22 May 2013
Group DF launches titanium ingots production at Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine
Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine (ZTMC) began tests of its new equipment and processes for the production of titanium ingots and alloys. Investment in ZTMC modernization is a part of Group DF’s program for the development of Ukraine’s titanium industry. The group plans to invest $2.5 billion by 2017 to implement this program.
The production of titanium ingots and alloys takes the Ukrainian titanium industry to a higher level. Advanced processing of titanium will allow ZTMC to manufacture higher added value products and will allow Ukraine access to global high-tech markets, such as aerospace industry.
“I’m convinced that titanium is the future of the global industry, and Ukraine can and should take its deserved place in this future,” said Dmitry Firtash, Chairman of Group DF’s Supervisory Council. “Today, Ukraine takes its first step in this promising direction. We are the new player on the market, and we still need to develop a pool of partners, expand the range of products, certify them, and set up a large-scale production,” he added.
At this first stage of setting up the production of titanium ingots and alloys, ZTMC upgraded equipment of its electron beam unit, including replacement of guns and production accessories, and the installation of sensors and computer systems for melting process control. This allows the plant to automate a number of operations, control multiple technical parameters, and improve equipment reliability and product quality.
“Today, ZTMC is facing a major challenge to optimize the process for the production of ingots with set quality parameters and of required product range,” said Volodymyr Syvak, ZTMC General Director. “We are currently running a series of hot tests on the new equipment and technologies to achieve the required performance.”
Earlier in 2013, Group DF announced its plans to build two new titanium slag and titanium sponge production facilities at ZTMC, and a new titanium dioxide production facility at Crimea TITAN.
The group aims to consolidate the Ukrainian titanium industry into a vertically integrated holding company, able to effectively compete on the global markets, and turn Ukraine into one of the world’s leading manufacturers. The holding company will consolidate the production of titanium ores, titanium dioxide and titanium metals.
Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine (ZTMC) is the only producer of titanium sponge in Ukraine and Europe.
Modernization of the electron beam unit (EBU) for melting of titanium ingots and alloys included replacement of Paton 300 guns with gas-discharge guns, installation of a modern control system with microprocessor equipment, replacement of production accessories to ensure the optimal melting technology and enhance the equipment reliability on the whole. The hardware and software controlling complex Photon was installed on the EBU to allow for more efficient control of the melting process.
The EBU has a system to control the degree of metal melting in the mould cup, which allows automating the ingot pulling process and reducing the losses in mechanical processing of ingots by almost 2%. The EBU has temperature and water inflow/outflow sensors on guns and on components of accessories, sending data to the operator console. They significantly improve the control of ingot melting in all technological modes.
Major improvements were done to ensure appropriate working conditions for the employees at this facility. The working conditions were significantly improved for the melting operator; now he operates the production process from a separate operator room. Photon complex allows for a number of automatic operations in the autopilot mode, and the operator can control a lot more process parameters during melting.
ZTMC will produce titanium ingots and alloys of set chemical composition, 400mm and 600mm in diameter, and up to 4,000 mm long, as well as slabs sized 165x955mm and 260x1060mm, and 4,000 mm long of the following grades: GRADE1, GRADE2, GRADE3, GRADE4, GRADE5, and VT5L.
Titanium alloys provide a number of advantages, and they are widely used in today’s global economy as a construction material for various industries: energy, mechanical engineering, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, shipbuilding, etc.
In 2012, the State Property Fund of Ukraine held a tender to select private equity holders in Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine, LLC aiming to attract investments into this producer. This tender was won Group DF. The combined assets of ZTMC State Enterprise will become part of the equity capital of ZTMC LLC. A 51% share of the company’s equity will remain in state ownership, while a 49% share is going to be purchased by Group DF.