The mill has a capacity of 4.4 million tons per year.
The new Hot Rolling Mill, known as Hot Mill 4 (MC4 in Spanish) at the Ternium Industrial Center is making an international impact.
This was the principal theme of the interview given by César Jiménez, Ternium executive president, during the SMU Steel Summit 2021 held in Atlanta, Georgia (United States). The 3-day event was organized by Steel Market Update, a company specializing in information on the steel industry and market trends in North America.
Jiménez spoke for over 50 minutes about the mill's production capacity, its construction and the types of steel produced. He also talked about its impact on world markets such as the U.S., and the challenges facing the sector in the next few years, as well as Ternium's support to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new Hot Rolling Mill has an output capacity of 4.4 million tons per year of specialized steels for industries such as the automotive and white goods sectors. “We expect to reach 80% of the mill's capacity by March 2022, ramping up to 90% between June and July. After that, we expect to be nudging 100%,” emphasized Jiménez in the interview that was broadcast online and conducted by John Packard, CEO of Steel Market Update.
During the interview Jimenez highlighted the value of the new Hot Rolling Mill for Ternium.
“This is one of the most automated rolling mills in the world. For example, the entire process, from the moment steel slab is unloaded off the train and moved into the yard, to its entry into the rolling mill furnaces, is performed using automated cranes, with no human intervention whatsoever,” he explained.
The mill is equipped with cutting-edge technology and is 100% automated, with over six thousand sensors installed throughout the mill, enabling high-level precision in operations. A product labeling robot and automatic strapping machines mean the operations are fully modern.
“The mill is set up to roll thicknesses as thin as 1.2 millimeters and as thick as 24.5 millimeters. As for width, it can roll anything from 900 to 1,950 millimeters,” he explained.
When speaking about the impact of the rolling mill and its output on the North American market, Jiménez highlighted that currently in both Mexico and the U.S., a significant amount of steel is currently imported from other continents.
“The United States is growing, they don't have enough (steel production) capacity and they need additional capacity. I think that, given the new trends we’re seeing, we need to focus on substituting imports from other continents and I believe there is a great opportunity for the new mill in this sense,” he said.
Regarding the current status of the steel market, Jiménez pointed out that, although prices are the highest ever seen, the reality is that this is a cyclical industry, so the trend could shift at any point. "Many things are happening at the same time, we’re talking about COVID-19, changes in the market in China, and what is happening in Europe with environmental policies, cross-border taxes and decarbonization initiatives, which is having the effect of altering the landscape."
The new hot rolling mill is state-of-the-art and fully automated.
"However, from a cost perspective, the price of steel will be higher; even though prices may drop compared to current levels, I don’t think they will fall as far as they did in previous cycles," he observed in the interview that was attended by a select live audience.
The event was followed by Michael Guhl, president of Ternium United States and Canada, who underscored the fact that Jiménez's interview means that news and information about the company's operations in the U.S. can reach a broader audience.
“César's participation sent a strong signal to the North American industry that there is no better rolling mill than MC4 in the entire region. After two years without an SMU Summit, the presence of César as a keynote speaker at the Steel Summit, coinciding with the start-up of the new mill, has prompted strong and sincere appreciation from users also keen to know more about what Ternium does both industrially and at community level.”
"I think that presentations like these create a lot of confidence for companies considering new investments in the region, companies looking for a partner with the right portfolio range and a high degree of commitment.”
Through Hot Mill 4, it will be possible to supply the North American market with specialized steels for industries such as the automotive industry.
During the interview, a video was also shown about the company's initiatives to support the community during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was received with spontaneous applause by the live audience.
The company’s COVID-19 initiatives include the Community Hospital, which treated nearly 500 patients in the period from April 2020 through March 2021. The facilities reopened in August 2021 in response to the third wave of COVID-19. Jiménez also singled out the work carried out by the COVID-19 Vaccination Center, located in the Nova Club, which has so far vaccinated over 52 thousand people in the state of Nuevo León.
The Community Hospital is currently in operation to assist authorities in the face of the third wave of COVID-19.