As part of last month's announcement on the restructuring of its steel finishing and processing sites in the UK, Tata Steel has announced a number of initiatives that will provide long term advantages to its clients in the lifting and excavating sectors.
The relighting of Blast Furnace No. 4 (BF4) at Port Talbot, a new high tensile, heavy gauge decoiler in Llanwern and the investment into hi-tech engineering bar products at its Rotherham facility means that the company will be better equipped than ever to deal with the challenges of the market.
These major changes to how the business will develop and produce steel products, along with a number of smaller initiatives, will ultimately improve the quality, availability and competitive nature of the products it offers clients, whilst improving the overall level of service.
The project to rebuild BF4 in Port Talbot started in July this year, and requires the installation of a steel-plant gas cooling system, in one of Europe's biggest ongoing construction and engineering projects. The project will in turn lead to the re-start of the Hot Strip Mill at the Llanwern site in Newport and will allow Tata Steel's UK strip products business to enjoy the benefits of the state-of-the-art blast furnace that features improvements in health and safety, environmental care and operational efficiency.
A new high tensile, heavy gauge decoiler with enhanced leveling capability is to be established at a new distribution location within the Llanwern site in Wales, involving ú8.3m of investment. The new decoiler will allow Tata Steel to supply material in gauges from 3 mm with improved flatness tolerances, so that original equipment makers get a consistent and reliable product for welding and fabrication.
A larger plate profiling centre will also be set up in the Steelpark site in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, involving ú3.1m of investment. This addition to the benchmark facility will include new high-definition plasma profiling equipment and new machining centres capable of supplying surface and precision-critical components demanded by construction and material handling equipment makers.
Tata Steel will also restructure its Bar business to focus on supplying hi-tech products to advanced manufacturing sectors and is investing ú2.75 million in improvements to its steelmaking in Rotherham and the final quality of the product. Tata Steel supplies bar products which are used by equipment makers in pivot pins, gears, conrods and other engine components. This, along with a separate multi-million pound investment at Tata Steel sites including Rotherham, demonstrates the company's continual commitment to manufacturing in the UK.
Gareth Beese, Tata Steel's Sales and Marketing Director for Lifting and Excavating, says, "This development is part of a strategy to transform ourselves into an 'all-weather' steel producer, capable of succeeding in even the worst economic storms. For equipment makers, these investments are very good news: the new profiling centre at Steelpark will allow us to provide more of the high quality profiled steel products that our customers demand whilst the new Llanwern decoiler encompasses the very latest design technology and will enable us to provide flatness-critical steel sheet to OEMs."