The Lesegno steel works in the province of Cuneo is an important production hub and the technological core of Riva Acciaio. Since the 1990s, a cutting edge R&D laboratory has been developed here to support all factories within the Group. The laboratory is equipped with high-tech devices such as the “Gleeble 3800” thermal-mechanical simulator, which no other laboratory in Italy possesses.
The “Gleeble 3800” thermal-mechanical simulator in the Lesegno factory (photo on the side).
With this device, it possible to recreate the entire steel processing cycle on specially made samples. All processing steps can be simulated both on long and flat products, from rolling to all types of further treatment such as hot and cold moulding and various types of annealing and welding. Many types of tests (thermal, chemical, mechanical etc.) can be performed on different metal grades and processes can be tested on a “small scale”, i.e. on small steel samples weighing a few hundred grams, before being performed on a “large scale” in real-life plants on hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel.
The Lesegno plant is also equipped with an experimental melting furnace that can provide small test casts for test new products and improve the quality of existing products without needing industrial casting, and a lab cold rolling mill to prepare raw rolled steel for continuous annealing tests in the “Gleeble 3800”.
The Lesegno factory was opened in the early 1960s, in the middle of the post-war economic boom, but it soon faced a crisis and was acquired by Riva Acciaio in 1966.
Since then, the plant, which has nearly 300 employees today, was thoroughly reconstructed; new halls were built and the new technology of continuous casting, which was already operating in Caronno Pertusella (Varese), was introduced. In addition, the factory was equipped with two new electric furnaces and a vacuum degassing plant, and the rolling mill was rebuilt.
The emission capture systems, the recycling water treatment and cooling plants, and the ferro-alloy and additive injection systems were continuously adapted to the latest environmental regulations.
The factory is equipped with cutting-edge plants such as the 95 t electric arc furnace with dog-house, the ladle furnace, the vacuum degassing plant and the six-strand billet continuous casting machine. The rolling mill department has a walking beam reheating furnace with a capacity of 120 t/h, a duo reversible roughing stand, a continuous rod and billet mill, an annealing furnace, two roll-straightening machines and a sand blasting machine.
A robotic system guarantees the traceability of billets produced in Lesegno.
The steels produced in Lesegno have a maximum alloy content of 4.5% and are intended for general use in construction, annealing, case-hardening and superficial hardening and for special uses in pressure plants and in spring and tractor manufacturing.
The major clients for these products are moulding manufacturers, the mechanical industry and dealers. The Lesegno factory has a long-standing and strong partnership with leading universities such as the Polytechnic Universities in Milan and Turin, the universities in Genoa, Pisa and Brescia, and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Pisa). Through these partnerships, many experimental and research activities, dissertations and PhDs have been conducted and it has also been possible to take part in European projects on product and process innovation for the steel sector.