£11m investment in Wales delivers Europe’s largest decoiling line

  • Most powerful decoiler in Europe
  • Investment supports predicted future needs of lifting and excavating sector 

20 January 2015

Tata Steel, Europe’s second-largest steel supplier, has today announced the opening of its new £11m state-of-the-art heavy-gauge hot-rolled decoiling line in Llanwern, South Wales. Part of a steel service centre with a hot-rolled processing capability of 270,000 tonnes a year, this new line is the largest in Europe in terms of both capability and quality, providing ample capacity to meet customer requirements now and in the future.

The new decoiling line will provide steel with superior sheet flatness, for a range of construction and earth moving equipment (CEME) and material handling sector applications, including backhoe loaders, excavators, wheel rim products and chassis components.  Ympress® , high strength low-alloy steel which delivers weight savings and increased component strength and DD13WR , a wheel-rim product with improved manufacturability, are just two of the products that will be processed on this line.

There are trends in the lifting and excavating sector for increasingly higher-strength steels for use in demanding applications such as booms and cranes, with steelmakers looking to develop ever-stronger products. This line will allow Tata Steel to process products right up to 1600 N/mm2(newtons per mm) – the first in Europe with this capacity – meaning the investment will be able to handle prospective steel product developments in the future.

The development amalgamates Tata Steel’s existing decoiling facilities, which were spread over a number of sites in the UK, into a single facility at Llanwern’s hot strip mill, where the product is manufactured.

The new equipment uses a range of technologies to provide the best product quality. Three stages of levelling technology are used to ensure the sheet steel is as flat as possible and any residual stress is removed. This is followed by surface brushing and extraction tools which ensure the steel is as clean as possible. These processes combined with a supply of coil that has been transported and stored undercover, provides a superior and more consistent surface appearance, resulting in a reduction of post-fabrication surface preparation before final painting to simplify the processing and save costs.

The new decoiling line has 2 x 8.5m stacker beds which can be used independently or together to give a total length capability of 17m, providing customers the opportunity to buy longer-length product to minimise pack changeover downtime. The ability to handle sheets of up to 17m long helps equipment makers and processers to improve their efficiency, optimising the number of parts that can be cut from just one sheet of steel. In addition it gives Tata Steel the ability to support customers looking to produce much larger items, such as trailers, lamp posts and towers. Since larger parts can be produced in one piece, the need for plate joining and fabrication is reduced, increasing the strength of the products and making them easier to manufacture. 

The new facility is served by a direct rail link allowing for coil feedstock that is not produced at Llanwern to be brought in directly to the service bay and for the bulk dispatch of cut sheet.

The new line, which has been running since September 2014, was designed by the Italian firm FIMI, a global leader. FIMI’s commissioning & service manager, Antonio Scuderi, said: “This is the first line we have installed in the UK which can deal with thicknesses of up to 25mm and it is the biggest and most powerful line we have ever installed. The power of the machine and the exceptional stiffness of the levelers ensure an industry-leading quality level.”

Phil Clements, Head of Lifting & Excavating at Tata Steel, said: “There is a strong trend in the lifting and excavating sector for ever higher strength steels, particularly for demanding applications such as booms and cranes. As well as being market-leading now, this will allow us to process the products our customers need for years to come.

“While this new facility also offers an increase in capacity our focus is on operating more efficiently – not simply supplying more. Having our decoiling facility located right next to the hot-strip mill and exploiting our direct rail connection to service customers further from our hub means we can guarantee timely supply and at the same time can reduce the environmental impact of handling the steel. We look forward to welcoming our customers to the new site to demonstrate the benefits this investment will offer them.”  

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For further information, contact Caroline Holmes on T. +44 (0) 20 8952 1072 or email address: cholmes@automotivepr.com

About Tata Steel’s European operations

Tata Steel is Europe's second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies products and services to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy & power and aerospace. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of 29 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across four continents.

Note to editors:

Tata Steel announced on October 15 it would undertake detailed due diligence with The Klesch Group regarding the potential sale of its Long Products Europe business and associated distribution activities. The Long Products Europe business supplies steel rail, rod, plate, sections and special profile products.

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