Tata Steel commissioned a new heat-treatment plant at its Hayange plant, in the Lorraine region of France, that will produce train track capable of lasting up to three times longer than standard rail. The facility provides a full range of heat-treated, stress-free rails up to 108 meters (354 feet) long, allowing rail operators to enhance performance and reduce costs associated with more frequent worn rail replacement. The plant, which will operate alongside an existing heat-treatment line at the Hayange mill, will more than double the company’s annual output of heat-treated rail from 55,000 to 125,000 metric tons. Tata Steel’s heat-treated rail is produced using a patented process that ensures it has exceptional wear resistance. The rail moves through an induction furnace, which uses an electromagnetic field to heat the steel to 950°C (1742°F), and is then rapidly cooled using compressed air.
According to Tata Steel, the new heat-treatment facility will allow the company to meet the needs of customers in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Scandinavia, which are demanding longer-length heat-treated rail to reduce life-cycle costs. The plant will also allow Tata Steel to support existing markets, such as Brazil, Gabon, Mauritania and South Africa, where rails have to cope with heavier axle loads, as well as metro systems in Hong Kong, India and Singapore, where heat-treated rails have exceptional technical performance in demanding traffic conditions.