Tata Steel and Metso: Improving efficiency with a partnership forged in steel
Headquartered in Mumbai, India, Tata Steel Limited is one of the largest steel producing companies globally, with manufacturing operations in 26 countries and annual crude deliveries of about 28 million tonnes in 2017. With ambitious plans to expand its steel production at the Jamshedpur plant in Jharkhand and the Kalinganagar plant, located in the state of Odisha, the company was looking for a partner to help their nearby mines keep pace with the fast growing demand.
Consolidation to meet the ambitious growth plans
To enable Tata Steel to achieve its goals, Metso has provided its Life Cycle Services solution to two mining sites, Katamati and Khondbond. This has allowed Tata Steel to reduce risks and concentrate on its steel production while Metso will ensure that it’s mine site machinery is always available and producing enough ore to meet the growing demand from the nearby plants.
With the growing global steel demand , Tata Steel has to increase production capacity at its Jamshedpur plant from 6.8 to 10 million tonnes per year, while targeting 8 million tonnes per year from the Kalinganagar plant. To feed the demand from the plants, iron ore production at nearby Khondbond and Katamati mine sites had to be grown significantly. In addition to the vast increase in throughput required, there were also challenges in meeting high safety requirements, community related issues, and meeting its production goals in the most environmentally sound way. Keeping the future requirements in mind, Tata Steel considered options to consolidate all production with a major OEM supplier capable of handling all aspects of production, for the company to concentrate on its core business of producing steel. “Initially, before making this contract for Noamundi (Katamati), we thought that we require a partner who can supply the total package. A partner with good expertise, taking care of the site-specific challenges, particularly safety, connecting with the community and handling the process in an environmentally friendly manner”, stated RP Mali, Chief of Noamundi and Katamati Iron Mine at Tata Steel Another key technical issue at both the mine sites was the need to produce a different mix of end products as Khondbond site was slated to produce a mixture of lumps and fines, while Katamati’s mandate was changed to produce mainly fines. This would have required setting-up of a second circuit to meet the changing requirements. Another factor complicating the production process was different quality of the feed material used at both sites, with Khondbond being fed primarily with hard ore and the Katamati site having more blue dust and softer ores.
Results – Flexible production with safety at the forefront
After much deliberation in August 2015, Tata Steel decided to handle the entire production process, from mining to the logistical aspects of delivering the ore to their two plants to the single contractor . In November 2015, the contract was awarded to Metso for two plants of 250 Tons per hour (TPH) at both sites, and included the operation of the plants, material stacking as well as the final logistics inside the mines area. With the plants now in full production, the results have been strong with good production while delivering on safety which is a key area of interest for Tata. Mr Shirish Shekhar, Chief Khondbond Iron Mine, Tata Steel summed up the results of the partnership between Metso and Tata Steel,“Our safety expectations are very high and Metso has been able to live up to that standard. Secondly, as far as production is concerned, we have been able to meet the customer requirements of fines, because of Metso’s crushing and screening unit installed in our plant.”
Life Cycle Services (LCS) contracts tailored to each site
LCS agreements are built on program levels that are designed for different customer needs and are tailored to suit the business and production goals of specific sites. The aim is to maximize equipment uptime, ensure the highest end product quality and secure continuous production for the customer. Accomplishing these aims involves leveraging Metso Field Service technicians, along with ensuring the right wears and spares are used for each job.
“Our association with Tata is more than 25 years old. Right from day one we have been working with them as a technology partner. We worked with Tata from the conceptual stage to understand their requirements and re-model our offering to suit their requirements in terms of equipment and systems. Going forward, we have shifted our gears from a technology partner to performance solution provider,” explains Vijay Dhar, Vice President, Minerals Services & Mining Equipment, Metso India.
Kamal Pahuja, Vice President, Mining & Aggregates, Metso India added, “When we do that gear shift from a technology provider to solution provider, there is an immense sharing of knowledge which happens. In fact, working together with Tata, we have come to understand each other’s challenges very well and see how we can add value to each other’s functions. A lot of knowledge sharing is happening, and better understanding of each other’s challenges helps us to deliver the performance that is needed”