Corus – steel going strong
Corus is Europe’s second largest steel producer with revenues of £9.7 billion and crude steel production of 18.3 million tonnes in 2006, primarily in the UK and the Netherlands.
Corus recently became a subsidiary of Tata Steel, the world’s sixth largest and second most global steel producer. With a combined presence in nearly 50 countries, Tata Steel including Corus has 84,000 employees across five continents and a crude steel production of around 27 million tonnes in 2007.
Although most people recognise Corus as a steelmaking company, many do not realise that the company’s engineering division, Corus Northern Engineering Services (CNES), is one of the largest engineering services groups in the UK, with bases in Teesside, Scunthorpe, Workington and Rotherham. CNES not only works with customers inside the Corus group, but also outside of the steel industry, in sectors such as food and beverage manufacturing, oil & gas, automotive, aerospace & defence, nuclear, chemicals, construction, cement, mining and quarrying.
So how can a company such as CNES, whose roots are firmly established in the steelmaking sector, provide value-added services to these other external markets and customers? Part of the answer lies in the fact that CNES as a company possesses a highly trained workforce of engineers and managers, whose combined knowledge and transferable skills can and are being used to help other companies solve similar engineering, production and maintenance problems. CNES also has some of the largest manufacturing and machining workshop facilities in the UK.
It’s easy to see why customers are turning to CNES for support. Take for example, the maintenance and asset management of a steelworks compared to a manufacturer of food or confectionery products. Similar production problems exist in both companies. If production is stopped in either company, perhaps because of a faulty bearing, pump or motor, the cost of that production downtime is enormous. Process temperatures, harsh operating environments, knowledge of equipment and systems designed for hazardous areas, are all issues that exist for companies in both steel and food manufacturing. Because CNES has solved similar problems over the years inside Corus’ own steel making plants, it can share this experience and knowledge with other industry sectors.
CNES prides itself on being able to provide an integrated engineering approach, putting together multi-disciplinary teams from within Corus, tailormade for a wide-range of specific jobs.
Examples of recent successful activities and projects undertaken by CNES include, the timely and effective condition monitoring of bearings at the Corus steel making sites in Scunthorpe (Basic Oxygen Steelmaking plant) and the Corus Teesside beam mill; many cases of resolving emergency breakdowns in the Corus Construction & Industrial, Teesside Cast products and Corus Engineering Steels businesses; delivery of 33 modular lift shafts to the Heathrow Terminal 5 project, totalling around 810 tonnes of light-section steelwork; the design and installation of digital, fibre-optic networked plant CCTV systems at Corus’ Rotherham, Hartlepool and Scunthorpe sites; the design and build of radiation shielding for a new target station at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (the ISIS project) in Oxfordshire.
CNES also recently completed the refurbishment of Hull North Bridge for Hull City Council. The grade two-listed rolling bascule bridge (lifts and opens) had to be totally refurbished and modernised. CNES undertook the complete project management, engineering, procurement, quantity surveying, programme planning and resource control, fitting and installation work and shot blasting painting. This included the use of new cast steel; support sections for quadrant and flat track segments; track segments and support sections machined on site; primary and secondary power transmission gearboxes, drives, shafts and couplings were replaced with new ones; upper bridge structure wind bracing was renewed; and all superstructures and components were shot blasted and painted to specification.
Corus Process Engineering, also a part of CNES, specialises in refurbishing continuous casting installations but also has considerable expertise in a range of new casting installation technologies. A significant proportion of CPE’s work comes from the nuclear and defence industries and since the 1950s, CPE has been supplying plant and equipment for nuclear applications worldwide, including nuclear waste transport and handling equipment, 300 storage flasks, shield doors and gamma gates.
In fact, CNES recently supplied 40 of its handheld radiation detection systems, Redeem, to the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), for monitoring radioactivity levels in sheep in Cumbria, Scotland and North Wales, which were contaminated as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Redeem is a system for detecting radioactive isotopes that was originally developed back in the 1980s by the R&D laboratories at Corus in order to prevent contaminated recycled metal from being delivered to its own steel production sites. However, the system was re-developed, refined and improved over the last 20 years, resulting in a wide variety of new applications outside of its original intended use.
In the cement sector, CNES has carried out major equipment overhaul and refurbishment projects for all the major cement production sites in the UK. Mining and quarrying companies also regularly turn to CNES for assistance on maintenance and refurbishment projects.
Even one of the UK’s national treasures has benefited from CNES’ expertise. Important cylinder and bearing refurbishment work on the Flying Scotsman steam locomotive, was completed recently. CNES carried out critical precision machining work on engine cylinders and axle box bearings at its workshops in Scunthorpe for The National Railway Museum (NRM), owners of the famous steam locomotive since 2004.
Earlier this year, CNES also unveiled its brand new range of British-designed industrial locomotives, the first of this type of locomotive to be manufactured in the UK for more than 15 years. Corus has already commissioned the building of four of these new locomotives for its Port Talbot works in Wales. These four robust, 100-tonne, 1000hp, shunting locomotives will be used to transport liquid iron and steel products. The locomotives will be manufactured at Corus’ Transport and Fabrication Workshops at Scunthorpe by CNES. The first locomotive will be delivered in early 2008.
CNES uses a range of non-intrusive condition monitoring techniques, including acoustic emissions monitoring; thermographic imaging; vibration monitoring; laser alignment; lubricant technology; and remote visual inspection. CNES as a whole can offer mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil services, to develop, enhance and maintain all types of industrial process.
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