Tata Steel on Thursday unveiled its transformation plans for a steel tube making site in the UK's East Midlands, which the Indian steel major said will give the business the best chance of a strong future. Work has started at the 150-acre site at Corby, which produces vital products for everything from sports stadiums and iconic skyscrapers such as the Shard in London, to hospital beds and renewable green energy schemes around the world. Workers at the site produce steel tube products from steel made at the company's Port Talbot works in Wales.
“Steel is, and will continue to be, an essential part of the UK's plans to decarbonise for the future,” said Sandip Biswas, Chairman of Tata Steel UK Ltd. “We need to ensure we are able to make and supply the products right here in the UK which will help transition to a net-zero future,” he said.
Under the transformation plans, manufacturing processes on the site will be brought closer together as part of a 25-million pounds scheme which is being paid for in part with the sale of land freed up by the changes as well as savings from operational improvements.
The two-year investment project will see the creation of a single high-tech warehouse, the relocation and upgrading of the important rectangular hollow section (RHS) processing line and the cold mill (CFM) – where many of the most important products produced by the Corby site are made.
“The programme is essential to ensuring a sustainable future for our site and generations of steel workers to come. It will enable us to reconfigure our operations and achieve the highest levels of operational efficiency,” said Gary Blackman, Tata Steel Corby Works Manager.
“The programme will map out a sustainable future for the Corby site and it lays the foundations for future growth,” added Coenraad Spaans, Tata Steel Operational Director Tubes. The company says that sustainability is at the core of the improvements, with material from old concrete floors being recycled on site to help create the sub-base for the warehouse – work on which has now started.
Meanwhile, the relocation of the RHS and CFM processes will see improved efficiency and reduced energy consumption. At the same time, Tata Steel says it will work closely with construction partners and the local authorities to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding community during the project.
Nigel Chudley, who is leading the warehouse project, said: “We are creating a single site warehouse within the East Works, which will allow the closure of the South warehouse.
“Significant work is ongoing to prepare the ground for the installation of a racked warehouse solution. Over the last couple of weeks the team have been working with our contractors to break ground, which is the first element of a 14-week programme to prepare the flooring which will support 18,000 tonnes of finished tube product.”
The new warehousing system is expected to bring significant advantages to the current system – enabling the tubes operation to rotate stock much more efficiently and reduce stock losses. Tata Steel is one of Europe's prominent steel producers, with steelmaking in the UK and the Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe.
It supplies high-quality steel products to diverse markets of construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. The Tata Steel Group, with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes, is among the world's most geographically diversified steel companies.