GE's Power Conversion Business Enables WISCO to Build the Steel Plant of the Future, Designed to Meet China's Automobile Industry's Growing Demand
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Press release date: May 13, 2014
Electrical and Automation Equipment from GE Will Support a Continuous Annealing Line That Will Allow the Production of High-Quality Steel Strips for the High-End Chinese Automotive Industry
GE's Power Conversion Business Was Chosen for Proven Track Record in Providing High-Quality Technology and Strong Service-Level Agreements
New Fangchenggang Steel Plant is Set to Take Advantage of New Market Opportunities in Southern and Western Parts of China and Beyond
SHANGHAI – Faced with the increasing market demand for high-quality steel for the domestic car industry, the Wuhan Iron Steel Group (WISCO) has turned to GE's Power Conversion business (NYSE: GE) to support, design, supply and commission electrical and automation equipment for the continuous annealing line of the new Fangchenggang site in Guangxi Province, China.
WISCO selected GE's Power Conversion business to provide an electrical and automation system that includes level 1 and level 2 automation, low-voltage equipment and instrumentation for the plant's continuous annealing line that will produce high-quality mild steel and high-strength steel strips with thickness between 0.4 mm to 2.5 mm, width between 1,000 mm to 1,880 mm.
To achieve a continuous annealing process, very fine controls are needed over the electrical systems that accurately anneal the cold-rolled steel strips and prepare them for the next process. GE's technology is able to deliver the level of precision required thanks to the power of its variable speed drives and the sophistication of its electrical and automation systems. GE's LV7000 low-voltage drive, for example, guarantees a steady state speed error of less than 0.01 percent (with encoder) and reduces power requirements by more than 50 percent compared to traditional mechanical drives.
Due to commence production in early 2016 at 900 kilotons a year, the Fangchenggang plant's core product is planned to be high-quality steel strips for the high-end Chinese car industry, some of which currently have to be imported as other Chinese plants lack the technical capability needed to manufacture them.
Located on China's South Coast, the plant is strategically placed to expand WISCO's sales in the southern and western Chinese regions as well as Southeast Asia. Its location on the coast also means iron ore imports from around the world can be processed as soon as they reach Chinese soil, avoiding the lengthy journey to Wuhan in Central China where WISCO's existing steel plants are based.
"To become a world-class enterprise, WISCO cannot be separated from cooperation with world-class companies. GE's technology and performance has given WISCO great confidence," said Wangming Hu, deputy general manager of WISCO. "We chose GE due to its reliable technical capabilities, service level and business terms."
"WISCO is seeing strong market opportunities for high-quality steel products in Southern China and Southeast Asia and GE's Power Conversion business is best placed to provide technical excellence and support to help make the new plant a success. Our technologies will minimize risk and production downtime and deliver unparalleled efficiency to support WISCO's market-leading ambitions. We have a longstanding relationship with WISCO and are delighted that our track record gives the business the confidence to entrust us with such a strategically important part of their operations," said Anthony Lyons, global metals and mining business leader, GE's Power Conversion business.
The automotive market has seen phenomenal growth in China and according to PwC, is set to nearly double by 2019, with auto sales expected to reach 27.7 million units in China in 2019, compared with 15.8 million in 2012. At the same time, however, the domestic market share of Chinese brands stands at only 42 percent, with consumers reportedly preferring imports according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). Perceptions around product quality are cited as key issues for Chinese automotive manufacturers, something that the industry is working to address, with high-quality steel panels being a significant example.
About GE Power Conversion
GE's Power Conversion business applies the science and systems of power conversion to help drive the electrification of the world's energy infrastructure by designing and delivering advanced motor, drive and control technologies that evolve today's industrial processes for a cleaner, more productive future. Serving specialized sectors such as energy, marine, oil and gas, renewables and industry, through customized solutions and advanced technologies, GE Power Conversion partners with customers to maximize efficiency. To learn more, please visit: www.gepowerconversion.com.
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Paul Floren, GE
Power Conversion, External Affairs
Phone: +33 1 53 59 28 44
Wenlin Jin, GE
Power Conversion, External Affairs
Phone: +33 1 53 59 28 45
Mobile: +33 6 10 13 02 53