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Nucor inaugurates new facility with advanced continuous casting plant

Nucor Steel Brandenburg has inaugurated its new green-field facility at the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park site located on the Ohio River in Brandenburg, Kentucky, USA.

The core unit of the works is a single-strand continuous caster supplied by SMS for ultra-wide and ultra-thick slabs. It is one of the world's largest and most advanced continuous casting plants, capable of producing 1.45mn tons of slabs per year in widths of up to 3.15m and thicknesses of 200, 250 and 300mm.

With this new plant, Nucor plans to supply sustainably manufactured steel products for renewable energy projects. One of the most important products manufactured at the facility is Nucor's ElcyonTM, a heavy plate product made from recycled materials, which was specially developed for the offshore wind industry and provides a sustainable steel supply chain that is in demand by the US energy sector.

Key equipment supplied by SMS for this facility included a single-strand continuous caster for ultra-wide and ultra-thick slabs; walking beam and bogie hearth furnaces; a continuous heat treatment line and heavy-plate treatment section; and a water treatment system.

The SMS group reheating furnace was equipped with the low-NOx, flameless and versatile SMS ZeroFlame burners; the Stage 1 automation system X-Pact® DigiMod Control; and the Stage 2 heating optimisation system X-Pact Prometheus.

X-Pact DigiMod Control combines the modulating control of the burner control zones with the digital control of each burner, in order to ensure the correct flame pattern and thermal profile of the furnace in all operating conditions. X-Pact Prometheus enables the desired temperature profile and uniformity to be achieved for any material and steel grade, with minimum fuel consumption, decarburisation and scale loss.

SMS has also set up a repair service centre at the Nucor Brandenburg site, and offers repair services for continuous casting moulds and containment segments as part of a long-term service agreement.

In addition to the HD LASr used for caster equipment alignment in the workshop, an HD scan unit is installed in the Brandenburg service centre, which SMS can use to analyse the internal microstructure and quality of the slabs for the continuous caster in Brandenburg and for other customers.

This represents another chapter in the long history of Nucor and SMS group, which have been collaborating closely for more than 35 years, said Chad Donovan, vice president of sales and marketing for SMS group, and key account manager for Nucor.