Bhilai Steel Plant, located about 35 Kms from the capital city of Chhattisgarh, Raipur is one of the major producers of steel plates, wire rods and other structural parts. It also boasts of being the only producer of steel rails.
The students had the opportunity of visiting Wire Rod Mill, Merchant Mill, Steel Melting Shops, Blast Furnace, Coke Ovens, Rail & Structural Mill and Plate Mill.
The Wire Rod Mill was a marvel to look upon by the students, and it covered many aspects of supply chain management. The blast furnace was seen from a distance due to security and safety issues. But still the students were able to get a view of the red hot liquid iron being poured. Students were made to understand how fuel, ore and flux (limestone in this case) are supplied through the top of the furnace and how occasional blasts of air are given from the bottom to bring about the chemical reaction.
The students were guided throughout the visit and were explained about the intricacies of steel production from mining to the final product. It was a new experience for many who were new to the industry to find the automated process heating the steel converting it into plates and then cooling it for the purpose of quenching and stress relieving. The plates produced here are widely used in the defence sector and ship building processes.
The Rail & Structural Mill which is one of its kind facilities in steel plants across India has an annual capacity of 7.5 Lakh tonnes of steel. The product from this mill is used by the Indian Railways and various other companies in the business of construction equipment development. The rails produced from this section are used in making the boom of cranes.
All in all it was a great learning experience for the students and there was a healthy discussion between the officials of Bhilai Steel Plant and the students of IIM Raipur.