The Rs. 1,902-crore expansion project of the Salem Steel Plant (SSP), a special steels unit of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), is expected to be commissioned by September this year.

The commissioning will enable SSP to get into the production of stainless steel slabs.

SSP pioneered the supply of wider-width stainless steel sheets and coils in India.

It also had the country's first top-of-the-line stainless steel blanking facility with a capacity of 3,600 tonnes of coin blanks, utility blanks and circles. SSP is also well-known for the production of a variety of specially designed finishes which find application in architectural uses like, cladding of building facades, doors, windows, kitchen sinks, staircases and elevators, decorative steel laminates as also in panelling of buses and EMU coaches.

SAIL sources told The Hindu that commissioning of few of the equipment had been done and the “remaining equipment will be commissioned in a phased manner in about two months.” While the equipment in the steel melting shop will be commissioned at one-go, those in the cold rolling mill will be commissioned in phases. Power problems have held up the execution of the expansion project.

The project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September 2008 after getting its environment clearance in April. Kajamalai Reserve Forest is located four km south of the project.

Product mix

The plant's present product mix comprises hot rolled and cold rolled stainless steel coils, hot rolled stainless steel blanks and utility blanks. The highlight of the expansion facility is the steel melting shop which will annually produce 1.80 lakh tonnes of stainless steel slabs which will help SSP reduce its dependence on outside sources for getting these slabs over and above the supplies it gets from its sister concern Alloy Steel Plant, Durgapur.

The expansion plan envisages increase in capacity of hot rolled coils and sheets from three lakh tonnes now to 3.7 lakh tonnes, and a doubling of the 70,000-tonne capacity of cold rolled coils and sheets and one-lakh tonne capacity of hot rolled annealed and pickled products. Coins and blanks capacity would remain same at 6,000-tonne annually.

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