ABB temper mill upgrade brings better flatness performance and elongation control at Tata Steel

Tata Steel Strip Products UK turned to ABB to help overcome hardware obsolescence and flatness performance issues at their CAPL four high temper mill at their Port Talbot Works.

The customer

Corus was acquired by India’s Tata Steel for $12bn (£6bn) in 2007, and at the time of writing, Tata Steel UK is Europe’s second largest steel producer. The plant supplies steel for construction, car manufacturing, packaging and mechanical engineering across the globe.

Tata Steel Strip Products UK, Port Talbot Works is an integrated steel production plant in Port Talbot, South Wales, and is capable of producing nearly 5 million metric tons of steel slab per annum. The majority of the slab is rolled on-site at Port Talbot and at the Newport Llanwern site to make a variety of steel strip products. The remainder is processed at other Tata Steel plants or sold in slab form.

Additions to Port Talbot Works include the continuous annealing processing line in 1998, caster 3 in 2005 and heavy-end developments from 2003-2006. Today, 3600 employees produce some 4.7 million metric tons of steel a year, roll about 3 million of it themselves and send the rest to Llanwern to roll.

ABB solution

The existing flatness measurement and automation control system were upgraded with the latest hardware to prolog the life of the mill including replacement of the existing Stressometer 4.0 to the newer 7.0 to provide optimal flatness performance and the state-of-the-art control system gives substantially improved variation during elongation.

  • A step improvement in percentage coils that meets shape criteria.
  • The graph in Fig. 2 shows a step improvement in percentage of coils produced under both +/- 5 I-units and +/- 7 I-units in both pre and post upgrade.
  •  Improved variation during the elongation. 
  • The graphs in Fig. 3 and 4 show an elongation trace before and after the upgrade (same width and gauge). 
  • Improved life of the mill due to the new hardware that is installed. 
    A platform to potentially upgrade the remaining exit section control.


Figure 3, above left, shows elongation trace before the upgrade. Figure 4, above right, shows significantly improved elongation for the same width and gauge after the ABB upgrade.


The upgrade project was completed successfully due to the very close cooperation between ABB and Tata Steel Strip Products UK at Port Talbot Works. “There was good cooperation between the parties, ABB and Tata Steel UK, Port Talbot Works, with each party accommodating each others requirements,” says Carl Banfield, Area Electrical Engineer, Tata Steel Strip Products UK, at Port Talbot Works. “The perception from Tata is that ABB enjoyed working with the Tata engineers involved in the project. The Tata engineers certainly enjoyed working alongside ABB.” 

Main data


Tata Steel Strip Products UK, Port Talbot Works

ABB scope:

Automation system level 1 hardware for elongation and flatness control including:

− AC 800 PEC controller including cubicle
− I/Os including cubicle for coupling to existing transducers and control elements
− Communication gateway PC including embedded board communication for communication with reflective memory
− Laser equipment for speed measurement and thus elongation control
− Ethernet TCP/IP interface for communication with ABB Stressometer flatness control system
− Power supply for above items
− Temponsonic linear position transducers
− Stressometer upgrade 4.0 to 7.0.

Automation system engineering and commissioning for elongation and flatness control including:

− Roll gap control HGC via capsules
− WR bending pressure control
− Elongation control on HGC and tension
− Flatness control via tilting and work roll bending via signals from the Stressometer control system
− Ethernet TCP/IP interface for communication between AC800 PEC & communication gateway PC
− Application software in communication gateway PC for communication between PC and reflective memory in existing Alspa system.


CAPL four high temper mill

Customer benefits:
  • Improved coil quality
  • Increased flatness performance
  • Better elongation control
  • Improved mill lifetime
Commissioning year: 2009

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