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Vallourec inaugurates new cutting-edge tube-piercing equipment

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World Pipelines,

Vallourec, provider of premium tubular solutions, puts a new high-performance piercer into operation at its Düsseldorf-Rath tube plant.

This cutting-edge equipment is considered among the most modern in the world and guarantees increased productivity and reduced energy consumption.

The piercing of solid steel billets and their hot rolling on a mandrel are two key stages in the production of seamless steel tubes. Controlling these processes is crucial to the dimensional and metallurgical quality of the products. With this new tool, Vallourec demonstrates its determination to maintain its highest level of technological expertise and reinforces its position as a global leader.

Equipped with three-roll technology, the new piercer is more powerful, enabling it to shape, with outstanding dimensional precision and excellent surface quality, premium tubes designed for the most demanding applications.

Working alongside the plant's rolling mill, the new piercer will also offer greater flexibility in terms of the dimensions that can be achieved (outside diameter, thickness, length) and the range of materials manufactured. It will also consume less energy per metric ton produced.

The new equipment will enable the Group to meet rising demand for high-strength and/or high-alloy steel tubes. Alloys that exhibit an optimal strength/weight ratio are indeed being sought for a growing number of applications in the engineering industry (cylinder tubes, crane components), steel construction (structural components for drilling platforms), oil and gas (casing tubes and coupling, line tubes), power generation (boiler tubes for power plants) and petrochemicals, all markets in which the Group has a strong presence.

Lastly, the new piercer makes it possible to fully automate the process, resulting in numerous internal production optimisations and improvements in quality. Christoph Bem, the plant's Director, explained: "The combination of the latest technology and automation leads to a faster production process that is able to sustain the highest quality standards. In this way we can intensify our commitment to excellence for our customers".

Philippe Crouzet, Chairman of the Management Board, concluded: "This new innovative tool, which is faster, more reliable and more efficient, is an undeniable asset for the Group in Europe and is aligned with our global approach to innovation. It will enable us to meet the market's ever-growing requirements and maintain our technological lead in the manufacturing of high-strength premium tubes".

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