BlueScope's slitting line at Port Kembla officially unveiled

BlueScope has partnered with Spanish company Athader to build the facility. Pictures: Sylvia Liber
BlueScope has partnered with Spanish company Athader to build the facility. Pictures: Sylvia Liber

A new slit coil processing project marks the first stage of the revitalisation of previously redundant facilities in the Port Kembla steelworks. 

BlueScope has spent $11 million on a new slit coil processing facility, officially unveiled on Tuesday. 

BlueScope has partnered with Spanish company Athader to build the facility. 

When fully operational the line will employ more than 20 personnel and operate five days per week around the clock. It is due to begin operating 24 hours a day from March 18. 

The new state-of-the-art line contains automated technology, producing a broad range of slit coil products and is installed close to the Port Kembla steelworks’ hot strip mill.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Dave Bell, general manager of manufacturing at Tuesday's launch.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and Dave Bell, general manager of manufacturing at Tuesday's launch.

This technology has increased BlueScope’s processing capability to deliver slit coil products to the needs of Australian-based manufacturers in the mining, general fabrication, civil and residential sectors.

According to BlueScope, this project marks the first stage of the revitalisation of previously redundant facilities in the steelworks that haven’t seen operation in more than a decade.

“This whole facility is where the tin mill was… Now we can utilise this asset which would sat here idle otherwise,” David Bell, BlueScope’s general manager of manufacturing Australian Steel Products said. 

John Fish, engineering manager for BlueScope’s Hot Mills said it was the biggest and most highly automated, and with the highest level of safety integration of any processing line of this type in Australia. 

It also features the biggest gauge range in the world, from one millimetre to 16 millimetres. 

When fully operational the line will employ more than 20 personnel and operate five days per week around the clock.

When fully operational the line will employ more than 20 personnel and operate five days per week around the clock.

Mr Bell said the slitting line was “probably the biggest and most modern one in the world”.

The line is currently in an operational ramp-up phase, with plans to deliver more than 100,000 tonnes of hot rolled and metal coated products annually to their customers.

“We’ll be taking our hot rolled and metal coating products, and slicking the coils into smaller multiples which we call mults,” Mr Bell said.

“That’s what goes to our customers, who then turn that into pipes or will flatten it out and make it into a variety of smaller items.”

Meanwhile, the company wouldn’t be drawn on the potential effects of US President Donald Trump’s plans for steel tariffs.