The newest EPS pickling line to enter operation features some notable firsts:

  1. First EPS line in western Europe, and
  2. First EPS line that can produce either coils or sheets from the same line.

The owner/operator of this unique line is Todoaceros SL of Aranda de Duero, Spain. This ISO-9001 certified service center is part of Network Steel, the Madrid-based company which is the largest trader of flat rolled steel in Spain. Network Steel processes as well, performing slitting, blanking and pickling and adds value through galvanizing and pre-painting coils. Network Steel is known for premium quality, innovation, and being environmentally conscious. Those factors motivated the Todoaceros investment in EPS technology.

‘We have been producing very high quality hot roll coil and sheets on our SCS line since 2010,’ explains Todoceros GM Paulo Gonçalves. “And while SCS product is very clean and rust inhibitive, it is not a truly pickled product, so it could not be used for the galvanizing and coil coating our sister companies do, and it was not really a product for the automotive market. EPS has opened up those opportunities for us.”

In fact, the EPS Cell, which entered commercial production in November 2019, was wholly integrated into the existing SCS line. This line, built by Red Bud Industries, features dual Bradbury roller levelers to shape correct the entire thickness range of 1 mm to 15 mm (0.04” to 0.60”). It is also an extra wide line, processing strip up to 2100 mm (82.7”) across. But what is truly unique is the line’s exit conveyor splits vertically. The cleaned strip can be:

  • Diverted down onto a recoiler when the order calls for SCS or EPS coil, or
  • Remain on the exit conveyor to be cut to length using a flying shear, when the order is for SCS or EPS sheets.

Todoaceros EPS line

An EPS strip is recoiled below the passline height, while the exit conveyor (shown above the recoiler) leads to the flying shear if EPS blanks are to be produced.

Planning Ahead

Mr. Gonçalves recalls, “When we ordered the SCS line, TMW was testing and developing EPS and we recognized its potential. So we made the exit conveyor of our SCS line extra, extra long – not only to accommodate the flying shear, but to possibly install an EPS Cell in the future. When EPS got out into the market, we carefully studied it – the surface, fabricating it and, of course, the economics. In late 2017, we decided to go with EPS. We already had the building and the terminal equipment, so we needed only the EPS Cell itself.”

EPS Cell of Network Steel EPS Line

The Todoceros EPS Turbine Chamber (above) is located directly after SCS Brushing

How has the new EPS product been received ?

“EPS has been very popular,” notes Cesar Rodriguez, the Commercial Manager for Todoaceros. “Some of our longtime SCS customers didn’t need a fully pickled product and they stayed with SCS, which we still produce. Others chose to switch to EPS, and they love it.”

“But more important, EPS gives us many new customers who need a pickled product, so our production has more than doubled and we have increased exports to the rest of Europe. We are the only western Europe source for this fully pickled, dry product that doesn’t rust, and that is a big advantage. The fact that we can supply in coil or sheet from the same production line . . . well, that is a double advantage.”

coils before and after EPS processing

Todoaceros incoming coils before EPS processing (left) and coils after EPS processing (right) with stacks of EPS sheets beyond the coils

“There are two more advantages that I must mention,” adds Rodriguez. “The first is how clean the EPS process is. There is no acid and no waste. This is very important to us. We are in a beautiful location – the heart of Spanish wine country. We did not want to bring a hazardous process – one that can harm the environment like acid pickling – to this region.

The other advantage is the range of product EPS can pickle. We process standard structural grades and microalloys up to the new high strength steels like S500MC and S700MC. Being able to pickle all these products on the same line makes us totally unique in Spain. So I guess that makes four advantages now. But trust me, I can give you even more.”