Tata Steel is investing £2 million in its Hartlepool tube works and has forged a supply deal with German steel tube producer Eisenbau Krämer (EBK) to increase its product and service offering to the offshore renewable energy sector.
Growing activity in the renewables sector will require large volumes of jacket fabrications for wind tower structures. The Hartlepool development will establish a central supply base for steel tubular sections to be used in the fabrication of wind turbine steel foundation structures, known as jacket foundations. Work on the site is scheduled to begin in October and to be complete by Spring next year.
Components will be manufactured from tubulars at the new facility and prepared for welding into the finished structures, shortening throughput times and improving cost efficiency for customers, who will be able to source all steel components from a single supplier. Preparation work will include cutting-to-length, welding, shot-blasting, coating and end-profiling. Materials will then be stored for shipment in kit form to fabricators in the UK and mainland Europe using local deepwater ports and the UK rail network.
Ramsay Ross, a Director for tubes at Tata Steel, said: “This investment reinforces Tata Steel’s commitment to establishing a significant presence as a supplier to the renewables sector as the drive to transform the energy supply scene in the EU gathers pace.
“The wind tower hub in Scunthorpe, which was launched last year to process and distribute steel plate for fabricators, was a key step in this strategy. This separate development, in which we will be modifying buildings and investing in new assets at Hartlepool, is the next stage.”
In a separate move that will enhance its presence in the renewables market Tata Steel has also reached a supply agreement with world-renowned steel pipe producer EBK.
The complementary size capabilities of the two organisations will together provide what is believed to be the most comprehensive and cost-competitive package in this market. Under the supply agreement tubes from 400mm diameter upwards will be produced by Tata Steel and EBK from plate manufactured by Tata Steel’s plants in Scunthorpe or Dalzell.
Ramsey Ross said: “We see this as a fantastic opportunity to work together with EBK, enabling us to offer an unrivalled breadth of products.”
Rainer Seelbach, Managing Director of EBK, said: “Eisenbau Krämer is pleased to be associated with this significant investment opportunity in the European renewable energy sector. The synergies and highly complementary production capabilities of the Tata Steel and Eisenbau Krämer pipe mills will bring to the market a level of technical competence, breadth of product portfolio and production efficiency not previously available from a single supplier in this market sector.”
Jacket foundation structures anchor wind turbines to the seabed with piles at the base of each leg. Jacket constructions are particularly suited to the development of offshore wind farms located in deeper waters. In addition to tubulars for jacket foundation structures Tata Steel is also able to supply smaller sizes of tubulars and sections suitable for all primary and secondary steel work within wind turbine fabrications.
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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.
Tata Steel’s renewables capability
Tata Steel is working with their customers to develop steel products and services to enable the future development of the renewable energy sector.
Major investments have been made over the past 12 months to upgrade equipment and services to meet the needs of the sector. These investments include the creation of a wind tower hub to process and distribute up to 200,000 tonnes each year of steel plate, which is manufactured at the adjacent Scunthorpe plate mill as well as at Tata Steel’s Dalzell mill in Scotland.
The company has also developed the capability to increase production of heavy levelled plate, which is used in a number of applications, including foundations for offshore wind turbines.