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  • Keeping up appearances

    Every product Tata Steel produces must meet stringent customer requirements, and the finishing touch is increasingly the demand for higher-quality surface for a range of applications including automotive and consumer applications. Steelmaking is a complex process requiring rigorous controls at each step.

    It is vital to eliminate opportunities for surface imperfections to occur, maintain the quality of the product and ensure that customers are satisfied. The R&D  Continuous Surface Improvement team works constantly, using their wide-ranging expertise to identify potential issues, root causes and continuously improve surface presentation.

    The results

    Managing and controlling surface quality on a continuous basis results in higher quality products that keep customers satisfied. It is not only the customer that benefits; this work can also lead to more efficient production processes, save costs and allow faster launch of new products.

    How it was achieved

    Surface quality is dependent on almost every stage in the steel manufacturing process and solving the issues are technically complex, often requiring our researchers to identify features in steel that are just fractions of a millimetre in size. Furthermore, each new grade of steel will have new challenges to overcome. The Research & Development team works with cross-functional teams in the manufacturing plants to identify root causes and develop solutions. They use techniques and tools, including the development of surface inspection systems to collect data, using data mining and advanced surface characterisation techniques to trace root causes and develop robust solutions.