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Construction : Viewpoint | October 2015 | Source : CW-India

Success Simplified

Commitment and collaboration can make the most daunting of tasks doable, explains VINAYAK DESHPANDE.

The odds were against - it was a big leap. The task was to build India´s largest blast furnace at SAIL, Rourkela. This being the first large blast furnace contract for Tata Projects, we were excited, enthusiastic as well as anxious with the magnitude and newness of this project. The technical complexity looked daunting. The engineering had been voluminous and complex. The construction sequence looked elaborate and meticulous, almost like an expedition programme in high mountains.

Last week, we conducted the performance guarantee test of the Furnace and it performed like a well-tuned machine, smooth and bump-less, meeting all parameters of process and environment. It was a great moment, an occasion to celebrate for the engineers and all of us at Tata Projects. The blast furnace looks like a piece of modern art, a metallic sculpture that represents the might of engineering. The furnace structure is handsome and tall, about 100 m in height and 4,060 cu m in volume with a superb layout for the cast house. Durga - the name RSP has given this blast furnace - is truly a sight to behold.

Smart teamwork
India´s largest blast furnace stands as an outstanding example of the technological success achieved by the collaborative efforts of three Tata companies: Tata Projects, Danieli Corus (DC) and Tata Consulting Engineers. Based in different geographies, these three companies came together to execute this very challenging assignment; not only was a highly complex project delivered to the customer´s satisfaction, the spotlight nowshines brightly on the capabilities of the best of Tata talent. The project also signifies a huge breakthrough for Tata Projects, one that underlines the capabilities of this engineering projects company. It was a prestigious and challenging contract as it was the largest blast furnace at that time to be built in India. It was a full EPC contract that brought together the strengths of several Tata companies. The technology was provided by DC; Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) did the detailed engineering; and we were involved in engineering review, project management, procurement and construction.

Tough teamwork
Apart from the complexity of the task itself, one of the challenges was managing the deliverables and logistics of the cross-company, cross-functional teams. Yet, we ensured that all the teams, working together on a single project for the first time, executed the contract with clockwork precision and to the client´s satisfaction. In fact, so successful has been the teamwork and execution of the Rourkela project, that the consortium partners have won a similar contract from another public-sector undertaking, for an even larger blast furnace. In 2011, Tata Projects in a consortium with DC bagged an order from the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) for engineering, supply of plant, equipment, civil, structural work, erection and commissioning of a 4,500 cu m blast furnace complex for its 3 million tonne per annum integrated steel plant at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh on a divisible turnkey basis. As of now, this will be the largest blast furnace to be built in India.

The metals market
The success of the project reverberates strongest in Tata Projects, which for many years had been focused on EPC projects in power generation, transmission and distribution besides the railways, water and hydrocarbon sectors. The Rourkela project followed by the NMDC contract has given Tata Projects a strong presence in the steel EPC sector.

Indeed, executing two of the largest blast furnaces in India has established us firmly in the steel EPC business. With the Indian economy expected to grow at 6-9 per cent annually over the coming years, demand for steel will soar and consequently the need for setting up many more large blast furnaces.

Having gained vast experience in executing such projects, Tata Projects is expanding its steel business into projects in upstream processes for iron ore. The inferior quality of iron ore in India is reflected in a growing demand from steel mills for ore beneficiation and pelletisation. We are looking at beneficiation and pelletisation plants as steel companies are opting for this technology to enrich the quality of iron ore. We have successfully migrated into providing pelletisation facilities for steel plants on an EPC basis.

Thus, there´s a new fire driving our enthusiasm for growth. We learnt that we can take on such complex and large projects by pooling together the capabilities available within the group. We also experienced the excellence in other group companies, which when combined can give us a unique position in the market.

About the author:
Vinayak Deshpande, Managing Director, Tata Projects, has over 30 years of work experience in different roles, in diverse industries; starting with the design and sales of boilers and captive power plants at Thermax, to industrial automation and process controls. Deshpande took charge as the company´s managing director in July 2011 and since then, Tata Projects has achieved all-round excellence in its business of industrial infrastructure.

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