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Indian Cold Rolling and Galvanising Steel Industries
- Their Present Status

(November 2001)

-By Sanjay Sengupta

The slowdown in the global steel industry and the price decline in the world steel market have affected Indian steelmakers too, including the cold rolled producers. Still the domestic producers of cold rolled and galvanised steel have done remarkably well in recent times.

In November, 1996, World Steel Dynamics (WSD) presenting a detailed Monitor report on “Thin Slab-Flat Rolling (TSFR) mills” commented that “The ability to produce very thin gauge material with good tolerance will lead to hot-rolled coil replacing cold-rolled coil, and hot-rolled galvanising replacing cold-rolled galvanised in certain applications”. It also said that the thinner gauge with good toerances permits the cold-rolling mills to be less complex, less powerful and cheaper to build.
In the mid-nineties rolling of 0.90mm thick hot-rolled coils at the HYLSA plant in Montery in Mexico opened up new vistas for thin-slab rolling of HR Coil for the global steelmakers. Since the eighties, steelmakers in the developed world were giving major thrust on rebuilding and upgrading their hot rolled mills. During the last decade these steelmakers noticed a serious gap between the capabilities of cold and hot-rolling mills and consequently many cold-rolling mills have been constructed and existing mills upgraded.
The upgrading of existing cold-rolling mills have mostly involved installation of the latest process control technologies, automatic roll changing and in some cases, converting the tandem cold mill into continuous mills and fully continuos mills integrated with accumulators or picking lines.
During the last decade, the Indian steelmakers have also installed modern cold-rolling mills to produce high quality value-added products in cost-effective manner to face domestic and global competition.

Technology upgradation in Indian CR Mills
Ispat Industry’s cold-rolling and coated steel plant at Kalmeshwar near Nagpur in Maharashtra was the first modern and highly advanced cold-rolling mill in India. It was set up in collaboration with Hitachi of Japan. The HI- Combination Revising Mill, with state-of-the-art technology is one of the best in India to day. The CR mill has a production capacity of 285,000 tpy and a Galvanising line with a rated capacity of 175,000 tpy. The coating plant at Kalmeshwar with a capacity of 50,000 tpy was the first plant in India to introduce colour -coated sheets in the Indian market.
Bhushan Steel and Strips Ltd., has commissioned a new 6-hi universal crown mill supplied by Hitachi of Japan. The process know-how is from Sumitomo of Japan with feature of auto shape control and the mill is producing sheets up to 1600mm width for applications in the automobile and white goods sectors.
Jindal Strips Ltd (JSL) has commissioned its cold-rolling mill with an annual capacity of 90,000 tpy. Various equipments like the 20-HI mill, continuous annealing and pickling lines, skin pass mill, strip grinding line, shearing and shitting lines have been installed in the mill to produce high quality cold-rolled products with superior surface finish in a cost-effective manner. The mill is supplying cold-rolled products conforming to stringent quality requirements of the Indian Railways, coinnage, atomic energy etc. Jindal Strips is fully equipped to supply materials in 2D, 2B, BA, No.3 and No.4 surface finishes with precise dimentional tolerances and stringent requirement of flatness.
TATA Steel’s new Cold-Rolling Mill commenced commercial production in the middle of 2000-01. During 2000-01 it was scheduled to produce 410,000 tonnes of cold-rolled products and export 40,000 tonnes. The mill will reach its full capacity of 1.2 Mtpy in 13 months of commissioning.
The mill configuration of the TATA Steel’s CR Mill complex which has been targeted to be one of the best in the world will be as follows:

(a) A Hitachi five-strand 6-HI continuous tandem cold-rolling Mill, fully coupled with a continuous pickling line, designed to produce Cold-rolled coils in the range of 0.25 to 3.2 mm in thickness and 1,000 to 1,560 mm in width.
(b) 100 per cent hydrogen batch annealing facility of capacity exceeding 800,000 tpy supplied by LOI, Germany capable of producing sophisticated cold-rolled products including those for automotive and white goods sectors.
(c) A 4-H1 Skin pass mill supplied by IHI of Japan
(d) Two continuous hot dip galvanising lines-one for producing construction grade coils of 100,000 tpy and the second 300,000 tpy line designed to produce sophisticated Zinc coated strips for the automobile industry.
(e) Recoiling lines with automatic features for 100 percent inspection before shipment.
(f) Automated packaging lines

With associated utilities and auxiliaries, this complex is a state-of-the art addition to Tata Steel’s existing world class integrated steel plant at Jamshedpur. Installed to add value to the hot-rolled coils from its hot strip mill, the Cold Rolling Mill complex will make products to highest quality standards, surpassing what is currently available in India.

Product Mix of Tata Steel's new CRMC are presented below:

Grades
Tonnage
(‘000 tonnes)
Width Range
(mm)
Thickness Range
(mm)
A. CRCA Steels
Ordering / Drawing
Deep Drawing
Extra-deep Drawing
Sub-Total (A)
200
123
477
800
800-1560
800-1560
800-1560
0.25-3.2
0.25-3.2
0.25-3.2
B. Galvanised Steel
Galvanised for Construction
Galvanised for Engineering
Galvanised for auto appliances
Sub-Total(B)
Grand Total (A+B)
145
92
163
400
1200

800-1250
1000-1250
1000-1560
0.2-2.0
0.2-2.0
0.2-2.0

The coating thickness for galvanised steel would be 60-600 gm/sqm (both sides together) and 60-200 gm/sqm for galvannealed steel (both sides together).
Nippon Steel of Japan, the technological adviser to the CRMC at Tata Steel, was associated first in technology and equipment selection based on the needs of the Indian market.
POSDATA, associated company of POSCO, Korea has provided the CRMC, IT system encompassing areas of inventory, scheduling towards timely compliance of orders.
Tata Ryerson, a 50-50 joint venture between Tata Steel and Inland Steel, USA, will help to set up high tech service centres located near customers for accurate slitting and cutting to length.
Lloyd Steel’s plant at Wardha in Maharashtra, has a production capacity of 225,000 tpy of CR Coils and 150,000 tpy of GP Coils. Technology and equipment for the plant has been supplied by Mannesman Demag of Germany (now merged with SMS Scholeomam Siemag AG and known as SMS Demag)
Other producers of CR products like Steeco Gujrat Ltd., Palez, Tinplate Co.of India Ltd., Jamshedpur, Jindal Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., Vasind, Tata Special Steels, Mumbai, Uttam Steels Ltd., Khopoli, National Steel Industries, Indore, Siddharta Tubes Ltd., Indore, comet Steels Ltd, Nanded, Pennar Indus. Ltd., Hyderabad, Ferro-Concrete Ltd., Indore, Shree Precoated Steels Ltd., Mumbai, Shri Vishnupriya Industries Ltd., Panayam etc. have also upgraded the technologies and are producing superior quality products-well accepted in the domestic market.

Public sector plants
Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL) has Cold Rolling Mill complexes at Rourkela and Bokaro Steel Plants. The Indian cold rolling industry was born with the commissioning of the cold rolling complex at the Rourkela Steel Plant of the then Hindustan Steel Ltd. In June, 1961. Presently it has a production capacity of 433,000 tpy of cold rolled coils and sheets as well as 160,000 tpy of galvanised products.
With the stabilisation of the modernisation project, the plant is producing high quality products with superior surface finish and high degree of dimensional control to the satisfaction of low-end customers By 2003, the plant will only produce value-added products and cater only to the higher end of the market.
Bokaro’s CR Mill complex is the biggest in India with a capacity of producing 1.39 Mtpy of CR Coils and Sheets and 170,000 tpy of GP/GC sheets.
Bokaro has developed some new qualities of products like high-strength CR steels, EDD grade CR Coils / Sheets and hi-strength strapping steel etc. It has also developed expert systems for optimised annealing at its bell annealing line-I and for online elongation factor management systems and coil weight estimation.
Presently, Bokaro’s presence in the auto sector is nominal and it caters for internal components. After the completion of the on-going phase II modernisation the mill will update and acquire technologies like roll texturising, horizontal annealing and stretch levelling.
Bokaro is concentrating on production of CR sheets with flawless surface finish with emphasis on reflectance and cleanliness, gauge consistency and table-top flatness.
Bokaro’s hot dip Galvanising line which is a part of its CRM complex, is working above the rated capacity and the quality of its galvanised products are of international quality.
After the completion of the modernisation programme of the CR Mill Complex, Bokaro Steel Plant will be able to compete not only in the low end segment of the market but also in its high-end segment.

India cold-Rolling Industry Fragmented
Before launching the new CR Mill Complex, Tata Steel made a survey of the existing cold rolling units/plants in the country which showed that the Indian cold-rolling industry is highly fragmented in terms of unit capacities and width that can be rolled. The findings are presented in Table -1

Table 1: No. of CR units in India: capacity of units, width range total capacity and type of mill

No. of
CR units

Unit Capacity (tpy)

Width Range (mm)

Total capacity

Type of Mill

20
16
15
5
1

up to 30,000
up to 72,000
up to 300,000
up to 300,000
> 1 Mtpy

upto 450
450-700
700-1250
1250-1560
> 1560

240,000
570,000
1,420,000
1,310,000
1,490,000
5,030,000

Of the 58 units shown in the above table, 53 were installed prior to 1991. The capability of the Indian Cold-rolling industry can be broadly summarised as follows:
(a) About 40 to 50 per cent of the installed capacity can roll up to 700 mm width, can largely make commercial grades with limited quantities of drawing grades for less surface critical applications and is uncompetitive in cost
(b) SAIL, which has 40 per cent of the total installed capacity (prior to commissioning of TATA CRMC) is cost competitive mostly in the low-end segment. After the completion of the on-going modernisation of Bokaro’s CR Mill, the company expectes to be competitive in the high-end segment of the market also.
(c) Of the total 58 units, 54 are stand-alone units without in-house hot-rolled coil supply. Three are following the EAF-CC- Stekel Mill route and the one TCIL has the advantage of hot rolling facility of Tata Steel.
(d) Indian CR producers are not yet having the capability to produce EDD and other superior grades.

Consumption Pattern of CR products India
The broad sectorwise consumption pattern of cold rolled products in India as compiled by CORSMA is furnished in Table-2

Table-2: Broad Sectorwise Consumption of CR Products in India

Name of sector Consumption Share %
Coated Sheets
Auto Sector
Furniture & Tube manufacturers
Cycle Industry
General Engineering
Oil and Gas

Total
25
18
17
15
14
11

100

Market Segments for Cold Rolled Products
The segment-wise, CR products and their applications are furnished in Table-3
Table-3: Market Segments for products
Segment Product and Applications
Automobiles - Outer skin panels, inner critical components, reinforcement and under body components
Appliances - Refrigerator doors, side panels, washing machine panels
Electric Panels - Switch gear cabinets, computer and electric equipment cabinets
Engineering- Tubes, pollution control equipment, motors, transformers, ventilation and air-conditioning ducting
Packaging - Drums, barrels and containers
Furniture - Almirahs, Chairs, office furniture components
Construction - Galvanised corrugated sheets for roofing, galvanised plain sheets.

Revised Demand, Domestic production and consumption of CR products
The revised demand, domestic productions and apparent consumption of CR products in India between 1996-97 and 2000-01 is indicated in Table-4

Table-4: Revised demand, domestic productions and consumption in India (‘000 t)

Year Revised Demand
(D)
Production App. Consumption
(AC)
%age of
AC to D
1996-97
1997-98
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01(p)
3,200
3,350
3,055
3,100
3,300
2,864
2,994
3,170
3,929
4190
3,025
3,134
3,129
3,078
2,918
94.5
93.6
102.4
99.3
88.4
Data Source: JPC (P) = Provisional


Note: 1. Apparent consumption shown in the above table indicates the feed materials, requirement of the galvanised units
2. The demand projected by the working group on steel was revised downwards from 1998-99 to make it more realistic
It would be evident from the above table that production of CR Sheets/Coils has increased remarkably between 1996-97 and 2001-02 recording an average annual growth rate of 36.7 per cent. However, the consumption of CR products suffered a decline in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 due to the slow growth of the industrial sector particularly the auto and engineering industries.

Galvanised Steel
The galvanised plain Coils/Sheets and corrugated sheets (GP/GC) are produced in India in the thickness range of 0.2 mm to 1.60 mm and width range of 800 to 1560mm. The galvanised products are tough, strudy, light weight, bright and corrosion resistant.

(a) Table 5 shows the estimated life of zinc coated products (galvanised) in various atmospheric conditions.
Table 5: Estimated life (years) of zinc coated products in various atmosphere.

Zn. Weight Atmospheric conditions where applied
(qm/sqm)
Rural
Tropical
Marine
Suburban
Urban
Highly
industrial
600.0
375.0
300.0
180.0
100.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
8.0
6.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
8.0
6.0
30.0
20.0
12.0
5.0
4.0
25.0
17.0
10.0
4.0
3.0
15.0
9.0
7.0
3.0
2.0
Source : From an article by Shri U.K. Mittal, former Director (com), SAIL

(b) End-use Application of galvanised products
The major end-use applications of galvanised products are as follows:
(a) Drums (b) Buckets (c) Trunks (d) Tube (e) Storage bins (f) containers (g) Air-conditioning units (h) Agricultural implements (I) Hoardings (j) Deserts coolers (k) Interior panelling (I) Rolling shutters (m) Rural housing (n) Railway Platform (o) Factory sheds etc.

(c) Major Producers of galvanised products in India
The capacity of major producers of Galvanised products in India are presented in Table-6
Table-6: Major producers of Galvanised products in India
Unit                                       Capacity (‘000t)

Rourkela Steel Plant         160.0
National Steels                   100.0
Bokaro Steel Plant             170.0
Bhushan Steels                  150.0
Tata Steel                            400.0
Lloyds Steel                         150.0
TCIL                                      100.0
Usha Rectifiers                      50.0
Ispat Industries                   225.0
JISCO                                   150.0
SIPTA Coated Steels         100.0
Uttam Steels Ltd.                100.0
Others                                   180.0

Quality Improvements
Most of the leading producers in India are producing high quality galvanised products. SAIL plants, at Rourkela and Bokaro are producing GP/GC Sheets of international quality. Tata Steels new CRM complex has started production of galvannealed steels for the first time in India. The specialised steel is mostly used in the auto sector for superior weldability, surface finish and paintability. Tata Steel’s Continuous Galvanising Line No.1 (CGL-1) will produce galvanised coils of construction grade for roofing, with horizontal inline annealing furnace while its GGL-2 will produce IF/EDD/DD galvanised Coils for auto, white goods and appliances with vertical radiant tube furnace. The capacities of CGL-1 and CGL-2 are 100,000 tpy and 300,000 tpy respectively.

(e) Revised demand, domestic production and consumption of galvanised products in India
The revised demand, domestic production and apparent consumption of GP/GC Sheets in India are presented in Table-7. below

Table-7 : Revised demand, domestic production and apparent consumption of GP/GC Sheets in India: 1996-97 to 2001-02
(‘000 tonnes)

Year
Revised Demand (D)
Domestic
Production
Apparent
Consumption (AC)
%age of
AC to D
1996-97
1997-98
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01 (p)
920
1,200
1,250
1,250
1,450
967
1,222
1,231
1,430
1,920
916
905
1,060
1,204
1,393
99.6
75
84
96.3
96.1
Data Source: JPC (P)=Provisional.

NB- Demands revised by JPC from 1998-99
It is apparent from the above table that India’s domestic production of GP/GC sheets has recorded a very high annual average growth of 49.6 per cent between 1996-97 and 2000-01. The apparent consumption during the same period has recorded and annual average growth of 38 per cent.
During April to July in 2001, the domestic production of GP/GC sheets has recorded a growth of over 13 per cent at 607,000 tonnes over 537,000 tonnes achieved during the same period of the previous year, of all the steel products the performance of galvanised products has been the best in recent times.

Conclusion
The slowdown in India’s GDP and index of industrial productions (IIP) growth continues. In 2000-01, GDP growth declined to 5.2 per cent from 6.4 per cent in the previous year while IIP growth slumped to 5.3 per cent from 6.4 per cent. In the first quarter of IIP growth fell to a low of 2.2 per cent from 5.6 per cent and the manufacturing sector recorded only 2.5 per cent growth as against 6.1 per cent during the same period of the preceding year.
The sales of automotive sector, a major consumer of cold rolled products was dismal in 2001-02. Commercial vehicles, cars and utility vehicles sectors recorded negative growth of 12.3 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively as compared to the previous year. Even the two wheeler sector recorded a decline of 0.8 per cent in the above period. During April-July, 2001, sales of commercial vehicles dropped by 10 per cent, that of car and utility vehicles segment improved but had a negative growth of 0.4 per cent while the two-wheelers recorded a growth of 5.5 per cent over the corresponding period of the preceding year.
The impact of the slowdown is evident in the decision of Tata Steel to cut production at its new cold rolling mill complex to 70,000 tonnes per month from its capacity of 100,000 tonnes per month during 2001-02.
The slowdown in the global steel industry and the price decline in the world steel market has affected the Indian steel makers including the cold rolled producers. In such a depressing situation, the domestic producers of cold rolled and galvanised steel have donn remarkably well in recent times.
With further upgradation of technology, the domestic producers will be in a position to face the present challenges. The Central Government should provide the necessary infrastructure. CORSMA has made certain proposals for the benefit for the CR industry which should be considered favourably be the concerned authorities.
If the efforts of the producers are effectively supported by the Ministry of Steel in a positive manner, the cold rolling and glavanising steel industries will show major improvements in the next two years.

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