The Make in India campaign appears to be manifesting itself in various spheres of steelmaking in the nation. In the previous issue, we saw how galvanized steel market was catching pace in India. This time we learned how Essar Steel is approaching the automobile sector for application of the Bullet Proof Steel developed by it. Essar Steel is one of the few steelmakers in the country working towards developing various grades of bullet proof steel. Up until now, such steel found application largely in the defence sector. With Essar Steel eyeing to bullet proof the passenger automobile segment, we might be moving towards expanding the applications of special steels in the market.
To know more on this, Steel 360 spoke with Mr Vikram Amin, Executive Director, Strategy & Business Development, Essar Steel Business Group. Excerpts follow.
Q. Please tell us about the various grades of bullet proof steel developed by Essar.
A. Essar Steel has developed its brand of armored plates ARMAPRO® in a wide range of hardness viz 370 HBN, 500 HBN and 600 HBN to meet the various threat levels as per customer requirement. This steel undergoes stringent ballistic testing procedures according to the standards set by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence in India as well as the international standards set by the US Defence and the NATO Alliance. ARMAPRO® will be used as protection plate in military and civil vehicles. We are currently working with several government and private companies in India which are engaged in the development of combat vehicles under the “Make in India” initiative. Another application for ARMAPRO® range of plates is in the construction of “MORCHA/MACHAN” used by security forces guarding important installations like airports, nuclear power station and units of strategic importance.
Other important product development at Essar Steel is the range of Quenched and Tempered (Q&T) special alloy plate grades for ballistic protection in armored vehicle, mine protected vehicle and main battle tank (MBTs). Q&T steel plates are now available with strength levels upto 2000 MPa, for application in the future combat vehicles (FICV), MBTs and motor casings of missiles. For the first time in India, this grade of high strength steel is cast in a continuous caster and rolled. After extensive evaluation for ballistic and other critical properties, this product is now indigenously available.
This is a matter of pride not only for Essar Steel, but for the whole nation.
The company has also developed special steel grades for manufacturing components of the 155 mm artillery gun according to EN10025-6 S690QL and S890QL. The company is a registered supplier with the Ordnance Factory Board for supply of these grades, and forerunner in several projects by private companies.
Q Where have the applications been so far? What is the scope of application of bullet proof steel in passenger vehicles in India?
A. Armour steel plates in thickness ranging from 3.0 mm to 25 mm are used as protective lining in passenger vehicles, and which are in demand by politicians, celebrities, business executives and other VIPs. The product is also used for protection of troop carriers and other combat vehicles.
Q. Is bullet proofing of passenger vehicles a popular feature in other parts of the
A. Armouring of vehicles for civilian use is popular in several countries around the world. Middle East is a major market, and the demand in India is developing fast owing to the conflict in several regions.
Q. Is a new grade being developed specifically for use in passenger vehicles? How does this grade of bullet proof steel differ from the grade used in defence applications?
A. Essar Steel continues to innovate and develop new products and variants of existing product to suit the specific needs of our customers. Having developed extremely high strength and hard steel grades for the defence segment in India, we utilized our knowledge and experience to develop a product – ARMAPRO 500 in thin gauges up to 3.0 mm. Demand for this product exists for armouring of civilian vehicles, and thin gauge ARMAPRO 500 meets this requirement while ensuring light weight to maintain the vehicle maneuverability and speed.
Armour plates for military vehicles are tested for the highest threat level using high caliber shots.
Q. Which segments of passenger vehicles are you eyeing? Will application in public transport be a possibility too?
A. Typically SUVs and MUVs as well some sedans are armoured depending on customer needs. In conflict zones, troop carriers and personnel vehicles are armoured for protection. Vehicles used for public transport like buses are usually armoured on their sides and the roof.