India's largest steel producer Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), a PSU and Maharatna Company of Govt. of India has developed new grade of steel that will help to make domestic LPG cylinders lighter by 2.5 kgs and also tougher. SAIL's new grade steel has already got ISO quality certification and is ready for use after user trials. Normally from one tonne of steel, 62 cylinders can be made each weighing 15 kgs. But by using SAIL’s new grade, from one tonne of steel around 70 cylinders can be made. Moreover, it would be easier to shape and give a new design and look to the LPG cylinders that have remained unchanged for several decades.
The conventional domestic cylinders are made from 2.9 mm thick steel sheets. “The new steel developed and produced for domestic LPG cylinders has a higher strength to weight ratio and hence 2.44 mm thickness for the cylinder would suffice instead of 2.9 mm. This will reduce the weight of the cylinders by around 2.5 kgs,” said C. S. Verma, the SAIL chairman. SAIL has used the period of flat demand scenario in the steel sector to its advantage by focusing its energy on research and development. The new grade of steel for LPG cylinders is part of 25 new products developed by the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in 2013-14, all aimed at increasing the share of value added products in SAIL's portfolio.
Mr. Verma said, “Around 37% of our revenues are from value-added steel products at present and in the next one and a half year, we plan to increase this to 55%. This will help the company financially as well as value added products allow better realizations”.
Earlier, the petroleum ministry had a proposal of reducing weight of domestic cylinders but due to difference in the cost and efficiency mechanics the idea was dropped. There was also a plan to use stainless body for these cylinders but because of excessive cost involved for changeover forced to drop the idea. This time SAIL has been pushing very hard towards the new proposal as it would not lead to any substantial increase in steel price. SAIL has already supplied 50,000 MT of this new grade of steel to a Faridabad-based entity for fabrication of export quality LPG and other cylinders. It has now asked oil marketing companies to approve the new steel grade so that it could be commercially manufactured for domestic LPG cylinders.
(Source: The Financial Express)