooling for the withdrawal rolls and these control the billet length. The billets are then moved by roller tables controlled by the 15 kW drives and are loaded onto a walking beam conveyor and then onto cooling beds.

Control Techniques Southern Africa is a preferred supplier to Evraz Highveld because of its engineering and project expertise, ability to provide fast on-site assistance and the local stock-holding. The customer’s electrical staff are familiar with Control Techniques’ AC and DC drives and say they find them straightforward to use and to programme. The Unidrive SP solutions platform AC variable speed drive range spans 0,75 kW up to 1,9 MW. It is configurable into five operating modes – open and closed loop, vector, servo and regenerating modes. With a range of plug-in module options, its on-board PLC can be supplemented with programmable and specialist feedback and communication modules.

For more information contact Bill Tedd, Control Techniques, +27 (0)11 462 1740,,

Supplied By: Nidec
Tel: +27 11 462 1740
Fax: +27 11 462 1941
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