Logo společnosti TŘINECKÉ ŽELEZÁRNY, a. s.

The Tube Mill


History of the Mill

The original production plant was built as a part of former Vitkovice Iron and Steel Works, where the first tube was made in December 1883 there, as a tube butt-welded in a gas furnace - it was the first ever tube made in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Seamless tubes have been produced by the Erhardt method since 1896; in 1908, the Stiefel mill was put into operation under personal supervision of the inventor himself (the Swiss from Winterthur, Ralph Charles Stiefel, who patented his own seamless tubes production method in the USA in 1895). During 1918 and 1919, the mill Big Mannesmann production line, together with converter and turning shop for threading the oil production tubes, were built. The production line came into service on the 4th September 1919. Between the years 1926 and 1927, the Small Mannesmann mill has been built and put to use. Both these production lines endured in the factory until nowadays.

The facilities have been enlarged during the Second World War with the factory located in Ostrava - Kuncice, which was later in 50´s detached and became a part of Clement Gottwalds New Iron Works). The water-gas welding technology has been in 1925 replaced by the technology of dissolved acetylene flame welding and in 1935 by electrical resistance welding. Welding plant has been moved to Slovakia in 1962. In 1962, the nondestructive testing of tubes also started that year. The Mannesmann production line in Svinov has been a part of the company between 1947 and 1971. The cold drawing plant together with the Stiefel production line finished in 1997.

In 1999, the tube mill became a joint-stock company with self legal subjectivity; the sole shareholder was the company ASTONIA from the SHIRAN GROUP. Nowadays, we belong to the group of companies TRINECKE ZELEZARNY / MORAVIA STEEL.

History of Seamless Tubes

Development of steam engines was continuously taxing tubes heavily. Welded tubes could not any more meet such requirements and it became necessary to search for new production methods. Two brothers, Reinhardt (*1856, †1922) and Max (*1857, †1915) Mannesmann, found a genius fore timed solution of the new-technology problem.

Sideway rolling process and corresponding mill has been patented under number 34 617 on 27th January 1885 and amended on 13th May 1887 by the patent no. 45 891. The significance of this patent can be illustrated by the fact that the technology is still alive and moreover perspective even after more than 100 years.

The inventors did not intend originally to work on tube production technology and about the rise of this idea, two legends exist:

According to one of them, the solution was closely connected with reeling technology used for smoothing and straightening of round steel, destined for rasp production. After the straightening and smoothing, pieces with flaws in the core came up. The same thing appeared during the cross rolling of round billets for flails and push rods. The rolling itself was realized on the rolling stand - "reel" - with three cylinders. It came in sight, that by replacing the third upper cylinder by guide, the effect of "unstressing" was obtained, what resulted into the invention of sideway piercing.

The second version says that Reinhardt Mannesmann was playing during his lunch with a piece of bred, rolling it between his fingers. During this he placed the bred against a tooth-pick which he held in the other hand and that is how the hollow round billet has been made.

Probably the most objective is the opinion of Professor Franz Reuleaux (family friend and former teacher of the two inventors), who claimed at one of his lectures in Berlin, that the invention is a result of vehement thinking process and many experiments done during solving of a task submitted to them by their father.

First tests with tubes rolling have been realized in Remsheid on the mill where the brothers produced rasps. The first semi finished round bar came of in the night of 22nd August 1886. The very first seamless tubes have been produced by the sideway rolling in three production plants, in Bous (Saarland, Germany), Landore (England) and Chomutov (Czech Republic).

They were looking for the way how to produce lower diameter tubes with thinner wall. After severe experiments, Reinhardt Mannesmann placed a patent claim for "Method and equipment of forming, rolling and sizing of tubes and other hollow materials" in 1890 registered under patent no. 58.762 on 24th February 1891. It is said that by that time the new name for the technology originated. Professor Reuleaux called this rolling process a pilger mill, based on the procession march to the pilgrim place in Echternach (Luxembourg), where the Mannesmann family used to go. The first tube rolled so was of 68 mm diameter, 5 mm wall thickness and 4 m length.