Swedish steelmaker Sandvik has opened a state-of-the-art coiled tubing line for premium grades of seamless stainless steel products in smaller dimensions at its Zhenjiang tube mill near Shanghai, China.

According to the company, the commitment to produce longer lengths of weld-free coiled tubing locally will enable its Asia Pacific region customers to receive deliveries within 28 days, instead of waiting four to six months for longer length reels to arrive from overseas.

Satish Sharath, Sandvik Tube APAC's business unit president, said that the new coiled tube offering was a further step in Sandvik's commitment to boost customer competitiveness in China and throughout the Asia Pacific region. “We’ve seen a rising demand on projects within chemical processing, oil and gas, alternative energy and other industries for urgent local supplies of coiled tubing. The compact reels, ease of transport and ability to precisely cut lengths in challenging situations allow customers to work fast and efficiently, with fewer connectors and zero risk of system leakage,” he said.

The initial focus will be on Sandvik 3R60 (ASTM TP 316/316L) tubing – an austenitic chromium-nickel steel with a minimum of 2.6% molybdenum and low carbon content – in outer diameters from 6.0mm to 14mm. The coiled tube is supplied as level-wound on plastic-wrapped wooden reels in standard (55m-260m) or longer lengths (135m – 611m), or as bulk coil, strapped into boxes. The new range complements Sandvik’s current offering of six-metre straight lengths of hydraulic and instrumentation tubing, which are already available 'in the widest range of sizes and grades on the market today'.

Glenn Darley, regional sales and marketing director in China, said that most tubing looks pretty much the same. “But numerous tests show that Sandvik truly sets a standard within the various product and grade standards, consistently delivering at the highest levels on key performance criteria such as ovality, corrosion resistance, surface smoothness and tight tolerances. This – and our deep materials expertise – matters a great deal to end users who often discover the hard way that inferior local grades can lead to system leakage, unplanned maintenance or – even worse – a plant shutdown.”

According to Darley, the 28-day delivery promise means, in effect, that Sandvik coiled tubing is now “closer than you think.” In addition to Sandvik 3R60™ (ASTM TP 316/316L), the company will supply other grades of high-alloy and duplex tube products in a wide range of dimensions. He encourages customers to ask about these, adding that they will be handled on a case-by-case basis, by country, and may be subject to slightly different delivery times than the 28-day guarantee now available for standard grades.

Paul Tsai, production unit general manager at the Zhenjiang Mill, said that the new offering combined advanced production technology and unique manufacturing know-how with extensive technical support. The mill he oversees, located 250 kilometres northwest of Shanghai, produces straight and U-bent tube for heat exchangers and hydraulic and instrumentation tubing in austenitic and duplex stainless steels as well as high-alloy austenitic stainless steels and nickel alloys.

Satish Sharath said that Sandvik's commitment to China and the Asia-Pacific region went back over 40 years. “We have trusted distributors or sales offices in virtually every country, opened our high-tech mill in Zhenjaing in 2011, have another tube mill in India and one in North America, in addition to our main R&D and tube production works in Sandviken, Sweden. In other words, plenty of back-up production power.”