Tata Steel UK, a new kiln investment improves supply chain efficiency

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Senior pottery craftsmen stoking the fire in his large kiln in Japan

A new GBP 4 million investment at a major facility in north-west England will enable the Port Talbot steelworks in Wales to receive more efficient and long-term supplies of critical steelmaking material.


Tata Steel UK has announced that a new GBP 4 million investment at a significant facility in north-west England will enable for a more efficient and long-term supply of critical steelmaking material to the Port Talbot steelworks in Wales.
The restoration of a key lime-making kiln at Tata Steel’s Shapfell location in Cumbria took ten months to complete, allowing it to resume production after being idle since 2016, the Indian steel firm said on Friday.
Lime is manufactured in the company’s Cumbrian facility using UK-quarried limestone, which helps to improve steel quality and remove impurities during the steelmaking process.

The site has received a significant improvement as a result of this investment. This particular kiln had been idle for several years, but we saw an opportunity to bring it back online to cover production as another kiln neared the end of its normal life cycle, while also utilising new technology that allows us to be more sustainable and cost-effective, according to John Baird, Shapfell’s Operations Manager.
It’s great to see capital invested in the site to help us keep operations moving and continue to support jobs and innovation in Cumbria. It’s also been a great opportunity to bring some of our talented team through to see a rare kiln refurbishment and share this knowledge for future relines, he said.

Before the kiln was heated up again, we used the time to do some virtual reality work inside the kiln, which will be used to teach operators in total safety in the future, he added.
Shapfell’s Kiln 4 will produce roughly 1.5 million tonnes of calcium-rich lime products over a 12-year period. The kiln is lit using cutting-edge technology developed in collaboration with Secatherm.
Instead of using traditional wood, a hot gas blower system has been installed, which provides increased control while also reducing and cleaning pollutants. Tata Steel UK will be able to understand and control the combustion and energy efficiency of the kiln using new technology, including airflow monitoring, in order to reduce overall energy use and costs.

Tata Steel is a member of the South Wales Industrial Cluster, which is looking at everything from carbon capture to hydrogen, and has been named Sustainability Champions by the World Steel Association for the past four years, according to the business.
Tata Steel is one of Europe’s largest steel producers, with steelmaking operations in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, as well as manufacturing facilities around the continent. Construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging, and engineering are among the companies that supply high-quality steel goods to the most demanding sectors.

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