Tata to invest £15m in Stocksbridge

23 October 2013

Tata Steel has revealed plans to build a £15m furnace at a South Yorkshire site to enable it to tap into new market opportunities and develop products for the aerospace and oil and gas industries.

A vacuum induction melting (VIM) furnace will allow Tate Steel's speciality steel business, which already supplies steel to aircraft engine and airframe makers, to further develop relationships with its customers and expand its product portfolio.

Tata Steel will work with German metallurgical technology company SMS Mevac, a major supplier of vacuum steelmaking equipment, to build a VIM facility at Stocksbridge.

Henrik Adam, chief commercial officer at Tata Steel, said: "The addition of a VIM furnace to our asset base for aerospace steel production is an exciting prospect. It means we will be able to make more ultra pure steel for fail-safe, safety-critical applications such as aircraft engines.

"This initiative enhances our role as a partner for key customers who require highly specialised products. Our ability to support them is an important aspect of our role in the aerosapce steels supply chain."

The £15m furnace is expected to be commissioned early in 2015.

Adam added: "This investment is a clear demonstration of the contribution foundation industries like steel make towards rebalancing the British economy. We are supporting high-skilled manufacturing jobs and developing innovative new products and services for customers around the world."

The VIM production route involves melting high-purity steel and alloys in a crucible furnace, and then casting the purified liquid steel into ingot moulds all within a low pressure vacuum chambe.

As the entire melting and casting operation is conducted in an oxygen-free atmosphere, the resulting steel is very clean and has very low gas content.