Focusing Tata Steel’s UK strip products business on higher-value markets

Tata Steel today told employees at its South Wales-based Strip Products business of the need to reduce costs and focus on manufacturing higher-value products.

The company will concentrate UK production of hot rolled coil at its hot strip mill in Port Talbot which has benefited from quality and capacity upgrades and uses recovered energy sources from the steelworks.

Some coil processing facilities including the sibling hot strip mill at Llanwern, Newport, will come out of production but will be retained so they can be restarted in more favourable market conditions. The higher-cost Llanwern mill has ramped up and down on two occasions since 2009.

Tata Steel employees at the Llanwern mill will be redeployed within the business and the company will discuss possible impacts with contracting companies which provide services.

Stuart Wilkie, Director of Strip Products UK, said: “Tata Steel has invested upwards of £350 million to improve the steel industry in Wales in the past five years. In the teeth of a recession we rebuilt a blast furnace, improved the Port Talbot hot strip mill and upgraded the capabilities of our world-class galvanising line at Llanwern. We also built new steel processing technology at Llanwern – a site which will continue to specialise in finishing and distributing our steel products.

“In the past year, we have also been making positive improvements to our manufacturing capability and in developing higher-value new steel products for customers.

“But surging, and often unfairly traded, imports have combined with a strong pound to create a very challenging business environment. The changes we have told employees about will reduce our costs and enable us to focus on generating more value from our products, which will improve our competitiveness.

“We need to concentrate more on sales of differentiated products to key sectors including automotive, engineering, construction, packaging and consumer goods.”

Source: Tata Steel Newsroom

About Tata Steel’s European operations
Tata Steel is Europe’s second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy and aerospace. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products that give them a competitive edge. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of nearly 30 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across five continents.

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DEVELOPING MARKETS HIGHLIGHTS – MEPS INTERNATIONAL LTD

Russian trading houses remain cautious about the strength of domestic demand in the September-October period. Meanwhile, long product steelmakers have delayed releasing their September basis quotations.

Business confidence amongst Indian dealers remains unsettled. The situation has been further aggravated by the different pricing strategies adopted by primary steelmakers. Meanwhile, the import tariff rate of the flat-rolled and steel products used in the automotive industry was lifted to 12.5 percent (previously 10 percent), with long steel products now at 10 percent (previously 7.5 percent).

The outlook for Ukrainian demand is unchanged. Distributors and traders have continued to purchase only for immediate requirements. Construction firms have remained hampered by working capital constraints.

The prognosis for the Turkish steel market remains poor. The Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), has specified that imports of flat finished steel products totalled 661,246 tonnes in June – up 17.5 percent year-on-year. The largest increase transpired in cold rolled coil imports (a rise of 10.5 percent).

Challenging trading conditions persist in the United Arab Emirates. Local stockists remain bearish over the growth prospects for steel consumption in the third quarter. It has become too risky for buyers to conclude any deals at this stage because of volatile import quotations.

The business environment in South Africa has remained difficult. Local service centres have forecast that domestic steel sales in the third quarter would be weaker than the previous trading period. Meanwhile, the South African Iron & Steel Institute (SAISI) has stated that imports of finished carbon and alloy steel products totalled 111,150 tonnes in June – up 2.7 percent, month-on-month. Finished flat products accounted for 93,300 tonnes.

Purchasing volumes in the Mexican market are forecast to be stable, at best, in September. Local steelmakers are expected to shadow the pricing strategies of their North American counterparts next month. Meanwhile, the National Chamber of Iron and Steel Industry (CANACERO) has reported that imports of finished steel, in January-June 2015, stood at 6.83 million tonnes – up 14.0 percent, compared with the same period a year ago.

Source: MEPS – Developing Markets Steel Review – August Edition

Primetals Technologies to modernize electric arc furnace for N.T.S. in Thailand

  • Installation of RCB system, new electrode control and
  • Foaming Slag Manager
  • Electrical energy consumption reduced by four percent
  • Shorter tapping times increase productivity by five percent
  • Electrode consumption cut by up to 17 percent

N.T.S Steel Group Public Company Limited has awarded Primetals Technologies an order to modernize its electric arc furnace in Chonburi, Thailand. The furnace will be equipped with a new electrode control system, the Foaming Slag Manager and a refined combined burner (RCB) system. These measures are intended to reduce the electricity and electrode consumption of the electric arc furnace. The hydraulic system for the electrode lifting columns will also be modified under the project which is scheduled for completion in December 2015.

N.T.S. is a subsidiary of Tata Steel (Thailand) Public Co. Ltd., and specializes in the production of steel rod and wire for the construction industry. The liquid steel is produced in an electric arc furnace, which has a tapping weight of 76 metric tons. The installation of the RCB system, the new electrode control and the Foaming Slag Manager from Primetals Technologies will reduce the consumption of electricity per metric ton of steel by four percent and electrode consumption per metric ton of steel by seventeen percent. At the same time, reduced tapping times will increase the productivity of the electric arc furnace by five percent. Deployment of the Foaming Slag Manager allows for actively controlling the height of the foaming slag which, in turn, optimizes the input of electrical energy into the steel bath. In future, electrode control will be handled by the arc control optimizing system (Arcos) from Primetals Technologies. Using an industrial PC as a platform, Arcos has self-adapting algorithms, and makes melt profiles available automatically. This not only cuts energy consumption, but also makes the melting process more efficient. Process stability is also enhanced by continuously monitoring a range of parameters of the electricity supply system. Under the project, Primetals Technologies will also modify the hydraulic system of the electrode lifting columns by fitting new control valves to ensure optimum operation of the Arcos control system.

The electric arc furnace of N.T.S. Steel Group Public Company Limited in Chonburi, Thailand will be modernized by Primetals Technologies (Photo courtesy of N.T.S.).

This press release and a press photo are available at www.primetals.com/press/

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SMS group to supply turn-key production facility for large-diameter pipes to Al Gharbia Pipe Company

Al Gharbia Pipe Company has awarded the consortium of Larsen & Toubro Limited and SMS group as the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) contractor with the supply of a turn-key LSAW (Longitudinal Submerged Arc Welded) pipe production facility. SMS group will be responsible for the engineering and supply of process equipment for the large-diameter pipe production facility to be built in Abu Dhabi. Larsen & Toubro Limited – SMS’s partner in the consortium – will be responsible for the civil works and erection of the equipment.

The new LSAW large-pipe production facility, which will be located within the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), will start producing in 2018. Material grades up to X80 will be processed at a production capacity of 240,000 tons per year. The pipes will be suitable for use as offshore line pipes and onshore applications. The new line will be designed to make pipes up to 12.2 meters long with an outside diameter ranging from 18 to 56 inches. The maximum wall thickness will be 44.5 millimeters.

Besides the engineering and project planning, scheduling and coordination, SMS group will supply all key machinery as well as the process equipment. This also includes workshops, laboratories and MES(Manufacturing Execution System) equipment. The production line will consist of an edge miller, a crimping press, a JCOE® pipe forming press, tack welder, inside and outside welder, mechanical expander and a hydrostatic pipe tester.

The JCOE® pipe forming process developed by SMS offers a whole range of advantages as the plant operator can change over to other pipe dimensions quickly, allowing him to produce even smaller batch sizes economically with the utmost precision. All presses are equipped with variable speed pumps (VSP) providing for an efficient hydraulic system with pressures up to 450 bar, which reduces energy consumption by 30 percent compared with conventional hydraulic systems. The Shape automation system developed by SMS performs the fully automatic control of the forming process. It improves the performance as well as compensates the influences of plate inhomogeneity in the forming process. Thus a consistently high pipe quality can be guaranteed.

Al Gharbia Pipe Company will manufacture high-grade large-diameter longitudinal welded steel pipes mainly for the energy sector and is targeting at markets in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

With the development and production of oil and gas forecast to be robust in these countries, the demand for high-quality steel pipelines to transport these resources is expected to grow.

Al Gharbia Pipe Company is a joint venture of investment company Senaat, JFE Steel and Marubeni-Itochu Steel (MISI). The new company is leveraging JFE Steel’s technology for high-quality large-diameter longitudinal welded steel pipes, MISI’s sales capabilities and Senaat’s industrial footprint in Abu Dhabi.

Source: SMS Group

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MEPS EXPECTS GLOBAL STEEL PRODUCTION TO DECLINE BY 1 PERCENT IN 2015

We believe that worldwide crude steel output will be reported at 1.65 billion tonnes, this year. This equates to a decrease of 1 percent, compared with 2014. It is the first fall since 2009 – in the wake of the financial crash. Production gains in India and the European Union are likely to be outweighed by reductions in China, Japan, Ukraine and the United States.

Blast furnace ironmaking is forecast at 1175 million tonnes in 2015 – down 0.5 percent on the year earlier figure. Direct reduced iron production is also expected to slip marginally in the current twelve month period.

MEPS Crude Steel Production Forecast (Million Tonnes)
2014 2015(f) YoY % change
EU 169.3 172.0 1.6
Americas 166.2 159.0 -4.3
China 823.0 816.0 -0.9
India 86.5 90.8 5.0
Other Asia 227.6 221.7 -2.6
Rest of World 194.6 190.5 -2.1
Total 1667.2 1650.0 -1.0

Source: MEPS World Steel Outlook Quarter 2-2015

Danieli Transmissions successfully revamps Hoesch Hohenlimburg’s HSM drive trains for improved rolling performances

In November 2014, Hoesch Hohenlimburg awarded Danieli Transmissions an order for the design and supply of new gearboxes, safety couplings and latest-generation oil-lubricated spindles to deliver increased torque and power to the rolling stands. One of the main challenges was to avoid making any changes to the civil works and reutilize the anchor bolts of the existing equipment. Danieli was chosen because it offered the best technical solution and was able to guarantee that the work would be done during the planned shut-down of the mill. The project was completed right on time within a nine-month period, to the full satisfaction of the customer.

The project was developed thanks to Danieli’s own in-house design, and included heat treatment, machining, assembly, testing, erection and commissioning under a single point of responsibility. It started with an on-site survey where laser measurements were taken, followed by the design phase with the final approval of the customer, inspection of rough parts at the plants of sub-suppliers, quality certification and regular inspections by the customer at Danieli workshops to evaluate job progress. The machines were then tested at Danieli, with final acceptance, erection and commissioning performed during the scheduled shut-down.

Production started regularly on Sunday night respecting the required performances.
Dr. Overrath, Chairman of the Board of Hoesch Hohenlimburg, has expressed his congratulations, confirming the success of this project as a good example of perfect team work between the parties.

Source: Danieli Group
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