Asian iron and steel industries are the backbone of the economy portraying the performance and development of the countries. Iron and steel are extensively used and are recyclable materials available on Earth. It was observed that GDP growth of any economy significantly depends upon the industrialization, Therefore, rapid industrialization in development of Asian economies such as India and China is likely to witness a demand for iron and steel products. Rapid urbanization, rising level of disposable income in emerging economies, and growing population are projected to be the major market drivers for cold rolling flat steel industry. It was estimated that there is a huge investment in infrastructure which will continue over the next few years with a positive impact on the cold rolling flat steel industry.
Cold rolled steel is basically hot rolled steel that is further processed in cold reduction mills. The hot rolled steel is cooled at room temperature followed by annealing and tempers rolling which produces steel with closer dimensional tolerances. Cold rolled steel is used in the manufacture of all steel products; however, the products manufactured refer to the rolling of flat rolled sheet and coil products. Cold rolled steel is produced in bars and usually referred to as cold finishing because it undergoes cold drawing and/or turning, grinding and polishing. This procedure results in higher yield, high tensile strength, avoids costly thermal treatments, gets rid of surface imperfections, narrows the original size tolerance range and improves surface finish. All cold rolled steel products provide a superior surface finish, superior in tolerance, concentricity, and straightness compared to hot rolled steels. It is hard to work on cold rolled steel bars due to the low carbon content and it is typically annealed, making it softer than hot rolled sheet. The corrosion in a cold-rolled steel sheet surface requires an aqueous electrolyte to get in contact with that surface. Cold-rolled steel is free from corrosion at relative 100% humidity, steel surface is free of contaminants, surrounding atmosphere is uncontaminated, and condensation is avoided by keeping the temperature constant.
According to the study “Asia Cold Rolling Flat Steel Industry Situation and Prospects Research Report”, the price of iron ore in Asia is very volatile in nature due to its huge demand. Cold-rolled flat steel products are supplied through direct supply agreements or third-party supply agreements. Majority of the manufacturers in Asia adopt the forward integration technique which enables them to sell their products directly to customers. Cold-rolled flat steel product companies such as Tata Steel Limited and Essar have their own distribution channels. Emerging economies such as China, India, and Japan are expected to witness high consumption of cold-rolled flat steel products due to rising population, demand for durable and quality products. China accounts for a largest share in Asia’s cold-rolled flat steel products market and will continue over the next few years. Cold-rolled flat steel industry is highly competitive due to more number of multinational manufacturers. The leading players in cold rolling flat steel in Asian market are Ansteel Group, Baosteel Group, JFE, Gerdau, Evraz Group, Hebei Steel Group, CSC, Arcelormittal, Essar Steel, POSCO, United States Steel Corporation, Thyssenkrupp AG, Voestalpine Group, Steel Authority of India Limited and SSAB. Cold rolling flat steel in Asia market is categorized based on product types such as low carbon steel, medium carbon steel and high carbon steel.
Cold-rolled flat steel sheets and strips accounted for the largest market share in Asian markets. Variants of steel are used in the manufacture of different types of materials such as carbon, alloy, stainless and tool depending on the applications. Cold-rolled flat steel products are used in industrial applications, architecture, and transport industries on account of its benefits such as corrosion resistant, good adhesive properties, welding properties, light-weight and strong. Cold rolled flat sheets are best suitable for manufacture of electrical appliances, automobiles, and other commercial applications such as chain parts, automotive AT parts, automotive clutch parts, sprocket gears and automotive seat belt parts. Cold-rolled flat steel plates are thick and are produced on either discrete plate mill or a coiled plate mill. The plates are made based on various applications such as low-alloy, heat-treated and high strength which are used for logging equipment and mining equipment. Cold-rolled flat steel plates are also used in construction of bridges, buildings, ship building, offshore structure, hydro power station, storage tanks, boilers, pressure vessels and machinery owning to properties such as high tensile strength, atmospheric corrosion resistant, seawater resistant and abrasion resistant.
There is a huge demand for cold-rolled flat steel products in various industries and the trend is expected to continue due to its advantages compared to other materials such as resistance to shock, corrosion, cost efficiency, environment friendly and safety. The major industries utilizing cold-rolled flat steel in Asia are the automotive and the construction sectors. This trend will drive the utilization of cold-rolled flat steel products. The use of cold-rolled flat steel in automobiles has led the manufacturers to achieve anticipated standards of strength and protection for vehicles at comparatively low costs. However, increasing focus towards fuel efficiency and weight reduction of automobiles is expected to hinder the growth of Asia’s cold-rolled flat steel market in automotive application over the next few years.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications