Parting Shots: ArcelorMittal’s continuous improvements impressive

Jun 30, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Thomas C. Graham

Tags  ArcelorMittal, Burns Harbor, Thomas C. Graham, Parting Shots

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal called attention to the surprising progress at ArcelorMittal USA Inc.’s Burns Harbor, Ind., plant. What’s surprising is that the Burns Harbor plant was built in the early 1960s, seen then by most in the industry as one of the better integrated operations in North America.

However, the improvements cited were indeed impressive, with a meaningful spurt having occurred since ArcelorMittal acquired the operation. Burns Harbor is certainly the most productive three-vessel shop in North America. The WSJ article attributed the plant’s most recent improvements to ArcelorMittal’s practice of “twinning”—that is, pairing one steel plant with another, thereby encouraging the free interchange of technology and best practices in the hope that both will benefit. In this case, the “twin” chosen for Burns Harbor was an ArcelorMittal SA plant in Ghent, Belgium, also built in the 1960s and roughly equivalent in capacity and product mix. More than 100 engineers and operators made the trek to Ghent from 2007 to 2012.....

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