NEW YORK Tata
Steel Ltd. plans to install a $25-million vacuum induction
melting (VIM) furnace at its Stocksbridge specialty steels
operation in South Yorkshire, England, in order to push deeper
into the worldwide aerospace, oil and gas, and bearings markets
for high-purity steels.
Tata sees the addition of the VIM as an essential step toward
consolidating its position as a key supplier of ultra-clean
steels. The steelmakers Stocksbridge operation currently
supplies "small quantities" of VIM-derived steel using ingots
sourced from third parties. Adding the vacuum induction melter
to the production facilities there is expected to greatly
increase the scope for VIM sales, expanding Tatas product
portfolio into areas where it currently is not a factor.
steelmaking equipment supplier SMS Mevac GmbH has been
contracted to provide the furnace, with commissioning expected
in early 2015.
"Existing producers of
VIM-derived products dont all focus solely on steel,"
said Richard Lowe, general manager for specialty steels sales
for Tata Steel in North America. "As the specialty steels
operation at Stocksbridge will be using the new VIM facility
purely to produce steel products at this time, customers can
expect consistency of policy and supply throughout the
Lowe said that by
locating the VIM in the United Kingdom, Tatas Specialty
Steels group could integrate its output with the existing asset
base at Stocksbridge, which is equipped with remelt capability
as well as rolling and finishing facilities. "This means that
Tata Specialty Steels has the ability to ship fully tested and
accredited steel either direct or via its depots wherever it is
required throughout the world," he said.
VIM-derived steels demand choice, and Tata Steel has the global
reach to support them wherever they may choose to manufacture
their products," Chris McCarthy, director of Americas for Tata,