Editor's Note

Dear Readers,

The refractory industry, being one of the major suppliers to the steel sector, had to bear the severe blows from the pandemic. The September newsletter features edited excerpts from an interview of P. B. Panda, Managing Director of leading refractories manufacturer TRL Krosaki Refractories Limited, where he tells us what was it like for the Indian refractory industry in the previous fiscal.

The September newsletter also provides a sketch of the performance of the Indian steel industry during the month of July.

Steel behemoth Tata Steel has several firsts to its credit. There’s been a new addition to the list. While Danieli Service has introduced a new technology for coating. Read the September newsletter to stay updated.

Santosh Mahanti, Editor & CMD


“The Indian refractories industry registered a negative growth in FY’20-21”

Iron & Steel Review’s September issue features an interview with P. B. Panda, Managing Director of TRL Krosaki Refractories Limited. In this interview, he talks about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Indian refractory industry. Edited excerpts:

Steel production and consumption were hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Steel industry being the biggest consumer of refractories, how has this impacted the Indian refractories market?

From the beginning of FY’20-21, the overall economy in the country got severely hit under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdowns restricting the movement of goods and people. Steel plants were also impacted and had to operate at low capacity. The impact was colossal during the first half of FY’20-21. However, the sector made recovery in terms of production and consumption during the second half of FY’20-21. Despite the recovery, the overall production and consumption declined by approx. 6% in FY’20-21 compared to FY’19-20. Before things could normalise, acute oxygen shortage during the second wave of the pandemic in FY’21-22, further led to the shutdown of many steel plants in India.

In case of refractories market, the impact of the pandemic was multi-fold. On one hand, declining steel production and consumption led to a steep decline in domestic demand of refractories products, and on the other hand, both domestic and import supply chain was disrupted with restrictions on the movement of goods. Raw materials alone contribute to 40-50% of the cost of refractories, of which most are imported. During the pandemic, a sharp decline in the availability of cargo containers globally led to a supply-demand issue, thereby increasing the overall freight charges. The issue of availability of critical raw materials along with a steep rise in freight charges, had a significant upward impact on the input costs, which in turn, led to an increase in the final pricing of the product. The refractories industry is still struggling to address these challenges.

The Indian refractories industry which was growing at an annual rate of around 5% in the pre-COVID time, registered a negative growth close to 8% in FY’20-21.

Iron & Steel summary for July 2021

The Cabinet considered the proposal of the Ministry of Steel on the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Specialty Steel contained in the Cabinet note dated July 20, 2021, and has approved the implementation of the PLI scheme for Specialty Steel at an outlay of Rs. 6,322 Crores in its meeting held on July 22, 2021. Pursuant to the decision of the Cabinet, the Ministry has notified the scheme document in the Gazette of India on July 29, 2021. The scheme is expected to bring in an investment of approximately Rs. 40,000 Crores, capacity addition of 25 MT for Specialty Steel and give employment to about 5,25,000 people of which 68,000 will be direct employment.

Production & consumption scenario

Crude steel production grew by 3.9% in July 2021 over June 2021. During the month under review, production and consumption of finished steel increased by 2.8% and 0.7%, respectively, over the previous month, i.e. June 2021.

Export-import scenario

During July 2021, export and import of finished steel rose by 10.5% and 2.1%, respectively, over June 2021. India was a net exporter of finished steel during July 2021.

Tata Steel becomes the world’s first steelmaker to join the Sea Cargo Charter

Tata Steel has joined the Sea Cargo Charter (SCC) as part of its sustainability objectives and initiatives on reduction of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in ocean trade. The company has become the first steel producing signatory of SCC.

Tata Steel is the 24th organisation to join the association working to reduce environmental impacts of global seaborne cargo.

Peeyush Gupta, Vice President, Supply Chain, Tata Steel, said, “As a leader in the steel industry which continuously sets benchmark in sustainable operations, it is imperative that we look at Scope 3 emissions with similar alacrity. With our seaborne global volume in excess of 40 million tonnes per annum, this is a decisive step in the direction to measure correctly and mitigate efficiently & innovatively.”

Ranjan Sinha, Chief Group Shipping and Director Raw Material Procurement, Tata Steel, said, “As a leading global player in steel and having an impeccable reputation for Corporate Governance, it is befitting that we join hands with world’s leading organisations across the industry sectors in making efforts towards sustainable shipping. While the manufacturing sector focusses on Scope 1 and 2 emissions, we would like to think beyond compliance and take actions on Scope 3 emissions. We are committed to aligning our chartering activities with responsible environmental behaviour.”

Danieli Service upgrades MMK Metalurji’s hot-dip galvanising lines

Danieli Service has upgraded MMK Metalurji’s two hot-dip galvanising lines in Dörtyol and Istanbul, Turkey. Danieli Service has supplied chemical roll-coaters for this project.

The upgrading – featuring DanCoaters installed in a horizontal configuration and related controls – resulted in improved control for accuracy and repeatability of the coating thickness, saving coating material and reducing scrap.

DanCoaters are equipped with an efficient system that provides full, continuous control of position and pressure, as well as the other coating parameters (such as roll speed), thus allowing a specific paint thickness to be applied evenly across the strip surface.

The new design can also be retrofitted to most manufacturers’ older machines, with minimal impact to production and downtime.

DanCoaters are designed to meet safety requirements while maintaining full equipment operation: nip feed guards, carters, safety switches, pins, foot walks, handrails, safety interlocks, etc., are designed in conjunction with the final customer’s needs to minimise potential hazards.

Danieli Service advisory and MMK maintenance teams executed the job during a maintenance shutdown thanks to accurate planning and a plug and work package.

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