Monroe, Michigan – To improve steel cleanliness and surface quality and to increase the reduction ratio of steel produced there, Gerdau’s special bar quality (SBQ) steel mill in Monroe, Michigan is transitioning to a 240mm square bloom in September from the 210mm bloom used today.
The project is an expansion of the capability of the mill’s continuous casting machine that was originally installed in 2012. The cleaner steel is in high demand from automakers who are opting for higher-strength steel in critical applications so they can cut overall material use and lower vehicle weights.
“The global push for energy efficiency and stricter CO2 emission regulations has significantly increased the importance of clean steels in the automotive industry,” says Luis Colembergue, vice president of sales and technology at Gerdau’s North American special steel division. “The need for high-strength steel parts with lightweight design, increased fatigue life, and performance is more important than ever.”
The switch to a larger section size will result in a greater reduction ratio, improved surface quality, and cleaner steel with fewer inclusions. The company has recently invested in several other pieces of diagnostic equipment to evaluate improvement in steel cleanliness, including automated scanning electron microscope (SEM) technology, image analysis for extreme value analysis (EVA), and ultrasonic immersion testing equipment with low, medium, and high frequency capability.
“These enhancements position Gerdau to thrive in this dynamic market that continues to challenge us to be more competitive every day,” Colembergue says.