A number of companies, including Fives, IMS and 5 Star Engineering, continue to push forward in developing new technologies for tube and pipe manufacture, creating innovative mills, production lines and testing equipment for a variety of producers of OCTG and similar products.
S teel tube and pipe makers and the companies that supply them with new technologies say it is amazing to see the advancements in just the past few years. Despite the current challenges to the sector, meeting the changing needs of energy extractors and refiners means using specialized and/or new technologies to provide the appropriate steel products.
For example, Ohio-based Fives Bronx (U.S. face of the international Fives Group) offers a complete solution from mill to finishing, which includes a wide range of Abbey, OTO, Bronx and Taylor-Wilson technologies and equipment for tube makers in different industries. Over its decades of providing innovation, Fives has designed and supplied tube mills, cut-offs, straighteners, hydrostatic pipe testers, leak testers and end facing machines for the tube and pipe industry, as well as long product straighteners to many customers.
Fives recently was entrusted with several orders of new high productive tube mills for different applications in Mexico.
Perfiles y Herrajes, L.M. S.A. de C.V., Mexicos leading producer of tubes and profiles, has ordered the design and supply of an OTO tube mill for the production of mechanical and structural tubes. The OTO 3-inch tube mill has an output capacity of 3,000 tons per month with two shifts per day. The tube mill was successfully commissioned in February 2016, with the first tube coming off the mill in just 50 days from the beginning of the installation. Perfiles y Herrajes has previously installed three other OTO tube mills, in recent years.
Productos Laminados De Monterrey, S.A. de C.V. (Prolamsa), a leader in the manufacture of carbon steel tubes and components in Mexico, awarded Fives an order for the design and manufacture of a heavy-duty tube mill for an automotive application. The OTO 3-½-inch heavy-duty tube mill will be designed to produce mother tubes which are to be scarfed inside for further D.O.M. process (Drawn over Mandrel: the process allows for a tube to achieve a precise tolerance required for automotive and hydraulic applications).
The OTO heavy-duty mill features a high diameter-to-thickness ratio, as well as it has a very tight tolerance in diameter in order to comply with rigid standards of the auto-parts manufacturers. The tube mill was commissioned in summer 2016.
Fives has been designing and manufacturing OTO tube mills and other equipment for the tube industry at its industrial plant in Boretto (Italy) for almost 40 years.
APL Apollo, a leading tube manufacturer in India, recently contracted Fives for two OTO hollow shape universal forming mills (OTO HSU) for its manufacturing facilities in Raipur (Chhattisgarh state) and Murbad (Maharashtra state).
The OTO HSU tube mill was specifically designed to produce square and rectangular tubes for the construction industry. The mill produces HSS (hollow structural section) tubes by direct forming, skipping the traditional step of constructing round tubes and then squaring them. The range of products can vary from a minimum size of 20x20 to a maximum size of 120x120mm within a range of four mills, with a maximum production speed of 120m/min.
Fives said the main benefits of OTO HSU technology include:
Frequent and fast production changeovers due to the universal design (no rolls change);
Covering a wide range of dimensions and thickness;
Very fast set-up time due to the high automation level and technology;
Reduced production cost;
Average material saving around 3-4 percent.
Following that contract, Fives presented its new OTO hollow shape forming technology during an open house on Boretto, Italy. The new technology OTO HSU tube mill (hollow shape universal forming mill) has been in development since 2009. It is specifically designed to produce square and rectangular tubes for the construction industry. This mill will produce HSU tubes at a lower production cost through direct forming, skipping the traditional step of constructing round tubes and then squaring them.
The OTO HSU line is composed of the mill with forming stands that allowing for strip bending at precise angles for the first bend and second bend. The remaining equipment consists of a high-frequency welding stand, a scarfing unit, cooling and sizing sections, as well as straightening and cut-off units, and a packaging system.
The main benefit of the OTO HSU technology is the capability of frequent production changes without a roll change. The range of products can vary from a minimum size of 20x20 to a maximum size of 140x140mm within a range of four mills, with a maximum production speed of 120m/min.
This new technology guarantees the possibility to produce hollow shape tubes within a large range of dimensions and thickness without changing rolls. Therefore, it substantially saves set-up time, reduces investment cost in different types of rolls and required floor space for rolls, as well as it minimizes operator tuning, says Andrea Anesi, Operation Director of Fives OTO S.p.a., a concept designer of the OTO HSU mill.
Portage, Ind.-based 5 Star Engineering and Maintenance, LLC said it takes pride in being an industry leader in tube, pipe and roll form equipment installation and process control solutions. It provides a wide array of services to give complete value proposition to its customers. 5 Stars strong relationships within the industry have given it the opportunity to work on many of the industries firsts. Whether its contract maintenance, electrical & mechanical engineering, control services, field service work, or turnkey project services, 5 Star offers solutions for tube, pipe and roll form needs.
In one case study, a structural tube manufacturing facility in Chicago received a complete turnkey capital project structural tube mill installation (engineering, civil, mechanical, electrical). The project included installation of following equipment: uncoiler, straightener, end welder, accumulator and pinch roller.
Mars, Pa.-based IMS Systems, Inc., the leading manufacturer of x-ray, isotope and optical measuring systems for hot and cold mills and service centers, recently upgraded its XR Series Thickness Gauge with integrated laser strip speed measurement. In addition to providing exceptional thickness measuring accuracy, the gauge offers a laser speed measuring accuracy of <0.05 percent, an integrated air wipe and protective window to prevent contamination by dirt and easy handling for preventive maintenance.
The improvements weve made to the XR Gauge can help to significantly increase productivity and quality in pickling, cold rolling, CAL/CGL, cutting-to-length, slitting and tension leveling operations, said John Buckman, IMSs general manager and vice president of operations. The gauge is also easy to maintain.
Fives and Vallourec, worlds leading company in tubular solutions, commissioned an innovative hydrostatic pipe tester at the Vallourecs plant in Düsseldorf-Rath (Germany).
Pipe testing machines at tube plants aim to reduce delays on the finishing floor during the testing phase. The test hold time is varied to suit the specific standard to which the pipe is being tested. Fives has been specializing in engineering hydrostatic pipe testing machines under the brand Taylor-Wilson since 1911, having supplied more than 49 of hydrotesters, leak testers and collapse testers worldwide.
The hydrostatic pipe tester designed and supplied to Düsseldorf-Rath plant has the ability to test beyond the standard API grades, and is capable of testing up to premium Cr13 pipes at over 1250 bar (18,130 PSI). With a maximum diameter of 406.4mm (16) and a heavy wall thickness up to 50mm (1.97) the end load of 8,944 kN (2,010,620 pounds) is one of the highest Fives has ever manufactured.