The Economic Advantages of EPS Pickling

EPS processing shows how ‘being green’ can be good for the bottom line. With no hazardous acids, the EPS process has no special permitting, storage or disposal costs. But the real cost advantage comes from a lower variable cost of operation.

Projected EPS variable costs of operation are approximately 20% lower than acid pickling.  When it comes to pickling higher carbon and alloy grades or AHSS and electrical steels, the EPS cost advantage gets magnified because EPS can run these grades faster and descale them more reliably than acid.

It also costs less to get into the EPS processing business than acid pickling:

  • EPS equipment cost is 20% less for the same capacity
  • EPS line installation cost is 30% lower than acid pickling
  • EPS line ‘footprint’ is 60% of acid pickling

The Capital Cost of EPS

An acid pickling line is a very large investment. While EPS pickling line capital costs are not trivial, they average 20% less than an acid pickling line of the same output capability running low carbon steel.

The components of capital costs – building, equipment and installation – must be evaluated individually to understand the total capital cost of a project. We did that for two projects of comparable output: a 2 Cell EPS Coil Line and a 4 tank HCl acid pickling line. The results reinforced the above rule of thumb that an EPS Coil Line project costs 20% less than an acid pickling line project.


The EPS Operations Cost Calculator

Interested in EPS processing for your business? You’ll want to explore the EPS Operations Cost Calculator. This easy-to-use interactive tool models different scenarios of EPS Coil Line operation. You simply input your chosen material parameters ( steel grade, coil size, thickness, etc.) and costs for labor and electricity. The Calculator outputs EPS line throughput, variable costs and even profit, based on processing pricing that you choose. You can change your selections to perform ‘What if’ analyses.

The EPS Operations Cost Calculator has been calibrated against the actual operating results of TMW’s EPS Coil Line, so you can use it with confidence.

EPS Cost Calculator

How EPS Is A Catalyst For Growth

For most service centers acid pickling is outsourced, which adds both processing cost and freight cost. Bringing pickling in-house by operating an EPS line eliminates these costs:

  • The extra freight to/from the acid pickler is eliminated.
  • Inventory can be consolidated, since EPS replaces both acid pickled and hot roll black. That reduces carrying costs.

Above all, EPS processing can be a catalyst for growing your business. Not only will you offer a valuable new service, with EPS you supply a new product that is superior in appearance and performance to the acid pickled product it replaces. In addition, the added volume from EPS sales can also generate more volume for other processing lines like slitting and cut-to-length.

EPS Avoids Acid Pickling's Setup Costs

Acid pickling has high ‘setup costs’ as the acid needs to be heated before startup. That means the line may need to run as high as 85% capacity just to reach break even. EPS’ setup cost is virtually zero so there’s no comparable capacity penalty.