Tata Steel has completed an upgrade of its corrosion-resistant coating line in South Wales to improve and expand the company’s range of high-value, high-formability automotive steels.
The Zodiac plant is Tata Steel’s world-class coil galvanising line at Llanwern. Its customers in the automotive industry increasingly require steels that combine high strength with high formability – a combination that enables manufacturers to make more fuel efficient and lighter-weight vehicles.
Increasing the size of the radiant tube section of the line’s annealing furnace, where the steel is given the required mechanical properties ahead of the zinc coating process, has enabled an increase in capacity of about 25% to 500,000 tonnes per year.
Adding a second roll size to the temper mill, which levels the steel strip after coating, has allowed the move into high-formability steels, while retaining the line’s ability to produce high-strength and dual-phase steels.
Henrik Adam, Tata Steel’s Chief Commercial Officer in Europe, said: “This upgrade has been carried out with the requirements of some of our key European automotive customers in mind. It will enable Tata Steel to play its part in continuing the excellent recent successes achieved by our Automotive market sector. Together with Zodiac’s sister lines in Belgium and the Netherlands, we now have greater operational flexibility and can also offer our customers greater reliability of supply.”
This £3.6 million investment follows the relighting of the No 4 blast furnace at Port Talbot and the restart of the hot strip mill and pickling line at Llanwern.
Jon Ferriman, Director of the Port Talbot and Llanwern steelworks, said: “The investments we have completed recently, including the Zodiac upgrade, are all intended to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of the South Wales steel industry in extremely challenging times. Llanwern contributes to this objective through its flexible working arrangements. The Zodiac investment shows how Llanwern is also a supplier of the most modern and sophisticated grades of steel.”
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About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With the main steelmaking operations in the UK and Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.