New pipe pickling facility commissioned

In August 2018, the pipe pickling facility, one of the most important production areas of stainless steel welded pipe production of BUTTING in Knesebeck, burnt down. Just a few days after the catastrophic fire, planning began for the construction of a new pickling facility. Since then, many decisions have had to be made – from the selection of the pickling process to the choice of location and structural aspects relating to the hall. At the end of November 2020, only two years later, the time has come: the new pipe pickling facility has been put into operation. This will enable us to supply our customers again in the future with our well-proven quality and performance.

The project team tested and evaluated a wide range of pickling technologies. On this basis, it was decided to continue to treat the pipes produced at BUTTING's headquarters using the full body pickling process. However, the design of the facility differs significantly from the original pipe pickling facility due to occupational health and safety and environmental protection aspects, as well as improved energy efficiency.
Thanks to the enclosing of the pickling basins, the volume of emissions harmful to health and the environment that have to be extracted is significantly lower than before. The crane systems for loading and unloading run outside the encapsulated pickling housing. This is particularly relevant for our employees in terms of occupational health and safety, as there is now a greater distance or a partition between their workplace and the pickling medium. In addition, the enclosure offers advantages in terms of the energy footprint. The volume that must be cleaned by a flue gas scrubber is now significantly reduced. 

Moreover, our pipes will be pickled at a higher temperature in future, which will have a positive effect on the pickling result and reduce pickling times. The heating and cooling technology can be switched separately for each basin – depending on the material and product dimensions to be pickled in each one. 

Thomas Janssen, Head of Production technology, development and construction, explains the commissioning procedure: "A two-week simulation was started in the pickling and neutralisation department at the beginning of November. The basins were filled with water, which allowed a leak test of all installations as well as a test of the programming to be carried out. We were also able to test the pipe handling in the upstream and downstream areas. Following the simulation, trial operation was started, which is now allowing the pickling process to be carried out with the actual pickling medium. There are many empirical values to be determined during the trial operation. Which pickling time in combination with which pickling chemistry is optimal for the pickling result and energy consumption depending on the material? What are the heating and cooling times? The coming weeks and months will be very revealing for us."

Thomas Schüller, Managing Director at BUTTING in Knesebeck and head of the "New Pickling Facility" project, is very satisfied: "A large team of experts with staff from the specialist departments of coil pipe production, surface, supply and production technology was involved in the planning and implementation. We have worked hard and intensively on this project over the past two years. On the basis of decades of experience, e.g. in pickling chemistry, neutralisation and environmental management, all those involved have contributed their innovative strength and problem-solving skills to the decision-making process. The new pickling facility is effective and innovative – and therefore crucial for a successful future."

BUTTING – Progress by Tradition

Photo Thomas Janssen
Thomas Janssen
Production technologoy, development and construction