Tata Steel has unveiled a 7-million pound investment plan for its Hartlepool Tube Mill in north-east England that the Indian steel major says will cut carbon emissions, improve capacity and reduce costs to strengthen its UK business.
The investment will go into a new slitter which will allow the Hartlepool site to process coils of steel delivered from Tata's Port Talbot steelmaking site in South Wales. All of the steel products made at the site, where almost 300 people work producing up to 200,000 tonnes of steel tubes a year, are 100 per cent recyclable and the investment is forecast to pay for itself in less than three years.
"This project will allow us to bring a vital process on site, which in turn will free up thousands of tonnes of capacity at the Port Talbot site," Andrew Ward, Works Manager of Tata Steel in Hartlepool, said last week.
"This will improve our efficiency and reduce overall CO2 emissions from our steel processing as well as reducing the total costs across the business," he said.
Currently, wide steel slabs are slit in Port Talbot before being rolled and sent to Hartlepool to be turned into steel tubes, which are then used in a wide range of products such as agricultural machinery, sports stadiums, steel-framed buildings and the energy sector.
The new project is expected to take more than a year to complete and is the second major investment announced by the Indian company in the UK this year after an investment plan for its site at Corby in the north-eastern England region. Both projects will further strengthen the UK business, improving services to customers and using the latest available technology to reduce environmental emissions, Tata Steel UK said.
Andrew Ward added: "Above all, safety will be a key factor in this investment both during the construction phase and when the new slitter is up and running. It will feature the latest computer-controlled technology, which reduces the need for our employees to be close to any hazardous operations and it will be as energy-efficient as possible.
"The new slitter line will optimise the UK value chain for our smaller tube product range, allowing steel coil to flow through the chain and provide flexibility with on-site slitting . This investment will support the ongoing drive to improve customer delivery performance and responsiveness which the Hartlepool 20" Mill team pride themselves upon." Tata Steel in the UK says it has the ambition to produce net-zero steel by 2050 at the latest and to have reduced 30 per cent of CO2 emissions by 2030. The vast majority of that work will need to happen in South Wales, where the company's largest operational site is. Tata Steel says it is developing detailed plans for this transition to future steelmaking based on low CO2 technologies and is close to knowing which will best help achieve its ambitions.
The steel giant is one of Europe's leading steel producers, with steelmaking in the Netherlands and the UK, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company's tube products are used across a broad range of industries, including construction, machinery fabrication, energy and automotive. Next week, the company will be at the Wire and Tube 2022 fair in Dusseldorf, Germany, after a long gap due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"After the last few years, we are really looking forward to this opportunity to connect with so many customers in one place and showcase our broad tube portfolio," said Anil Jhanji, Chief Commercial Officer for Tata Steel UK.
"We are making major investments to further strengthen our Tubes business and, as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic, I look forward to meeting all our customers to demonstrate how we can help them succeed in their markets," added Tony Waite, Tata Steel Director of Sales Tubes and Engineering.