Columbus Stainless, member of the Acerinox SA Group of Companies has today placed into operation one of its latest investment projects at its operation in Middelburg, South Africa. The Ladle Furnace project was officially handed over for operation in the attendance of the Spanish Ambassador, Carlos Fernandez-Arias and Miguel Ferrrandis, Chairman of Columbus Board and Acerinox Group CFO. This investment comes just a few months after the completion of another project in the mill – Slitting Line No.5 which was placed into operation in May 2019.

The contract for the multi-million rand Ladle Metallurgy Furnace (LMF) was signed in August 2018. The LMF will improve the Melt shop production process with significant cost savings, capacity increase and yield benefits for the Company. The project was implemented by INTECO, an Austrian company with technical know-how in melting and casting technologies. Columbus was responsible for the civil and structural work, electrical and water supply and other auxiliaries and also facilitated INTECO’s partnership with local service providers for skills transfer and beneficiation.

The Ladle Metallurgy Furnace installation includes all auxiliary equipment such as a 6-strand wire-feeder, deslagging machine, temperature and sample lances. The control system includes INTECO’s IMAS control system with enhanced metallurgical models and is integrated into the existing Columbus plant automation system.

“Columbus Stainless invested in this project because we strongly believe we should play a leadership role in improving the quality of life for our employees and communities. This can only be achieved through sustainable growth in the business that will safeguard their future prospects. Our vision of adding stainless quality will only come to life when our actions follow suit. We believe that these investments promote the long term interests of the South African Community, our Investors, Shareholders and the industry at large” – Lucien Matthews, CEO Columbus Stainless

Over the past year Columbus Stainless has spent in excess of R380-million in new capital projects and equipment upgrades. This has translated into local job creation and opportunities to the Middelburg community.