SMS-group and steelmaker Dillinger Hüttenwerke (Dillinger) are claiming to have set a milestone in thick slab casting technology.

The commissioning of a new two-strand vertical slab caster has helped Dillinger set a new world record by being able to produce 500mm thick slabs for premium metallurgical grades.

Dillinger invested EUR400 million on its Continuous Caster 6 (CC6) – one of the biggest ever single investments in the history of the plant – and is now on track to expand its range of high-grade products because, during casting, the slab will not be subjected to any bending or straightening.

CC6 uses SMS-group’s new pinch-roll technology, otherwise known as X-Pact Strand Centering Control, which allows Dillinger to continuously cast steel grades. Up until now they could only be produced via the less efficient ingot casting route.

Dillinger’s entirely vertical continuous casting plant for thick slabs was jointly developed by SMS-group and the steelmaker.

“The jointly developed design concept includes extremely exacting solutions to cope with the very heavy loads and to transport the cast strand. A big challenge had been to conceive a design that would securely hold and transport a strand weight of up to 500 tons while preventing the slabs from moving out of the vertical due to the enormous roller forces acting on the slabs,” said SMS-group.

Dillinger’s head of steel plant, Dr. Ralf Bruckhaus, commented: “This continuous caster is an outstanding plant providing great potential for current and future developments in terms of both quality and productivity. It’s fun to produce on the new CC6 casting machine.”

SMS-group and Dillinger have been partners for many years. In 1961 they worked together on the supply of the latter’s first continuous slab caster. In 1998 CC5 was built and then revamped in 2010 when it became the world record holder producing slabs up to 450mm thick. Now CC6 has smashed that record with its 500mm thick slabs.