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The Journey of Iron Making

April 5, 2022
 

Story of steel production begins with Iron making and for any integrated steel plant (ISP) like ours, Conversion of heterogenous Raw materials into hot Liquid Iron involves pre-processing of raw materials before its ready to be charged into Blast furnaces. This preprocessing involves agglomeration of iron ore into Sinter and pellets and conversion of coal into coke so as to optimize the outcomes of Iron Making at Blast furnace which is the nerve center of entire Iron Making.

Pioneering legacy of Iron making at Tata Steel is concurrent to industrial evolution of India beginning as early as 1911 when first indigenous attempt was made to plant the seeds of Steel Industry as we know today. Technological advancement and operational excellence have always been the hallmark of our excellence spirit. Be it the case of Successfully maximizing usage of Sinter and pellet agglomerates, maximizing coal injection in Blast furnace, transition from Top charge to pioneering Stamp charge coke making inter alia, Iron making has come of age. With the commencement of one of the world’s largest pellet plant, coke dry quenching facility and sinter plant with state-of-the-art technology, the Iron making Division today, boasts of a lowest cost production capability of 11 million tonnes per annum.

With the motto, ‘thrive to learn and lead, creating benchmarks in its journey’, Tata Steel’s Iron making Division has come a long way with coke rates reduction and production boost.  We have demonstrated our ever-agile capability by achieving benchmark coke rate figures of less than 310 Kg/THM in process breakthrough, we are driven by ‘Dare to try’ capability through several ‘first in the world’ futuristic initiatives like injection of Coal Bed methane in Blast furnace. As a part of thematic focus on ‘waste from wealth’ we have re-written operation philosophy for value-intelligent usage of sinter and pellet fines/reverts in agglomeration stage itself.

As the world is witnessing VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and ambiguity) waves across spectrum, Iron making team has shown a great deal of agility in converting poor grade raw materials into the world’s best-in-class quality hot metal. From the use of manual hazardous operations to newer digitalised furnaces with cutting edge technology, from using lump ores to agglomerates and the replacement of costly coke with cheaper pulverised coal injection, Iron making at Tata Steel has always been beacon of future readiness.

Countless accolades and recognitions are testament to the glorifying journey. Digital Twin Models developed for sinter plants, with artificial intelligence techniques to achieve benchmark levels in CO2 emissions, have been well recognised at the World Economic Forum 2021. Also, amalgamation of the tacit and field knowledge, with first principles digital models, to simplify the plant operations and decision-making abilities are the steppingstones to Industry 4.0. Similarly, iSPOC initiative for managing offsite sinter plant control room operation and IoT-based real-time shutdown management are some of the initiatives undertaken to ensure seamless and optimal coordination of day-to-day operations. The digital leverage is evident from our hot metal production figures going up from a meager 0.1 million tonnes per annum to 11 million tonnes per annum. Tata Steel’s legacy from being Asia’s first integrated steel plant, to being frontrunners in Industry 4.0, with the Iron Making Division playing a significant part, highlights its future-ready mindset.

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Author:

Vice President, Iron Making

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