ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Online client newsletter | June 2024

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Time for change

ArcelorMittal Europe continues to develop its Cr(VI)-free steels for packaging

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In February 2024, ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products implemented new equipment on its Florange (France) tinning line, enabling the line to produce chromium-free passivated (CFPA) steels for packaging. This is in addition to existing lines at ArcelorMittal Basse-Indre (France) and ArcelorMittal Avilés (Spain) which are already equipped with CFPA equipment.

Together these facilities can produce around 300,000 tonnes of CFPA packaging steels annually. Many packaging steel customers are already trialling the CFPA material – and some have switched completely.

The use of chromium-6 (Cr(VI)) is prohibited by the European Commission as part of its REACH regulation. Originally the deadline for the phase-out of Cr(VI) used to passivate tinplate was set for 2024. In April 2024, ArcelorMittal Europe was granted an authorisation for this use, extending the deadline to the end of 2027.

Eric Brasseur, REACH and Chemical Policy Manager for ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products explains: “We are very pleased that the European Commission granted our packaging steel plants the necessary REACH Authorisations to extend the deadline. This will give our customers the time they need to conclude their validation tests and ramp-up use of alternatives such as CFPA.”

Eric Brasseur, REACH and Chemical Policy Manager for ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

“ArcelorMittal Europe has an enviable reputation when it comes to the use of hazardous chemicals such as Cr(VI),” notes Eric Brasseur. “In its assessment, the European Chemical Agency Risk Assessment Committee and the European Commission concluded that ArcelorMittal’s risk management measures and operating conditions on our lines are appropriate and effective in limiting the risk to human health, within and around our plants.”

With the commissioning of the new CFPA line in Florange, ArcelorMittal Europe has enough capacity to supply its packaging steel customers with Cr(VI)-free material today. Some customers are already making the switch such as Metalscatola in Italy. “Our business is focused on the manufacture of cans for general line products,” notes Silvia Marsetti, CEO of Metalscatola. “We are producing a range of products including welded body cans with the CFPA material. Lithography and lacquer tests on these products have been successfully completed. To date no major changes have been needed in our processes or equipment to accommodate the new material.”

Metalscatola produces metal packaging for industrial products which range in capacity from 0.125 ml to 100 litres.

The CFPA passivation process is very different to the conventional method. To help train the production teams and finetune the production process, ArcelorMittal is encouraging all packaging steel customers to move to CFPA material soon. “Despite the extension of the REACH deadline to the end of 2027, it is critical that we ramp-up the volume of CFPA we are producing,” says Richard Leze, Packaging CMO for ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products. “To encourage this, we have decided to limit our offer of Cr(VI) passivated material from 2025 onwards. In 2025 we will offer 30-percent of our tinplate production in CFPA. The share will increase in 2026 with the aim of reaching 100-percent of production in 2027. From 1 January 2028, the use of chemicals based on Cr(VI) for tinplate passivation (and a year later for ECCS production) will no longer be allowed in Europe. It is critical that the entire supply chain acts now to ensure they are ready and experienced by the end of December 2027.”

Richard Leze,
Packaging CMO for ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

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