Tata Steel has commissioned a new £11 million heavy-gauge decoiler in Llanwern, South Wales, capable of supplying manufacturers with stronger steel to improve their own products.
The state-of-the-art facility is the most powerful in Europe and can process 270,000 tonnes of hot rolled coil a year. The decoiler unwinds, flattens, then cuts the steel to size. Its strength enables it to produce ultra-flat sheet in thicknesses of up to 25mm, providing ample capability to meet the current as well as future requirements of customers in the construction and earth-moving equipment (CEME), and materials handling sectors.
Manufacturers are looking for increasingly high-strength steels for use in demanding applications such as cranes. The new decoiler can process steel up to 1,600 newtons per square mm in strength. Manufacturers will be able to design new, stronger components at a lower cost because of the quality, strength and thickness of the steel which the decoiler can process.
Tata Steel’s Chief Commercial Officer in Europe, Henrik Adam, said: “This investment helps us meet the demand of our customers in sectors like lifting and excavating who want hot rolled material with greater strength, as well as improved flatness and surface quality. We want to support them in their future development plans, so we have specified this decoiler to be capable of delivering not only the products our customers want today, but what they will need in the future.
“As well as demonstrating our commitment to strengthening the sustainability of our business in Wales, this new decoiler complements our heavy gauge decoiling facility at Maastricht in the Netherlands which was inaugurated last week. This was also recently expanded, giving us an exceptionally strong capability to meet the needs of hot rolled sheet buyers across Europe.”
The new decoiling line in Llanwern will be able to process Tata Steel products such as Ympress®, a high strength low-alloy steel which delivers weight savings and increased component strength, and DD13WR, a wheel-rim product with improved manufacturability.
The new equipment uses a range of technologies to maximise product quality. Three stages of levelling are used to ensure the final cut-to-length steel sheet is as flat as possible and any residual stress is removed. Levelling is followed by surface brushing, which ensures the steel is as clean as possible. These processes, combined with a supply of coil that has been transported and stored undercover, provide a superior and more consistent surface appearance, resulting in a reduction of post-fabrication surface preparation before final painting to simplify processing and save costs.
The new facility is served by a direct rail link allowing feedstock not produced at Llanwern to be brought in directly and enabling the bulk dispatch of cut sheet to customers.
The line was designed by leading processing machinery firm FIMI. FIMI’s commissioning & service manager, Antonio Scuderi, said: “This is the first line we have installed in the UK which can deal with thicknesses of up to 25mm and it is the biggest and most powerful line we have ever installed. The power of the machine and the exceptional stiffness of the levellers ensure an industry-leading quality level.”
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About Tata Steel’s European operations
Tata Steel is Europe's second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies products and services to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy & power and aerospace. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of 29 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across four continents.