TATA Steel on Wednesday (8) announced a plan to invest more than £7 million in a new slitting line at its Hartlepool Tube Mill in the North East.
The new slitter will allow the site to process coils of steel delivered from its Port Talbot steelmaking site.
Currently, wide steel slabs are slit at Port Talbot before being rolled and sent to Hartlepool to be turned into steel tubes, which are then used in a wide range of products such as agricultural machinery, sports stadiums, steel-framed buildings and in the energy sector.
All steel products made at the Hartlepool site are completely recyclable.
The latest project is expected to take more than a year to complete and is the second major investment announced by Tata Steel this year, the project at the Corby site in Northamptonshire being the other. Both projects are expected to bolster the giant’s business in the UK, improving services to customers and using the latest available technology to reduce environmental emissions.
Andrew Ward, works manager of Tata Steel in Hartlepool, said, “This project will allow us to bring a vital process on site, which in turn will free up thousands of tonnes of capacity at the Port Talbot site.
“This will improve our efficiency and reduce overall CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from our steel processing as well as reducing the total costs across the business.”
The investment at the Hartlepool site, where almost 300 people work producing up to 200,000 tonnes of steel tubes a year, is predicted to pay for itself in less than three years.
“Above all, safety will be a key factor in this investment both during the construction phase and when the new slitter is up and running. It will feature the latest computer-controlled technology, which reduces the need for our employees to be close to any hazardous operations and it will be as energy-efficient as possible,” Ward added.
“The new slitter line will optimise the UK value chain for our smaller tube product range, allowing steel coil to flow through the chain and provide flexibility with on-site slitting. This investment will support the ongoing drive to improve customer delivery performance and responsiveness which the Hartlepool 20 Mill team pride themselves upon,” he said.
Tata Steel in the UK has the ambition to produce net-zero steel by 2050 at the latest and to have reduced 30 per cent of CO2 emissions by 2030.
A majority of the work will need to happen in South Wales where the company’s largest operational site is located. Tata Steel is also developing detailed plans for this transition to future steelmaking based on low CO2 technologies and is close to knowing which will best help achieve its ambitions.