Russian steelmaker NLMK has boosted the capacity of its continuous hot-dip galvanising line at its Lipetsk production site. The line is expected to reach a full capacity of 500kt/yr by April.

Productivity was boosted 30% on HDG-1 and the line’s hot-dip galvanised steel production for the construction, automotive and white goods have been expanded by 11% to 1.25Mt.

The company claims that it can now solidify its position in the high value-added steel market where, it claims, demand exceeds the capacity of Russian manufacturers and is covered by imports. Russia currently imports 1Mt of coated steels, claims NLMK.

During the upgrade of NLMK’s HDG-1 it took just 90 days to install a new automated control system, upgrade the furnace section and assemble new process equipment.

According to NLMK, the reconstructed HDG-1 will reduce natural gas consumption by 25%, electric energy usage by 15% and air emissions by 30%. This is due to installing furnace control and modernisation systems; optimising equipment configuration and optimising the natural gas afterburning system respectively.

NLMK holds 21% of the hot-dip galvanised steel market in Russia. The company’s Lipetsk site operates four continuous hot-dip galvanising lines with a total capacity of 1.1Mt (2015) – a figure that will rise to 1.25Mt by April of this year.

Strip widths of 1800mm and thicknesses ranging from 0.4mm to 4mm are possible at Lipetsk.

NLMK’s group vice president Konstantin Lagutin said the reconstruction of the line has given the company ‘one of the most efficient hot-dip galvanising lines in the business. “After it reaches design productivity, the Lipetsk site capacity to produce HDG steel for the construction, automotive and white goods sectors will increase by 120kt/yr. As a result, NLMK will solidify its position in the high value added steel market,” he said.