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Taylor Steel ups output on "hybrid" line

Sep 25, 2013 | 06:40 PM |

Tags  Taylor Steel Inc., John MacDonald, high-strength steel, 'hybrid' processing line, automotive applications, market strategy, Herr-Voss Stamco Inc., slitter flattener

CHICAGO — Flat-rolled distributor and toll processor Taylor Steel Inc. has worked with an equipment maker to design a "hybrid" processing line that levels, flattens, shape corrects, edges and slits advanced high-strength steels in large volume.

Herr-Voss Stamco Inc. built and installed the line last year after working with Stoney Creek, Ontario-based Taylor Steel’s engineers. Taylor Steel ran trials during the fourth quarter of 2012 and gradually increased output this year before starting a third shift of production. The line’s annual capacity is 200,000 tons.

"The impetus for the ($8.5-million) investment came as a result of U.S. corporate average fuel economy standards, which are to hit 54.5 (miles per gallon) by 2025," Taylor Steel president and chief executive officer John MacDonald told AMM Sept. 24.

"Steel’s response has been to increase the strength level of steel while reducing gauge, or decreasing total weight from the vehicle to help curb greenhouse gas emissions."

Taylor Steel’s leadership decided three years ago that "we had to get in at the forefront of this," he said. "This is a burgeoning part of flat-rolled steel industry so we developed an engineering solution for the slitting of (advanced high-strength steel) coils."

The applications go into hot stampings, roll-formed parts and even hydroformed parts for the body-in-white of cars and light trucks, said MacDonald.

Taylor Steel has had a relationship with Callery, Pa.-based Herr-Voss Stamco since 1982 and runs 18 of its processing lines throughout its facilities, including Lordstown, Ohio.

"This project is a natural progression of the engineering solutions we’ve made in the past. It’s quite different processing from traditional forms," MacDonald said. Taylor’s design puts a flattener at the entry end of the line, a 45-foot-deep looping pit in the center, and strand extensioners at both ends.

Incoming coils can weigh up to 36 tons and measure 74 inches wide, while finished slit widths range from 2 to 72 inches. "We can slit from 0.018 to ³/₁₆th inches," but advanced high-strength steel gauges are typically 1- to 1.5-millimeters thick, said MacDonald.

He acknowledges traditional slitters can process current-generation advanced high-strength steel. "But we have neared a solution ... that is capable of processing next-generation, greater-than-2,000-MPa (megapascals) and 300-ksi (kilopounds-per-square-inch) steel."

Although the line configuration "is our recipe," MacDonald is certain Herr-Voss Stamco will want to sell some features of the design elsewhere. Still, Taylor has the advantage of market timing.

"We’re getting new business on this line," he said. "(Advanced high-strength steel) is a growth area for flat-rolled carbon steels and it’s important for automakers to know someone is capable of slitting the highest strength of steel made today."

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