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AMM Awards: 2012 Steel Tube and Pipe Excellence Finalists

Keywords: Tags  AMM Awards, Steel Tube and Pipe Excellence Awards, Steel Tube and Pipe Excellence Finalists,


In the competitive world of the steel tube and pipe industry, what does it take to be the best? AMM addresses that question as we present the finalists of our inaugural Awards for Steel Tube and Pipe Excellence program to recognize the most innovative companies or individuals.
A total of 22 nominees were named finalists in 10 different categories by a panel of independent industry experts (note: those finalists marked Editors’ Choice were added by AMM staff).  A panel of distinguished judges will choose the winner in each category before we announce the results Feb. 6 at the Awards for Steel Tube and Pipe Excellence Dinner during our 5th Annual Steel Tube and Pipe Conference Feb. 6-8 in Houston.
The judging panel of industry leaders and AMM staff, assembled exclusively for this event, will provide an impartial, professional and wide-ranging level of expertise.  The judges will evaluate nominations using a point-based qualitative approach to determine the overall winners among mills, distributors and other service providers with operations in North America.


BEST MERGERS & ACQUISTIONS

A.M. CASTLE & CO. (Editors' Choice)
In December, Oak Brook, Ill.-based A.M. Castle & Co. completed its $165-million acquisition of Tube Supply Inc., a Houston-based distributor of products for the oil and gas industry. Jefferies & Co. Inc., a New York-based global investment bank, advised the company on the deal. “This transaction fits squarely within our existing oil and gas strategy and is a great long-term fit that will allow us to capitalize on the growing demand and opportunities in this sector,” A.M. Castle president and chief executive officer Michael Goldberg said. “We will now have a complete oil and gas (service) platform, nearly tripling our presence in this market.” With the purchase of Tube Supply, Castle’s revenue from the oil and gas sector will more than double, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. analyst Mark L. Parr said in a research note. Castle’s oil and gas unit is largely focused on supplying bar used in drilling applications, while Tube Supply is focused on distributing threading, packers and fracking lines for oil and gas extraction. “Tube Supply has a strong track record as a leading supplier of specialty mechanical tubing, bar and block. It will complement our existing business and further diversify our revenues and end markets,” Goldberg said. Tube Supply was founded in 1986 by Paul Sorensen and Jerry Willeford, who will remain in place along with the rest of the management team. Both companies’ oil and gas businesses will be led by Nick Jones, president of Castle Metals’ oil and gas unit. Tube Supply has provided high-quality products and services primarily to the North American oilfield equipment manufacturing industry for the past 25 years. The company has a reputation of being a world-class provider of a broad range of oilfield-quality metals with a specific focus on the equipment and tools used in downhole completion and wellhead applications. Tube Supply recently completed construction of a 250,000-square-foot facility in Houston and also operates a service center in Edmonton, Alberta. A.M. Castle is the foremost provider of specialty products, services and supply chain solutions. Castle is recognized as a leading distributor of carbon, alloy, stainless steel, nickel alloys, aluminum, titanium, cast iron, brass, copper and plastic, as well as a global resource for complex supply chain solutions. Operating in more than 55 locations throughout North America, Europe and Asia, it works with international OEMs to better serve their multi-location production requirements and delivery needs. Castle also leverages its long-standing metals experience and focus on processing and other value-added services to better meet the unique requirements of industries such as aerospace, defense, oil and gas, power generation and heavy equipment. Today, A.M. Castle is continuing to expand globally. Since acquiring full ownership of Castle de Mexico in early 2004, it has seen the organization grow rapidly. With the acquisition of Transtar Metals in 2006, it further extended its global footprint with two locations in Europe, along with a strong network of agents throughout Asia; more than a third of Castle Metals Aerospace’s customers are located outside North America.


ATKORE INTERNATIONAL INC.
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC acquired a 51-percent controlling interest of the electrical and metal products business of Tyco International Ltd. in December 2010. Today, those companies operate as Harvey, Ill.-based Atkore International LLC, maintaining their focus on pipe and tube under the brands Allied Tube & Conduit Corp. and Tectron Tube. Since this was a private-equity acquisition, there were not two cultures merged into one; rather, it was a change in ownership helping to focus on core business. Along with the acquisition, Atkore has gained valuable executive leadership with tremendous experience in building continuous operational efficiencies along with an emphasis on growth and process excellence. Atkore is an industry leader in the manufacturing of galvanized steel tube and pipe, electrical conduit, armored wire and cable, metal framing systems and building components, serving a wide range of construction, electrical, fire and security, mechanical and automotive applications. With 3,100 employees and 23 manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide, Atkore seeks to increase the value of the company through its portfolio of diversified brands and operating excellence in every segment of the business.


RELIANCE STEEL & ALUMINUM CO.
Los Angeles-based Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. acquired Continental Alloys & Services Inc. on Aug. 1, 2011, for about $415 million. The acquisition brought new products, more sophisticated processing and new international locations to Reliance. Additionally, since Continental’s business is completely related to oil and gas, Reliance’s exposure to the fast-growing industry increased to about 12 percent of company revenue. As a public company, Reliance does not discuss individual returns on investment of any of its subsidiaries; however, it expects minimum returns in a range of 12 to 15 percent before any expected synergies and costs. When making such acquisitions, Reliance does not try to integrate different cultures that have each proven to be successful, but it does expect the cultures to be compatible. Reliance provides resources to acquired companies that they would not have had access to before the acquisitionÑresources which should foster future growth and profitability. Reliance said it has become the largest and most successful metals service center in North America, primarily through a two-pronged strategy of improving and growing existing businesses and through a highly selective acquisition strategy. Its strategy focuses on profitable growth, not just top-line growth. Reliance has been the most acquisitive company in the service center industry, with 48 acquisitions since its initial public offering in 1994. Overall, from a growth rate and financial performance perspective, Reliance maintains that it is the clear leader in the metals service center industry. Reliance Steel & Aluminum is the largest metals service center company in North America with a network of more than 200 locations in 38 states and numerous foreign countries.




BEST INNOVATION

ATKORE INTERNATIONAL INC.
M-Coat, a self-described “game-changing innovation” in sprinkler pipe technology, was developed by Harvey, Ill.-based Atkore International Inc., parent company of Allied Tube & Conduit Corp., to stay at the forefront of the industry. Atkore said its objective was to develop the newest coating technology for the inside of steel sprinkler pipe compatible with chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) sprinkler pipe. M-Coat’s corrosion-inhibiting properties for steel sprinkler pipe do not produce adverse effects on CPVC sprinkler pipe, so M-Coat can be used in hybrid systems. The research and development project called on the resources of several functional experts in the company to develop a chemical solution that met technical requirements as well as customer demand. The project was completed in summer 2011. Atkore declined to disclose financial figures, but it said it has improved its market share through its participation in hybrid and steel fire sprinkler systems. Atkore is an industry leader in the manufacturing of galvanized steel tube and pipe, electrical conduit, armored wire and cable, metal framing systems and building components, serving a wide range of construction, electrical, fire and security, mechanical and automotive applications. With 3,100 employees and 23 manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide, Atkore seeks to increase the value of the company through its portfolio of diversified brands and operating excellence in every segment of the company.


KAYEM PIPE & STEEL INC.
HKI Terminal LLC built by Dallas-based pipe manufacturer Kayem Pipe & Steel Inc. is a 24-hour, full-service pipe yard and storage facility that officially opened in January 2011. The $3.5-million facility is strategically located in Corsicana in north-central Texas to serve the Arkoma, Barnett, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Woodford shale plays, as well as southern Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, providing onsite trucking and management through Houston-based LTI Transportation Inc. and rail service through its Union Pacific Corp. spur access. It also provides staging for full inspections through the NOV Tuboscope division of National Oilwell Varco Inc. HKI currently stores about 5,000 tons of oil country tubular goods on 25 acres that have been excavated, graded, stabilized and surfaced, although another 17 acres of the 110 acres purchased by Kayem have been excavated for immediate expansion if needed. Among some of the challenges the facility faced were providing 24-hour access, service and security, full lighting to enhance visibility and all-weather surfacing with engineered drainage to prevent standing water. HKI also has implemented a state-of-the-art computerized inventory control system to provide for expedited loadouts and on-time deliveries with accurate monthly inventory reports.


NOV GRANT PRIDECO
When Brazilian energy company Petrobras needed a fully sulfide-stress-cracking (SSC)-resistant system, it turned to Houston-based NOV Grant Prideco, which had succeeded in developing and commercially manufacturing the first SSC-resistant friction weld. Petrobras has been using a 65/8-inch drill-pipe-based riser system for completion and intervention work in the waters off Brazil for several years. The primary advantage of the drill-pipe-based system is its rotary shoulder connections (RSCs), which make up and break out quickly, are rugged and are superior at resisting galling and other handling damage compared with oil country tubular goods (OCTG) casing and tubing connections that often are used for riser applications. Petrobras increased its use of these intervention riser systems, not only in Brazil but also in other areas in which it operates, but had been prevented from expanding its use of the intervention risers in sour gas areas due to a lack of SSC-resistant tubular systems with RSCs. Like drill pipe, the intervention riser tubular configuration consists of upset to grade tubes friction-welded to tool joints that are typically constructed from forgings. Sour service drill pipe, which is built with SSC-resistant upset tubes and tool joints, has been available for some time. However, the friction welds joining the upset tubes and tool joints weren’t considered SSC-resistant, which is acceptable for drilling applications because the weld is not the high-stress area of the drill pipe joint and while drilling the operator has a certain degree of control over the environment through the drilling fluid properties and additives. But Petrobras’ critical sour riser applications could entail direct and prolonged exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas. Consequently, a fully SSC-resistant system, including the friction weld, was required. NOV Grant Prideco, which has a long history of producing SSC-resistant drill pipe for critical applications throughout the world, successfully developed and qualified an SSC-resistant friction weld for intervention riser systems. The sophistication and capabilities of sour service drill pipe have evolved over the years. Initial systems incorporated only SSC-resistant tubes or pipe bodies, while later systems included tool joints that also were resistant to SSC. Offering a full range of proprietary and API drill pipe, drill collars, heavyweight drill pipe and drill stem components, NOV Grant Prideco is the single source for all drill stem needs from the top-drive to the bit sub. Product quality and performance are optimized by a unique vertical integration from mill to market. Whether manufacturing products to efficiently drill the simplest well or drilling in the harshest environment, NOV Grant Prideco’s innovative products, worldwide operations, expert engineering and design resources, and global service network meet the demands of any tough drilling challenge.


TENARIS SA (Editors' Choice) 
Luxembourg-based Tenaris SA has developed a series of premium connection products that the company said were spurred by the needs of increasingly demanding exploration and production environments. The steelmaker offers a comprehensive range of high-performance products that are backed by a global field service network and licensed threading shops. TenarisHydril was launched in 2007 as a leading North American manufacturer of premium connection products for oil and gas drilling production, offering products and services for the oil and gas industry through a series of connections technology for demanding applications. The Wedge Series 500 connections provide superior torque, compression and bending resistance for applications that push products to their structural limits. The Wedge Series 600 connections feature an advanced step-to-step Wedge design and interlocking seal mechanism, which take premium performance to a new level through engineering and design. Specifically designed for uses in which torque strength is critical, the Wedge Series 500 connections provide superior compression and bending resistance, as well as several times the torque strength of most competing technologies. They are used in a range of applications, including highly deviated wells and strings that must be rotated and pushed into place. Dopeless technology brings the operational and health, safety and environment benefits of Tenaris’ dope-free products to oil and gas projects. Dopeless technology provides diverse advantages in both onshore and offshore environments. Originally developed in response to stringent environmental requirements for offshore operations in Norway, Dopeless technology has the potential to transform drilling and completion operations in the most complex and sensitive environments. It is also an ideal choice for operations that lack infrastructure, in which ease of handling, preparation and installation reduces risk and costs. TenarisHydril premium connections are supplied and supported by Tenaris, a leading manufacturer and supplier of steel tube and integrated tubular services to the world’s energy industry. With research laboratories and specialized premium connection testing facilities in Argentina, Italy, Japan and Mexico, Tenaris has a research staff of more than 200 scientists and engineers, and supports customer needs in designing, testing and qualifying its premium connections.


TMK IPSCO (Editors' Choice) 
TMK Ipsco, one of the world’s leading producers of tubular products for the oil and gas industry, announced in December that qualification tests of TMK PF premium connections were successfully held in accordance with the ISO 13679 CAL IV standard. The tests were conducted at Oil States Industries Inc.’s international testing center in Aberdeen, Scotland, where products for the world’s largest oil and gas companies undergo qualification testing. The tests were conducted at the request of a large Middle East oil company. The next stage will be the testing of tubing threaded with TMK PF premium connections. “This is the fourth test confirming the compliance of TMK’s premium connections with the ISO 13679 CAL IV standard, which undoubtedly serves as evidence of the world-class quality and reliability of our threads,” said Alexander Shiryaev, chief executive officer of parent company OAO TMK. TMK’s line of extra-tight premium thread connections prevent leakage of oil and gas tubulars. The company offers the products as part of a service package that includes design, fabrication, delivery, installation and maintenance. The company has designed and put into production a series of connections, including GF, PF, PF ET, FMC, FMT and TMK-1, which have higher corrosion resistance, better fastening ability and can withstand more bending, tensile and compressive stresses than other premium-class connections. TMK Premium Services provides field supervision over joints and the integrity of the drill string while running casing. In addition, it trains personnel and provides support in maintenance of TMK premium thread connections. The company offers to test its products under real field conditions. Russia’s OAO TMK is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of steel pipe for the oil and gas industry, operating 24 production facilities in the United States, Russia, Romania and Kazakhstan. High-margin oil country tubular goods account for the largest share of TMK’s shipments. In 2010, TMK’s pipe sales totaled approximately 4 million tonnes shipped to customers in more than 65 countries.


WELSPUN PIPES INC.
A Welspun Pipes Inc. innovation created a seamless flow of pipe production without stopping the mill for coil-to-coil joints, and produced a sound quality cross seam joint, or skelp joint, in order to increase productivity and reduce the cost of manufacturing. Coil loading in a traditional spiral mill requires stoppage of the mill while two coil endsÑthe tail end of one coil and the front end of the next coilÑare joined in order to feed to mill. This process creates a delay of 20 to 25 minutes for each coil, or about 25 percent of productive hours. To eliminate the delay, Little Rock, Ark.-based Welspun, a division of India-based Welspun Group, developed a moving looper tunnel drum to create an accumulation, or buffer, of coil length to join coil ends in a stationary condition. Once the joint is completed, the buffer is created by the looper tunnel drum operating at a higher velocity while from the other side of the drum the coil is fed in at a slower (mill) speed. Another limitation in a traditional spiral mill is that coil joint welding is done from one side welding (top side) in the pipe, which produces incomplete penetration in the joint so, hence, the skelp joint is not acceptable and is scrapped after pipe forming, resulting in material loss. Welspun installed a combination of a stationary and flying welder that welds both sides of the coil in the coil stage to eliminate T-joint issues. Usually, a pipe mill uses either automatic ultrasonic testing or real-time radiography for process control inspection prior to a hydro test. Automatic ultrasonic testing leaves untested ends of around 12 to 15 inches, which needs further manual ultrasonic testing or radiography. Welspun installed bothÑautomatic ultrasonic testing and real-time radiography testingÑat one location to ensure the complete inspection of products.




BEST NEW PROJECT

KAYEM PIPE & STEEL INC.
HKI Terminal LLC built by Dallas-based pipe manufacturer Kayem Pipe & Steel Inc. is a 24-hour, full-service pipe yard and storage facility that officially opened in January 2011. The $3.5-million facility is strategically located in Corsicana in north-central Texas to serve the Arkoma, Barnett, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Woodford shale plays, as well as southern Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, providing onsite trucking and management through Houston-based LTI Transportation Inc. and rail service through its Union Pacific Corp. spur access. It also provides staging for full inspections through the NOV Tuboscope division of National Oilwell Varco Inc. HKI currently stores about 5,000 tons of oil country tubular goods on 25 acres that have been excavated, graded, stabilized and surfaced, although another 17 acres of the 110 acres purchased by Kayem have been excavated for immediate expansion if needed. Among some of the challenges the facility faced were providing 24-hour access, service and security, full lighting to enhance visibility and all-weather surfacing with engineered drainage to prevent standing water. HKI also has implemented a state-of-the-art computerized inventory control system to provide for expedited loadouts and on-time deliveries with accurate monthly inventory reports.


STUPP CORP.
ArcelorMittal SA provided Stupp Corp. the opportunity to evaluate one of three steel coils that had a unique chemical structure coupled with a precise manufacturing regime to allow the Baton Rouge, La.-based company to produce 1-inch-thick X-80 API-5L custom line pipe with an outside diameter of 48 inches. All those characteristics in API-5L line pipe is rare because the combination of outside diameter, yield strength and wall thickness is at the uppermost limits of values. Additionally, the manufacture of both the steel and the pipe requires “best in class” equipment and know-how on the part of both the steelmaker and the pipe mill, but no revamping was required. The only special accommodation was to make sure that the production did not interrupt the promised delivery dates for customers’ orders that would be produced at the same time. Stupp used the next-generation two-step helical weld process, which played an important role in ensuring that the pipe’s final weld was made with the edges in a static position relative to each other, which allowed for ideal conditions for pipe edge joining. Stupp is one of the world’s premier producers of custom steel API-5L line pipe for the energy industry.


TRANSCANADA CORP.
TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone Gulf Coast expansion projectÑa 36-inch crude oil pipeline some 1,661 miles long that would run southeast from Hardisty, Alberta, through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and NebraskaÑwould incorporate a portion of the Keystone XL pipeline and continue through Oklahoma before arriving near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas, to serve the Port Arthur market. Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline has secured long-term commitments for 910,000 barrels per day for an average term of approximately 18 years, approximately 83 percent of the commercial design of the $12-billion Keystone system. When completed, Keystone XL will increase the commercial design of the Keystone pipeline system to around 1.1 million barrels per day from 591,000 barrels. According to the Energy Policy Research Foundation, “because of production declines in Mexico and Venezuela, U.S. refiners are receiving reduced shipments of heavy crudes . . . many of which long ago made expensive upgrades in complex facilities that favor heavy oil. Additionally, TransCanada is looking to expand the Keystone XL capability by offering Bakken oil producers in North Dakota and Montana a chance to link into the pipeline and send their crude to Gulf Coast refineries for the first time.” If approved by the Obama administration, the Keystone XL would become the newest, most technologically advanced pipeline in operation in North America.


V&M USA CORP. (Editors' Choice) 
Vallourec SA’s new small-diameter pipe mill in Youngstown, Ohio, is nearing completion, with hot commissioning already under way and industrial start-up expected by the second quarter of 2012. More than 1,200 workers are on-site as maintenance, electrical, plumbing, equipment assembly and installation work ramps up, Vallourec & Mannesmann (V&M) USA Corp. said in a December newsletter to customers. The Houston-based subsidiary of Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based Vallourec celebrated the mill’s completion in September with the placement of the final steel beam in a traditional ironworker “topping-out ceremony,” according to the newsletter. “Despite current macroeconomic uncertainties, we believe that the energy market shows great promise and validates our investment plans,” Skip Herald, V&M’s North American managing director for oil country tubular goods (OCTG), said. Vallourec previously said that the $650-million small-diameter pipe rolling mill was expected to start up in mid-2012 and be fully operational by 2013. In addition, the company expects to create 100 skilled manufacturing jobs as a result of VAM USA LLC’s $57-million investment to install two premium threading lines at the V&M complex, according to the newsletter. The premium threading operations are expected to serve customers on the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, “where business is booming,” VAM president Judson Wallace said in the newsletter.




BEST OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS

KAYEM PIPE & STEEL INC.
HKI Terminal LLC built by Dallas-based pipe manufacturer Kayem Pipe & Steel Inc. is a 24-hour, full-service pipe yard and storage facility that officially opened in January 2011. The $3.5-million facility is strategically located in Corsicana in north-central Texas to serve the Arkoma, Barnett, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Woodford shale plays, as well as southern Arkansas, northwest Louisiana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, providing onsite trucking and management through LTI Transportation Inc., Houston, and rail service through its Union Pacific Corp. spur access. It also provides staging for full inspections through the NOV Tuboscope division of National Oilwell Varco Inc. HKI currently stores about 5,000 tons of oil country tubular goods on 25 acres that have been excavated, graded, stabilized and surfaced, although another 17 acres of the 110 acres purchased by Kayem have been excavated for immediate expansion if needed. Among some of the challenges the facility faced were providing 24-hour access, service and security, full lighting to enhance visibility and all-weather surfacing with engineered drainage to prevent standing water. HKI also has implemented a state-of-the-art computerized inventory control system to provide for expedited loadouts and on-time deliveries with accurate monthly inventory reports.


LEAVITT TUBE CO.
Chicago-based Leavitt Tube Co.’s majority interest was purchased in May 2008 by Maruichi Steel Tube Ltd., the largest steel tube producer in Japan. With ownership of one mill in California since 1980, Maruichi wanted to expand its reach across the United States. Its goal from the beginning was to focus on producing the highest-quality tubing in the industry. To that end, it set forth on a strategic plan to upgrade and modernize Leavitt’s aging equipment with a long-term focus on quality. The first major upgrade project was underway in late 2010 on Leavitt’s W-80 mill, which produces hollow structural sections (HSS). The company invested $12 million to install a quick-change cassette system, which allowed Leavitt to achieve tighter tolerances, reduce downtime and increase flexibility. At the same time the W-80 mill upgrade was underway, the company announced the purchase of a new mill called the W-50 to replace two older structural mills that have been in use since the late 1960s and 1970s, and upon completion will compete to produce the highest-quality HSS in North America. Much like the W-80 mill, it employs a quick-change system with a saw cut-off finish. The new mill also is capable of flash controlling most of its sizes. The addition of the mill, estimated to cost $16 million, is not expected to add capacity to the market as it is meant only to replace the two older mill. Leavitt Tube began producing mechanical steel tubing in 1956. Fifty years later, it has evolved into an industry leader with a broad size range of tubing.


STUPP CORP.
ArcelorMittal SA provided Stupp Corp. the opportunity to evaluate one of three steel coils that had a unique chemical structure coupled with a precise manufacturing regime to allow the Baton Rouge, La.-based company to produce 1-inch-thick X-80 API-5L custom line pipe with an outside diameter of 48 inches. All those characteristics in API-5L line pipe is rare because the combination of outside diameter, yield strength and wall thickness is at the uppermost limits of values. Additionally, the manufacture of both the steel and the pipe requires “best in class” equipment and know-how on the part of both the steelmaker and the pipe mill, but no revamping was required. The only special accommodation was to make sure that the production did not interrupt the promised delivery dates for customers’ orders that would be produced at the same time. Stupp used the next-generation two-step helical weld process, which played an important role in ensuring that the pipe’s final weld was made with the edges in a static position relative to each other, which allowed for ideal conditions for pipe edge joining. Stupp’s reputation has been built on more than five decades of satisfying customers with high-quality line pipe. Its success has been tightly woven into the fabric of the country’s energy infrastructure, which provides comfort for families and power for industry.


WELSPUN PIPES INC.
In order to meet expected costs in a competitive market, Welspun Pipes Inc. decided it was imperative to increase the productivity of its spiral pipe mill. To meet and offer pipe with the best possible close tolerances in pipe end dimensionÑvery critical for pipe layingÑthe Little Rock, Ark.-based company installed a pipe expander for end-correction that would process pipe up to 8 inches. Welspun designed and manufactured the machine in its own workshop, with design, development, manufacturing and installation taking about 18 months. A digital X-ray machine also was installed to alleviate the radiography station in order to meet desired productivity and to avoid the reverse flow of pipe due to the delay in waiting for conventional X-ray results. The investment also resulted in a reduction in film cost. A direct loadout was added to reduce handling costs and damage, as well as to provide faster loading. The company also added a fifth welding line to reduce bottlenecking, with the new welding equipment including the most advanced features and software. Additionally, Welspun rectified the operational or technical issues observed in the other four welding lines while implementing the new line. The ordering, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and further modification of other welding lines has taken one year, increasing productivity by 20 to 25 percent.




BEST ENVIRONMETAL RESPONSIBILITY/STEWARDSHIP

ATKORE INTERNATIONAL INC.
The Allied Tube & Conduit Corp. division of Harvey, Ill.-based Atkore International Inc. has established environmental performance goals to reduce energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste generation by 25 percent in five years, using fiscal 2009 as the base period. Allied Tube’s efforts include switching to low-energy lamps with motion sensors so lighting will automatically shut off in areas when lighting is not needed; upgrades to ensure compressed-air systems are appropriately sized and maintained to ensure the most efficient use; and “treasure hunt” surveys to identify wasteful energy and water use. But Allied considers its most significant project to be its modification of process waters for its tube manufacturing plant in Philadelphia, which has garnered praise from the city’s Water Department. The project, completed in November at a cost of about $5 million, reduced water usage from an average of more than 300,000 gallons of process water per day to less than 20,000 gallons. All once-through, non-contact cooling water is now being cooled and reused, and surface-finishing rinse waters are being recycled to extend bath life. The project also included upgrades to water-cooling systems and air-pollution-control systems.


KAYEM PIPE & STEEL INC.
Dallas-based pipe manufacturer Kayem Pipe & Steel Inc. constructed HKI Terminal LLC in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations to mitigate compound and fuel spillage. Strategically located in Corsicana in north-central Texas, the $3.5-million facility is a 24-hour, full-service pipe yard and storage facility that officially opened in January 2011. HKI currently stores about 5,000 tons of oil country tubular goods on 25 acres that have been excavated, graded, stabilized and surfaced, although another 17 acres of the 110 acres purchased by Kayem have been excavated for immediate expansion if needed. The facility features all-weather surfacing with engineered drainage to prevent standing water. In cooperation with the city of Corsicana and Navarro County, HKI Terminal also built a greenbelt and elevated berm in front of the pipe yard facing Interstate 45 to provide a more pleasing frontage for passing drivers.


TENARIS SA (Editors' Choice)
Spanish oil and gas company Repsol YPF SA’s Kinteroni drilling operation in Camisea, Peru, is in an environmentally sensitive area with numerous indigenous communities and biodiversity. Luxembourg-based steel pipe and tube maker Tenaris SA’s Dopeless technology helped minimize the environmental impact of Repsol’s operation by significantly reducing the use of water and chemicals to clean up or remove contaminants prior to installation. With the help of Repsol’s drilling engineering department, Tenaris evaluated the mechanical requirements of the well to get an optimized design. After several technical discussions and an introduction to the Dopeless concept, the Kinteroni well design was approved. Tenaris provided support with well design, technical services, and ongoing monitoring and inspection, and supplied TenarisHydril Blue and TenarisHydril Wedge 523 casing strings and TenarisHydril Blue tubing, all with Dopeless technology. The project marked the first time that Dopeless connections were used in every casing section of a well in a jungle environment, making it the first environmentally sensitive well in the Americas. Dopeless technology provides diverse advantages in both onshore and offshore environments. Originally developed in response to stringent environmental requirements for offshore operations in Norway, Dopeless technology has the potential to transform drilling and completion operations in the most complex and sensitive environments. With Dopeless technology, a dry, multifunctional coating is applied to the connection by the pipe manufacturer in the controlled environment of the mill, ensuring consistent quality and operational reliability.
 

VALLOUREC SA (Editors’ Choice)
Through its environmental policy, steel tube and pipe maker Vallourec SA aims to minimize the environmental impact of its activities at all levels and treat the wellbeing of future generations as a major priority. Boulogne-Billancourt, France-based Vallourec’s environmental priorities focus on the optimization of resources, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, waste reduction and certified facilities. A series of initiatives have been undertaken to optimize consumption of resources, such as water, energy and raw materials, and to improve the conditions in which they are used. Considerable efforts have been made to reduce water consumption at all Vallourec facilities, particularly by recycling water and collecting runoff. As a result, water consumption was nearly halved between 2000 and 2008. Vallourec said its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions is illustrated by the steel manufacturing process at V&M do Brasil, which uses charcoal from eucalyptus plantations in its blast furnaces as a substitute for coke. As they grow, the trees in the plantations consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen, offsetting CO2 emissions from the steel mill; as a result, the overall carbon balance for the production of steel in Brazil is the lowest in the market compared to other methods of production (electric-arc furnace or blast oxygen furnace). One of the main areas of research and development focuses on the company’s capture, transport and storage of CO2. The company will participate with French and German research organizations in a Û54-million ($68.5-million) project to set up pilot infrastructure in northern France for the transport and storage of industrial CO2 emissions in deep saline aquifers. Vallourec also is working to cut emissions, reduce noise, decrease waste volumes and systematically recover and reprocess residual waste. All indicators measuring the release of pollutants into the environment comply with regulatory standards.




INDUSTRY AMBASSADOR/ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR

PIW MACHINERY INC.
Sugar Land, Texas-based PIW Machinery Inc. has been active in both raising money and giving direct emotional support to soldiers and their families who have given so much to their country, and customers have embraced the cause. The company, whose motto is “Measure the true success of the company by the company you keep,” has worked diligently to spread the message that supporting U.S. troops is a responsibility everyone needs to share, and has established programs that enhance industry image. PIW Machinery, which supplies various products and services to manufacturers of oil country tubular goods and other tubular products, is one of the few capital equipment suppliers associated with Impact A Hero, a nonpartisan organization created to help provide emotional and financial support for severely wounded and disabled veterans and their families who must adjust to new circumstances. PIW believes that these wounded heroes need to know that every American appreciates the sacrifices they have made and, financially, they deserve every American’s support. In addition, PIW has created the Wounded Warrior Mobility Project, purchasing all-terrain wheelchairs to provide access to areas and activities for wounded veterans; recently participated in hosting a Christmas party for 150 soldiers and families it bussed in from Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and sponsors Team Defiant Paintball, dedicated to bringing soldiers together for weekend events where they can reunite with comrades and share their stories. PIW Machinery supplies various products and services, specifically to manufacturers of API OCTG tubular products and other tubular goods. It designs and manufactures hydrostatic testing equipment; designs and installs API OCTG finishing and inspection facilities; offers consulting services for API OCTG manufacturers; and is a representative of third-party machine manufacturers and pipe producers.


TMK IPSCO (Editors’ Choice)
TMK Ipsco chairman Piotr Galitzine heads the North and South American operations of Russia’s OAO TMK, one of the leading producers of steel pipe and tube in the world. But his work goes far beyond steelmaking. An active philanthropist, Galitzine is an avid supporter of cultural institutions in Chicago and several initiatives in Russia, including church preservation (Village Church), child welfare (Dr. Romanov’s Rehabilitation Center) and the Russian Women’s Microfinance Network in Moscow. In 2010, Galitzine received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship, given by the Kennan Institute, a division of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Galitzine has called for moving beyond the trade disputes remaining between Russia and the United StatesÑfrom the continued application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to restrictions on poultry exports to RussiaÑand finalizing Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization. He has said he believes that “tradeÑthe more, the betterÑis the sanest and most sensible way of ensuring good relations” and lasting world peace. He also believes that improved business cooperation is the most pragmatic of all possible interactions on a worldwide scale. The son of Russian exiles displaced by the revolution, Galitzine graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in mechanical engineering and a specialization in design, materials and analysis. Prior to heading Downers Grove, Ill.-based TMK Ipsco, Galitzine served on the board of directors at TMK as an independent director and has an extensive international background and career, including senior positions with Mannesmann AG and BASF AG. TMK Ipsco is one of the largest North American producers of welded and seamless pipe and premium connections.


WEBCO INDUSTRIES INC. (Editors’ Choice)
Weber family members and employees of Sand Springs, Okla.-based Webco Industries Inc. believe that being a good neighbor and a positive part of their communities are just as important as the bottom line. Webco, a specialty tubing and pressure tubing products manufacturer and supplier, holds an annual campaign to raise money for the United Way organization. One year, Webco was selected as a United Way Trailblazer company as a shining example to help lead the Tulsa Area United Way Campaign. “Without a doubt, the United Way is one of the best ways to provide help where help is needed most,” the company said. “Our employees especially like the fact that the money they donate goes to help the people in our community.” In addition, the Little Light House (LLH) has been Webco’s corporate charity since 1997. The organization has been helping special needs children in the Tulsa area for more than 25 years and was designated as one of the “1,000 Points of Light” by former President George H.W. Bush. LLH is a Christian developmental center for children with disabilities, and the need for its services is so great that it has a two-year waiting list. LLH, which provides its services tuition-free, is financed entirely by private donations and without funding from any government agency. Webco also is a supporter of the local Salvation Army. Additionally, each Christmas the Webco employees unite to aid the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree projectÑeach angel on the tree represents a child aged nine months to 15 years in need of assistance, ranging from clothing to toys. Webco employees provide hundreds of gifts for these children to ensure that they are not forgotten at Christmas. Webco Industries is a manufacturer and supplier of specialty tubing and pressure tubing products. Webco provides carbon steel, stainless steel, alloy steel tube, nickel alloy, nonferrous and specialty alloy tube and pipe products. It also offers an extensive array of value-added services and product development and engineering assistance.




BEST LOGISTICS/TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY (Editors’ Choice)
Montreal-based Canadian National Railway Co. (CN Rail) believes that its logistical infrastructure and services have made transporting pipe products across North America easy through its ability to deliver seamless transportation solutions. A thriving oil and gas industry has created an unprecedented demand for pipe products in western Canada, and CN Rail said it is the only railroad that provides direct access from key ports on Canada’s west coast to key exploration and production points, as well as major pipeline projects in British Columbia and Alberta. Nearly 5,000 miles of new pipeline infrastructure is planned for remote areas of western Canada. Small-diameter pipe, casing, tubing and transmission pipe are shipped daily to logistics centers for local truck delivery to drilling operation sites. With its high-capacity rail line and network of steel distribution centers, CN Rail offers a number of services. It has the equipment to transport pipe: multipurpose flat cars that come in lengths up to about 88 feet with a capacity of 65 to 103 tonnes; standard gondolas that have such features as drop ends, nailable steel floors and lengths from 52½ feet to about 65 feet; bulkhead cars that can transport aluminum and steel products, carrying loads of 68 to 100 tonnes; and marine containers that are 40 feet long with 2,394 cubic feet of usable space. CN Rail also connects to key ports. Starting with its high-capacity main line from key West Coast port facilities, CN Rail provides efficient access to western Canada’s oil, petroleum and gas projects, including the Port of Vancouver, a key gateway between Asia-Pacific and North American markets, which is currently handling thousands of tonnes of pipe and pipe products; Squamish Terminals, rail-served exclusively by CN Rail, which specializes in the handling of imported steel pipe products destined for North American locations; and the Port of Prince Rupert, the site of a high-capacity container gateway. CN Rail said it also delivers pipe faster. The transit times from Asia to Canada’s West CoastÑranging from 16 to 18 daysÑgive companies a competitive shipping advantage as they can benefit from predictable, reliable transit cycle times and manage pipe shipments with confidence. CN Rail is a leader in the North American rail industry. Following its acquisition of Illinois Central in 1999, Wisconsin Central in 2001 and Great Lakes Transportation in 2004, as well as its partnership agreement with BC Rail in 2004, CN provides shippers with more options and greater reach in the rapidly expanding market for north-south trade. CN is the only railroad which crosses the continent east-west and north-south, serving ports on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts while linking customers to all three Nafta nations.


LTI TRANSPORTATION INC.
LTI Transportation Inc., which said it has built a reputation as one of the best, most dependable oilfield haulers, has expanded its services with a new onsite dispatch and trucking facility at HKI Terminal LLC in Corsicana, Texas, helping the trucking company better serve clients. Houston-based LTI Transportation has implemented tubular data systems (TDS) at all of its trucking terminal storage facilities, as well as at HKI Terminal, to provide accurate day-to-day inventory control. TDS also helps the company provide and expedite on-time deliveries to well locations. The company is an established over-the-road commercial carrier with brokerage authority serving 48 states, with a focus on the South. LTI Transportation, which utilizes owner operators, small fleets and other carrier partners to provide transportation services to the industry, operates about 87 terminals, 70 freight agents, a solid brokerage division, 475 trucks, 375 trailers and 600 van trailers. It also has an established national sales and recruiting force integrated into an efficient back-office support network, with a proprietary computer system geared for the future. LTI Transportation intends to grow by adding trucks, terminals, freight agents and brokerage partners. It also is seeking small to medium-size carriers that have volume but need LTI infrastructure, risk management, administrative support and insurance services.


UNION PACIFIC CORP.
Union Pacific Corp. is continuously seeking ways in which to enhance its customers’ experience with shipping via rail. It does so in a multitude of ways, from capital investments to developing products and services that are specifically aimed at adding value by going the “extra mile,” the Omaha, Neb.-based company said. For example, Union Pacific last year reinvested about $3.2 billion in infrastructure, including locomotives and freight cars, commercial facilities (customer-specific) and engineering services (such as rail, ties, bridges and tunnels). One of Union Pacific’s core values is the focus on performance, and last year the company’s overall customer service rating reached a record 92 percent. One of Union Pacific’s most recent product development efforts, Pipeline Express, was geared toward customers who ship line pipe via rail. In previous years, customers found it difficult to identify locations on the Union Pacific network that could meet the handling requirements for unloading pipe. Pipeline Express was developed by Union Pacific and subsidiary Union Pacific Distribution Services (UPDS) in an effort to create visibility of such projects and, in turn, allow Union Pacific to offer a turnkey solution for its line pipe customers. The product offering was designed to help identify potential offloading sites. UPDS provides a dedicated point of contact that proactively monitors shipments while also supplying customers with a daily report on shipments’ status. Union Pacific’s customer base in the steel pipe and tubing arena has continued to grow. Steel pipe and tubing shipments via Union Pacific have more than doubled from 15,000 carloads in 2009 to more than 35,000 in 2011. Union Pacific serves 23 states in the western two-thirds of the United States.




SERVICE CENTER/DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR

NOV GRANT PRIDECO (Editor’s Choice)
Houston-based NOV Grant Prideco, a division of National Oilwell Varco Inc., calls itself the world’s largest supplier of drill pipe and drill stem accessories. Offering a full range of proprietary and API drill pipe, drill collars, heavyweight drill pipe and drill stem components, NOV Grant Prideco is a single source for drill stem needs from the top drive to the bit sub. Product quality and performance are optimized by a unique vertical integration from mill to market. Whether manufacturing products to efficiently drill the simplest well or for drilling in the harshest environment, NOV Grant Prideco’s innovative products, worldwide operations, expert engineering and design resources, and global service network meet the demands of any drilling challenge. NOV Grant Prideco’s drill collars are integral heavy-wall joints that are manufactured from a solid bar of modified alloy steel. The solid bars are quenched and tempered to obtain the required mechanical properties, then trepanned, drifted and threaded. Drill collars are furnished as slick or spiraled in 30- or 31-foot lengths. Slick drill collars are supplied with the mill’s as-rolled surface finish; spiral drill collars have grooves machined in the outside surface, which promote the even flow of drilling fluid around the collar diameter, equalizing pressure and reducing the occurrence of differential sticking. NOV Grant Prideco said it provides the industry with the three most important considerations for drill pipe: quality, technology and economy. Manufacturing processes are vertically integrated from raw material to finished product; pipe is supplied by the company’s own mill, and tool joints are forged in its own facilities. NOV Grant Prideco’s Drilling Products & Services division also offers all the features of a fully integrated service company. Beyond full technical and field support for its products, NOV Grant Prideco provides an array of other services, including training and seminars, tool joint break-in prior to delivery, and a worldwide repair and accessory manufacturing network. NOV Grant Prideco is the single source for all drill stem needs from the top-drive to the bit sub. Product quality and performance are optimized by a unique vertical integration from mill to market. Whether manufacturing products to efficiently drill the simplest well or drilling in the harshest environment, NOV Grant Prideco meets the demands of any tough drilling challenge.

SOONER PIPE LLC (Editor’s Choice)
Sooner Pipe LLC, part of Oil States International Inc., Houston, calls itself the world’s largest distributor of tubular products and services to the oil and gas industry. The Houston-based company has come a long way from its origins in 1937, when Henry Zarrow founded a small oilfield supply shop in Tulsa, Okla., according to the company’s Web site. Sooner Pipe claims to have unmatched buying power, with access to mills in both the United States and overseas, and the ability to provide services around the world. Sooner said it serves the widest customer base in the industry, including both big international oil companies and smaller independents. Sooner offers a proprietary inventory management system that it says allows it to track shipments all the way down to individual pipe stems. The company has an experienced management team headed by president John Shoaff, who joined Sooner in 1998 andÑlike many members of the teamÑhas more than two decades of experience in tubular products, including downhole tubing and casing, as well as related industrial products.

THE STEEL SUPPLY CO.
Customer service is a priority at The Steel Supply Co. The Rolling Meadows, Ill.-based company strives to answer all inquiries within two hours, orders placed by noon generally ship the same day, and its support staff includes multilingual employees who are trained for customer service under current ISO 9001:2008 requirements. Customer retention is the responsibility of field representatives who perform follow-up, claim entry and product and equipment updates, as well as regular service calls. The result: more than 200 new customers per year for the past four yearsÑeven in 2009, a down yearÑand many of the new customers have become repeat and major accounts. The company’s technological innovations and on-time delivery efforts are numerous. Steel Supply has the ability to modify its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to adapt to the ever-changing needs of customers. Programming is used to determine promised on-time delivery as well as actual on-time performance, and the results are posted throughout the plant and on the Web. Quality is measured using a series of key performance indicators, one of which is an internal non-conforming report (NCR) system that identifies flaws in the system so that problems can be minimized, corrected and eliminated. Business was off by 36 percent in 2009 and inventory turns were very low, but there was considerable improvement in 2010 and 2011 and many of the company’s “A” items have been turning at a rate of six to 10 times since mid-2010. As a distributor, Steel Supply used its history and factored in the economic conditions to adjust its turn ratio in its favor, including modifying order quantities and updating economic order quantity information in its ERP program. When lead times went from four weeks to eight months, Steel Supply was able to maintain its stock levels. The credit management team performed admirably during this time, increasing calls to past-due customers and accepting credit cards for payments. The DSO (days sales outstanding) never varied by more than 1.5 days and remains steady even today. In addition, the number of customers closing or filing for bankruptcy protection has been virtually nonexistent since mid-2010. The Steel Supply Co. was founded as a specialty warehouse to supply ground and polished precision shafting. Today it is an international distributor operating from two locations. Its warehouse in Rolling Meadows stocks 4,000 individual sizes and grades of steel tubing and steel shafting. Its in-house machine shop produces hydraulic rods and piston rods and cylinder barrels and is equipped for most types of general machining as well. Its second location, in Fox Lake, Ill., is a complete source of chrome-plated shafting and tubing for the hydraulic industry and fills quantity orders at mill prices. Its manufacturing innovations and technical procedures are recognized by registered trademarks.




SEAMLESS PIPE PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

TENARIS SA (Editors’ Choice)
Luxembourg-based steel tube and pipe maker Tenaris SA provides a complete range of productsÑcasing and tubing, line pipe and various other mechanical and structural steel pipeÑfor the world’s energy industry and other industrial applications. All of its manufacturing facilities in North and South America, Europe and Asia share a unified global quality policy and have ISO 9001 certification. The company manufactures a complete range of seamless products. Its seamless pipe manufacturing process involves the transformation of raw materials into steel bar (electric-arc furnace, ladle furnace, vacuum degassing and continuous casting processes), and the transformation of steel bar into mother pipe, which is manufactured in different types of rolling mills. Tenaris manufactures its products in a wide range of specifications, which vary in steel grade, diameter, length, thickness, finishing, threading and coupling. Seamless steel pipe is usually specified for complex applications, including high-pressure and high-temperature applications. Each product is manufactured in accordance with customer specifications, including heat treatment for more-demanding applications. Pipe is threaded and undergoes non-destructive testing before delivery to customers. Tenaris also offers cold-drawing for pipe in diameters and wall thicknesses required for use in boilers, superheaters, condensers, heat exchangers, automobile production and other industrial applications. Tenaris is a global leader in the production of seamless steel pipe, accounting for a significant percentage of the world trade in seamless steel pipe and 30 percent of world trade in oil country tubular goods (OCTG), according to the company. Tenaris, which has an annual production capacity of about 3.3 million tons of seamless, manufactured about 2.4 million tons of seamless tubular products in 2010. The company consists of a network of tubular production units and threading facilities in more than 15 countries, more than 40 commercial offices worldwide and four research laboratories and specialized premium-connection-testing facilities in Argentina, Italy, Japan and Mexico, and employs more than 20,000 people worldwide, including a research staff of more than 200 scientists and engineers. With a network of customer service centers in more than 20 countries, annual consolidated net sales totaled about $7.7 billion in 2010. Tenaris is a leading supplier of tubes and related services for the world’s energy industry and certain other industrial applications. Its stated mission is to deliver value to its customers through product development, manufacturing excellence and supply chain management. Tenaris says it seeks to minimize risk for customers and help them reduce costs, increase flexibility and improve time-to-market. Tenaris employees around the world are committed to continuous improvement by sharing knowledge across a single global organization. Its customers include most of the world’s leading oil and gas companies as well as engineering companies engaged in constructing oil and gas gathering, transportation and processing facilities. Principal products include casing, tubing, line pipe, and mechanical and structural pipe. All around the world, it offers employees, community and institutions an active participation in a long-term, sustainable industrial project, enabling Tenaris to maintain its competitive position in national and global markets.

V&M USA CORP.
Houston-based Vallourec & Mannesmann (V&M) USA Corp.’s North American team has developed and implemented initiatives to increase customer satisfaction and remain a preferred brand for high-quality seamless pipe. V&M Star LP’s integrated manufacturing operation, strategically located in Youngstown, Ohio, in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, has increased capacity to fulfill customer demand, providing a highly competitive and reliable domestic solution to customers for their seamless pipe requirements. The state-of-the-art mill, which complements V&M Star’s existing steel plant and rolling mill, is slated for ramp-up this year. By successfully consolidating the research and development and the testing facilities of VAM USA LLC and Atlas Bradford LP in 2010, VAM USA has strengthened its ability to meet customer requirements for product innovation and testing, meeting ever-growing industry challenges. Operators are required to provide more-stringent risk assessment measures. As a result, V&M has been flooded with demands for connection testing, which led the company to double its testing capacity in Houston. The new facility is due to start operations in the third quarter of 2012. V&M also has opened new field service offices, allowing for closer customer contact, including one in Oklahoma City in August 2011 to complement existing teams in Houston and Lafayette, La. V&M continuously works to improve quality, delivery and safety in order to remain a preferred source for oil country tubular goods (OCTG). In 2011, its quality index (the percentage of lots shipped without a quality claim) reached 99.6 percent and its delivery index (the percentage of lots shipped on time and complete) reached 99.7 percent. The company was able to reduce its lead times from rolling to delivery on its various product lines last year vs. 2010 by reducing rolling cycle times and improving internal efficiencies between pipe mills and finishing lines. A shorter lead time benefits customers because it creates less stock inventory on the ground, gets core sizes delivered on a regular basis and limits backlogs, allowing for quick response to changing demand. Safety is a key priority to V&M, and throughout the years it has continued to implement programs to improve its safety records and safety culture. It has reached and surpassed safety records through such initiatives as risk assessment and safety visit feedback; required safety visits by all managers; safety meetings on all shifts; an annual global safety day; safety steering committees chaired by plant managers or presidents; and an annual safety convention with Vallourec SA corporate executives. Such actions resulted in the company improving its lost-time injury rate to as low as 0.33 in the first nine months of 2011.




WELDED PIPE PRODUCER OF THE YEAR 

BOOMERANG TUBE LLC (Editors’ Choice)
Chesterfield, Mo.-based Boomerang Tube LLC is a leading producer of oil country tubular goods (OCTG) and line pipe. Led by founder, president and chief executive officer Gregg Eisenberg, Boomerang’s executive management has more than 90 years of combined industry experience. With new state-of-the-art facilities in Liberty, Texas, Boomerang has the capability to produce 360,000 tons of electric-resistance welded (ERW) OCTG and line pipe annually. Heat-treating capacity is available at the facility, with a goal of 250,000 tons annually, and seamless pipe also will be available. The Liberty Works is on a 119-acre site northeast of Houston, strategically located near major steel production centers, end-user markets and the Port of Houston. The plant features an updated building that covers 487,000 square feet; $100 million in new equipment; an in-house third-party inspection facility; two ERW mills with 400,000 tons of annual capacity; full in-house finishing with two PMC thread lines and two CNC thread lines; high-speed hydrostatic testers to keep up with mill speeds and ensure quality; initial heat-treat capability of 150,000 tons per year and a planned additional heat-treat capacity of 100,000 tons; and ample on-site storage of four weeks for steel and six weeks for finished goods. The Liberty Works was built on the site of a former pipe mill that was prone to flooding; Boomerang raised the foundation and redesigned the site to be more flood-resistant. Boomerang executives said it was no small feat to secure financing and build a new OCTG mill in the middle of a financial crisis, but they believe Boomerang built at exactly the right time and will benefit by coming into the market with a new mill just as drilling activity is poised for an extended bull run in North America. Boomerang is committed to providing a safe, prosperous environment for its employees and to empower them to serve its customer base with distinction. Boomerang also is striving to be a model “corporate citizen” in the community.


PLYMOUTH TUBE CO.
Plymouth Tube Co. said its Eupora, Miss., welded tube mill places emphasis on the customer, with the right people, structure and disciplined systems in place. Warrenville, Ill.-based Plymouth Tube operates a network of 10 metalworking mills for the manufacture of precision steel tubing, steel and titanium near-net shapes, and steel and titanium cold-drawn shapes. Family owned Plymouth Tube encourages its mills to operate with a great deal of autonomy. Donald C. Van Pelt Jr., president, said that the company is “organized for agilityÑdecentralized enough to be easy to do business with, yet big enough to be a single-source supplier,” making each mill location well-positioned to respond to customers’ needs as a single voice. One of the key competencies that all mill personnel are rated on is teamwork. In 2008, Plymouth Tube created the Fabricated Tube Solutions (FTS) business unit at its Eupora mill to organize some of its existing cutting and end-finishing operations into a formal business unit that focused on added-value opportunities. In its relatively short existence, FTS has introduced four new computer numerical control (CNC) lathes and has more than doubled its end-finishing capacity and revenue. The net result for customers has been a shorter supply chain, faster response times and better lead times. Plymouth Tube also has implemented a “no fault” return policy. Any order can be returned to Plymouth Tube for full credit. Not only does this policy help market the product, but it also motivates the mill to get the product right the first time. These customer-service initiatives have spawned industry-leading lead times. The 20 percent of Plymouth customers that are responsible for 80 percent of its revenue experienced lead times of just 10 weeks as of late 2011.


WELSPUN PIPES INC.
Little Rock, Ark.-based Welspun Pipes Inc., a subsidiary of India’s Welspun Group, said it has made several manufacturing changes that have improved product quality and customer service while at the same time increasing innovation and operational excellence. Its plant has improved productivity for better deliveries; has increased quality and safety personnel at customer sites while unloading pipe to ensure safe and damage-free delivery of pipe as well as better customer communication; has implemented direct loadouts to increase productivity and faster deliveries; and put in place a traceability initiative to avoid identification issues at customer sites while laying pipe. As welding was identified as one of the plant’s bottlenecks, a fifth welding line featuring state-of-the-art technology was added. A pipe-end expander was installed for end correction of pipe. All pipe produced under API 5L specifications is subject to radiography inspection. Welspun added a digital radiography station just before film X-ray, which comprises an X-ray machine, a flat-panel detector and image-processing software. Conventionally, after coating, pipe is transported to rail cars by trucks, resulting in more handling, which increases the chance of coating damage. By doing a direct loadout, handling has been reduced. Because of these and other innovations, Welspun has seen a 30-percent increase in productivity in the spiral plant; a 40-percent increase in productivity in the coating plant; a 100-percent increase in rail loadout capacity; a 20-percent reduction in manpower; increased capacity utilization up to 85 percent; and a 25-percent reduction in conversion costs. Welspun’s state-of-the-art spiral pipe making facility in Little Rock is spread over 740 acres next to the Little Rock Port Authority. It includes external and internal coatings as well as a double-jointing facility.


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