NEW YORK A marked
improvement in consumer demand is behind SSAB Americas
potential plans to expand normalized plate capacity in Mobile,
Ala., by as much as 75 percent in the next year, Jeff Moskaluk,
chief commercial officer at SSAB Americas, told
"We have customers really
encouraging us to expand our facility because they see the need
for more normalized product," he said, noting that two groups
of customersthe energy and railcar production
sectorsare driving the push for more normalized plate
"Customers in both segments have
approached us and said, Were kind of maxed out and
can use more normalized product, " Moskaluk
"On the energy side, its
mostly related to offshore platforms and exploration equipment,
as well as tanks and storage vessels for the petroleum
industry," he said. "On the railcar side, its tank cars
in particular. The demand for those cars currently is quite
strong and another good opportunity for us."
The majority of the demand
pickup is coming from the North American market, with the
United States accounting for the bulk of the rise, Moskaluk
SSAB Americas, a subsidiary of
Swedish steelmaker SSAB AB, said on Friday that it was mulling
plans to boost its normalized plate capacity in Mobile, Ala.
(AMM, May 7). The company did not provide more details
at that time, but Moskaluk told AMM on Monday that an
expansion would involve the addition of new equipment at the
existing facility and wouldnt require new
The plant, which now has about
70,000 tons of normalized plate capacity, could see that rise
by some 35 percent to 75 percent, depending on the type of
equipment SSAB Americas decides to install.
"Its in the decision
process right now. That (decision) will be made very shortly,
and its a modest investment either way," he said.
Meanwhile, the facility
continues to ramp up its new quench-and-temper line, Moskaluk
said. The new linethe second at the Mobile
sitestarted running product in April and is increasing
its output on schedule, he said.
"Our operators have done a good
job of getting the equipment up and running. Its going
well. The market is being supportive and the equipment is
coming online as planned," he said.