The nation's largest steelmaker, POSCO, is accelerating the production of high-quality auto steel sheets. With the successive construction of additional plants, the company will secure the system with an annual production capacity of 10 million tons in 2017.
POSCO announced on Sept. 3 that the company broke ground for the Gwangyang 7 Continuous Galvanizing Line (7CGL), which will produce 500,000 tons of auto steel sheets each year, in South Jeolla Province on that day.
The mill will be specialized to produce advanced high strength steel (AHSS) for high-end vehicles. With an investment of 225.4 billion won (US$214.57 million) in total, it will be completed in June 2017. The plant will supply AHSS to global automakers such as Volkswagen, GM, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and Toyota Motor. With this, POSCO plans to cement its position as the world's second-largest steelmaker for AHSS, after Luxemburg-based ArcelorMittal.
Also, the steelmaker will continuously expand the production lines of auto steel sheets in the future. As POSCO has started building additional plants in Thailand and China, the total annual output will reach 9.1 million tons in 2016, and 10 million tons in 2017. Last year, the annual production of auto steel sheets stood at 8.5 million tons.
AHSS is about 10 percent lighter but more than twice as strong as current steel sheets for cars. Accordingly, the auto firms show a preference for AHSS since they can reduce steel sheet inputs when producing a car, but satisfy with the strength required. Also, demand for AHSS is steadily rising.
POSCO said that the entire process of the Gwangyang 7CGL construction will be carried out with its own engineering technologies, from placing an order, to designing, manufacturing, and building. All the technologies of the steelmaker, including smaller annealing furnaces, internal oxidation technology, and the cooling system after plating, will be used.