Rourkela Steel Plant eyes higher share of value added products

Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) is aiming to raise the share of value added products to 40 percent of total production in order to improve its competitiveness in the market, a top company official said.

Currently, value added products comprise around 27 percent of the total output of RSP, an integrated steel plant of the Maharatna company SAIL.

“Increasing the volume of our value added products to 40 percent of total saleable steel production is one of our key focus areas,” RSP CEO Dipak Chattaraj told PTI in an interview.

Buoyed by its best-ever performance in 2018-19, RSP has set a target of producing 4 million tonnes (MT) of hot metal, 3.9 MT crude steel and 3.57 MT saleable steel in the current fiscal.

“I am sure we will be able to surpass these targets,” said Chattaraj, who took over as CEO on March 1 this year.

In 2018-19, RSP produced 3.84 MT of hot metal, 3.67 MT crude steel and 3.34 MT of saleable steel, which were not only its highest-ever output but also a growth of 15.6 percent, 13.7 percent and 13.1 percent over the previous fiscal, he said.

The massive modernisation and expansion completed recently by RSP has not only enhanced the volume of production but also established the plant as a major player in the steel industry, he emphasised.

“Besides, it has added many value added products to our basket that have helped us tap niche market segments. The demand for the products of our New Plate Mill continues to be very good,” Chattaraj said.

RSP plates have found application in many prestigious projects like the Chenab bridge, which is the world’s highest rail bridge, the Dhola Sadiya bridge — India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge — as well as structures like the Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Statue of Unity, Santragachhi terminal of South Eastern Railway, among others.

“In 2018-19 we also exported more than 70,000 tonnes of plates from our New Plate Mill to the European market,” he said, adding that many new grades of steel have been developed recently for use in defence, infrastructure and other sectors.

While RSP’s Blast Furnace-1 ‘Parvati’, which happens to be the first blast furnace of SAIL, has been rebuilt with additional capacity, its Special Plate Plant has been catering to the needs of the nation’s defence and research programmes and has supplied steel for indigenous defence projects like INS Vikrant and INS Kamorta, Chattaraj said.

To a query about the company’s future plans, he said, “One of our major focus areas is reducing the production cost, which will further improve our competitiveness in the market. This year, we are putting special emphasis on minimising energy consumption and maximising crude steel production.”

Work on the new 3 MT state-of-the-art hot strip mill is going on in full swing and it will be commissioned soon. “This mill, with its world class technology, will be a game changer for RSP,” Chattaraj said.

As per SAIL’s ‘Vision 2030’, with the capacity expansion of RSP, its product basket will be further enriched with addition of many new tailor-made products so that it will be better prepared to face the cyclical steel market, the CEO said.

In addition, safety happens to be a key issue and RSP is committed to being a zero- accident plant, he said.

The company has been progressively adopting energy efficient steel making technologies for environment protection and plans are afoot to make RSP a zero discharge plant very soon, Chattaraj added.

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