Editor's Note

Dear Readers,

The September newsletter has excerpts from the interview of Antonello Mordeglia, Chairman, Danieli Automation and Danieli Group Board Member, where he talks about the company’s innovative digital technologies, which play a critical role in Danieli’s success.

The newsletter also provides a sketch of the production, consumption, import and export scenario of the Indian steel industry for the month of July 2023.

Also, the newsletter shares the latest news on the national and global ferrous industry. Read to know more.

Santosh Mahanti, Editor & CMD


“Flexible steelmaking technology, for present and future markets”


Danieli Automation Chairman and Danieli Group Board Member Antonello Mordeglia offers reflections on the requirements and expectations of steelmakers today, and the role for innovative green technologies will have on CapEx and OpEx improvements. The following is an edited excerpt from the interview with Antonello Mordeglia, which appears in Iron & Steel Review’s September issue. Edited excerpts:

You have been active in the steel industry automation for quite some time, and you have been heading the Danieli Automation division since 2000. What has been the impact of automation on improving steelmaking capacity and quality, globally but also in India?

I am with Danieli Automations now for almost 12 years, and I have seen a lot of changes in the market during that time, but the market changed quite a lot after the COVID-19 pandemic – both during that period and afterwards – and its effects have become established.

There has been a very big change compared to what happened between 2011 and let’s say 2019. In those six years, there was still some automation input improvement due to the fashion, and political announcements like Industry 4.0 – which is something like advanced automation but based on what was already available. And, you cannot change hardware or software, and you cannot change the capabilities of the integrated systems simply because of the announcements of politicians.

Anyway, there were some slow improvements in automation during those years, some new products, but not so many as during and after the COVID pandemic.

How did the situation change since the pandemic?

During and after the pandemic, we had a lot of changes in the global market because of new requests, influenced by new laws in some places, which led to a new trend of more and more respect for the planet. And this respect is being demonstrated more and more.

Let’s also say that these changes occurred quickly and for financial reasons, because of the need to demonstrate this climate-change improvement. We needed investments to be done very fast, and subsidised support from the respective governments was needed in order to make that change happen quickly.

After COVID, we have seen different governments begin to face a big problem and facing a potentially huge financial crisis. Many of them began to subsidise some projects that – without those subsidies – could have been extremely slow to proceed. And that was and is giving a boost to the market for steelmaking automation.

What is the reason that, following the pandemic, the costs for these projects have become so expensive?

First of all, you have to consider that the cost of energy has increased – for instance, in Europe, there has been a jump in energy prices that is 10 times more than before the pandemic (because of the pandemic itself but not only), and this influences energy costs on production and logistics.

You need energy to keep people working in offices and factories, which means you need energy. To produce anything “hard or soft”, you must have energy available. And the increased cost of raw materials generated cost increases in everything that follows it.

At the same time, in Europe, in the past three years, we have seen inflation and overall costs rising 15%, perhaps 18-20%, in total inflation.

So, if you put these two items together, you can easily see that there was an additional 40 to 50% in overall cost that we did not have before.

In addition, we experienced the problem of microchips, electronic parts, and many other parts that are not available because of the lack of semiconductors. This also increases the costs because, as you know, when there is high demand but materials are not available, suppliers are forced to increase end prices.

Combining all those factors explains how easily the price of equipment has increased by maybe as much as 50% during the past three years.

This applies also to consumer products, which have increased considerably in cost. For example, before 2020, a notebook computer was available in the range of 400-500 Euro, and today for the same computer, you have to pay more than 800-900 Euro.

All these prices are related to market demand and the cost of components.

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Iron & Steel Performance for July 2023

The performance of the steel sector has been impressive during the first four months of the current fiscal year, i.e. April-July, FY’24. It is evident in the all-time high levels of production of Crude Steel at 45.39 Million Tonnes (MT) and Finished Steel at 43.01 MT, and consumption of Finished Steel at 40.62 MT during April-July, FY’24.

Production and Consumption Scenario

In July 2023, production of crude steel increased by 2.8% over June 2023. During the month under review, production of finished steel decreased marginally by 0.5%, whereas consumption grew by 3.3% over June 2023.

Export-Import Scenario

During July 2023, exports and imports of finished steel rose by 2.2% and 21.3%, respectively, over June 2023. India was a net importer of finished steel in July 2023.

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SMS group India Spearheads Transformation of the Steel Industry with Electrics & Automation

SMS group India (SMI) has proudly announced the launch of its groundbreaking project, SMI 400.

The aim of this project is to double the capacity of the Electrics & Automation business area, scaling up from approximately 200 employees to an impressive 400 and thus creating an impressive pool of engineers for SMS group’s global operations. These engineers will be recruited in Gurgaon, Kolkata and Pune, as well as in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Other satellite offices in Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar are also in the offing. Space in Gujarat will come with the future manufacturing workshop.

As a ‘Leading Partner in the World of Metals’, SMS group supports steelmakers around the world in achieving the required quality, sustainability and safety by utilising its core competencies in mechanical equipment, electrical systems, automation and digitalisation. Under the X-PACT® (PROCESS AUTOMATION CONTROL TECHNOLOGY) brand name, SMS group offers the full range of systems expertise covering the entire metallurgical process chain. SMS group’s Electrics & Automation unit has more than 1,000 employees at locations in Germany (Düsseldorf, Hilchenbach, and Mönchengladbach), Italy (Milan and Tarcento), Romania (Bucharest), China (Beijing, Tianjin, and Wuhan), the United States (Pittsburgh), and India (Delhi, Kolkata, and Pune). The team is both global and regional at the same time, as they work on projects in their respective region as well as on global projects.

At the heart of the SMI 400 project lies the mission to cultivate a sustainable talent pool of skilled engineers in this pivotal area. SMS group recognises the importance of nurturing and empowering the next generation of engineers to meet the evolving demands of the industry.

The journey commenced in 2022 with the addition of 35 skilled professionals, elevating the full-time employee count to 205. This year’s objective is even more ambitious, with a keen focus on recruiting and developing a fresh wave of engineers. By investing in substantial training, SMS group is seeking to shape these young talents for their global organisation – both in terms of their technological competence as well as SMS culture and values.

Sumendra Jain, CFO & Interim CEO of Region APAC & MEA, SMS group India, said, “SMI 400 embodies our unwavering commitment to elevating engineering excellence. We are excited about the potential of nurturing the next generation of engineers, strengthening our capabilities, and fostering stronger connections with our customers worldwide.”

With a drive to offer quality services to customers and expand its presence in the region, SMS group will be establishing a new manufacturing plant in Gujarat under the “Make in India” and “Make in Gujarat” initiatives. SMI 400 is an integral part of this vision of expanding the company’s capacities in India, specifically in the area of Electrics & Automation. These initiatives demonstrate SMS group’s focus on enhancing local manufacturing and promoting competence building in line with the country’s economic goals.

SMS group uses its expertise in digital transformation, sustainable plant technologies, and the circular economy to realise its mission of #turningmetalsgreen. Built on the corporate values of Act, Share, Care, Innovate and Succeed, SMS group believes in enhancing the workforce, both in numbers and capabilities, through initiatives such as SMI 400, which will drive positive change in the industry.

TYASA Orders the Most Modern SBQ Rolling Mill from Danieli

TYASA has placed an order with Danieli for the supply of a new 350,000 tpy green-field SBQ rolling mill. It will be installed in Ixtaczoquitlán, Veracruz state, Mexico, at the premises where approx. 1.5 Mtpy of long and flat products are produced.

The new plant – which will include a reheating furnace, a hot-rolling mill, inspection, conditioning and peeling lines, and a water-treatment plant – will process 140-mm square billets and 180 and 310-mm round blooms produced at the same site into finished products.

The super-flexible rolling mill, fed by a 70-tph walking-beam reheating furnace, consists of a shiftable-reversible break-down stand, 12 continuous housing-less stands, and a four-pass, four-roll sizing mill – The Drawer – ensuring tolerances up to 1/8 DIN for rounds, squares and flats.

The mill, featuring the provisions for the in-line Low-Temperature Rolling LTR process, will include a rake-type cooling bed with pack-annealing, heat-retaining hoods to be used based on process requirements, and full independent finishing facilities.

Final mill products will include rounds from 13 to 105 mm diameter, flats from 63 to 102 mm, and rebars from 9.5 to 38 mm will be available in bundles with final lengths from 4-6 to 12 m, for automotive, construction, engineering and energy applications.

The new plant will be driven by Danieli Automation process control, instrumentation, and power systems. On-site training and advisory services for the complete technological supply are part of the package selected by TYASA.

The new green-field plant is expected to be put into operation by mid-2025.

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