Russian steelmaker NLMK has invested 460 million rubles (US$6.5 million) in a new 250kt/yr strip-straightening machine at its Novolipetsk site with a view to improving the surface quality of its uncoated cold-rolled steel.

According to NLMK, the machine improves the geometric parameters of the product by eliminating irregularities at the edges and in the middle of the strip. From a customer perspective, it means that precise specifications can be guaranteed.

Sergey Filatov, NLMK’s managing director at the Novolipetsk plant, said that uncoated cold-rolled strip is in demand from manufacturers of white goods, such as washing machines and refrigerators. Furthermore, there is demand from the automotive sector. “This new project will allow NLMK to offer high-quality products to its key customers and strengthen its positions in high-margin markets,” he said.

Prior to the launch of the new machine, NLMK would flatten cold-rolled steel for onward processing at continuous hot-dip galvanising lines.

Accounting for 24% of the Russian cold-rolled steel market, NLMK produced 1.5Mt of the stuff in 2014.

Novolipetsk is the main production site of the NLMK Group.