Production Technology a Road-Bump for India Silicon Steel Plant

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Continued from Part One.

Cold rolled grain oriented electrical steel, also called silicon steel, is imported from overseas mills in various grades of different permeability. There are many types of CRGO Steel — M-3, M-4, M-5 and M-6 grade and HI-B Material. These raw materials are imported in forms of coils, or in the form of slits.

But most of the Indian steelmakers have kept away from getting into manufacturing CRGO steel due to high level of sophistication involved in making it, and also because of lack of access to technology.

current steel prices - MetalMiner IndXNevertheless, it’s not too late to start. Apparently, the plan to produce the electrical steel had been percolating within the Steel Ministry for some time.

The pilot-project plant will be set up in India’s steel town of Jamshedpur at a cost of about $91 million, and will have a capacity of 3-5 tons.

Earlier this year, JSW Steel had also announced its plan of producing CRGO electrical steel through the joint venture mode, but the plan is yet to take off the ground. Just days ago, JSW Steel had issued a statement saying it was sourcing technology for the electrical steel from its Japanese partner JFE. In a phased manner, JSW was looking at becoming the biggest domestic player in electrical steel. Initially, this facility will produce 0.4-0.5 million tons per year of CRNGO grade steel.

The Steel Ministry’s Empowered Committee (EC) for Research and Development, though, has introduced a note of caution, saying the joint ventures undertaken by Indian steel firms cannot ensure total technology transfer. Even if they do, it will cover only normal grades.

Unnamed sources quoted by media reports said the reason for this was because leaders in the production of this kind of steel were loath to transfer the complete technology to India. It was therefore necessary to develop the technology through domestic sources through a pilot plant.

Sohrab Darabshaw contributes an Indian perspective to MetalMiner.

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