Monday, February 10, 2014

News: Tata Steel's investment paying off

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Tata Steel, the Indian-owned steelmaker, is finding ways of saving on its energy bills at its Rotherham steelworks.

The Aldwarke melting shop in Rotherham, produces 750,000 tonnes of steel a year. The main extraction system of the machine shop was identified by the company as being an area where significant savings could be made. This consists of five main extraction fans, which draw the fumes from the shop via a system of dampers and vanes. These fumes are then sent to the bag filter plant for removal of dust particles.

In 2011, the firm announced a £2m investment in new equipment for the steelmaking area's fume extraction system as part of a £4.5m investment in its South Yorkshire operations.

Keeping the extraction system running was a heavy drain on the plant's electrical supply but new drives and motors have been fitted by the ABB group, leading to significant savings in energy and cost.

The new system allows for greater control to meet the demands of the steelworks. For example, the melting shop has a certain level of ambient fumes but when another furnace is tapped, these fumes increase in volume when hot metal is poured.

Andy Burgar, department engineer for Tata Steel, said: "Tata Steel is committed to sustainable solutions to cut energy use. The size of these fans meant they were significant energy users, costing us around £1.5m a year in running costs. Our internal calculation showed that we could conceivably save hundreds of thousands of pounds a year on energy for the application, cutting CO2 production by 6,000 tonnes."

Energy costs remain a significant element of the costs for companies like Tata Steel operating in the UK with evidence that they are higher than those facing competitors operating in other countries. A recent report highlighted the risk that relatively high energy costs will adversely affect the competitiveness of Foundation Industries in the UK as well as that of their potential customers. This will impact negatively on UK firms' ability to compete in both domestic and overseas markets and deter foreign investors.

Tata Steel website

Images: ABB GRoup

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