Volume 8 | Issue 4 | Year 2005

Grupo Industrial Monclova (GIMSA) began as a supplier to the local Mexican steel industry and developed into a large industrial consortium in the central region of Coahuila, Mexico. In recent years, its reach has extended into the United States.

GIMSA was founded in Monclova, Mexico in the early 1950s, by Harold R. Pape, an American who wanted to address the need to supply the local steel industry with specialized products and services.

Almost immediately, Monclova’s steel mill experienced steady growth characterized by an increasing consumption of lime and fluxes. To meet the growing needs, Refractarios Basicos (REBASA) was founded in Monclova in 1956. Today, REBASA has a second plant located in Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon. Together these two plants supply the regional steel market and construction sector.

As the Monclova region experienced explosive growth, GIMSA diversified its activities. As business grew, GIMSA addressed the needs of the thriving market and established subsidiaries.

Today, the company is headquartered in Monclova, Coahuila. Its production facilities are located in Monclova and Ciudad Frontera, Coahuila; Santa Catarina, Nuevo Leon; Madero, Tamaulipas and Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes. Commercial operations are performed at offices in San Antonio, Texas.

From 2003 to 2004, the company saw an increase in sales by 62 percent. On top of that, the company forecasts an increase of 17 percent for 2004-2005. All growth has been internal, without acquisition of, or mergers with, other companies, says Jesús Gil, Managing Director of the Industrial Division.

“With our ASME certifications, we are able to supply products to the offshore oil business in Mexico,” says Gil. “We have ample experience and know the needs in the Mexican market for the offshore oil business. We have been suppliers for more than
25 years.”

Prolific production
REBASA, with its two plants, produces several types of industrial limes and aggregates for different industrial applications. REBASA has allowed GIMSA to become the market leader in supplying main steel mills in Mexico. Also, it supplies different limes to the oil, chemical and construction industries.

REBASA produces four different types of lime (high calcium quicklime, dolomitic lime, pulverized high calcium quicklime), Crisolmex (dead burnt dolomite), three types of synthetic slag, hydrated lime, and silica sand.

The production process at the Monclova Unit involves the exploration of mineral quarries, where raw material is extracted. Production activity at the other unit is carried out in 13 industrial bays with a total operation surface of 41,000 square feet. The main equipment and production areas include five vertical shaft kilns, five rotary kilns, a hammermill for pulverization, and a hydration plant.

In the shaft kilns, the high calcium quicklime is fed into the hammer-mills and pulverized. The material is taken to a vibrating screen with a 1/8-inch mesh to comply with customer specifications. Finished product is kept in four chutes to be shipped in container trucks or superbags.

In three of the unit’s rotary kilns, Crisolmex is produced by calcinating raw material (dolomite gravel) by keeping it inside the kiln for approximately four hours. Syntherization then takes place with iron ore as a melting agent. This is fed into the kiln with the dolomite. The kiln takes raw material through three areas: preheating, calcination and cooling. After the material goes through a series of coolers, it is taken into a vibrating screen where it will be selected and then impregnated with oil to protect it from the environment. The material is then taken to storage chutes where it will then be bagged and shipped.

Another kiln is used to calcinate lime in chunks or gravel by drying it for about four hours. Then the material is preheated, calcinated and cooled. The previously calcinated material is then taken to the vibrating screen through a band system where it is selected by size for customers.

In a fifth kiln, lime calcination starts in a preheater, a direct contact device of reverse current heat transfer. Hot emissions from the kiln preheat and partially calcinate the lime before it is fed into the kiln. The material then goes into the kiln through a series of pushers placed in circle around the bottom of the preheater.

After the material is fully calcinated, it goes into a contact cooler where the charge is cooled through air that circulates in counter current along a hot product descending column. The cooler is emptied by four vibrators that unload material onto a conveyor belt. The belt takes the material into a vibrating screen where size selection will take place. Finally, material is sent to the finished product chutes.

Opportunities For Growth
In addition to these operations GIMSA maintains subsidiaries that include COMMSA, ENERTECH Fabricaciones, MAQUINSA, COMMSA Mantenimiento, DOMOSA, and GIMOSA. COMMSA, which started its operations in 1979, now boasts a total production volume of more than 100 thousand metric tons of steel fabrications. The plant has a manufacturing capacity of around 1,250 metric tons per month, and it specializes in marine platforms for the extraction of petroleum and gas. It produces components such as substructures (jackets) and upper structures (decks), as well as housing modules, lightened platforms, and heliports. Throughout the years, it has built over 30 different structures for PEMEX, the state-owned oil producing company.

ENERTECH Fabricaciones specializes in the manufacturing and construction of assemblies for power plants, metallic structures and equipment, structural parts and sub-assemblies for locomotives, and specialized metalwork. Its facilities are located in Frontera, Coahuila. The ENERTECH facilities encompass an area of 59 acres, with nine industrial bays totaling a roofed area of 370,000 square feet. Production at the facility reaches 3,400 tonnes per month. Recently, ENERTECH has started specializing in producing structures, ducts and chimneys for power plants, as well as desalination plants. It has also ventured into fabrication of platforms and towers for mobile drilling rigs, as well as steel bases for heavy-duty generators and compressors, for its clients Atlas Copco, Ingersoll Rand and Dresser Rand. Added to that, less than a year ago production was started for track frames used in heavy mining equipment of client Joy Mining Machinery, a sector that is expected to grow considerably. The company’s capabilities include AutoCAD design, cutting, rolling and bending, assembly and welding, shotblasting and painting.

MAQUINSA, founded in 2001, with operating facilities in Ciudad Frontera, Coahuila, is dedicated to the machining of piston liners for automotive engines. Monthly production is currently 300,000 liners. COMMSA Mantenimiento, founded in 1995 and located in Ciudad Frontera, Coahuila, specializes in overhaul of continuous casters and maintenance for the steel industry. It services the main steel mills in Mexico. DOMOSA (Dolomita Monclova), founded in 1963, extracts limestone and dolomite from its quarries in the central region of Coahuila at an average monthly production of 110,000 tons.

GIMOSA (Gases Industriales de Monclova), located in Ciudad Frontera, Coahuila, services the regional steel fabrication and specialized welding industry. For more than 40 years, it has handled and distributed industrial gases, such as liquid oxygen, acetylene, carbon dioxide, and industrial argon.

GIMSA’s close proximity to the United States-Mexican border is providing opportunity for more growth. Due to ENERTECH and REBASA’s proximity to the border, the companies can rapidly access client locations in the U.S. and Mexican border zones, in towns such as Dallas, Houston, Laredo and Monterrey, with easy access through highways and railroads. “This provides us with some benefits in lead times,” says Jesús Gil.

In markets both in Mexico and the United States, the GIMSA subsidiaries are becoming regular suppliers for major companies such as Atlas Copco. “That is the achievement we are most proud of,” says Gil.

Previous articleOhio Steel Heavy Metal | Industry Today
Next articleScanning the Market