Role of steel in the automobile industry

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Role of steel in the automobile industry

The automobile industry manufactures and sells automobiles like cars, buses, trucks, and other vehicles. It is one of the key drivers of the economic growth of India. One material that forms the backbone of this industry is steel. It is widely used in the auto industry. Approximately 55% of a car’s weight comes from steel and on average, a vehicle weighs 1200kg – so that’s a large amount of steel.  

Steel forms a significant part of the automotive industry. Owing to its excellent properties, steel is widely employed in the making of vehicle bodies. Steel is very tough and thus is the go-to-choice for making vehicles. It lends strength and ensures safety. Moreover, steel is cost-efficient along with being light-weight. Steel is also easy to weld and can be reformed easily. All these reasons come together to make steel the most favorable material to be used in manufacturing automobiles. 

Let’s take a look at the uses of steel in the making of an automobile: 

  • Structure of the vehicle: The structure of the automobile makes use of a large amount of high-quality steel. One of the main reasons that steel is used in the making of body frames is because of its ability to absorb the impact energy produced in a crash. This ensures safety. It also keeps the overall structure lighter, yet sturdy. As the steel has high tensile strength, it works in favor of the vehicle and enables it to withstand tremendous pressure and force. 
  • Propeller shaft: High-quality steel is used for the construction of a propeller shaft. It is because the propeller shaft should be powerful enough with a high wear-resistant property so it can tolerate bending and torsional load. 
  • Seat frame: The seat frame too utilizes steel. The reason being, steel is strong and this makes it possible for the seat to withstand everyday rigors. Moreover, steel can be easily formed into the desired shape for comfort. 
  • Exhaust Tubes: These too are again made of steel.  

From the total amount of steel used in an automobile, 34% of it is applied in the body structure, panels, trunk closures, and doors. Apart from that, the drive train makes use of 23% of the steel. Another 12% is used in the suspension. The rest of the steel is utilized in the making of the fuel tank, wheel, steering, and braking system. Thus, steel forms an integral part of the automobile industry.

Recycled Steel and Its Uses

Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the whole world. Steel can be recycled continuously without any degradation in its quality and can be manufactured from one product to the other. Moreover, it’s easier to recycle scrap steel than to mine ore for the making of new steel. Steel does not degrade during recycling, and thus is the go-to choice for various applications.

There are 3 types of scrap steel:

  1. Home scrap or internal scrap: The discarded steel that’s generated within the mill while steel-making, is referred to as home scrap.
  2. Prompt scrap: The waste generated while manufacturing different kinds of steel products is known as prompt scrap.
  3. Obsolete scrap: The discarded consumer and industrial elements are known as obsolete scrap.

These are recycled to be used for numerous purposes like:

  1. Home furnishings: Recycled steel is utilized in the making of home furniture owing to its great strength even after recycling. Scrap steel is used in the making of beds, couches, tables, and chairs, etc. The steel provides these furniture pieces durability along with superior aesthetics to make the home stand apart.
  2. Food packaging: Recycled steel is also a preferred choice when it comes to food packaging. Steel cans are the most recycled steel product. A lot of canned goods are made from 100% recycled steel. Less energy is used in the making of steel cans from scrap steel as compared to manufacturing steel cans from raw material. Moreover, steel cans provide excellent resistance against humidity, gasses, and UV-light. Thus, the products do not get spoiled. Moreover, as recycled steel is as strong as the new steel, these cans have great strength and can be transported over long distances. Also, steel has a gloss that gives the food packaging a premium look.
  3. Construction material: Recycled steel is widely used in offices and homes because of its strength and durability. From the steel beams required for support inside the offices to ductwork for the cooling and heating system – all mostly made from recycled steel. Moreover, the stairs and the handrails too are manufactured from the same in most of the cases. Moreover, the lighting fixtures as well as the roofing too involve recycled steel. Also, the old and discarded buildings are dismantled and recycled to form steel that is used in the making of new buildings.
  4. Automobiles: An automobile consists of about 65% of steel. Out of this, around 25% is recycled steel. The old, discarded cars are dismantled and after removing the reusable parts like batteries, tyres, etc, the frames are sent for recycling.
  5. Creative uses: Scrapped steel is used for numerous other purposes like road signs, nameplates, sculptures, and steel art. Being made from recycled steel, outdoor signs and sculptures can withstand external factors and stand strong for years.

Effect of Country Lockdown on Steel Industry

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Effect of Country Lockdown on Steel Industry

The lockdown in India and around the world is having adverse effects on many industries. Many of the sectors are worst-hit by the same and the steel industry too has had to bear the brunt of the lockdown. While it’s a necessary fight for the greater good of mankind, it is imperative to reflect upon the impact of the same on industries to gauge the extent of losses in order to devise a plan to overcome the same.

Key players in the domestic steel market have been forced to shut down operations of many of their manufacturing plants. Even the demand for steel has come down. This sudden halt in the requirement and production will lead to a lowering of the steel prices, thus making way for further losses. Moreover, China’s steel output has declined and China being the largest supplier of finished steel and steel products to India has resulted in the shortage of steel supply. (Source)

The lockdown has led to a nationwide suspension of transport services. The trucks that were the backbone of the steel industry, transporting goods from here to there, are no longer operational and the same is impacting the dispatch of steel products. Most steel companies keep iron ore required for one or two months as a backup near the factory. Still, it would be difficult to carry the same back to the factory due to the unavailability of transport. On the other hand, the construction and infrastructure industry that accounts for around 60 percent of the steel usage too has come to standstill. The same is resulting in the reduction of steel demand.

The lockdown and shutting of manufacturing plants also mean the stoppage of blast furnaces. About half of India’s crude steel output is a result of the blast furnaces. The sudden halting of the blast furnace operations will have unfavorable outcomes like solidifying of hot metal inside the furnace leading to permanent destruction to refractories of the blast furnace and other cooling elements. Moreover, restarting the same has various health dangers like getting hit with equipment, burns, fire, slipping, falling objects, electrocution, etc.

India’s steel ministry secretary Binoy Kumar urged the government to allow the production, supply, and distribution of steel and raw materials under the Essential Services Maintenance Act of 1981. He also brought to notice that the act classifies businesses “dealing with the production, supply or distribution of coal, power, steel or fertilizers” as “essential services”.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that the impact of the lockdown on the global steel industry will be felt for up to 2-3 years now that operations in China, the largest producer of the steel, have been halted.

A way out of this can be the permission to continue the production of steel with regulated working hours and with half the workforce and sufficient precautions. The same will at least result in a minimum break even. Once the lockdown is lifted, the production can begin at the normal rate with minimum cost to generate profits.

How steel industry can help in growing India’s GDP

Steel finds its usage in a myriad of things. It is employed in the construction industry, automobile sector, appliances, medical equipment, in the utensils that we eat, everyday products like the cans that we drink in and even in the smallest of products like needles. And yet, it is far away from reaching its saturation point. The steel production is the key for India to attain a higher GDP because of its wide usage and India’s capacity to cater to the steel requirements.

India produces more than 100 MT of steel each year and has surpassed Japan to become the second-largest producer of crude steel. The steel industry already contributes around 2% to India’s GDP and with the growing need for steel, it has the potential to add more to the country’s growth. The steel sector employees over 6 lakh people directly and around 20 lakh people indirectly, thus being of great importance in the development of the country.

The steel industry of India has an output multiplier effect (the multiplier effect causes gains in total output to be greater than the change in spending that caused it) of 1.4x, while it has an employment multiplier effect (measures the amount of direct, indirect and induced jobs created (or lost) in the area) of 6.8x. Hence, the steel industry is further expected to grow. Moreover, the per capita steel consumption in India is 69 kg, whereas, globally it is 208 kg. The figure in India is really low and by 2030, the steel consumption per person is expected to reach 160 kg per person, thus making way for more opportunities in the steel industry. 

There are several factors which further aids in expanding the steel industry. The Indian steel sector owes its growth to the domestic availability of raw materials such as high-grade iron ore and non-coking coal. Moreover, the cost-effective and young workforce is another advantage to India’s steel industry.  Also, India is blessed with a long coastline on the west, east, and south; thus making it one of the chief players in the global steel market.

In the coming years, the requirement of steel in India is expected to grow enormously as India is soon likely to become the second-largest consumer of steel. There are numerous other opportunities that will facilitate the same such as the announcement of the expansion of railways, the construction of around 20,000 km of highways and the establishment of numerous steel plants under the Sagarmala project. Moreover, the proposed National Logistics Policy further works in favour of the steel industry as it would result in a smooth movement of goods throughout the nation and reduction of the transaction cost.

The steel industry will also reap benefits from the Budget 2020 as the government has introduced infra projects worth Rs 103 trillion besides the supply of Rs 1.70 trillion for transport infrastructure and highways construction. The steel industry will further strengthen as India is negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with a number of countries and the same will be of huge profit to the domestic manufacturing industry.

All these factors come together to provide a boost to the steel industry, which in turn yields numerous job opportunities and enhances the GDP of the country.

Structural tubes are the new future of India

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Structural tubes are the new future of India

The Indian steel industry is reaching new heights because of increased steel demand and the fast pace at which the country is developing. Another reason for the rising steel requirement is the manufacturing industry, which has a lot of construction projects in the pipeline. This is where structural tubes come into the picture.

The tubes employed in constructions are known as structural tubes. They encompass strength, tolerance, and other beneficial properties that make them the right choice for building purposes. They find their usage in a myriad of constructional purposes like building towers, bridges, cranes, highway guardrails, and sign supports, etc. They are also referred to as high-strength welded steel tubes or HSS.

The structural tubes are of three types – Rectangular Hollow Sections, Square Hollow Sections, and Round Hollow Sections. All three have varied purposes and result in making the construction process easier and more efficient.

The Rectangular Hollow sections are used for architectural applications. They are also an inexpensive option as in-built flat surfaces make the fabrication and joining process low-cost.

Circular Hollow sections are used in high-profile applications as they provide constant clean lines and a smooth surface to the structure. Hence, they are widely used and lend houses and buildings a classy appearance.

The Square Hollow sections find their application in structural and constructional purposes. Moreover, they are visually appealing and have a high weight-to-strength ratio. What makes them even more attractive is that they are cost-effective as well. Thus, being a product that the future of India needs.

Numerous other benefits make structural tubes the new future of India. Everyone – from the manufacturers and sellers to the buyers – are benefitted from the structural tubes. The structural sections are quite useful for the manufacturers as they are easy to bend, form, punch, and drill. Also, the welding process is easy and simple. These are of much importance to engineers and OEMs as they are easily available in various sizes, are cost-effective, deliver, exceptional torsional, compressive strength, uniform strength and have a high strength-to-weight ratio. Even the distributors are benefitted greatly as the structural sections are easily available for delivery.
Along with benefiting everyone involved with the structural tubes, various other advantages give these tubes an edge over the open sections and results in efficient and cost-effective work. These benefits include:

Exceptional Torsional resistance – The structural tubes offer 200 times better torsion than the open sections.
Efficiency – The structural tubes are more efficient as they possess an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. Moreover, they have a better axial capacity.

Delivering more for less – As they are uniform, they deliver excellent structural support with less steel.

Reduces costs – They are cost-effective, efficient, and reduce material costs, and thus are economical.

All of the above reasons make structural tubes the new future of India – one that needs to be embraced to take the nation forward. Have you switched to the right tubes yet?

How does DFT differ from the other steel making processes?

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How does DFT differ from the other steel making processes?

Steel is an integral part of the construction industry and is the most widely used and most recycled material. Steel is available in various forms – from stainless and high-temperature steel to flat carbon products. Steel is one of the most innovative materials in the world. The steel industry’s step to achieve 100% efficiency has led to constructive discussions and advancement in technology. DFT is the latest technology in the steel industry which helps in manufacturing universal hollow steel pipes. It allows the buyers to customize their steel pipe according to the design. APL Apollo was the one to introduce DFT in India. Let us look at some of the other processes to understand the importance and necessity of DFT.

MIDREX:

It is a steel making and iron making process that helps in the production of Direct Reduced Iron. It is a gas-based shaft furnace process that helps in solid-state reduction process which reduces iron ore pellets in Direct Reduced Iron (DRI). The capacity of production has increased to 1.8 million tons per year in 2007.

The MIDREX process is effective because of

  1. Continual refinement of the process which includes increases heat recovery,
  2. Larger capacity shaft furnaces and
  3. Hot briquetting.
Electric Arc Furnace:

An Electric Arc Furnace is an extremely hot enclosed space in which heat is produced by means of electrical arcing. The electric arc is produced between the electrodes. This process is used for melting the metals. It is used to produce mini steel structural bars and steel rods. There are two types of Electrical Arc Furnaces – they are alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) operated the electric furnace.

COREX:

It is a smelting reduction process which combines a melter gasifier with a reduction shaft. The main inputs for this process are lump iron ore, non-coking coal, and oxygen. It helps in cost-efficient and environment-friendly COREX, production of hot metal. It is accepted as a commercially proven technology by fulfilling more stringent ecological regulations, utilization of low cost, highly available low-grade raw material.

Direct Forming Technology:

This technology has brought a revolutionary change in the steel pipe production industry. This helps in producing universal hollow shapes of pipe to fit customer requirements. It is an innovative route to pipe production. Compared to other traditional steelmaking processes it is completely automatic and computerized. Set-up operation of DFT is accurate and fast as compared to others. It enables buyers to get pipes according to the size they want, without compromising on the quality. This method gives an undisputed advantage in terms of production capability, cost reduction and flexibility. These square and rectangular hollow sections are lesser in weight and superior in strength as compared to other methods of steel tube manufacturing. DFT gives an advantage of on-time delivery of high-quality material.

Thus, switching to DFT has proven to be sustainable and cost-efficient that will ultimately fuel the growth of the industry.

Latest Trends in the Steel Industry

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Latest Trends in the Steel Industry

Steel is the most commonly used metal in the world as it plays a crucial role in the development of a sustainable society. It is the most common building material as steel can be recycled without a loss of strength. The steel industry has evolved over time, especially in India.

In the early years, under the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1956, the iron and steel industry were reserved under the public sector but due to a shortage of steel production and increased demand, government liberalized the steel industry in 1980. India has now emerged as one of the significant steel producers in the world. India is the 8th largest producer of crude steel in the world and seventh largest steel producer in the world.

In the late 18th century, the invention of the steam engine enabled mass production of iron. Though it required an external heat source and its productivity was relatively low, it permitted a wide range of iron resources and easy control of temperature.

After this, the basic oxygen steelmaking process emerged in the steel industry. This, along with continuous casting processes developed in the 1950s, came to be considered the most innovative technologies in the history of the steel industry. It had many advantages of cost competitiveness, high productivity and the ability to produce a wide range of high-quality steel. But soon global research institutes found out several disadvantages of these processes, including generation of a large number of environment pollutants.

With the advancement of the world, a system equally developed was needed to match the requirements. To keep up with the pace of development, we needed a manufacturing process that could produce steel equipment at an equivalent pace. This is where DFT came into the scenario. APL Apollo was the first company to import the technology and introduce it in India and till date, we remain the sole manufacturing company that uses this technology.

DFT is used to make hollow sections of superior quality and finish. This technology can form rectangular and square hollow sections of different sizes and thickness directly, Thus reducing the huge cost and providing better productivity at both – customer and company – levels. It also helps in customizing orders and makes any size between 26 mm X 13 mm – 400 mm X 200 mm in rectangular hollow sections and 12 mm X 12 mm – 300 mm X 300 mm in square hollow sections. In addition to being durable, stylish and cost-effective, steel produced using DFT is also eco-friendly.

Thus the ever-evolving industry is truly at a stage where its products can be adapted into various spheres of our lives and this has been made possible with the advancement of technology and latest trends that have been embraced by the industry.

How Steel Tube Industry is Helping in Saving the Environment?

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How Steel Tube Industry is Helping in Saving the Environment?

Whether you are looking for a more environment-friendly solution to your construction needs or wanting to learn more about making the right choice – this is a must-read for you. Over the years, the steel tube industry has evolved and the growth has also been accelerated due to growing environmental concerns. Today, we are among the top five steel tube manufacturing companies and we are expanding every day to meet the growing demands. In the process, we are also adding to environment conservation. Let’s take a look at how this is done!

Steel Is Recyclable

Most steel is 100% recyclable, which essentially means it can be made into other things after the original product is no longer in use. Easily traceable with magnetic separation, steel can also be easily recovered from waste and other places and utilized to make other things. This leads to an overall reduction in materials needed and also saves limited natural resources, thus saving the environment.

Steel Is Durable

When you opt for steel, you invest in a product that is much more durable than its counterparts. Over the years, this leads to reduction in production of materials thus saving time, energy and money. Often, fossil fuels are used for manufacturing these products and by providing more durable products, the steel tube industry is ensuring the reduction of finite resources.

Steel Reduces Waste

By producing sustainable products; the steel tube industry is reducing the waste in the environment. Steel being recyclable, is sent for processing, instead of adding to the non-recyclable waste that is increasing every day. This greatly helps the environment while creating quality products for our consumers.

Steel Replaces Wood

Steel tubes and pipes are replacing wood every day. This greatly reduces the need for felling trees thus leading to a greener tomorrow. The less use of wood also reduces deforestation and in turn lessens soil erosion, which often causes many natural disasters. Steel is more durable than wood and this leads to products lasting longer, which would have otherwise been replaced by more wooden products. It is also being used to build door frames and window frames and other structures, which were traditionally made of wood. This ensures that the structures last longer and do not get infested by pests or affected by weather, like in the case of wooden frames.

Apart from offering durability and great designs, switching to steel is also contributing towards conservation of the environment. Have you made the switch yet?