Friday, September 17, 2021

The Story Of ‘Research & Development’ of Tata Steel

Tata Steel is the first company in India to have its own R&D Division. The objective was to reduce cost and increase output.

Jamshedpur: The Research & Development (R&D) Department of Tata Steel was founded on September 14, 1937. The R&D building was inaugurated by the then chairman of Tata Steel, Sir Nowroji Saklatvala. It was for the first time in India that an organisation had its own R&D Division. The key objectives to have a research division was to reduce costs and increase output of the Company

The new Control and Research Laboratory was designed for the following purposes:

  1. To control raw material involving analytical and chemical problems, for the purpose of selection or investigation
  2. To study, observe and supervise all metallurgical operations being carried out within the steel plant
  3. To examine the properties of special iron and steel
  4. To analyse refractory materials and corrosion problems
  5. To development new steel and new products of all kinds
  6. Fuel Laboratory
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The R&D building was designed to provide efficiency, flexibility, and comfort. The rooms were well laid out to provide a straight-line flow of work and were connected by wide corridors.

All amenities including gas, water, power, and vacuum were supplied through a duct running below the floor for easy maintenance, and to keep walls free from piping and cabling. Special attention was given to ensure safe and healthy working conditions with respect to ergonomics, lighting, and ventilation.

The tables and benches were designed as per the convenience of the technicians, and to avoid unnecessary movements. The fume extraction systems were installed with specially designed hoods.

The switchboards were fitted at the corridors to avoid corrosion due to fumes in the chemical labs. A numerous emergency showers were also installed in case of acid splatters or similar incidents.

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One of its initial products that bear testimony of its genius to its present day is the low alloy structural steel ‘Tiscrom’ that was used to build the famous Howrah Bridge in Kolkata. Tata Steel also developed a high strength structural steel ‘Tiscor’ used in freight cars, ships, trams, and other vehicles.

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Another accomplishment was the production of ‘Tatanagar’ armoured car with special quality sheets of alloy steel and silicon, and bullet-proof armour plates.

The armoured car is the first and only Indian made armoured car which battled Axis powers in the western desert of Africa during the World War II.

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