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11 July 2017

How to make a European quality part

Import substitution is one of the main areas of the Long Division's development strategy. The companies of the Division expand the use of domestic materials, software, tools and create high-quality equivalents of imported products. NLMK-Ural Service, which provides NLMK Kaluga, NLMK Metalware and NLMK Ural with necessary spare parts and consumables for imported equipment, is actively involved in import substitution.

The process started as early as in 2005, when the major modernization of NLMK Metalware was complete. The plant refocused to produce metalware and purchased the most cutting-edge European equipment. Then NLMK-Ural Service experts started to learn manufacturing technologies to produce spare parts for imported equipment. They produced thread-rolling dies for the production of self-tapping screws and cold-forming tools that are entirely similar to the foreign samples.

Today, NLMK-Ural Service produces spare parts of varying degrees of complexity for rolling, metalware and steelmaking equipment: nozzles, rails, valves, parts for crane equipment, nailing tools - in 2016 NLMK-Ural Service produced more than 4,000 items to substitute imported parts.

"At present, two projects for NLMK-Kaluga are udnerway," said Vitaly Tokarev, head of the production department. - We are mastering the manufacture of a torch panel for an EAF. An experimental batch of four items is in production right now. These are non-standard specific products with increased requirements for tightness, necessary for welded steel-copper joints. A batch of twist rollers for long products manufacturing at NLMK Ural and NLMK Kaluga is also currently in production.

According to Vitaly Tokarev, the production of one part takes an average of about 30 days, depending on the its complexity.

It all begins in the production and technology department, where the design and product engineers develop design and process documentation, and also choose the materials needed for the future product.

Further on, the employees of the tool shop of the production department get down to business. Engineers and operators of computer-controlled machines create new parts.

"Thanks to a wide variety of high-precision equipment, we can produce a very wide range of spare parts for steelmaking and metalware operations," says Leonid Kudryavtsev, head of the tool section.

A knitting head spare part was used as an example to demonstrate the process to us. It is produced for Rolling mill 250 in Nizhniye Sergi. In January, NLMK-Ural Service performed an experimental batch of knitting heads, solving the problem of providing spare parts in rolling shop No. 5. Now the team is working on an extra back-up batch.

- The first step is roughing on a CNC-lathe, - says Leonid Kudryavtsev during our impromptu tour. - Here, the rotating part is processed by a tool that removes the metal layer from the surface of the workpiece. This enables full compliance with the required diameter of the future product.

After that, the part is sent to the milling machining centre, where the most complex and critical part of the work is performed - processing complex curved surfaces that can not be performed on a conventional milling machine.

Heat treatment in a vacuum furnace makes the part hard and strong.

Then the product is returned to the computer-controlled lathe for finishing touches. Finishing allows to achieve the required accuracy, reduces roughness and improves the performance characteristics of the product.

The final step is the machining on the electro-discharge drilling machine, where grooves are burned with a high degree of accuracy.

Finally to make sure that the knitting head is of high quality and in compliance with the necessary geometry, indicated in the drawing, it is sent to the control and measuring machine. Engineers measure the finished product and issue a certificate of compliance. And the item is sent to the finished goods warehouse.

Dmitry Stopkevich, General Director of NLMK Long:

- Mastering of spare parts production was originally a vital necessity for NLMK-Ural Service. Now we are able to supply required spare parts to our plants in Beryozovsky, Nizhniye Sergi and Revda. Now we can offer high-quality products and services not only to our plants, but also to external customers.