Tata Steel is investing £1.2 million in two new high-tech machines at its wire rod rolling mill in Scunthorpe to increase quality and efficiency, and to boost production of the most technically demanding steels.
The investment in a new testing machine will improve quality testing on the company’s ‘cold heading’ product range, which includes steels used in fasteners for the automotive, mechanical engineering and construction sectors.
A new size and shape-measuring gauge at the mill will provide machine operators with rapid feedback on rod dimensions during the steel rolling process.
The investment will not result in increased overall production at the Rod Mill but will enable Tata Steel to increase its focus on the most demanding and safety-critical fastener products for the automotive industry. The fasteners can be used in anything from attaching car bonnets to securing children’s car safety harnesses.
“This investment, like the £8 million Clydebridge investment we announced last week, supports our ambition to focus on making premium products for profitable markets,” said Jon Bolton, Director of Tata Steel’s Long Products Hub.
“The Scunthorpe Rod Mill is a specialist steel rolling facility that provides high-quality, high-strength steel for some of the most technically demanding and safety-critical markets.
“Steel demand recovery has been slow following the global recession, with some sectors demonstrating particular difficulty in returning to pre-recession levels. But we will continue to invest in our capability to produce specialist and highly technical steel products to contribute to a more competitive and sustainable business.”
It is anticipated both machines will be commissioned in October 2011.
As part of a major £130 million project, in 2005 the Scunthorpe Rod Mill received investment in the form of new technology and equipment that enhanced its capability, flexibility, quality and service to customers.
“We are carrying out trials with new customers that require this high-integrity product. We have also made great progress in developing rolling techniques to achieve the strict size tolerances required,” explained Commercial Manager for wire rod products, Andrew Parker.
“If the trials are successful this could open up worldwide sales opportunities for us in this attractive market sector.”
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About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel (formerly known as Corus) comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With main steelmaking operations in the UK and the Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, material handling and other demanding markets worldwide. Tata Steel is one of the world’s top ten steel producers. The combined group has an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.