Stating that there will be absolutely zero tolerance on the quality front, steel ministry has warned small induction furnaces to strictly adhere to the BIS standards or else they might have to shut shops simply because they would not be able to sell their products in the market.
There are around 1,128 induction furnaces in the country which use sponge iron or melting scrap to produce semi-finished steel. Of India’s 125 MTPA steel production capacity, 29% or 36 MnT comes through the induction furnace route.
"Induction furnaces will have to follow the BIS standards, if they have to compete and if they want to sell their products in the market,” said a senior steel ministry official on sidelines of a conference conducted by steel ministry on giving preference to domestically produced steel.
Though 33 steel products have already been notified under the mandatory quality certification mark scheme of BIS, actual implementation of these standards by the industry, particularly by the secondary manufacturers, is limited, resulting in large-scale production, imports and use of sub-standard material, putting infrastructure and public safety at risk.
Since most of the induction furnace units lack in-house quality testing facilities, the government proposed to set up quality testing facilities in steel hubs and further strengthen the already established facilities to cater to possible rise in demand.
Induction furnace route finds a prominent place in India’s steel-making since it has a number of advantages. It does not require coking coal, for which India mostly relies on imports. The capital cost is also less and does not required large land parcel to set up a unit.
However, the induction furnace route lacks refining capabilities. The steel ministry, which lays a lot of emphasis on secondary steel firms to achieve its ambitious target of taking country’s steel-making capacity to 300 MnT by 2030-31, has already decided to take appropriate steps to promote development of consistent and cost-effective refining methods in order to produce high quality steel.
Secondary manufacturers contribute around 51% of India’s annual steel production. BIS standard is applicable to all products, be it imports or produced domestically by the integrated firms or small units. These 33 products account for 75% of India’s total steel production. Sources said the number might also go up in the coming days.