Tata Steel's Cogent Power Touts New Grain-Oriented Electrical Steel

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Ferrous Metals

The European operations of Indian conglomerate Tata Steel recently took everyone by surprise by helping its parent company announce a more-than-expected second quarter operating profit this fiscal year.

Now comes another bit of positive news from the European branch. Subsidiary Cogent Power has unveiled a range of “sophisticated” electrical steel products which, claims the company, reduces electricity losses by around 30 percent compared with conventional grain-oriented grades.

A press release issued by Tata Steel Limited said the new products are being made at Cogent Power’s Orb works in Newport, South Wales. Orb produces cold rolled grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) for the manufacturing of modern electricity transformers that are used to build and renew the world’s major power networks.

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Cogent Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, is a global supplier of electrical steels for large rotating machines, generators and transformer cores, with manufacturing and service operations in the UK, Sweden and Canada.

The European operations of Tata Steel, with steelmaking sites located in the UK and the Netherlands, comprise Europe’s second-largest steel producer. In this region, the steel major already supplies steel and related services to construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting and excavating, energy and power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 29 million tons.

With this new foray into electric steel, Tata Steel is now catering to new demands likely to come up from the power industry as global demand for electricity grows.

The launch of the new grades follows the integration in 2011 of Tata Steel’s electrical steels production route. The Orb plant now receives hot rolled coil made in a patented process at the company’s steelworks at IJmuiden in the Netherlands.

In addition, Cogent Power has invested in a new one-meter-wide transformer core cutting line at its Canadian manufacturing facility in Burlington, Ontario, to meet the needs of large power transformer manufacturers in North America.

Not so long ago, in May this year, a question mark hung over Tata Steel Europe’s future after it had announced asset impairment of US $1.6 billion. This had caused major concerns since steel demand in Europe, too, was down 30 percent from its 2007 peak. But by September, all that was history.

Tata Steel’s international operations reported an operating profit of approximately US $104 million in the September quarter this fiscal year as against a loss of about US $34 million in the year-ago period.

In fact, as reported by MetalMiner in November this year, the European operations of Tata Steel have been looking at certain “unconventional” steel products to boost revenue.

For example, Tata Steel UK Holdings (TSUKH), the wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, had launched a state-of-the-art facility in France that will produce super-hardened train track, also called “stress-free” rails, which will be three times tougher than normal rails. TSUKH has invested about $65 million USD in the plant.

Read more Indian perspectives from Sohrab Darabshaw.

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