Friday, December 3, 2010

2 Hi Skin Pass Mill at Salem Steel Plant, SAIL, India (1980)

Pulpit of  5 Stand Tandem Cold Mill at Bokaro Steel Plant - India (Ordered on MECON in 1977)

Stainless Steel Plant at Salem :

Though I have included a picture of 5 Stand TCM at Bokaro as part of 4 MT expansion of the SAIL plant, as promised in my yesterday's blog here I am with story related to Salem Plant of SAIL.

Location and configuration of Salem Plant was more affected by political consideration than technical or commercial. Here I have no intention of offending any body or any region, and I apologize in advance if I hurt any body's feelings due to this observation. Salem plant engineers always showed us a near by hill by the name of Kanjmalai supposedly rich in Iron Ore as a reason for the plant location, however till now no mining from this hill have been attempted. In fact the plant was originally established as rolling mill complex having cold mills and lines leading to such observations. The plant was initially getting hot coils rolled in other units from raw materials produced in Alloy Steel Plant near Durgapur in West Bengal India. These distances defied normal logistics costs and initially gave an impression that the plant shall not be commercially profitable. The plant was more like a large re-rolling mills and lines. However following positive things happened :
1) SAIL established first plant for Stainless Steel.
2) Salem Stainless Steel set new quality standards for Stainless Steel in India.

Now about my experience as part of MECON team involved in 2 Hi Skin Pass Mill's execution. MECON designed, manufactured / procured and erected and commissioned the Skin Pass Mill. Wean United Inc, Pittsburgh, USA was MECON's technical collaborator and BHEL/ Siemens Ag delivered the electrics. I was looking after electrical equipments from MECON side and was responsible for preparation of motor list and functional write up and commissioning of the plant as per the functional description. I have 3 stories to tell about our experience at Salem. 1) Experience regarding initial commissioning and inauguration of the plant.2) Experience during Performance Guarantee test 3) Experience of recommissioning of CO2 fire fighting system supplied by MECON.

I am going to write about the first part today and other 2 experiences will follow in subsequent blogs.

M/s Puegot Louire of France was process consultant while MN Dastur was engineering consultant for the plant.There we myself, Mr Nair from Hydraulics Department and Mr TV Vaidyanathan from Manufacturing and Construction department were posted from MECON. We had a nicest coherent team of MECON without inter disciplinary fight .. not even once..
Some none technical things.. this may be interesting ..
I was not originally assigned this job, how ever my current boss that time Mr BP Goyal (Now Director at Jindal Stainless and briefly my boss once again at Jindal Stainless where I worked as VP-Projects in CRM), was not happy with me for some reasons and put me under Mr SM Ganguly (Presently with SMS-India) who was showing concern of not having any body to help me.. result I was posted to faraway Salem. Despite a family tragedy - I lost my father in an accident - I went to Salem and this lasted for about 10 months initially. We used to stay at a Hotel Called 'Gokulam' near Five Road Junction in Salem. Nice Hotel. Film Stars like legendary Silk Smitha and cricketer like Kapildev stayed in the hotel while we were there. One waiter by the name 'Manjunath' took good care of us and we never got hungry even if very late in returning from Site. He kept some thing to eat in our rooms. we referred to him as 'Manju' in our conversations back home to tease our wives..
Our routine was work from 8AM to 1030 PM and late night movie mostly Tamil or Malyalam almost every day. There were almost 60 cinema halls in Salem and around. In case there were any Hindi or English movie running, I could not know where since name of the cinema hall will be in Tamil. I learned to read Tamil to overcome this problem and I can still read hoardings and headlines in Tamil.... Two friends of mine used to help understand the dialogues and I used to be last to laugh on any joke. What disaster my little knowledge of Tamil did during visit of Sri DD Sinha (rose to become GM- in MECON) to Salem in my next post..

I will continue this topic tomorrow or may be on 8th Dec onwards since I am traveling back to India from US.


  1. My journey from Salem to Ranchi by car was eventful. I took a local driver, who suggested a trip via Tirumalai, we went there and I stayed in Hotel overnight while the driver slept in car. In the morning I was looking for him and he was not there. Then I noticed a clean headed person .. lo it was the driver who had got himself shaven in the mean while a religious custom there. When we reached Ranchi, my wife was worried since she or even my company was unable to find by where about. On way we also worshiped at Annavaram but from the foot of the hill only could not go up to the while temples..

  2. I have visited your website which was really good, now m waiting for your next post on STEEL ROLLING MILL PLANT India, amazing writing style , you guys has compel visitors to read top to bottom.