The line will be used for supplying top-quality steel plates to laser cutting companies.
Aceros José Agustín Ormazabal has taken another step forward as a specialist laser cutting company by implementing a plan backed by the Basque Government’s Gauzatu Industria Programme. The project’s star feature is the installation of an innovative ecological pickling and levelling process, developed in collaboration with the company Fagor Arrasate
The speedy development of laser cutting technology and the fact that steel plate quality is now sought after not only in the automotive sphere but also in other sectors is giving rise to major technological changes in the steel service centre sector, as Aceros José Agustín Ormazabal’s Managers explain.
The demands of this race to the top and the strategic decision to become a European benchmark for the supply of top-quality flat products have been ratified with some innovative industrial developments culminating in the recent installation of an ecological pickling line in Amorebieta, as the firm’s Managing Director Rafael de Erauso explains.
The reinvention of Aceros Ormazabal began in 2006, when the company decided to specialise in flat products, producing both thin and thick parts of outstandingly high quality. Four years later on this commitment was confirmed with the design of a plan to become one of southern Europe’s top laser cutting centres. The company embarked on a collaboration with the Guipúzcoa firm Fagor Arrasate, which provided it with a pioneering cutting and levelling facility for plates of up to 20 mm thick and 2000 mm wide and grades of up to S960.
In the words of the company’s Chairman Juan Manuel Ormazabal, the demand for flatness and flushing of steel plates for laser cutting and also for thickness, due to its swift transition from processing thicknesses of 8/10 mm to 20/25 mm, led it to begin a research process in collaboration with Fagor Arrasate. As part of a Gaitek R&D project, the two firms researched into ecological pickling systems for large-sized plates as an alternative to the traditional chemical system and levelling processes. The end result of the project was the construction and start-up of the ecological pickling and levelling line for steel plates of up to 20 mm in thickness, 2 metres in width and 12 metres in length at the Amorebieta plant.
Rafael de Erauso stresses the fact that the mechanical pickling process consumes no water or acids, substituting the traditional processes which were highly polluting. It also includes a special levelling process downstream of the pickling procedure, taking place on the line itself and enhancing the laser cutting response by feeding plates of a limited thickness before and after cutting.
Testing at external laboratories has showed Fagor Arrasate‘s pilot solution at Ormazabal to obtain a surface flushing grade of Sa3 for rust and scale removal, the highest possible score according to the ISO 8501-1:2008 Standard. Mr. De Erausa explains that there are also automatic plate feeding and stacking systems at the entry and exit to the line, together with an optional section where the plates can be oiled after levelling.
He also informs that the new facility provides additional quality improvements as it is complemented with a coil cut-to-length line for thicknesses of up to 20 mm.