Tata Steel is looking to partially insulate revenues from cyclicality of the steel business by exploring possibilities in the non-steel materials segment, which it hopes will corner 10 per cent of revenues by 2025.
The new materials business is focused on fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites and graphene, but there is also an effort of bringing advanced materials like ceramics into the fold. The company’s latest annual report said that with the growth in the economy there was a large opportunity for new materials and applications for existing and new sectors and Tata Steel aspired to be a technology and innovation leader in the industry. The new businesses are expected to account for 10 per cent of revenues.
The model adopted by the new materials business is asset-light model through partnerships to develop FRP products that cater to automotive, industrial, infrastructure and railway sectors. The wide-ranging applications could be solutions for streetlight poles, pressure vessels, pipes, modular toilets, chemical tanks and footover bridges.
Tata Steel is already collaborating with National Composite Centre - Bristol, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, IIT Roorkee, NIT Rourkela and other Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Labs for the purpose. There is some progress, however, in commercialisation of graphene. Industrial solutions developed with graphene-doped composites have offered significant improvement in the operational costs of the process plants. Also, graphene anti-corrosion coatings have been established towards a green alternative from the current coating technologies.
Tata Steel’s idea behind moving beyond steel and scaling it up over time is to insulate revenues from steel cyclicality. The services and solutions business is another vertical to aid the company in this endeavour.
Pravesh (steel doors and windows) and Nest-In (modular construction solution) are offerings from Tata Steel’s services and solutions stable.
Since inception, around one lakh units of Pravesh have been installed and over 10,000 customers have been served until this financial year. During the year, the turnover from Tata Pravesh doors and windows have increased by 80 per cent compared to the previous year. Nest-In too has doubled its business during 2018-19 over previous year. For the services and solutions vertical, the target is steeper, 20 per cent of revenues by 2025.