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Outokumpu Ala. mill ramp-up nears completion

Sep 19, 2013 | 06:18 PM | Daniel Fitzgerald

Tags  Outokumpu, Calvert, Alabama, Charles Turack, stainless steel, ThyssenKrupp, hot rolling, stainless mill Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Outokumpu Oyj is steadily managing the ramp-up of its Calvert, Ala., mill, with its European imports expected to cease within months.

The Calvert plant’s product portfolio is “very nearly complete,” Outokumpu High Performance Stainless Coil North America vice president and general manager Charles Turack said this week at AMM’s 27th Annual Stainless and its Alloys Conference in Chicago.

“We’re very pleased with the melt shop, but because it is nearly a million-ton melt shop, it’s only running two days a week,” he said. “Ideally you would melt 16 to 17 heats a day, and our record is about 11. We’re melting seven or eight grades, including a few varieties of 304.”

Turack said the company has also held off on operating the hot-rolling mill at full capacity, with the 50-ton rolling slab capable of running every two minutes.

“That’s a heck of a lot of stainless steel,” he said.

Turack said imports from Espoo, Finland-based Outokumpu’s Italian and German facilities “either have ceased or will cease over the next couple of months,” with the Alabama plant now also supplying slab to it’s New Castle, Ind. plate mill.

Turack said the company does not expect its hot-rolling operations to be impacted as Essen, Germany-based ThyssenKrupp AG looks for a buyer for its Steel Americas unit, which includes carbon steel operations at Calvert. The two companies share a hot-rolling mill at the site.

“All of our rights are protected; we have a 25-year contract that is not owner-specific,” he said. “We are very comfortable with the amount of access we have to that mill. Our contract does not guarantee specifics of access. For example, if they roll every day for us or if they roll for us once a week, so that’s maybe a little risk in the future, but we’re comfortable for now.”

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