Trials started in November on the new equipment at Tata Steel’s Stocksbridge steelworks in South Yorkshire in the UK following a £6.5M investment programme to increase production of aerospace steels.

Tata Steel has invested in two vacuum arc remelting furnaces and specialist testing equipment to allow the company to produce more steel for the aerospace industry.

Engineers are currently carrying out the final installation work on the new equipment to enable trials to begin by the end of 2011. Both furnaces are expected to be in full production in early 2012.

Vacuum arc remelting furnaces improve the chemical and mechanical properties of steel so it meets the exacting standards of the world’s most demanding applications, such as energy exploration and generation, as well as aerospace.

The £6.5M investment in aerospace steel production will boost output of these steels by 30% and has led to the creation of eight new jobs.

In October, Tata Steel announced a further £4.5M investment in its South Yorkshire operations. The £4.5 million scheme will improve plant reliability and energy efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and boost production of high-value steel products.

Managing Director of Tata Steel’s speciality business, Mark Broxholme, said: “In the last year, Tata Steel has invested more than £20M in South Yorkshire.

"We have demonstrated our expertise in the delivery of this major aerospace project in Stocksbridge, and this has given the company the confidence to further invest in steelmaking in South Yorkshire with these latest projects to improve energy efficiency and reliability, reduce emissions and further boost production of our high-value products."