Nigel's plans scuppered? British Steel

On the wireless it said that the specialist steel it makes, rail track etc, is specialism that is not available in China.... 4 years tops
 
On the wireless it said that the specialist steel it makes, rail track etc, is specialism that is not available in China.... 4 years tops
China’s lack of rail track manufacturing would come as a surprise to the likes of Sun-Max, Tangshan and Sinchold each of which produces more railway track than the entire European steel industry.
 
On the wireless it said that the specialist steel it makes, rail track etc, is specialism that is not available in China.... 4 years tops
If it was Radio 4 prog this morning then it was also going on about the fact that after Brexit , UK steel would be better off as French and German steel has a huge sub from their governments. Well if that is the case and we are still in the EU market why don’t the UK steel producers have the same sub?
 
China’s lack of rail track manufacturing would come as a surprise to the likes of Sun-Max, Tangshan and Sinchold each of which produces more railway track than the entire European steel industry.
Good point, but who over here ever hears about Chinese train crashes due to dodgy tracks?

Derailment in the UK and it's news for years.
 
Good point, but who over here ever hears about Chinese train crashes due to dodgy tracks?

Derailment in the UK and it's news for years.
A decade or so ago when I was involved in bidding (very) big construction projects, I did a lot of background research on Chinese steel. Put simply, there’s nothing wrong with it. Actually, most of it is high quality, which is why the Chinese are producing so many well engineered major construction projects.

The issue is standards. Chinese steel complies with Chinese standards which differ from ISO, US, EU, British standards etc. The key word being differ; they are not inferior, just different.

Far too many Western construction projects use the wrong steel because of a lack of engineering competence and involvement.
A good example steel reinforcement; Chinese reinforcing steel has boron added so it requires specialist welding else the weld is brittle. Properly specified welded, it’s no problem. But used as a straight alternative to BS reinforcing steel and it will fail.

When companies cut costs by buying Chinese steel, implicitly they are increasing engineering costs because engineers cannot just specify to British standards. But they don’t employ the necessary engineers, partly to save costs and partly because they don’t exist. Not ones who can go to first principles anyway.
 
China’s lack of rail track manufacturing would come as a surprise to the likes of Sun-Max, Tangshan and Sinchold each of which produces more railway track than the entire European steel industry.
They have the longest HSR network than any other country - more than 2/3rds of the existing HSR network - globally.

The funny thing is they only recently started to making their own ball point pens.

 
Politics aside, the problems at Scunny and having met other workers from Port Talbot and Teeside is far deeper than that.
You have far too many managers (who all like to micro manage), to have so many managers you have to have them something to manage i.e. manpower so you have loads of blokes getting paid extremely well (even as a contractor I was turning in 25k ish) but for alot of the time you were not very busy at all.
I used to joke to Mrs RM that I had "Bin flat out love!" that was literal.
Now before somebody calls "well you are part of the problem and the reason things have gone to the wall!"
This is/was a site wide culture. See the core of management that work the day shift did not care as long as production ran smooth and there were no major issues, KPI's met, all fine. They are at home tucked up on a decent salary and pension to boot and really did not like being called in if any drama occured.
As for skill base the place is pretty similar to the army in the way it is run and kept alive by old sweats who know all the foibles of alot of the aging technology. I lost track of the amount of "graduate" managers who came in with a fancy metallurgical degree that could spend hours telling you about the properties of steel but when you rang them saying "three rolls are stuck on the discharge table,shut the strand off" (I worked on a caster) they would not have a clue what you were on about.
So bottom line is you have a load of management who are there for only a third of the time the plant is operating getting the cream, alot of inexperienced management who do not have a scooby about the processes and flap like idiots when something goes wrong. Plenty of apprentices (as it's good for tax breaks) and really only a handful of blokes that are actually getting the job done. Now bearing in mind due to order/production levels, i.e the amount of iron being produced added to the amount of time it takes to go through BOS plant etc, this determines how many casters can be operating. This in turn determines how busy the rolling mills are. Traffic(i.e locos), scrap bay etc the list goes on.
So you have got alot of blokes, all earning decent coin sat about doing not a great deal. This as I say was/is nothing new it has been the case for decades now.
So it is no surprise that such practice becomes unsustainable, I still have many mates that work there and I regularly ask what the crack is, nothing has really changed and I left about 5 years ago.
It will be interesting to see what happens when Jingye go in as they are not as laid back as the Dutch, Indians etc. As everybody knows a new broom sweeps clean as they say.
The future of a lot of jobs is to my mind definitely at stake. I don't like to make that prediction but it is fact, I can't see the Chinese gaffers being happy with you nipping off for a Maccys and a couple of pints when on nights!
I don’t think you can put politics aside. The fact is that British Steel in its many guises has managed to survive in a global commoditised market because of political interference. It’s been protected from market forces. No business can or should survive with management and labour practices like you describe.

As a steel buyer delivering a manufactured product to a customer, I’m only interested in three things; time, cost and quality. I couldn’t give a **** where the steel is made.

One thing I find crazy here is that somehow British steel makers make something that isn’t a commodity. They don’t; there are more modern plants closer to raw materials making “long steel” faster, better and cheaper.

The same argument went on here in Aus, but the Australian steel end industry is leveraging a unique advantage; the ability to make virgin steel for highly specialist applications like medical steel.
 

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