PITTSBURGH Gerdau Long Steel North America is planning a second-quarter restart of its idled Wilton, Iowa, auto shredding operations in response to improved demand at the steelmaking facility, a company spokeswoman told AMM.
The restarted shredder, out of commission for three years, will include a new in-feed system and updated automation and controls when in comes online by May 1, Tampa, Fla.-based Gerdau said. Favorable weather conditions have put the construction timetable ahead of its original schedule, it added.
"The restart and upgrade of the Wilton shredder is part of our commitment to captive scrap utilization throughout North America," Matthew Yeatman, vice president of raw materials, said in a statement. "Utilizing the synergy of scrap production and steelmaking on one site is core to our business model."
The 3,000-horsepower shredder is located at Gerdaus Wilton steelmaking complex, which produces merchant bars, rebar, light structurals and special bar quality (SBQ) products, according to the Association for Iron and Steel Technology directory.
The spokeswoman declined to specify the shredders hourly operating rate, citing reasons of "competitiveness in the market," but said Wilton recalled two workers in January and plans to hire about 10 more over the next few weeks due to the restart.
Scrap market players said it was too early to tell how the restart might impact regional demand, but several local recyclers told AMM that they have been selling their shredder feed to a major scrap recycler in the region during the down time.
"This (restart) may have some impact because it brings a shredder closer to everyone in my area," according to one Iowa auto recycler, who had been selling his feed elsewhere.
Another recycler said he has been advised that Gerdau plans to resume buying feedstock from suppliers in March.