Russian steelmaker NLMK has signed a five-year service contract with the German technology provider SMS Group.

The deal revolves around the full-time servicing of key steel processing equipment at the steelmaker’s BOF facilities in Lipetsk where productivity exceeds 12.5Mt/yr.

“SMS Group experts will ensure the maintenance and repair of all nine continuous casting machines and secondary metallurgy treatment equipment,” said NLMK, adding that, for the duration of the contract, the 247 NLMK workers that were responsible for plant maintenance would be employed by SMS Group’s Russian subsidiary.

An additional 34 ‘qualified experts’ will be brought in to implement structural changes to operational practices and engage in supply management, planning and co-ordination and engineering.