MECAPLUS® - Hollow bars available in continuously variable dimensions

MECAPLUS® - Hollow bars available in continuously variable dimensions
Thanks to the innovative Premium Forged Pipes (PFP) technology, Vallourec & Mannesmann Tubes is now significantly expanding its hollow bars range. This base product, which is widely used in tube manufacturing in the machining industry in the mechanical engineering sector, is now available in almost continuously variable sizes. Furthermore, the size ranges have now been extended to include larger outer diameters of up to 375 mm.

Düsseldorf, 20 March 2012. Whether it be cylinders, mine props or piston rings – seamless steel tubes from Vallourec & Mannesmann Tubes form the basis of many sophisticated applications in mechanical engineering. The closer the base product comes to the actual dimensions of the final product, the lower the costs are for further processing at a later stage. Now, the world’s market leader in seamless hot-rolled steel tubes is in a position to meet its customers’ demands even more efficiently. Thanks to its innovative Premium Forged Pipes (PFP) technology, the company is extending its size range in the MECAPLUS® product line, which features hollow bars for mechanical engineering applications. The four-hammer radial forge used in production enables the company to offer continuously variable diameters and to manufacture different wall thicknesses throughout the length of the tube. That is not just good news for the production of tubes used in mechanical engineering, but also for the manufacture of premium tubes used in energy generation, in the chemicals and petrochemicals industries, and in pipeline projects.
In terms of outer diameters, the programme of available size ranges now extends from 30 to 375 mm, far exceeding the EN 10294 standard. The associated Spirafort® grades series, which offers significant advantages when it comes to machining, is also geared to these applications.

Faster and easier to process
The first step on the way to manufacturing tailor-made hollow bars is the steel. The special grades used in the Spirafort® range are manufactured in the company’s own steelworks. The addition of silicon, calcium and sulphur give the steels outstanding machining characteristics, which are ensured even at high yield strengths. Compared with standard grades, the cutting speed of these special grades can be increased by up to 50% in some cases, or the operating life of the processing tools can be up to three times higher at the same cutting speed. In addition, the steel grade has improved chip-fragmentation properties with short chips. This reduces the risk that machinery will become blocked by snarl chips and will then fail. “Our customers save time and money mainly thanks to the higher cutting speed and the lower levels of tool wear,” says Christoph Kaucke, Product Manager at Vallourec & Mannesmann Tubes.

Lower volumes of materials used
The second step on the way to manufacturing tailor-made mechanical engineering tubes is the production technology. Since 2008, the company has not only been rolling tubes, but has also been forging them. Vallourec & Mannesmann Tubes calls this technology Premium Forged Pipes (PFP). Above all, the technology enables the production of all dimensions within the available size range. MECAPLUS® tubes with the Spirafort® grades are now available in sizes of up to 375 mm. Outer diameters and wall thicknesses of hollow bars can be manufactured to the millimetre. Tubes with small diameters and high wall thicknesses are especially suitable for manufacture using forging technology. “Thanks to the PFP technology, our customers can procure their manufactured products with an optimum level of accuracy and at low cost,” says Christoph Kaucke. “When solid material is used, there can be more than 50% material waste. But the use of MECAPLUS® tubes can cut that to below 10%, offering real advantages in terms of cost.”

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About the company:
Vallourec & Mannesmann Tubes, a Vallourec Group company and manufacturer of seamless hot finished tubes is a world leader in premium tubular solutions primarily serving the energy markets, as well as other industrial applications. With over 22,000 employees, integrated manufacturing facilities, advanced R&D, and presence in more than 20 countries, Vallourec Group offers its customers innovative global solutions to meet the growing energy challenges of the 21st century. In 2011, Vallourec Group sales amounted to €5.3 billion. Listed on NYSE Euronext in Paris (ISIN code: FR0000120354, Ticker VK) and eligible for the Deferred Settlement System, Vallourec is included in the following indices: MSCI World Index, Euronext 100 and CAC 40.
In the United States, Vallourec has a sponsored Level 1 American Depository Receipt (ADR) program (ISIN code: US92023R2094, Ticker: VLOWY). The ratio of Vallourec ADR to ordinary shares is 5:1.

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Caroline Philips
Vallourec Group
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Phone: +33 1 41 03 77 50