Editor's Note

Dear Readers,

Any situation of crisis introduces new systems, new ways of doing things to tackle it and ushers in new ideas. The historic year 2020 that proved to be much catastrophic for the steel industry, made us land in a virtual platform when social distancing became a norm. Digitalisation, which had already made some space for itself in the industry, gained more prominence and made the steel fraternity realise that it is high time for the industry to adapt itself to all the key elements of Industry 4.0, to operate smoothly in a situation of crisis. MECON Limited, India’s leading technology provider and project consultancy firm, has made a mark in implementing Industry 4.0 in the steel industry. The January newsletter provides a glimpse on it through the excerpts from the interview of CMD Atul Bhatt.  

Maharatna Steel Authority of India Limited has reported strong figures for Q3 FY 2020-21. The January newsletter gives you details on this. Besides, you also come across highlights of market performance of the domestic steel industry for the month of November 2020.

The world’s leading technology provider SMS group has bagged an order from an Italian steelmaker. Read the January newsletter to know more!

Santosh Mahanti, Editor & CMD


“MECON is well positioned to strengthen automation in the Indian steel industry”

Established in 1959, MECON Limited is India’s frontline Design, Engineering & Consultancy, Project Management Consultancy and Contracting CPSE under Ministry of Steel, Government of India.

Being an integral part of the steel industry for over six decades, MECON’s growth has been synonymous with the growth of the Indian steel industry. Over the years, MECON has evolved and restructured itself into 3 verticals, viz. Metals, Energy and Infrastructure.

The following is an edited excerpt from the interview with Atul Bhatt, CMD of MECON Limited, which appears in Iron & Steel Review’s January issue.

What role does MECON play in implementation of Industry 4.0? How has the company been able to make a mark in this regard?

Industry 4.0 is ushering in a new business and manufacturing paradigm. This new phase in Industrial Revolution empowers business owners to have better control and understand every aspect of their operation, and allows them to leverage instant data to boost productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.

The Indian steel industry, in its constant endeavour to become globally competitive, is ready to take a leap forward in terms of automation and therefore, the role of solution providers like MECON becomes more prominent.

MECON has developed Industry 4.0-compliant Level 2 Automation system for Coke Oven Batteries in steel plants. The system is built using Smart sensors and Machine Learning which are heart of Industry 4.0. MECON has implemented this system in a Coke Oven Battery for one of its clients that has achieved 1.8% energy savings, which is one of the important PG parameters. Hence, RoI for an implementation of this system in terms of both energy savings and improvement in quality like better Coke Strength after Reaction (CSR) and the payback period, will be less than a year. In addition to the above benefits, the improved quality of coke will translate into further savings on raw materials.

Today, there are huge business opportunities in the areas of standardisation in plant automation systems, predictive maintenance of plant equipment (to move towards ‘Zero accidents’), business analytics, mobility solutions, etc. The new Industry 4.0 systems coming in, will ensure improved performance parameters, energy efficiency, better operation & maintenance practices and compliance to environmental norms.

Industry 4.0 will produce the concept of Smart production and predictive maintenance of plant equipment in order to minimise down time. It shall also address the concept of bringing Cloud computing, Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence in the Indian steel industry.

MECON has been making steel plants since 1959 and with its deep domain knowledge, is well positioned to strengthen automation in the Indian steel industry.

                                                                                                                                                                     Read more…

Iron & Steel summary for November 2020

The Union Cabinet, in its meeting held on 11th November 2020, approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for ten champion sectors as a step towards PM’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. ‘Speciality Steel’, incorporating four different product categories, is also included for incentive under the Scheme. The preliminary details of the Scheme have been worked out after discussions with the manufacturers, and the Note for consideration of the Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) is under finalisation.

Production & consumption scenario

Crude steel production witnessed an increase of 1.2% in November 2020 over October 2020. During the month under review, production and consumption of finished steel grew by 1.2% and 0.23%, respectively, over October 2020.

Export-import scenario

During November 2020, export and import of finished steel were lower by (-)31.0% and (-)18.4%, respectively, over the corresponding period last year. India remained a net exporter of finished steel during November 2020.


                                                                                                                               Click here to access the full report


SAIL posts strong production and sales numbers in Q3 FY’21

State-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has reported the best-ever quarterly production of hot metal, crude steel and saleable steel during the third quarter (Q3) of FY 2020-21.

During the quarter under review, the company has achieved 4.80 Million Tonnes (MT) of hot metal, 4.37 MT of crude steel and 4.15 MT of saleable steel production, representing a growth of 12%, 9% and 6%, respectively, over the corresponding period last year (CPLY). SAIL’s total sales (including domestic and exports) stood at 4.32 MT for the December quarter, up by 5.6% from 4.09 MT in Q3 FY’20.

Commenting on the company’s performance, Soma Mondal, Chairman, SAIL, said, “During this financial year, the company has continuously enhanced its production volumes. The first quarter was impacted due to the onset of the pandemic, but gradually we have scaled up our performance by enhancing the volumes. It is heartening that the pre-COVID levels have already been reached and the production has grown over CPLY in the last quarter.”

During the April-December (9M) period of FY’21, SAIL has recorded hot metal, crude steel and saleable steel production of 11.60 MT, 10.60 MT and 10.20 MT, respectively. During the period under review, the company’s total sales were at 10.76 MT.

“The consistent growth reflects that SAIL is poised to grow steadily in future. The domestic steel consumption has a positive outlook as the economy is reviving, and all sectors have started to pick-up. We are confident of seizing the unfolding opportunities in the steel market,” added Smt. Mondal.

SMS group to supply a medium section mill for Duferco

Italian steel producer Duferco Steel, located in Brescia, has contracted SMS group for a new medium section rolling mill. This new, ultra-modern rolling mill will make Duferco one of the most important centers of steel beam production in Europe.

This flagship project will focus on core components of digitalisation and automation in production and logistics, and on sustainability. With the new mill, Duferco will be able to reach a yearly output of 1.5 million tonnes of long products.

Antonio Gozzi, President of Duferco Italia Holding, said, “Our main goals are to set new standards in customer service, maximise the overall process efficiency and become the best-cost producer in Europe. We are committed to making beam production more sustainable, meeting the highest standards in environmental protection and safety.”

SMS will supply the complete new medium section mill, including electrics and automation systems up to Level 2. Moreover, an SMS DataFactory will be implemented, combining the information from the product tracking system with all available data in the plant, from the sensor level up to the higher-level automation systems. In this way, a product genealogy will be created, which is the basis for digitalising the complete production process and – through the use of artificial intelligence – will be setting new benchmarks in digitalisation.

Thanks to the first green PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) signed by Duferco Steel, the whole power supply of the new rolling mill will be covered by renewable energy.

The project is scheduled to be implemented during a period of only two years, with commissioning planned for the end of 2022.

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