CHICAGO Nucor Corp. will
construct a wire rod mill as part of the $120-million expansion
at its Darlington, S.C., steel works, Rex Query, vice president
and general manager at the Darlington plant, told
The company expects to start up
the new mill during the third quarter of 2013, targeting the
Southeast market, he said.
The new rod mill will consist of
a four-stand pre-finishing block, an eight-stand rod block and
a four-stand sizing block. The sizing block is needed "so we
can achieve the high tolerances," Query said, noting that the
new mill is a custom configuration.
"With our current setup in
Darlington, we have two rolling mills that overlap in the sizes
they can produce. (Under the new set-up), we will feed billets
off the larger mill, from the roughing stands into the rod
mill. We will replace some of the old stands with additional
new roughing stands," he said.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based
steelmaker announced in January plans to spend $290 million to
expand special bar quality (SBQ) and wire rod capacity by a
combined 1 million tons at three steel mills, including
Darlington (AMM, Jan. 26), but didnt offer any
specifics. Last week, the Darlington County Council approved
ordinances to support the proposed Darlington expansion project
(AMM, April 9).
In addition to building a wire
rod mill, Nucor also will add thermo-mechanical rolling
capability at the Darlington operation, Query said. "The
purpose is to reduce or eliminate subsequent processing."
This feature, along with a new
100-meter-long Stelmore deck, will allow the mill to tightly
control temperature in order to manage grain growth. This
process will allow Nucor to "achieve certain properties in the
steel," Query said, and the decks extended length will
allow for a larger product range.
Nucor currently produces up to
5- by 5-inch angles, 8-inch flats, 6-inch channels and SBQ
rounds from 9⁄16 to 39⁄16 inches, Query said. With
the rod mill, it also will make rod and bar in coil from
7⁄32 to 2 inches while expanding its SBQ and hexagon
The expanded plant will be able
to produce coil up to 5,400 pounds compared with the current
maximum of 3,400 pounds, he said, stressing that the product
range, not the overall capacity, is increasing with this
Nucor also will install a new
cooling bed for high-tolerance straightness and scratch-free
bars, Query added. "We want scratch-free product because
customers are interested in the physical characteristics and
performance for many surface-critical applications."
Query said that "as we
commission the equipment we will be in a mid- to low-carbon
product and then work into higher carbon and higher end-uses
for a broad range of customers. Longer term, the goal is to be
a higher-end supplier."
Nucor also will build laboratory
and testing facilities at Darlington.