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SMS group commissions AOD converters in South Africa

AOD converter drive with vertical torque retainer from SMS group. (Image source: SMS group)

SMS group has supplied and installed a torque retainer system for the two 100-tonne AOD converters at Columbus Stainless (Pty) Ltd in Middelburg, South Africa

Columbus Stainless is part of the Acerinox group of companies and is the only stainless steel plant on the African continent.

The customer awarded the final acceptance certificate following a very short revamp and successful re-commissioning. The aim of the revamp is to reduce the force on the gearbox during the AOD converter refining process that had been causing uncontrolled vibrations and damage to the bull gear, bearings and foundation of the converter drive, said the company.

SMS group supplied the torque retainer made in Germany as a compact electro-hydraulic unit.

Engineering and erection supervision were also included in the scope of supply. The revamp took place during a scheduled shutdown. The converters resumed operation and were running at full production capacity at an interval of two days. The first converter reached the guaranteed values three days after hot commissioning, while the second converter had already attained the guaranteed values after only one day.

Both, cold and hot commissioning were completed jointly with the customer. The good cooperation and high commitment of the teams from Columbus and SMS group made this success possible.

Gus Schepers, project manager engineering projects, Columbus, sais, “The torque retainer from SMS group is an innovative target-oriented solution consisting of tried and tested components, which means the whole system is very easy to maintain. Given the reduced maintenance costs, we project a very good return on investment.”

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