TATA Steel

Can a single machine be responsible for the wholesale acceptance of an innovative new composite?

When Tata Steel, one of the world's industrial giants develops a radical and innovative composite material and needs to prove that it can be easily processed, they turned to Biesse, whose collaborative relationship resulted in a proven process and the purchase of a Rover Plast B, 5-axis CNC machining centre.

Customer: TATA Steel
Country: United Kingdom
Product: ROVER B FT

The material in question is Coretinium®, a next generation composite sheet made using Econcore’s patented continuous core production process, combined with Tata Steel’s Colorcoat® high performance pre-finished steel. The core material is an engineered polypropylene blend, that can maintain ductility down to a staggering -40°C.

Tata Steel’s Edwin Richards explains, “Coretinium’s applications are wide and varied. The main current application is for commercial vehicle trailers, as it’s significantly lighter than current materials, mainly plywood based composites, so helps reduce trailer weights resulting in reduced fuel consumption and lower operating costs for transport operators as well as benefiting society from lower CO2 emissions.”

“However, as with most innovations, people are generally reticent to change as it may involve new techniques and fabrication methods, so we needed to prove to our potential customers that Coretinium® can be processed relatively easily.”

“What we needed was a ‘sales enabler’ to educate our customers whilst also providing a value added service” continued Edwin. “We approached Biesse who supported us to prove their technology. Their team went that extra mile with a very consultative approach, were commercially flexible and ensured we achieved the correct specification.”

“Biesse impressed us more than any other manufacturer, mainly due to the machine’s design and build quality.”

TATA Steel: Photo 1
The Rover B is one of a series of machines in the Rover range that comprise of 3 and 5 axis, pod and rail and flat table machines which can all be partnered with Winstore loading and storage systems.

“Critically the pod and rail system, together with the 5 axis head allows us to size the panels using a saw blade rather than just relying on milling. Even though the exterior skin of Coretinium® is steel, all of our machining operations (routing, cutting and boring) are dry, using tungsten tipped Kyocera tooling.”

“As a manufacturer of bulk materials it allows us to offer a tailored blanking service to our customers as well as a sales enabler in educating commercial vehicle builders that Coretinium® is a viable and beneficial alternative to current materials. The other big application is in building cladding, so the flexibility of being able to cut panels to size is a critical part of the adoption process.”

"We’re absolutely delighted with the Rover B and the Biesse team who went that extra mile to ensure we achieved our objectives with this innovative new composite.”
The machine itself is Biesse’s 5-axis Rover B 1667 pod and rail machine. We didn’t want to compromise on the size of the machine as we needed to be able to process 6 metre long panels.
Edwin Richards Technical Sales Manager - TATA Steel
Edwin Richards
Great ideas need a great partner.
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The Grain
Stephen Slater, Managing Director of STAL Limited, believed the purchase of a Biesse Materia CL 5-axis CNC machining centre to process ‘advanced materials’ was a good business decision, but has been impressed by the actual rate of growth that this new capability has delivered.
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