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Bhilai's Rail Steel Cleanest in the world now

With all rail steel from Bhilai Steel Plant now being processed through RH Degasser only, the Indian Railways can be assured of procuring tracks made of the cleanest rail steel. The world-class rail steel quality and rolling standards achieved by Bhilai, the leading supplier of rails in South Asia that meets the total requirements of Indian Railways (IR), is presently unmatched in the country. With 72% of rail heats having hydrogen content below 1 ppm (parts per million) and 28% below 1.6 ppm, rail steel from Bhilai now matches the cleanest steel in the world.
SAIL's Bhilai Plant has in the recent past introduced various technological changes in rail steel production. The RH degasser for eliminating gaseous impurities in liquid steel along with improved steel making and casting techniques aimed at producing clean steel and defect free products has made Bhilai Rails comparable to the world's best. A re-engineering of the rail-steel manufacturing process at the plant's Steel Melting Shop II that is equipped with such state of the art secondary refining facilities as RH Degasser and Ladle Furnace has now enabled Bhilai to achieve 100% degassing of rail heats through RH Degasser and to achieve a hydrogen content of less than 1 ppm.
Dissolved hydrogen in rail steel is one of the factors contributing to failure of rails in the long run. Higher degassing period in RH Degasser has not only reduced hydrogen but also Aluminium and Silicon oxide inclusion level to zero, a major achievement in enhancing fatigue life of rails.
The world's largest producer of Rails is also expected to commission its long rail production facilities shortly. With the most modern rail processing equipment from all over the world, the project slated to start production late next year is being commissioned four months ahead of schedule to cater to the demand for long rails from Indian Railways, the world's second largest rail network. The acquisition of rail track products has been greatly enhanced over the last couple of years and Bhilai has almost doubled its rail production to cater to the demand. Indian Railways has placed orders for 7.5 lakh tonnes of rails in the current financial year as against 4 lakh tonnes procured yearly, a couple of years back. The Longer Rail Project taken-up at a cost of Rs 350 crore approx. will produce rails (welded panels) in 240 metre and 260 metre lengths. Concerns of safety and economy of operations have necessitated rail companies the world over to switch to long rails with very few weld joints. The longer the length of the rail, the lesser the number of welds per kilometer length. The commuter enjoys a safe and bump-less ride and the rail company saves on track life and maintenance.
The steel major has plans for further enhancing the rail production facilities at Bhilai in the near future. Major technological improvements are planned with the installation of walking beam furnaces and enhancement of rolled-rail length. Extensive and modern automation and control systems envisaged will further improve productivity and product quality. Seen in the context of the recent MOU signed between Bhilai Steel Plant and Indian Railways, the plans are indicative of the sustenance of the present upsurge in rail demand in the years to come.
Bhilai Steel Plant that concluded the first half of the current fiscalwith net profits of Rs 737 crores, exceeding last fiscal's total net profits of 735 crores, has so far netted over Rs 1000 crores profit in the eight months of the current fiscal. During the period Apr - November '03, BSP's growth in production of hot metal, crude steel and saleable steel has been 17.8%, 15.7% and 18.9%, respectively over corresponding period last year. Exports too have grown handsomely. Compared to Rs 260 crores worth of export shipments in April-November 2002, in the current fiscal with the total export despatches so far of plates, wire rods and billets valued at Rs 515 crores, Bhilai remains SAIL's top export earner. Total export earnings from Bhilai in the last fiscal was Rs 520 crores.

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