Steel is a popular commodity across industries that can be found anywhere and everywhere around you. From the house you live in and the car you drive to electrical gadgets and soda cans, steel is ubiquitous. The steel sector finds use in various sectors such as construction & infrastructure, engineering, fabrication, automotive, and packaging. Being the core sector in India, steel has been a major contributor to its manufacturing output and plays a vital role in the economic growth of the country. Therefore, there is no doubt that the steel sector forms a strong backbone of the nation. Steel is made by mixing carbon and iron at very high temperatures. The primary steelmaking creates steel made from a product called “pig iron”. Pig iron is a basic steel grade obtained by smelting iron ore in a blast furnace. It is a solid form of hot metal obtained from iron ore or scrap recycling, and it is processed with a blast furnace. The blast furnace Is the first step in producing steel from iron oxides. The combustion of iron ore with other materials In the blast furnace produces molten pig iron, which is then converted to steel.
Here, we navigate through the sectors that industries that rely on the steel market:
- Construction: The building and infrastructure industry is the largest consumer, accounting for approximately 50% of total world steel consumption. Being highly durable and flexible, steel is the ideal choice for architects, engineers, designers, and contractors. Steel-frame constructions can withstand thunderstorms and earthquakes and have a long lifespan. Energy-efficient, long-lasting, and lightweight- all these properties make steel the ultimate choice for public and private construction projects.
- Automotive and transportation: The transport sector ranks second in the world for steel consumption and use. Steel is a key material in the automotive industry. Over 50% of the composition of vehicles is made of steel. Most of this comprises the skeletal body of the automobiles, often referred to as the ‘body in white’. Steel is the material of choice for automotive manufacturers as it provides the desired strength and safety for all vehicles, big or small. From cars to trains, ships and aircraft, everything in the transportation industry owes to the incredible qualities of steel.
- Packaging: Steel has many inherent qualities that make it an environmentally friendly packaging material. It has almost zero transmittance for gas, water, and sunlight, thus providing maximum protection to the goods. The weight of steel packaging is lightweight, and resistance is high to physical shocks. Hence, steel brings about low cost in loading, storing, and shipping in packaging. Steel packaging is also very common in food and beverages. It helps to retain the original taste and nourishing properties, prolonging the shelf life of many edible products.
- Energy: No matter which energy sector you talk about, steel has a crucial role in it. Hydro, oil, solar, electric, wind, natural gas and just about any other energy source out there need steel in construction. Steel is and will be a critical component for supplying the world with energy. So, as long as energy is in demand (which it will be for the world to run), steel will be a necessity to produce and distribute energy.
- Machinery: Most of the heaving metal machinery used in building and infrastructure projects is made of steel, more specifically stainless steel. These may range from bulldozers, cranes, and drills to scaffolding and portable shelters. Steel plays a major role in making agriculture earlier and more efficient. Agricultural machinery such as shovels, forks, modern ploughs and even irrigation systems all are made of steel.
5 Sectors and Industries Where Steel Plays an Important Role