Important news from EPS Producer Stripco, who is running a single cell EPS Coil Line at their recently expanded facility in Mishiwaka, Indiana: EPS is processing the difficult-to-pickle grades of steel at roughly the same speeds as ordinary low-carbon steel. By contrast, an acid pickling line would have to run anywhere from 60% to 75% slower in order to fully descale these harder grades.

At TMW, early EPS development and current EPS production has generated a lot of data on low carbon (1018 or less) materials. There was enough testing of HSLA and harder steels to know that EPS could accomplish full scale removal, but not enough to confidently establish firm speed benchmarks. Nevertheless, indications were favorable that EPS could process harder steels with little loss of line speed.

When Stripco started up their EPS Coil Line at the end of 2011, more experience started accumulating on harder grades of steel. Stripco processes a large percentage of high carbon steels and series 41XX, 51XX and 61XX alloys plus HSLA to meet the demands of its customers.

Stripco President Jack Hiler explains, “To fully descale the medium to high carbon steels we deal with (typically 1018 to 1074) the acid pickler slows the line down to 30 – 40% of where they run low carbon grades. If it’s one of the 41XX, 51XX or 61XX alloy steels, the acid picklers slow it down even more to 25% – 30% of low carbon grade speeds. Our cell is able to run these grades at 40 to 58 feet per minute.”

EPS is a mechanical process that impinges the scale oxide from the substrate so this process doesn’t depend on chemically dissolving the different types of scale with an acid. The confirmation of the EPS speed advantage over acid pickling for harder, higher alloy steels further enhances the overall economics of EPS processing.

For a full analysis of the economics of EPS processing visit the EPS web site, It’s important to note that a scale breaker and additional cells will significantly increase EPS processing speeds.