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Tata right-sizes bar products for N. American market

Keywords: Tags  Tata Steel Europe, Tata Steel, imperial units, metric, bar products, Richard Lowe, Specialty Steels Americas, Jo Isenberg-O'Loughlin

NEW YORK — Tata Steel Ltd.’s European operations have taken a measured response to U.S. customer feedback and invested $2.6 million to equip the company’s Stocksbridge, U.K., rolling mill to produce inch-sized round bar tailored specifically for the North American market.

The specialty steel business of London-based Tata Steel Europe Ltd. has long produced high-quality, metric-sized steel products for the global market.

Seven new rolls and laser size gauges installed on each of the two finishing lines serving the Stocksbridge mill will allow Tata to roll inch-sized bar for the first time in the range of 3 to 10 inches in diameter, with the possibility of extending to 12 inches in diameter. Previously the mill was only able to roll metric sizes.

“Our long standing North American customers wanted us to be more competitive throughout the cycle and easier to deal with,” Richard Lowe, general manager, Specialty Steels Americas, said in a statement. “This development achieves those objectives and demonstrates we are a listening company.”

Tata Steel can roll round bar products in diameters from ⅞ to 15 inches at its two South Yorkshire plants but only in equivalent metric sizes. The bars are then reduced or shaved on a lathe to their required imperial sizes.

Lowe credits the investment at Stocksbridge with enabling Tata to comply with the requirements of its North American customers by eliminating several processing steps, including the lathing. “Customers can also expect shorter lead times and more precise delivery schedules ,” he said.

The new rolls, which have been undergoing testing and validation at Stocksbridge through the first half of 2013, are slated for commissioning the fourth quarter of this year.

The European operations of India-based Tata Steel count major steelmaking facilities in the U.K. and the Netherlands and rank as Europe’s second largest steel producer. Tata’s Specialty Steel business has supplied carbon, alloy and stainless steels to the U.S. market since 1958.

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