Vyksa Steel Works (AO VSW, Nizhniy Novgorod Region, an AO OMK company) has shut down its steel making shop comprising two open-hearth furnaces, and a secondary refining and casting system.
The open-hearth facility was shut down on March 22, 2018 given that the VSW wheel rolling shop is converting to outsourced billets. This will radically decrease the environmental impact of Vyksa Steel Works, improve working conditions for over 300 of the facility's employees, improve the quality of its whole-rolled train wheels and the stability of deliveries to customers.
VSW's wheel rolling facility will be provisioned with steel billets under a long-term contract with formula pricing made in 2017 between OMK and Metalloinvest. The contract will remain in effect through 2027.
In 2018, the Eurasian Economic Union's total train wheel-making capacity stands at 1,505,000 wheels a year, including 850,000 wheels at VSW. Based on OMK estimates derived from 2017 railway car production data, statements by railway car manufacturers, and consumption statistics, the maximum 2018-2019 demand for wheels in the markets of the Economic Union could reach 1,300,000 to 1,450,000 pieces a year. Therefore, existing domestic capacity is capable of fully satisfying the Eurasian Economic Union's demand for wheels.
Employees from the VSW steel making operation have been transferred out to other organizations within the plant complex, including the Integrated Casting and Rolling Facility and the new pipe mill that is currently being constructed in Vyksa. The equipment will be mothballed, and its subsequent use and the use of the building's space will be decided before the end of the current year.
The solemn ceremony to commemorate the closure of VSW's open hearth facility was attended by Nizhniy Novgorod Regional Acting Deputy Governor, First Deputy Prime Minister Evgeny Liulin, Chair of the OMK Board of Directors Anatoly Sedykh,VSW Managing Director Alexander Barykov, Vyksa Municipal District Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Kochetkov, Catherine Kolganoff (France), great-granddaughter of technology inventor Pierre Martin, open hearth facility's best employees and veterans.
“Today, we have both sadness and joy in our hearts. A whole era in the history of metal-making is ending but at the same time, we will see environmental improvements and a much reduced number of hazardous jobs. Our motto which we adopted 10 years ago and which runs: “We are building factories and creating a new Russia” is important today as never before. We are already breaking in a new pipe finishing facility, and at the end of the year, we will be commissioning a mill to make tubing. Building a seamless pipe mill is in the works. In the next few years, VSW will be creating some 2,000 new jobs and investing well in excess of $1 billion”, said Chair of the OMK Board of Directors Anatoly Sedykh at the VSW Open Hearth Furnace Facility shut-down ceremony.
The first open hearth furnace was build in Vyksa in 1892 and housed in the puddling works of the Lower Vyksa Plant.
The history of the steel-making facility that was closed today numbers 85 years. The amount of steel produced during this time would stand at almost 25 million tons. The number of heats exceeded 107,000.
In 2004 and 2005, OMK performed a technology upgrade at its train wheel facility upgrading two open-hearth furnaces and decommissioning a third one, commissioning an automated secondary refining area with a ladle furnace and a degasser which increased productivity and considerably improved product quality.
Vyksa's open-hearth furnace shutdown marks an historic divide, the end of a 150-year "reign" of open-hearth furnaces throughout the global metal industry and a virtually total conversion of the domestic industry to new steel-making processes.
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