Monday, December 29, 2014

Tata Steel - Productivity Improvement Activities

Tata Steel 2013-14  Productivity and Technology Improvement -  Annual Report

Stabilisation of the new LD#3 & TSCR plant at Jamshedpur Works, with an installed capacity of
2.4 million tonnes per annum of HR coils. With this new mill, the product mix has expanded to include HR coils up to 1680 mm in width and also higher strength materials. The process has shorter cycle times.

During Financial Year 2013-14, a third test of HIsarna, a new technology which enables the direct input of coal and fine iron ore into the iron making furnace, was completed. A 60,000 tonnes per annum HIsarna pilot plant was built previously at the Tata Steel site in IJmuiden, the Netherlands, with support from the European Commission and the Dutch Government. Should the HIsarna technology prove technically
and commercially viable, the elimination of processing steps could reduce the emission of carbon dioxide from conventional iron making by 20%.

Cost Reduction and Savings - 2013-14

The Company achieved a savings of ` 1,614 crores by
improving operational excellence through focussed initiatives
in Financial Year 2013-14, with ‘Kar Vijay Har Shikhar’ (KVHS)
contributing ` 1,170 crores.

With a view to achieving operational excellence in supply
chain, Tata Steel has implemented a Hub and Spoke model
with multiple hubs at Delhi, Faridabad, Chennai, Gannavarm,
Nagpur and Kolkata to optimise order lead times.

Tata Steel Europe

The focus on costs resulted in approaching GBP200 Mn in
operating cost savings during the year. Financial performance
consequently improved over the previous year, despite
the margin between raw materials costs and steel sales
prices deteriorating.

The spirit of innovation lies behind every action at Tata Steel. A continuous effort at developing cuttingedge
technologies and design solutions helps transform processes, improve inefficiencies, and enhance
customer experience. A few of the several high-impact innovations have been outlined below.

Track, a breakthrough in R&D, makes use of technology to cut peak noise levels in half on rail lines that
run through built up areas. This will allow train operators to meet growing transport demands without the extra decibels for trackside residents. The new technology has already allowed Thameslink trains in London to increase capacity through the recently redeveloped Blackfriars Bridge Station without any additional noise pollution for locals.
›› Nest-In is a mass housing solution developed jointly by Tata Steel Global R&D and Marketing and Sales; and is a product that is expected to revolutionise the rural and semi-urban markets for individuals and for communities. The solution uses light gauge steel sections joined together by a patented DippleClick technology to quickly erect houses by semi-skilled local people. Commercialisation was initiated in H2 Financial Year 2012-13 with the standard layout. Currently there are 12 layouts ranging from 100 to
650 sq. ft. in line with consumer requirements. Till date, more than 80,000 sq. ft. area has been covered under Nest-In, across India.

Tata Steel R&D together with CSIR-NML took up the challenge to develop a low cost, online and fast method for online sensing of alumina in iron ores. The online detection of alumina is crucial as iron ore fines in India have 3~5.5% of alumina compared to 1% worldwide, thus affecting blast furnace productivity. This initiative resulted in an innovation that enables the blast furnace operation to decide on effective blend planning and impurity reduction. The innovation has been protected by two patents.
›› Bake Hardened 260 is a new hi-tech steel grade developed by Tata Steel Europe, which protects cars from dents and makes door and bonnets 7% lighter. The lighter steel will improve cars’ fuel efficiency while a special strengthening technique enables vehicles to withstand everyday knocks in the car park.

Research on repeated failure of stirrups during earthquakes revealed poor workmanship and noncompliance of prescribed standards. To resolve this, Tata Tiscon developed Superlinks – stirrups made of high strength ribbed TMT reinforcement bar in commonly used sizes. Superlinks are manufactured through automatic and sophisticated machines, using strict quality control to ensure consistency, quality and accurate dimensions. Superlinks sales in Financial Year 2013-14 reached 7500 tonnes, an increase by 5 folds over Financial Year 2012-13.

Tata Steel’s Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC) in Europe has developed a range of colour-coated steel panels that use natural day light to heat homes, saving as much as 50% of a typical household annual fuel bill. This technology known as Colorcoat Renew SC absorbs about half of the light energy hitting its surface and generates as much as 500 watts per square metre – heating an average home with just five panels.
›› Tata Steel India has introduced Tiscon Readybuild – ready to use Rebars for construction projects. This addresses customer pain points related to unavailability of skilled labour, scrap loss, space constraint and pilferage at sites. Eight centres with a capacity of 1,80,000 tonnes per annum have been established across the country to supply Readybuild to 500+ sites annually. These centres are quality certified and provide doorstep service to the project sites. Readybuild centres are the first of their kind to be set up by
a steel company in India.
›› PAVISE is an efficient and cost-effective armour developed by Tata Steel Europe, for military vehicles, as well as for defended infrastructure such as watch towers or sangars. It has now been tested up to NATO Standardization Agreement Level 4 to create armour capable of resisting both small arms and heavy machine gun fire with armourpiercing projectiles.
›› Phase Change Material (PCM) has been developed at Tata Steel’s Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC). When installed in a building, it reacts to the temperatures it is exposed to – as the room trends toward overheating, the phase change material melts and absorbs the excess heat. PCM self regulates the temperature of a room without the need for traditional heating or cooling devices.

›› Tata Steel has unveiled a range of sophisticated new electrical steel products which reduce electricity losses by 20-30% compared to conventional grain-oriented grades. The new products are being made by Tata Steel subsidiary, Cogent Power at their Orb works in Newport, South Wales. These high-grade products will make a significant contribution to the preservation of natural resources, by reducing energy lost in the generation and transmission of electricity.
›› Tata Steel, JCB Landpower and GKN have teamed up to develop the Company’s most productive tractor yet. Using innovative design and engineering methods, engineers have been able to reduce the weight of the next generation of JCB Fastrac machines making them leaner on fuel consumption, able to handle bigger loads and safer than previous models while retaining the strength required by farmers around the world.
›› To integrate new steels into the production processes seamlessly, Tata Steel has held Value Analysis Value Engineering (VAVE) workshops on 5 different auto models in 2012-13 in India. The weight saving across models has been 15-20 kgs per vehicle by the use of forming simulations and use of high strength steels.
›› Tata Steel in India has embarked on “Project Innovent” in Financial Year 2013-14 – a vehicle for consumer-in Innovation, aimed at creating new services and solutions businesses that can lead to higher margins and increased differentiation.

Tata Steel Productivity Activities - 2012-13 Annual Report

Kar Vijay Har Shikhar – Continuous improvement programme

Kar Vijay Har Shikhar ("KVHS") is a fast paced, analytics based process with in-built rigour and review systems. The methodology is a well-defined six step process involving TQM and statistical tools. Some of the key themes through which improvements are taken up are – Throughput, Value-in-use, Energy Efficiency, Opportunistic Plays, Logistics & Supply Chain.

In the current financial year, the primary focus was on mines and production processes in India.
Through KVHS, several innovative and breakthrough projects were launched including, several 'first time' ideas in Tata Steel –
Load Haul Dumpers at Jharia Mines,
Synthetic Collector for improving Clean Coal yield,
Excavator Hanger at West Bokaro,   - I was present at the presentation of this project on 14.2.2014 at Tisco, Jamshedpur.
Desiliconisation trials at Blast Furnaces,
TBD Resleeving Machine at LD#1(first time in Asia),
Quick Tap Drop System at LD#1, Seven Roll Feeder installation at SP#3,
Micropelletisation of Super Fines for use in Sinter Making,
Paving Bricks from LD Slag.

Some of these have been implemented while others are in trial phase. Sustainability has been recognised as a critical area for overall improvement, hence sustainability activities like mine life, solid waste utilisation and energy efficiency have been added to the portfolio of initiatives under KVHS.

The KVHS journey has been a balanced mix of activities for EBITDA maximisation, process improvement, innovation and capability building. Going forward, the KVHS group has the responsibility of finding avenues for improved cash flow which remains a challenge for the Group. 

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