The Shui Wing Steel Company – the only steel rolling mill currently in HK
Newsletter 8 included a very short article on The Shiu Wing Steel company, the only steel rolling mill currently operating in Hong Kong, located at Tap Shek Kok, Tuen Mun. The mill is capable of producing 700,000 tonnes per year of high-grade reinforcing bars for local and regional construction industries. Here’s a more extended history of the company.
The current mill
In the 1950s a huge number of refugees, some with skills and capital , the vast majority forming a enormous pool of cheap labour, arrived in Hong Kong from mainland China and helped revive the post-war conomy.
One of those arriving was Pong Ding-yuen who moved from Guandong in 1950 and founded Shiu Wing as a ship-breaking operation in Kwai Chung.
Shiu Wing Steel was established in 1956 concentrating mainly on extracting heavy steel plates from ocean going vessels consigned to the shipyards for breakage. These plates were transformed and rolled into small reinforcing bars required by the construction industry at that time in Hong Kong.
Development of Kwai Chung as a port forced the Shiu Wing Steel Company to move to Junk Bay (Tseung Kwan O) in 1958. The first rolling mill was installed at this time. Strips of steel cut from ship plate were hand-fed into the mill and rolled into ½ inch bars The steel plant and warehousing area occupied 70,000 square metres and had a work force of about 540.
The construction boom of Hong Kong in the sixties gave rise to greater demand for steel bars. To meet the needs of the construction industry, the small hand-mill was replaced by a semi-automatic tandem bar mill. The demand for higher tensile grades of steel by engineers led to the company importing high quality billets from BHP Australia.The production capacity of the original rolling mill was about 100,000 mt of steel bars per annum during this period.
In 1979 the first electric arc furnace was installed. This recycled locally collected scrap steel by melting and refining, then continuously casting the molten steel into billets.
In 1989 Government redevelopment plans required Shiu Wing Steel to once again move sites and in 1991 a new site was identified in Tuen Mun and the company invested HK1 billion in a new rolling mill which produced 350,000 mt per year. It also invested in technology and boasted in that year that “all the offices, the warehouses, the plants, the sales departments are all linked to the head office in Central district by computers.” By 1998 annual capacity had reached 700,000 mt.
In 2000 the wire mesh plant began production which was able to supply a range of welded steel fabric for the reinforcement of concrete. And the following year the company installed the “Endless Bar Rolling System” (EBROS). This process welded billets together in the mill line so that an endless rolling process was obtained, resulting in improved quality, product uniformity, and increased productivity.
This article was first posted on 3rd November 2013.
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