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Essar Steel to focus on special steel

Hazira facility to manufacture high-quality products catering to defence needs

December 09,2014

With the Centre emphasizing defence-related manufacturing in a big way as part of its “Make in India” campaign and involving private sector in defence equipment production domestically, Essar Steel India Ltd (ESIL) is all set to shift its focus to produce value-added niche steel and its products at its Hazira facility where it has so far invested about Rs. 37,000 crore.

Currently, ESIL manufactures about 30% value-added steel out of its total capacity of 10 million tons per annum (mtpa) at Hazira. “We would now gradually shift our focus to utilize 70% of Hazira’s capacity to manufacture special steel for defence-related requirements in the next three to five years,” Dr. M. Venkatraman, Senior Vice-President and Head, R&D, Product Development and Applications Engineering, ESIL, told Business Line, here.

India currently imports more than one lakh tons of steel annually to meet various defence-related requirements.

ESIL’s shift in emphasis would help make India self-reliant, save on precious foreign currency and also enter potential export market, he said.

Battle tanks
He said Essar Steel has developed ultra-strength steel, known as Quenched and Tempered (QT) special alloy plates for battle tanks and other applications.

This prompted the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboraroty (DMRL), Hyderabad, put in a major order with ESIL to develop special QT plates for use in the latest version of battle tanks. Essar Steel’s focus areas include requirements of the Navy, like submarines and warships, as also aircraft carriers.

Besides defence, India is set to witness increased demand for value-added special steel in sectors like space research, mining dumpers, earthmovers, infrastructure development, and nuclear and wind power energy. “The overall demand for these sectors is likely to be about two to three mtpa in the next 10 years.”

ESIL has set up extra-wide plate mill at Hazira with a production capacity of 1.5 mtpa, the only one of its kind in India capable of producing the widest plates conforming to global standards, Dr Venkatraman said.

Auto focus
Essar Steel, known for high quality flat steel products, would also focus on the automotive sector which is expected to see a surge in demand for high-strength grades of crash-resistant steel to suit their requirements. It has developed over 300 grades of flat steel for different applications.

These include hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanized, color-coated, extra-wide plates and pipes, catering to industrial segments like auto, ship building, white and yellow goods, general engineering, power plants, hydrocarbon industry, pipe making, and defence, among others.

Its Hazira facility is India largest single-location integrated steel producer, comprising three iron making facilities of Direct Reduced Iron (DRI), Corex and blast furnaces, which gives it flexibility in the usage of raw materials and energy sources.

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