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VAMA builds new coating line to serve growing automotive market in China

Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive (VAMA), a 50/50 joint venture between ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel company and Valin Steel, a leading Chinese steelmaker, has begun construction on a new continuous hot-dip galvanizing line at its facilities in Loudi, Hunan, which will enable the production of highly corrosion-resistant steel.

The coating line, which will come onstream by July 2022, will increase VAMA’s capacity to produce high-quality, high-strength steels for the Chinese automotive industry by 450,000 tonnes a year, to 2 million tonnes.

The new coating line will support VAMA’s ambition to become one of the largest suppliers to China’s automotive market. China is already the world’s largest automotive market, with forecasts indicating anticipated annual growth of at least 6% in the coming decade.

Alongside the anticipated volume growth, the sector is also focused on further reducing its environmental footprint and transitioning to electric vehicles. VAMA’s expansion will feature the most recently developed high strength steel grades and a new type of coating, allowing car makers to reach new quality standards. The new type of coating has been designed to allow for better corrosion-resistance of both inner and outer panels in the body-in-white.

With these new products VAMA will also be positioned to support China’s automotive manufacturers transition to electric vehicles through the introduction of ArcelorMittal’s S-in motion steel solutions for electric vehicles.

Background. VAMA receives hot-rolled coils from Lianyuan Steel, a subsidiary of Valin Steel located in Loudi, Hunan. Once the hot-rolled coils arrive in VAMA, these coils are further processed over PLTCM (Pickling & Tandem Cold Rolling Mill). This PLTCM has a capacity of 1.5 million tons, extendable up to 2 million tons in the second phase. The PLTCM line will have the most advanced available technology- E.g. Laser welder at the entry section, rolling forces of 3,500 tons and rolling power of 7000 kW.

The material produced on PLTCM is further processed on either the mixed CAL (mixed Continuous Annealing Line) or the CGL (Continuous Galvanizing Line). The mixed CAL has one of the most powerful furnaces available today, capable to produce Ultra High Strength Steel (UHSS) grades and it also has the possibility to produce aluminum-coated products through an integrated aluminum bath.

The CGL line produces both galvanized and galvannealed products. Both CGL and CAL produce exposed material for automotive industry and therefore they are equipped with automatic inspection systems.

The coils produced on CAL or CGL can be further processed or inspected on one of VAMA’s two recoiling lines or can go directly to the fully automated packaging line after which they will be transported directly to the customer or further processed in a Steel Service Center.

Technology transfer agreements were put in place between ArcelorMittal and both Lianyuan Steel and VAMA. The technology transfer between ArcelorMittal and Lianyuan Steel focuses on development and production of high-end hot-rolled coils which can be sold directly to the market through VAMA’s sales network or to be used as substrate in VAMA.

The technology transfer between ArcelorMittal and VAMA included support during the complete plant design, specification and procurement. Development of all products in VAMA is done with intensive support from ArcelorMittal to make sure that the VAMA product offer reaches the same quality level as the one from ArcelorMittal.


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