Editor's Note

Dear Readers,

Refratechnik Group’s new state-of-the-art facility in Visakhapatnam is set to provide premium refractory products to support the Indian steel and aluminium industries. According to V. Udaya Sankar, Managing Director of Refratechnik (India) Pvt. Ltd., the new plant is strategically positioned to strengthen India’s refractory sector. The January newsletter shares excerpts from an exclusive interview with V. Udaya Sankar.

Aside from this, the January newsletter also features a summary of the performance of India’s steel industry in November 2023, as well as the latest news on the national and global ferrous industry. Read and explore!


Santosh Mahanti, Editor & CMD


“Refratechnik Visakhapatnam Plant produces refractory products with Refratechnik global quality standards”

Refratechnik Group has inaugurated a modern facility in Visakhapatnam. The new greenfield manufacturing hub aims to promote self-sufficiency and lessen import dependency. In an exclusive interview with Iron & Steel Review magazine, V. Udaya Sankar, Managing Director of Refratechnik (India) Pvt. Ltd., shares his insights on how the Refratechnik Visakhapatnam Plant will contribute to the growth of the Indian refractory industry.

The following is an edited excerpt from the interview which appears in Iron & Steel Review’s January issue.

The new Refratechnik Plant in Visakhapatnam was officially commissioned last month with the aim of achieving a production capacity of 40,000 tonnes of refractory products for high-temperature industries. When do you expect to achieve this target?

Refratechnik Visakhapatnam Plant has a capacity to produce 30,000 t of carbon-based refractory bricks and 10,000 t of high alumina monolithic products. With the current demands from the steel and aluminium industry, the support of our esteemed customers and encouragement from the government, with our consistent quality of production, we aim to achieve and exceed the capacity very soon.

Is Refratechnik Steel in India a profit-making centre?

Refratechnik India has been making profit since its inception in 2017. A huge investment was made to set up a new state-of-the-art greenfield facility in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The plant produces refractory products with Refratechnik global quality standards, focusing on sustainability factors like using a percentage of non-fossil sources of power, recycling of solid discharges and water discharges, and a green plant for the people to work comfortably with a high focus on safety aspects (since the commencement of the erection in January’22 to date, no LTI has been reported).

Therefore, the quick returns may take a little time. Generation of surplus cash is required to make the investment sustainable and to invest further to expand our product portfolio.

Who are your major steel and aluminium customers? How do you plan to serve them better in the future as competition is rising?

All the major steel, aluminium and non-ferrous industries are our major customers. We have been serving major steel customers for the last 15-17 years by importing materials from our Chinese/German manufacturing units. Since 2020, we have been serving major aluminium customers with our high-quality alumina monolithic products. Now, with a state-of-the-art plant of our own, we can serve them better by having an edge over performance. A plant in India will certainly reduce the lead times from 10-12 weeks to less than 4 weeks. Refractory is many times tailor-made to the specific operating conditions of the user; the response time in meeting the changes in the requirements of the customer will be fast with our set-up in India encompassed with full-fledged R&D facilities.


Iron & Steel Performance for November 2023

The performance of the steel sector during April-November, FY’24 has been the best-ever in April-November of any fiscal year. During April-November, FY’24, the cumulative production of crude steel at 94.01 Million Tonnes (MT), finished steel at 88.81 MT and consumption of finished steel at 86.97 MT was 14.5%, 13.1% and 14.8% higher than their respective levels in April-November, FY’23.

Production & Consumption Scenario

In November 2023, crude steel output fell by 2.6% from October 2023. During the month under analysis, production of finished steel declined by 0.6%, whereas consumption rose by 0.7% over October 2023.

Export-Import Scenario

During November 2023, exports of finished steel decreased by 20.1%, while imports increased by 37.0% over October 2023. India was a net importer of finished steel in November 2023.

                                                                                                                                                                     Read more…


NMDC Enters 2024 with Best-Ever Q3

State-owned iron ore miner NMDC has entered 2024 with its best-ever third quarter (Q3) performance. The company produced 12.22 Million Tonnes (MT) and sold 11.42 MT of iron ore in Q3 FY’24, registering a rise of 15% in production and 19% in sales over the corresponding period last year (CPLY).

NMDC achieved its best-ever December month production and sales performance since inception. In December 2023, production at 4.48 MT and sales at 4.19 MT increased by 24% and 26%, respectively, over December 2022.

NMDC’s cumulative production stood at 31.79 MT, while the sales figure reached 31.97 MT up to December 2023. With the highest-ever cumulative production and sales up to December 2023 in the company’s history, NMDC has entered the fourth quarter of FY’24 on strong momentum. Cumulative figures have witnessed an ascent of 18% in production and 24% in sales over CPLY.

Congratulating his team, Amitava Mukherjee, CMD (Additional Charge), NMDC, said, “This performance reflects our commitment to building an iron-strong nation. It stems from NMDC’s strategic investment in building sufficient capacities and robust infrastructure to cater to the growing domestic demand. Entering 2024 with an exceptional Q3 boosts our confidence in achieving the production and sales targets for the fiscal.”

Nucor Steel Brandenburg Celebrates Inauguration of New Facility with One of the World’s Largest and Most Advanced Continuous Casting Plants

Nucor Steel Brandenburg has celebrated the inauguration of the new greenfield facility at the Buttermilk Falls Industrial Park site located on the Ohio River in Brandenburg, Kentucky. This represents another chapter in the long history of Nucor and SMS group, which have been collaborating closely for more than 35 years.

The core unit of the works is the single-strand continuous caster supplied by SMS for ultra-wide and ultra-thick slabs. It is one of the world’s largest and most advanced continuous casting plants, which is capable of producing 1.45 million tonnes of slabs per year in widths of up to 3.15 m and thicknesses of 200 mm, 250 mm and 300 mm. 

With this new plant, Nucor plans to supply steel products, sustainably manufactured, for renewable energy projects. One of the most important products manufactured at this facility is Nucor’s ElcyonTM, a heavy plate product made from recycled materials, which was specially developed for the offshore wind industry and provides a domestic sustainable steel supply chain that is in great demand by the US energy sector.

The scope of supply of SMS group included a single-strand continuous caster for ultra-wide and ultra-thick slabs, walking beam and bogie hearth furnaces, a continuous heat treatment line and heavy-plate treatment section, as well as the water treatment system. The SMS group reheating furnace was equipped with the particularly low-NOx, flameless and versatile SMS ZEROFlame burners, the stage 1 automation system, X-Pact® DigiMod Control, and the stage 2 heating optimisation system, X-Pact® Prometheus. X-Pact® DigiMod Control combines the modulating control of the burner control zones with the digital control of each burner to ensure the correct flame pattern and thermal profile of the furnace in all operating conditions. The X-Pact® Prometheus system enables the desired temperature profile and uniformity to be achieved for any material and steel grade, with minimum fuel consumption, decarburisation and scale loss.

As a lifecycle partner, SMS has set up a repair service centre at the Nucor Brandenburg site and offers repair services for continuous casting moulds and containment segments as part of a long-term service agreement. In addition to the HD LASr used for caster equipment alignment in the workshop, an HD scan unit is also installed in the Brandenburg service centre, which SMS can use to analyse the internal microstructure and quality of the slabs for the continuous caster in Brandenburg and for other customers.

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