Steel worthy of the best packing on the market
Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel (VAMA) supplies top-quality steel for lighter and safer cars in China’s Hunan Province. With VAMA, Pesmel is continuing its strong entry into the Chinese metal industry.
In the relatively limited market for highly automated packing lines, Pesmel is able to offer unparalleled capacity. In a mill with a total annual capacity of 1.5 million tons, a fast and efficient packing process is an obvious necessity. The line was installed in 2014 and reached full-speed production operation after the turn of the year.
When product quality is of top importance, poor packing is not an option. VAMA’s clients in the automotive industry look for high-performance materials that help reduce the weight of vehicles, increase their safety, provide resistance to corrosion, and keep the total cost of vehicle ownership in check. Steel that is able to deliver all these qualities is well worth protecting with the best packaging.
In addition to actual engineering and installation, Pesmel provides training and complete after-sales services, with spare parts and servicing of the systems. As well as fast delivery, this also ensures extremely high availability; for VAMA, Pesmel guaranteed availability of 98%.
The Pesmel solution
VAMA is a joint venture between Valin Steel and Arcelor Mittal, established to produce high-end steel for the automotive industry, which is a growing field in Hunan Province. At VAMA, hot-rolled coils from other mills go through the pickling and tandem cold-rolling mill, and then continue to either the mixed continuous annealing line (mixed CAL) or continuous galvanizing line (CGL). The process may also include an inspection or further processing phase. Finally, Pesmel’s high-capacity packing line wraps the coils in safe and secure packages, ready for any form of transportation.
Pesmel’s extremely efficient through-eye wrapping (TEW) process ensures watertight packages that protect the coils from corrosion caused by external humidity or internal moisture. To neutralize the effect of internal moisture condensing on the coil surface in changing temperatures, the package has a layer of crêpe paper against the coil, inside the PE stretch film. The paper absorbs moisture away from the coil, and also protects the PE film from any sharp metal edges.
Mechanical protection for the coil is provided by outer and inner body wrapping using metal and plastic, and by headers and edge protectors. These keep the coil safe from accidents while they are lifted, moved and transported to customers.
Each coil must be visually inspected when it enters the packing line. For VAMA, Pesmel built a camera system for this purpose, with monitoring in the control room. This further reduces the number of personnel required to manage the packing line.
Automated packing lines not only save work: they also save materials. The machine always cuts the material just right, and makes no shift-end mistakes. The most demanding phases are fully automatic, which also brings dramatic improvements to the safety of employees. With coils that weigh up to 40 tons, the risks can be weighty as well.
A neat package speaks for itself
At VAMA, different coil packing configurations are used for different purposes. Coils delivered within the same province do not require as careful protection as those sent overseas. This resulted in the development of two basic packing concepts, Domestic and Export. The Domestic concept leaves some steps out. For example, the crêpe paper is not required if the coil is only being transported a short distance over land.
“We are able to effectively protect the coils against any weather conditions,” says Teemu Kolkka, who was in charge of Pesmel’s delivery. “The system parameters also allow the operators to select materials and adjust variables, such as overlapping and the tightness of the PE film, to suit the specific purpose.”
Pesmel’s packing line keeps the products safe, and it also protects the manufacturer’s image. A tidy coil package is both functional and attractive, and immediately conveys an image of high quality.
“The package can be used to accentuate the quality of the product.”Teemu Kolkka, Pesmel
“You don’t pack valuable gifts in a plastic bag,” Kolkka points out. “The package can be used to accentuate the quality of the product, and products packed in Pesmel’s packing lines always look their best.”
A shared process
Pesmel puts great weight on working closely together with customers. The design process is always a joint effort, but what makes Pesmel truly stand out is its agility – and the willingness to go the extra mile to ensure flawless performance. The VAMA packing lines were thoroughly tested at Pesmel’s production facilities in Estonia with packing materials brought in from China as well as Europe to see which would work best and meet the requirements of both VAMA and its customers.
Before commissioning in China, a team of operators flew in to be trained in Finland and Estonia for two weeks. The intensive practical training helped speed up commissioning and the launch of production operations at the mill.
As an agile supplier, Pesmel has already established operations in China to ensure best service for the market and to provide local manufacturers with easy access to high-capacity internal logistics and packing systems. The local presence will serve both existing and new customers in the area, facilitating system upgrades and the construction of new packing lines.