Hot commissioning of Gerdau Long Steel North America’s new $60 million continuous billet caster, supplied by Danieli, begins this month (September) and already the North American steelmaker is promising great things for its St. Paul, Minnesota facility.

President Peter Campo said the new equipment would improve the company’s current product line-up and enable the business to expand into ‘new and more stringent applications.’

Gerdau’s St Paul mill produces various hot rolled rounds for the construction, forging, mining, farm equipment and wind power industries. The new caster will add aluminum grain refining capabilities and allow for the production of speciality carbon, alloy and high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels.

The new equipment enables 100% submerged nozzle casting and has hydraulic oscillators for improved surface quality. Three-point unbending is said to prevent cracking ‘on even the most demanding and sensitive grades’, and a Quality Assessment in Real Time (QART) System tracks every five inches of the billet cast.

Rogerio Turatti, vice president and general manager of the St. Paul mill, said that the investment was the first step towards producing higher-end products.