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US Steel Mon Valley Works FFF System

US Steel Mon Valley Works FFF System

Highest thickness tolerances at one of the oldest hot rolling mills in USA

US Steel—Mon Valley Works | United States | 1995-1996

99% thickness tolerances within 1/4 of the ASTM A568 standard
No change to screwdown finishing mill equipment
No change to looper finishing mill equipment

The Challenge

  • US Steel wanted to improve the quality and reliability of steel production from its first generation hot strip mill (HSM) built in 1938. 
  • High amounts of out-of-thickness-tolerance steel from the HSM were leading to yield loss in downstream finishing processes. 
  • Automatic systems were being considered to control the finishing mill, including mill setup, automatic gauge control (AGC), and run-out table spray control. 
  • As the finishing mill had older screwdown systems driven by electric motors and older looper systems, AGC upgrading solutions were evaluated based on performance, installation schedule, and capital expenditure. 


The Solution

  • The Hatch Force Feed Forward (FFF) system provided the best value to the HSM in Irvin, Pennsylvania, with a high performance comparable to the best-in-class AGC systems. 
  • With a low capital expenditure, the FFF offered a maintenance-free AGC system that adapts to mill conditions continuously. 
  • The HSM was able to convert from the old AGC to the new FFF with a simple operator desk switch. 
  • The FFF system was integrated with other control-system models being upgraded in the same project. 

The Highlights

  • Hatch provided the FFF-AGC system and integrated it into the mill-control-system architecture and the new mill setup model. 
  • Extensive simulation was required to ensure that the FFF system would interact properly with the new setup model, drives, and mill-tracking system. 
  • The HSM gauge performance exceeded the project's thickness tolerances objectives of 97% within the 1/4 ASTM A568 standards. 


"Significant, quantifiable performance improvements were achieved on the Irvin Plant 80” Hot Strip Mill in a cost-effective manner without major mechanical equipment replacement. Improved accuracy, repeatability, and consistency were achieved by utilizing relatively inexpensive computer systems with adaptive mathematical models."

Scott M. Dorn | Project Engineer, US Steel Mon Valley Works, Engineering Department

"Beyond the initial installation, shadowing, tuning, and acceptance testing, the Hatch FFF system has been a relatively self-sustained "black box" and required minimal system maintenance."

Mike Elphinstone | Level 2 Engineer, US Steel Irvin Works

Project numbers

98.7%-plus within 1/4 of ASTM A568 standard-thickness tolerances for thin rolled material

0 maintenance required for computer models due to adaptive nature

0 learning curve start-up through preshipment testing with other systems

Services & technologies provided

Iron & Steel

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