The SMS group is currently building an integrated, environmentally friendly complex for high-grade steel products and specialty steels for Big River Steel’s new facility in Mississippi County, Ark. (You can read the original announcement here.) The plant’s annual capacity will initially amount to 1.5 million tons, with the provision to be increased to 3 million tons in a second construction phase. Big River Steel will invest around $1.3 billion in the project.

A delegation of representatives from Big River Steel recently produced the works’ first steel during a visit to SMS group in Germany as part of a plant simulation. At the SMS Test Center, experts set up major compo­nents of the automation systems, complete with fully functional control cabinets, computers, control desks and soft­ware. This allowed them to thoroughly test the components in near-reality simulations and train the operators well ahead of the on-site installa­tion. This procedure, which the SMS group calls Plug & Work, will reduce the time to start of production.

The delegation also visited SMS group‘s manufacturing facilities in Hilchenbach, where the quality-critical components for this large-scale project are being manufactured. Members had the opportunity to inspect several plant components that will shortly be commencing their journey to the new steelworks in Arkansas, which is being set up on an area covering more than 4,000 square meters. The SMS group supply proprietary plant technology and all associated electrical and automation systems. The company’s supply scope for the first construction phase comprises a 150-ton electric-arc furnace, in which steel scrap will be melted down to produce heats of high-quality steel, as well as secondary-metallurgy facilities for refining these heats into specialty steels.

Big River Steel will produce high-strength AHSS (advanced high-strength steels) grades, which are suitable for lightweight automotive engineering, as well as high-strength tube grades for oil and gas field pipelines.