Tata Steel has announced a £2 million investment in its steel tube works facility in Hartlepool and has inked a distribution agreement with Eisenbau Krämer (EBK), a steel tube manufacturer based in Germany, to expand its product offering and services to the offshore renewable energy market.
Huge quantities of wind turbine foundation structures called jacket foundations are required for wind tower structures due to the increased activities in the renewable energy sector. The Hartlepool facility will launch a central supply base for the distribution of steel tubular sections utilized in the production of jacket foundations. Work on the facility is slated to commence in October 2011, with completion slated for spring 2012.
At the new facility, components will be produced from steel tubulars and then made ready for welding into the final structures, resulting in the reduction of output times and enhancement of cost effectiveness to the customers, who can now get all types of steel components from one supplier. Groundwork comprises cutting-to-size, welding, shot-blasting, coating and profiling. Materials that are stored in the kit form will be supplied to fabricators located across UK and Europe through the UK rail network and local deepwater ports.
Tata Steel’s Director for tubes, Ramsay Ross stated that this investment strengthens Tata Steel’s presence in the renewable market. The wind tower hub launched in Scunthorpe in 2010 to fabricate and supply steel plates for fabricators was an important part of this strategy, he said. The next step is this separate development, in which the company will alter the buildings and invest in new properties at Hartlepool, he said.
Under the supply deal with EBK, Tata Steel and EBK will produce steel tubes with diameters ≥400 mm using the plates produced at Tata Steel’s facilities in Dalzell or Scunthorpe. Besides supplying tubulars for jacket foundations, Tata Steel also offers small-sized sections and tubulars ideal for all types of major and minor steel works in the fabrication of wind turbines.