On 17th February 2014 a group of 28 students started their journey on what was the second industrial visit this season and this time around the destination was the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP - the flagship plant of SAIL).
Located in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh, BSP is India's first and foremost producer of steel rails (It is the sole supplier of the country's longest rail tracks, which measure 260 metres), as well as a major producer of wide steel plates, wire rods and other steel products.
Upon arrival the group was taken to a training room where a brief video describing the various processes involved in the manufacturing of steel was shown. After the session, safety instructions were given and the students were sent off to the plant. The first stop, the blast furnace shop, gave a feel of what it is like to be in a steel plant. See pic below.
The instructor explained the processes that happen inside the furnace which reduces iron ore, coke and limestone into hot metal. Liquid iron is separated from slag when it settles down at the bottom of the furnace and is sent to the Steel Melting Shop (SMS). At the Steel melting shop the impurities are removed and the students were explained and shown how the homogenization of steel takes place. The next stop was to one of the 21 batteries at BSP. A battery is a set of ovens lined up together which heat coal in order to remove unwanted gases from it and transform it to coke, the process lasts for about 16-18 hours after which it is transported to the blast furnace. The final stop was the plate mill rolling shop. The students witnessed the automated process wherein molten billets of steel were rolled into the desired shapes and cut as per the specification.