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Indian Galvanised Steel Industry

- An Overview

The galvanised plain coils / sheets and corrugated sheets (GP/GC) are value - added steel products which are tough, sturdy, light weight, bright and corrosion resistant. In India these are produced in the thickness range of 0.15 mm to 2.0 mm and width range of 800 mm to 1560 mm.

Galvanised steels are basically zinc coated steel and includes a range of hot dip galvanised and electro-galvanised steels. The function of the zinc layer is mainly three fold :

To retain the steel intact with its full initial strength.

To provide the surface a more pleasing appearance.

To increase the life of any suitable organic finishing system applied over it.

Zinc coating offers a two - fold advantage. First, it protects the steel from corrosive attack in most atmospheres, acting as a continuous and lasting shield between steel and the atmosphere so long as the zinc sheath is unbroken. Secondly, it acts as a galvanic protector, sacrificing itself slowly in the presence of corrosive elements, by continuing to protect the steel even when moderate-sized areas of the bare metal have been exposed. This ability results from the fact that zinc is more electrochemically active than steel. Of all industrial coating materials, zinc alone possesses this dual ability.

Applications of Galvanised Steel Products

Galvanised steel products find applications in roofing and side cladding, agricultural silos, protective covers in fields, tea gardens, water tanks, iceboxes, household trunks, desert coolers, air-conditioning ducting, chemical drums, washing machines, refrigerators, trucks and bus bodies, color coating, containers, hoardings, interior panelling, rural housing, factory sheds, railway platform etc.

Sector Consumption Pattern

The broad sectorwise consumption pattern of galvanised steel products are shown in Table -1.

Table - 1: Sectorwise Consumption of GP/GC Sheets In India
Sectors % Share In Consumption
Housebuilders, Public building, hotels etc.
42
Consumer durables
11
Drums, barrels, Containers,
10
Railways, Power, Irrigation
8
CPWD / PWD & Other Govt. Dept.
9
Tube Makers
5
Furniture Makers
6
Engineering Units
7
Others
2
Total
100


Major producers of GP/GC sheets in India

The capacities of the major galvanised steel producers in India are furnished in Table - 2

Table -2 Major Producers of GP/GC Steel in India & Their Capacities
Name of the Producer Annual Capacity ('000 tonnes)
Rourkela Steel Plant 160
Bokaro Steel Plant 170
Tata Steel 400
National Steel 150
Bhushan Steel 350
Lloyds Steel 150
TCIL 100
Ispat Industries 225
JISCO 450
Uttam Steels 160
Sipta Coated Steels 100
Usha Rectifiers 60

Production of GP/GC Sheets In India

The production of GP/GC sheets in India is showing high growth rates. The total production of these products in 1992-93 was only 565,000 tonnes. A decade later, the total production in the country has reached about 2.53 Mt recording an annual average growth rate of 34.76 per cent.

The production figures of GP/GC sheets in India between 1997-98 and 2002-03 are presented in Table - 3

Table - 3 : Production of GP/GC Sheets In India : 1997-98 to 2002 - 03 ('000 tonnes)
Year Production Total %Growth
ISPs Secondary
1997-98 345 777 1122 -
1998-99 300 911 1211 7.93
1999-2000 286 1144 1430 18.08
2000-01 423 1497 1920 34.27
2001-02 521 1835 2356 22.71
2002-03 (P) 688 1861 2529 7.34

The high growth of production of 34.27 percent in 2000-01 may be attributed to a 47.9 percent rise in output by the ISPs and a 30.86 per cent growth in the production of secondary producers. Amongst the ISPs, Tata Steel's production was 197,000 tonnes in 2001-02 and 364,000 tonnes in 2002-03.

Among the leading producers in the secondary sector, Bhushan Steel, Ispat Industries, JISCO, Uttam Steel and National Steel contributed 72.81 percent 80.43 percent and 76.89 percent of the total production of GP/GC sheets by the secondary producers in 99-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02 respectively.

The output of these producers between 1999-2000 to 2001-02 are shown in table 2A.

Table 2A
Producer Production of GPGC Sheets ('000 tonnes)
  1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02
Bhushan 187 181 358
Ispat 198 182 185
JISCO 126 484 472
Uttam 133 151 149
National 189 206 247

Demand And Apparent Consumption of GP/GC Sheets In India

The estimated annual demand and apparent consumption of GP/GC in India between 1996-97 to 2002-03 are presented in Table - 4

Tabel - 4 : Demand And Apparent Consumption of GP/GC Sheets :1996 - 97 to 2002 - 03 ('000 tonnes)
Year Estimated
Demand (D)
Apparent
Consumption (C)
C As %
of D
1996-97 920 934 101.5
1997-98 1200 1020 85.0
1998-99 1250 1080 86.4
1999-00 1250 1204 96.3
2000-01 1450 1393 96.1
2001-02 1700 1750 102.9
2002.03 2000 1328 66.4
Data Source : JPC                               (P) = Provisional


The low apparent consumption of GP/GC sheets in 2002 - 03 was due to a decline of domestic demand. The producers made a special thrust to export their products at high prices prevailing in the global market. Exports increased by 83.31 percent from 695,000 tonnes in 2001-02 to about 1.27mt in 2002-03. Stock with ISPs alone increased to 41,000 tonnes in 2002-03 from 34,000 tonnes in 2001-02. More than 50 per cent of domestic production was exported in 2002 - 03. According to experts the assessed demand in 2002-03 should have been 1870 Mt.

Segment wise Break Up of Domestic Demand

The segmentwise demand of GP/GC Sheets in India in 2001-02 and 2002-03 are furnished in Table - 5.

Segments ESTIMATED
Demand('000 tonnes)
 
01-02
02-03
Construction 780 860
Fabrication 85 100
Automobile 62 100
Water Supply & Sanitation 25 30
Coated Sheets 55 60
Agricultural Implements 242 280
Household Appliances 394 460
Others 57 110
Total 1700 2000
Data Source : 2001-02 - SAIL 2002-03 - estimated.

In 2002 - 03, the market demand for Construction, Water Supply and sanitation and agricultural implements was lower than that in 2001 - 02

Exports - Exports of GP/GC Sheets by India between 1997 - 98 and 2002 - 03 are shown in Table - 6.

Year Exports
('000tonnes)
%change %of Export
to Total Production
1997-98 201 - 17.91
1998-99 215 6.97 17.75
1999-2000 320 48.84 22.38
2000-01 589 84.06 30.68
2001.02 695 18.00 29.50
2002.03(P) 1274 83.31 50.38
Data Source : JPC (P) = Provisional

The export performance shows a continuous growth. Between 1997-98 and 2002 - 03 it recorded an annual average growth of over 106 percent. In 2002 - 03, the Indian producers concentrated in the export of galvanised steel products as these had good prospects and the global prices were at a high level. The FOB Antwerp prices( Including 2.5 percent Commission) which was ruling at US$ 355-385 per tonne level between January 2001 and January 2002 rose to US$ 450-460 per tonne range since September, 2002. In the first six months of 2002 - 03, the secondary producers exported about 506,000 tonnes of galvanised products which was about 81 per cent of India's total export of these products during the first half of 2002-03 at about 626,000 tonnes.

Imports - The figures of India's import of Galvanised products between 1997-98 and 2002-03 are furnished in table - 7

Table - 7 : Imports of Galvanised Steel products by India : 1997-98 to 2002-03.
Year Import
(0000 tonnes)
% Change
1997-98 16 -
1998-99 39 143.75
1999-2000 75 92.31
2000-01 73 - 2.77
2001-02 97 32.88
2002-03 (P) 80 -17.53
Data Source : JPC (P) = Provisonal

India has been a net exporter of galvanised products between 1997-98 to 2002-03. Its highest net export was over 1.19 mt in 2002-03.

According to the industry experts, much of the imports being export related, there is little scope of the same coming down so long as the possibility of exporting the downstream products is large and the international prices remain favourable relative to the prices offered by the corresponding domestic producers.

Hot Dip Galvanised Steel Sheets

Important use of hot dip galvanised steel is in immersed condition. The life of galvanised coating on steel in structures which are permanently immersed in liquid depends on the corrosion properties of the liquid and the thickness of galvanising coating used in the structure. Hot dip galvanising can be effectively used for protecting diesel and petrol tanks & for storing honey and fish before canning.

Hot dip galvanised coating of about 100 mm thickness provides 10 years of maintenance free life if it is totally immersed in sea water. Magnesium chloride present in sea water acts as an inhibitor to prevent the aggressive attack from sodium chloride.

When immersed in water, hot dip galvanising steel's ability to form a protective scale depends on three factors namely dissolved oxygen, calcium content and the alkalinity of water. These factors determine the rate at which the zinc coating is consumed.

Electro-galvanising Sheets

The sheets are particularly suitable for the automobile industry due to their excellent surface finish, press formability for protection of auto body, fuel tank and exhaust system. Automobile industry in USA and Japan uses about 30 percent and 45 percent respectively of total steel consumed by it in the form of electro - galvanising sheets. This has resulted in an increased use of highly corrosion resistant electro - galvanising sheets in these countries and the western world.

The Indian automakers do not use much of electro - galvanising sheets as they are of the opinion that corrosion is not a critical factor in India as snow / salt conditions do not exist on Indian roads. However, the foreign car makers are using a good quality of these sheets in their cars made in India. The present estimated demand for electro - galvanised sheets of the Indian auto sector is around 30,000 tpy.

Special quality Galvanised steel products made in India.

(i) Galvalume or Zincalume Sheets

Galvalume or Zincalume is a zinc aluminium coated steel which has high corrosion resistant property. It comprises of 55 per cent aluminium, 43.5 per cent zinc and 1.5 per cent silicon. These sheets provide a tough barrier between the extreme atmospheric conditions and the inner core of steel. Protection is offered by the resistance of the coating it self.

Further, it protects the steel at cut edges and scratches which is achieved through the sacrificial protection provided by the zinc in coating. Application of zincalume steel are found in roofing and walling in construction. The superior finish & heat reflective properties has helped the use of this sheets in toasters, factory-built fireplaces, exhaust systems, ventilation, ducts etc.

However, zincalume steel sheets cannot be used in frameworks in contact with wet concrete, products to be embedded in concrete, animal shelters, fertilizer storage sheds, culverts, water tanks in highly alkaline environments.

Colour Coated Sheets

Zincalume sheets are also used as a base material for colour coated / pre-painted sheets which find applications in commercial and residential buildings, transportation, packaging and various consumer goods industry.

At present, there are two producers of colour coated sheets in India :

Ispat Industries which was first in India to produce colour coated sheets with a capacity of 50,000tpy.

Shri Pre-Coated Sheets ltd. with a capacity of 50,000 tpy and marketing its product under the brand name 'METACLOR'

The life expentancy of colour coated sheets with galvanised base is about double that of ordinary galvanised sheets.

Galbo Sheets

These are special zinc coated products where the base material of cold rolled coils in grade - D is skin passed and stretcher levelled with normal spangles.

The major application of Galbo Sheets is found in white goods sector. The estimated demand of these sheets in India is about 54,000 typ consisting mainly of white goods : 30,000 typ, colour coating : 15,000 typ, auto components 5,000 typ bus body - 2,500 typ.

Estimated life (years) of zinc coated steel in various environments.

The estimated life in years of zinc coated steel with different thickness of coating in various atmospheric conditions are shown in table - 8

Table - 8 : Estimated life of Zinc Coated Products In various Atmospheric Conditions (Unit : years)
Zinc wt Rural Tropical Suburban Urban Highly
gram m2 marine Industial
600.0 40 40 30 25 15
375.0 30 30 20 17 9
300.0 20 20 12 10 7
180.0 8 8 5 4 3
100.0 6 6 4 3 2

Almost all of the major galvanised steel producers in India have in the last 7/8 years, either upgraded the technology of their galvanising units or installed state - of - the - art new units for production on superior quality value added products of international quality.

Tata steel's new cold rolling mill complex (CRMC) has two galvanising lines. CGL#I with a capacity of 100,000 typ for roofing applications with horizontal in line annealing furnace. The unit is producing material made for customers for the first time in India. CGL#2 has a capacity to produce IF/EDD/DD galvanised coil for auto, white goods and appliances with vertical radiant tube furnace. The unit with galvanising capability is also a first in the country.

Price - In the present era of globalisation, the price of Indian steel products have been integrated with global market prices. According to World Steel Dynamics, the FOB price at port of export, of galvanised products in the world rose from US$ 300 per tonne in December, 2001 to US$ 500 per tonne in September, 2002 and then declined to US$ 495 per tonne in November, 2002, recording a growth of 65 per cent over December, 2001.

The Indian price of 0.63 mm galvanised steel in the Mumbai market rose from an average of Rs. 23,500 per tonne in January. 2002 to an average of Rs. 31, 500 per tonne in February 2003 showing an increase of about 34 percent during the period. Since then there is a downtrend in prices.

Conclusion - Galvanised Steel products are fetching higher prices in the domestic as well as export markets. The share of GP/GC sheets in the domestic as well as export markets. The share of GP/GC sheets in India's total production of finished steel has gone up from about 3.7 per cent in 1992 - 93 to about 7.7 per cent in 2002 - 03.

Industry experts have estimated that the demand of GP/GC sheets in India will go up to 2.45 mt. in 2006- 07 with an annual growth of about 7.5 per cent over the demand in 2002 - 03 which according to them was 1.87 mt.

Despite various constriants, the growth of consumption of GP/GC sheets in India has outstripped that of other finished steel products in recent years.

Lowering the price through improved technology, better availability and improved quality would further increase the consumption of these products in future. Of late the government has given special thrust on infrastructure development. Development of housing sector particularly in rural areas, increased construction activity and higher production of consumer durables will help increase the domestic consumption of galvanised steel products in the coming years.

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