A recent cash injection of more than £20 million to replace one of two huge steel converters looks set to bring employees a warm Christmas at Tata Steel’s Port Talbot site in South Wales.
The Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) vessel – used to convert molten iron from the blast furnaces and scrap into premium steel for customers – has already produced more than 500,000 tonnes of steel. This is more than the weight of all 76 vessels in the entire Royal Navy added together.
Environmental performance has improved too with vital fume extraction ductwork being replaced.
The new 500-tonne BOS vessel is a long-term investment as Tata Steel’s European business undergoes a transformation process to become stronger and self-sustaining. Faced with challenging external conditions, the business continues to focus on higher-value, higher-specified steel products demanded by customers. This will help meet the emerging need for next-generation steels for hybrid and electric cars, as well as for energy-efficient homes and buildings and innovative food packaging.
Tata Steel Europe CEO, Henrik Adam, said: “This investment will help us to increase our reliability and demonstrate our commitment to the longer-term future of steelmaking in the UK.
“The UK steel industry continues to face severe challenges, including on energy costs and business rates, so it’s vital we continue to work with government to find ways of levelling the competitive playing field with our European competitors. This is particularly important as we strive to be sustainable in every sense and aim to be carbon neutral by 2050.”
Port Talbot produces high-quality steel which is further processed at Tata Steel’s downstream operation around the UK for manufacturers in Britain, mainland Europe and other countries around the world.
The new steelmaking vessel is able to convert 330 tonnes of iron and scrap into steel every 35 minutes. This is done by pumping oxygen through liquid iron at twice the speed of sound, removing unwanted carbon and allowing Tata Steel’s highly-skilled employees to produce the critical grades of steel required by customers.
Explaining why the new steelmaking vessel was needed, Martin Brunnock, Director Strip Products at Tata Steel UK, said: “We have two steelmaking vessels which run 24/7 at temperatures of up to 1,700C, apart from short planned maintenance periods. Despite this they last for around 20 years each and replacing them is an important part of ensuring reliable operations and a strong commitment to the future of steelmaking in the UK.”
This latest investment follows on from a life extension project carried out on one of the two blast furnaces at Port Talbot. The £50 million project has helped improve stable operations at the site.
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About Tata Steel’s European operations
Tata Steel is one of Europe's leading steel producers, with steelmaking in the Netherlands and the UK, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies high-quality steel products to the most demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. Tata Steel works with customers to develop new steel products which give them a competitive edge. The Tata Steel group is among the top global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 33 million tonnes. It is one of the world's most geographically-diversified steel producers, with operations and a commercial presence across the world. The group’s turnover (excluding its South East Asia operations) in the year ending March 2019 was US $22.67 billion.