02 February 2022
Blog
How it’s made: a look behind the scenes at Tata Steel - Sustainability
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How we ensured sustainability in Valast® 450

The need for sustainability in the manufacturing supply chain has been brought into sharp focus in recent years, as we all strive to slow climate change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

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The steel sector has in interesting role to play in this arena, having already taken strides to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, and with major manufacturers – such as Tata Steel – committing to carbon neutrality by 2050. As well as being one of  the most used materials in transport and machinery, steel is also the most recycled, helping manufacturers worldwide contribute to a circular economy.

But how do we, as Tata Steel, ensure the environmental credentials of specific products, and how does our Valast® 450 abrasion resistant steel hold up in terms of its sustainability over the complete product life cycle?

Since 2018, we have had a novel process in place that has been developed for assessing the sustainability profile of each of our new products. This process is undertaken at each stage of the product’s evaluation and allows our engineers the ability look for improvements throughout the development phase.

This process is not only unique in the steel sector, it has also won critical acclaim both within the Tata Group and the global steel industry.

The Sustainability Assessment Tool takes in data from various sources and assigns a red, neutral or green marker to the product in relation to seven sustainability criteria. These include Energy and Climate Change; Emissions and Hazardous Substances; Resource Usage and Waste Minimisation; and Social and Ethical, which are all divided into four, product life cycle, phases – manufacture, fabrication, use phase and end of life. The scores from these sections are then combined to create an overall score.

Valast was shown to have a significant sustainability benefit compared to baseline expectations for AR450 steel, owing to specific benefits in five of the seven criteria. 

Many of the sustainability benefits of Valast 450 are a product of Tata Steel’s hot strip mill production process. 

Typically, AR450 steels are provided as plate products, which are produced using a reversing plate mill. Tata Steel’s hot strip mill is a more efficient way or producing steel because the process is continuous. This leads to less energy use – and therefore emissions reductions – for each tonne of Valast 450 produced compared to a conventional AR450 plate product.

A strip product means that Valast 450 can also be specified in bespoke lengths, while retaining widths of up to 2.0 metres. This adaptability means greater material utilisation and reduced wastage, as it is easier to tessellate the required shapes and dimensions required by our customers.

Valast’s exceptional surface quality is also a key element of its environmental success. Owing to a poorer-quality finish, traditional AR450 plate product is produced with a protective coating to slow oxidation. This coating is then burnt away during welding and joining processes, creating potentially harmful fumes. 

By removing the need for this coating, as well as reducing the likelihood that it will be welded due to a wider range of dimensions, Valast effectively removes these fumes from the production process.

So you see, the qualities that Valast has doesn’t just make it a great product for our customers, it also helps reduce the impact that the whole value chain has on the world around us.

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