Aging and deteriorating, the enormous concrete reservoirs at Tata Steel’s Llanwern steelworks were losing vast quantities of water. Penetron UK provided a durable waterproofing solution – repair work on the first of four reservoirs was completed in February 2019.
Established in the early 1960s, the Llanwern steelworks in South Wales were acquired in 2007 by Tata Steel, the world’s sixth largest steel producer. Steelmaking operations had been eliminated already in 2001; production focused on roll and coat strip steel. Tata operations at Llanwern today include a hot strip mill, two pickle lines, a cold strip mill and a hot dip galvanizing line. About 1,600 employees roll more than 1.5 million tons of steel a year for automotive, construction, and general engineering applications.
Strip steel, or cold rolled strip, is a steel product made from a hot rolled strip that has been pickled, or subjected to a surface treatment to remove impurities, such as stains, contaminants, rust or scale. The resulting coil is then reduced to a single strand of cold roll steel or made into several single stands in a series. Finally, the strip is reduced to its final thickness by cold-rolling or with the inclusion of an annealing operation (at an intermediate thickness) to facilitate further cold reduction or to obtain the desired mechanical properties.
Key elements of the production process at the Llanwern steel mill are the four very large concrete water reservoirs, each holding many million gallons of water. The principal area of application for water is in the cooling processes. Process water is used for the cleaning of process gases and lubrication and for cleaning and pickling during the production of the finished products.
Looking for a Timely, Reliable and Cost-Effective Solution
Already over 60 years old and deteriorating, the enormous concrete reservoirs were losing vast amounts of water through cracks in the aging horizontal and vertical construction joints. The Tata Steel project manager in charge of repairing the tanks contacted Penetron UK for a timely, reliable and cost-effective solution.
Stephen Mather, Manager of Penetron UK, explains, “Working with Betonbauen Ltd, our appointed specialist concrete and application company, we recommended a combination of PENECRETE MORTAR and PENETRON to seal the construction joints and cracks that had developed in the concrete matrix over the decades. PENEPLUG was also specified as a sealant for drainage holes that would be required to drain the deepest parts of the reservoirs.”
Filling Out the Cracks, Pores and Voids in Concrete
PENECRETE MORTAR is ideal for filling cracks and covers at joints and to fill form-tie holes, honeycombed (spalled) areas and routed-out cracks. When applied to the surface of existing concrete structures, the active ingredients react with concrete minerals to form insoluble crystals that fill out hairline cracks, pores and voids in the concrete. This crystalline network permanently protects and waterproofs above-grade and below-grade structures – even under high hydrostatic pressures. Also, Penetron products are compatible with the Hypolon bandage and epoxy adhesives used for over-banding the expansion joints.
“Penetron technology was specified by Tata Steel as the waterproofing solution of choice for all the repair work on the reservoirs servicing the Llanwern steelworks,” adds Stephen Mather. The initial phase of repairs started in 2018 will continue with a phased program of repairs from 2019 onwards.