Volker Senger has been in charge of the Heavy plate Business Area at thyssenkrupp Steel since October 2016.
bauma 2019: thyssenkrupp Steel Will be There
Volker Senger, CEO of thyssenkrupp Steel’s Heavy Plate business unit, on the material portfolio and the service portfolio for heavy plate customers.
Mr. Senger, heavy plate could actually also be called huge plate, since the plates made in your Business Area are not intended for small-scale projects, it’s fair to say?
That’s right, if we’re talking about heavy plate, then it’s always something big. We’re talking here about cruise ships and liquified gas tankers, about storage terminals and wind turbines, about bucket wheel excavators, pipelines, tunnel boring machines, and mobile cranes that extend their telescopic arms up to 100 meters, not to mention dump trucks that can carry loads of up to 400 metric tons.
What does heavy plate need to do?
Our material must be especially tough and must not rupture or break. Some materials have to be extremely resistant to abrasion, others to sour gases, but they always have to remain formable at the same time. Heavy plate is generally thicker than strip and can be rolled much wider. When being rolled in what is known as a four-high reversing stand, the heavy-plate slabs can be rotated, as well as passed back and forth. This is the best way to alter the structure of the plate.
Which materials rival heavy plate?
There are now hot-strip and wide-strip qualities that come very close to the mechanical properties of special heavy-plate steels. We’re talking about high-strength grades with yield strengths of well over 1,000 MPa. It takes great skill to roll these sorts of materials in the hot strip mill because you need to use a special cooling strategy.
That is precisely what you have achieved with the perform® range, is it not?
Correct. We currently offer hot-rolled, high-strength grades with yield strengths of 900 and 960 MPa in the perform® range. They are perfectly suited for use in the construction of mobile and on-board cranes or in the chassis of transport vehicles. Other perform® grades with yield strengths exceeding 1,000 MPa are in development and will most likely be ready for series production this year.
Always on hand, be it questions on materials or how to use them
thyssenkrupp Steel’s Heavy Plate business unit also offers other services alongside these materials. What are they?
Our technical customer support is always on hand to work together with customers to figure out where there is room for improvement. We help with questions about forming certain plates or about optimally manufacturing entire component groups from heavy plate. We have a welding laboratory in which we can inspect the properties of finished components once the customer has processed them. We also have a wear-and-tear laboratory in which we can test the abrasion resistance of our steels, depending on where the steel is intended to be used.
What about special requests?
In special cases, we also work with our customers on brand new materials that are to be developed for special uses. However, this only happens if the customer is 100 percent certain about it and wants to refine their own portfolio.
The Heavy Plate business unit also offers a new online service, doesn’t it?
Yes, here we have two online tools – ProWeld and ProWear – that help our customers choose the perfect steel for them. ProWear calculates the amount of wear and tear on a material depending on how it used, and ProWeld provides information on the welding behavior of our heavy-plate steels.
In April, the business unit will also be at bauma in Munich, Germany. What can industry visitors expect to see?
At bauma, we will present our entire portfolio; that means both the high-strength and wear-resistant quarto plates from the xabo® and XAR® ranges, and the high-strength and wear-resistant grades of the strips I mentioned earlier, which we are offering under the perform® and XAR® banners. We will also present plates for special applications, such as nickel steels, which are in demand in the liquified gas transportation sector.
Wear-resistant and high-strength: the range of materials for every occasion
What is so special about XAR®?
XAR® is our wear-resistant steel that is used anywhere the material is subject to enormous amounts of resistance, often in combination with high ductility. This is primarily the case in raw material extraction, recycling plants, and mining. Excavator shovels, dump trucks, shredding and crushing plants, ore, and stone filters have to withstand extreme circumstances, for example, when carrying tons of rock and then unloading it from a great height. Standard steel would wear out much too quickly in this situation. We can significantly increase the service life of parts and components with our wear-resistance XAR® grades, substantially shortening repair and maintenance intervals, thus making an important contribution to the economic operation of this type of system.
What about your xabo® and N-A-XTRA® grades?
They are both high-strength steels in the quarto range that have different yield strengths. N-A-XTRA® refers to plates up to 700 MPa, while xabo® was introduced as a trade mark name for grades higher than 700 MPa up to 1,300 MPa. In the long term, we want to offer all high-strength quarto sheets under the xabo® name. These grades withstand extraordinarily high loads and are used in crane construction or for longitudinal and cross beams of large trucks.
Apart from their high yield strength, what else makes the hot-rolled perform® plates stand out?
They are incredibly good for cold forming. This property is especially important in combination with high levels of strength. This allows us to make a significant contribution to lightweight construction, and the lower fuel consumption helps to reduce CO2 emissions from the heavy-duty fleets. In comparison to traditional quarto plates, reduced thickness tolerances can continue to be guaranteed and an improved surface can be achieved, which leads to a significantly better paint finish quality.
There is another addition at Heavy Plate alongside the new perform® grades 900 and 960 MPa, right?
Yes, we have a new location in Belgium, where the acquisition of a so-called hot strip cut-to-length plant means we can now roll high-strength and ultra-high-strength strips – up to a strength of 1,300 MPa, in fact. It is an extremely challenging undertaking, and in Europe there are very few plants that can do that. This means our manufacturing site in Antwerp will play a key role when it comes to the production of the high-strength strips in the perform® family and the wear-resistant XAR® family, which feature excellent flatness and absence from stress. We are ideally positioned to meet the future demands of our customers with attractive products.