What constitutes excellence in steel? American Metal Market answers that question as we present the finalists for our third annual Awards for Steel Excellence. A panel of industry experts nominated a total of 24 organizations and three individuals in 10 different categories (note: those finalists marked Editors Choice were added by AMM staff). A prestigious panel of judges will choose the winner in each category before we announce the final results at a June 19 ceremony during our Steel Success Strategies XXVII Conference June 18-20 in New York.
China Beijing International Mining Exchange
Current iron ore pricing indexes cannot reflect the market in an objective and authentic manner, according to Beijing-based China Beijing International Mining Exchange Co. Ltd., because the method for data collection and index formation is not transparent. The China Iron Ore Spot Trading Platform was launched in January by the China Iron and Steel Association, the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters and the China Beijing International Mining Exchange. The platform creates a direct channel for suppliers and consumers, promotes a discovery mechanism of reasonable and transparent iron ore prices, and provides fast and convenient services to participants.
A phased array inspection system for bar and coil alloys was designed at Wyomissing, Pa.-based Carpenter Technology Corp. to increase product throughput and improve quality. The companys goal was to develop an innovative inspection system that would enable it to quickly and accurately test its bar and coil products, identify defects and automatically sort material based on the test results with a minimal amount of handling. The system had to have the versatility to inspect hundreds of sizes of material and measure that material against hundreds of different customer specifications. Carpenter began testing the use of phased array immersion ultrasonic inspections nearly 10 years ago. The new system has increased throughput five- to sevenfold, and has a perfect customer track record for error-proofing.
Majestic Steel USA
Majestic Steel USA Inc., Cleveland, promotes a culture of innovation in order to provide value to customers. It provides the latest toolsiPads, smartphones, software and computer systemsthat support testing and innovation while increasing efficiency and mobility. In May last year, Majestic released The CORE Report, a free, weekly e-mail publication offering an in-depth look at key indicators and trends driving the steel market. Majestic launched its first mobile app, Unravel: Flat-Rolled Steel Calculator, through iTunes in October and for Android in January. Unravel is a first-of-its-kind mobile app for the steel industry that computes data used in the buying, selling and processing of steel coil. Ongoing initiatives include Majestics dynamic website and deployment of social media channels.
Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Olympic Steel Inc.s Chicago Tube & Iron Co. subsidiary last year installed one of the biggest tube lasers in North America, the Adige LT14. Similar machines are housed by a few North American original equipment manufacturers, but this was the first dedicated to a contract manufacturer. The introduction of the equipment significantly expanded business opportunities for Olympic Steel and Chicago Tube and provided a new range of capabilities for customers. Besides simply running at greater processing speeds, the Adige LT14 automatically loads, cuts and discharges tubing up to 14 inches in diameter and 40 feet long, a notable increase in product size.
BEST OPERATIONAL IMPROVEMENT:
ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc., the Hamilton, Ontario, subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA, has seen operating cost savings and productivity increase as a result of its primary optimization program (POP). In 2008, ArcelorMittal Dofasco undertook an initiative to increase the Hamilton facilitys steelmaking capacity by 630,000 tons to 4.8 million tons and received approval for a $100-million POP investment. The program encompassed the restart of its No. 3 blast furnace, which had been idle since 2005, creating a potential excess of hot metal beyond the needs of the KOBM (basic oxygen) vessel. The opportunity to make use of this hot metal was the impetus for the electric-arc furnace (EF) upgrades project. The scope of the upgrades project covered engineering, fabrication, construction and commissioning of a new hot-metal transfer pit at the EF facility.
ArcelorMittal USA Burns Harbor
ArcelorMittal USA Inc.s Burns Harbor, Ind., plant achieved enhanced efficiency and quality resulting from the rebuild of its 160-inch plate mill heat-treat operation. The subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA recently completed the state-of-the-art project, which was unique in its innovative use and redeployment of existing facilities coupled with new technology and equipment to meet or exceed the most demanding requirements of todays plate customers and their needs well into the future. The cornerstone of the approximately $60-million investment is a new high-capacity leveler with additional furnace, processing and automation improvements. The re-engineered line produces Burns Harbors full range of heat-treat products while enhancing product quality, throughput, customer delivery, cost and energy savings. Project benefits will ultimately result in a more sustainable business.
ArcelorMittal USA Indiana Harbor
ArcelorMittal USA Inc.s Indiana Harbor plant in East Chicago, Ind., is the largest steel mill in North America and home to the largest blast furnace in the United States. Currently, about 78 percent of the blast furnace gas (BFG) from the No. 7 blast furnace is used for heating the No. 7 stoves and for making steam at the No. 5 boiler house, while the remaining 22 percentsome 46 billion cubic feetis wasted when it is flared (ignited and exhausted) into the atmosphere. The subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA researched and identified the Energy Recovery and Reuse: 504 Boiler Project, an opportunity to use the flared BFG to generate steam that will drive existing generators at Indiana Harbor to produce approximately 333,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually and indirectly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 340,000 tons annually. Construction began in February, and the project is expected to be operational by the third quarter.
Wyomissing, Pa.-based Carpenter Technology Corp. has seen a sevenfold increase in throughput and zero customer rejections resulting from the implementation of a phased array inspection system. Carpenter has pioneered the use of new ultrasonic testing technology for the inspection of bar and coil alloys to increase product throughput and improve quality. The companys goal was to develop an innovative inspection system that would enable it to quickly and accurately test its bar and coil products, identify defects and automatically sort material based on the test results with a minimal amount of handling. The system had to have the versatility to inspect hundreds of sizes of material and measure that material against hundreds of different customer specifications. Carpenter began testing the use of phased array immersion ultrasonic inspections nearly 10 years ago.
Superior Tube Co., Collegeville, Pa., used the implementation of a lean manufacturing culture to achieve a 12-percent increase in revenue and a 62-percent improvement in operating earnings. A joint management/union team was asked in September 2010 to define the core values that identified what Superior Tube was 15 to 20 years ago and what it will be 15 to 20 years in the future. By October 2010, a list of approximately 20 possible values was compiled and distributed to the entire organization. Each employee was then asked to select the values they felt best described Superior Tube. Among those values were pride as a manufacturer, teamwork, honesty and integrity, and continuous improvement. The improvements Superior has made use these core values as their foundation.
BEST MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS:
West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp. announced last October it had acquired new iron ore and metallurgical coal interestsa major step toward achieving vertical integration, one of the companys top strategic objectives. On the iron-ore front, AK Steel formed Magnetation LLC, a joint venture with Nashwauk, Minn.-based Magnetation Inc., to produce iron ore feedstock and pellets from legacy reserves in Minnesota. It also acquired all of the stock of Solar Fuel Co. Inc., a Friedens, Pa.-based coal company, and formed wholly owned subsidiary AK Coal Resources Inc. As a result, the company now controls more than 20 million tons of low-volatile metallurgical coal reserves in Pennsylvania. Prior to this initiative, AK Steel didnt own any mining or mineral-recovery assets.
In a move of enormous strategic value to the company, A.M. Castle & Co. acquired Houston-based Tube Supply Inc. for approximately $165 million late last year. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company selected Tube Supply, a metals service center specializing in tubular and bar products for the oil and gas industry, after an 18-month search. Tube Supply was one of the few remaining large independent companies in the oil and gas metal service center distribution sector. The objective was to build on existing end marketsenergy, aerospace, defense and industrialby acquiring a significant player at a fair price.
Carpenter Technology Corp. acquired Latrobe, Pa.-based Latrobe Specialty Metals Inc. for approximately $558 million in February. The deal illustrated Carpenters strategy of growing through organic initiatives and acquisitions while focusing on markets that value the technical sophistication of Carpenters products. As a result of the acquisition, Wyomissing, Pa.-based Carpenter has been able to meet strong customer demand by increasing capacity, improve its position in segments such as aerospace and energy, and maximize returns on new investments. Latrobe is an important extension of Carpenters capabilities.
Southfield, Mich.-based Grede Holdings LLC has made seven acquisitions in the past three years, and in doing so has diversified its customer base and more than tripled its revenues. Last year, Grede acquired two foundries, NovoCast and Teknik, from Monterrey, Mexico-based Grupo Proeza SA de CV, as well as Omaha, Neb.-based Paxton-Mitchell Co. The acquisitions were strategically important because they expanded the companys manufacturing footprint, allowing Grede to supply key automotive, heavy truck and industrial customers in the growing North American market.
In July 2011, Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Olympic Steel Inc. acquired Chicago Tube & Iron Co., a profitable, privately owned company based in Romeoville, Ill., with just shy of 100 years experience. Olympic Steel and Chicago Tube executives had worked together for many years on trade association initiatives, and they made the acquisition decision based on mutual company values as well as financial factors. The purchase price included $150 million in cash, plus the assumption of about $6 million of indebtedness. Executives from both companies continue to be focused on continued growth within their respective market segments and the long-term success of both organizations. About five years ago, executives at both companies noticed that major accounts increasingly sought one-stop shopping,
In June 2011, Olympic Steel Inc. invested more than half a million dollars in a 100-kilowatt wind turbine to supply power to its Bedford Heights, Ohio, corporate office and temper mill. The turbine, which generates as much as 15 percent of the power used by the facilities, also is integrated into the local power grid, which allows Olympic Steel to redirect excess energy to the surrounding community. The installation reinforced Olympics ongoing commitment to sustainability, as evidenced by Olympics ISO 14001 environmental certification.
Sims Metal Management
Sims Metal Management Ltd. has enhanced its environmental profile with green initiatives, capital investments and accreditation. Because its metal shredders are among the companys biggest energy users, it prioritized the completion of capacitor banks for all of its North American shredders. These, coupled with the use of energy monitors to modulate material flow into the shredders, have improved power factors and increased energy efficiency. The New York-based company also has evaluated and installed variable-frequency drives for targeted conveyor belts, undertaken energy and lighting audits, and launched solar projects at its facilities in New York and New Jersey.
Steel Market Development Institute
The Steel Market Development Institutes Future Steel Vehicle (FSV) project is a global industry initiative to develop state-of-the-art automobile bodies that reduce carbon emissions. The project validates wide-ranging research into the practical use of advanced high-strength steels, supports innovative design and manufacturing technologies, and offers specific examples for electrified vehicles. The FSV aims to help automakers meet more-stringent emission and fuel-efficiency standards while maintaining vehicle performance and affordability. It also is helping to develop new electric-drive powertrains as well as structural variants for battery-electric, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell powertrains.
BEST BROWNFIELD/GREENFIELD TECHNOLOGY PROJECT
ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc., the Hamilton, Ontario, subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA, has seen operating cost savings and productivity increase as a result of its primary optimization program (POP). In 2008, ArcelorMittal Dofasco undertook an initiative to increase the Hamilton facilitys steelmaking capacity by 630,000 tons to 4.8 million tons and received approval for a $100-million POP investment. The program encompassed the restart of its No. 3 blast furnace, which had been idle since 2005, creating a potential excess of hot metal beyond the needs of the KOBM (basic oxygen) vessel. The opportunity to make use of this hot metal was the impetus for the electric-arc furnace (EF) upgrades project. The scope of the upgrades project covered engineering, fabrication, construction and commissioning of a new hot-metal transfer pit at the EF facility, as well as modifications to the EF off-gas handling system.
ArcelorMittal USA Burns Harbor
ArcelorMittal USA Inc.s Burns Harbor, Ind., plant achieved enhanced efficiency and quality resulting from the rebuild of its 160-inch plate mill heat-treat operation. The subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA recently completed the state-of-the-art project, which was unique in its innovative use and redeployment of existing facilities coupled with new technology and equipment to meet or exceed the most demanding requirements of todays plate customers and their needs well into the future. The project allowed the company to minimize both the cost and the duration of construction, representing the lowest possible investment, shortest time to return and least disruption to customers. The cornerstone of the approximately $60-million investment is a new high-capacity leveler with additional furnace, processing and automation improvements.
ArcelorMittal USA Indiana Harbor
The Energy Recovery & Reuse: 504 Boiler Project at ArcelorMittal USA Inc.s Indiana Harbor plant in East Chicago, Ind., involves the installation of a waste-energy recovery boiler, which will use the blast furnace gas (BFG) to generate steam that will drive existing generators at Indiana Harbor to produce approximately 333,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power about 30,000 American homes per year, and indirectly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 340,000 tons annually due to reduced purchased grid power, which is predominantly from coal-fired utility power generation facilities. (Indianas power is 95 percent coal-based.) Major pieces of equipment included in the project to support operation of the boiler are draft fans, feedwater pumps, a de-aerator and an exhaust stack. Construction began in February, and the project is expected to be operational by the third quarter.
Essar Steel Algoma
In November 2011, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario-based Essar Steel Algoma Inc. installed an individualized oven pressure control system on its No. 9 coke battery, marking the first installation of its kind in North America. The company sought to achieve a step change in environmental performance by replacing an existing common-pressure dual collector main with the best available technology, resulting in a substantial reduction in emissions. In the process, it also achieved an overall project cost reduction vs. supplier estimates by adopting an engineer, procure and construct approach, optimizing internal resource utilization (both materials and labor) and by introducing enhanced installation methodology. Essar Steel Algoma said its proven progress and continued investment in emission control initiatives demonstrate its leadership in environmental stewardship, which it took to the global stage with the installation.
West Chester, Ohio-based steelmaker AK Steel Corp. formed Magnetation LLC, a joint venture with a private company, to produce iron ore feedstock and pellets from legacy reserves in Minnesota. Magnetation uses a unique, advanced magnetic separation process to recover iron ore from existing stockpiles of previously mined material. Utilizing these iron ore tailings eliminates the need for traditional drilling, blasting and excavating, and it can result in the creation of new wetlands in an environmentally responsible manner. The magnetic separation technology used by Magnetation was pioneered by the joint ventures chief executive officer, Larry Lehtinen. Magnetation plans to complete construction of a 3-million-ton-per-year pelletizing plant by 2016 that will consume the majority of the joint ventures iron concentrate production.
Wuhan Iron & Steel
Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corp. (Wisco), Chinas fourth-largest steel producer, was making about 40 million tons of iron and steel per year operating with traditional steam boilers when it entered into a relationship with GE Energy. Increasing demand for steel was driving the need for more electricityup to 10 billion kilowatt hours per year, an unsustainable, costly drain on the public gridand Wisco engaged GE Energy to develop and execute an innovative approach that would increase energy efficiency and profitability, all while reducing emissions and maintaining a high level of production. GE added two gas turbines, two generators and a double-ended fuel gas compressor to handle the large compression loads associated with compressing ultra-low-heating-value fuel. The centrifugal fuel gas compressor created for the project was the largest GE has made in the companys history.INDUSTRY AMBASSADOR/ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR
LOGISTICS/TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
Thomas A. Danjczek (Editors Choice)
As the primary trade association for scrap-based electric-arc furnace steelmakers and rerollers, the Steel Manufacturers Association has been a strong and effective voice in Washington and around the country, not only for the 35 North American companies that comprise its core membership but also for the general good of the entire domestic steel industry and the manufacturing sector it serves. Under the guidance of president Thomas A. Danjczek and his support staff, SMA has focused its energies and resources on three principal activities: developing and supporting public policy positions consistent with the interests of its members; providing a forum for the exchange of information on technical matters and operations among member companies; and serving as a source of information on the steel industry.
Thomas J. Gibson (Editors Choice)
From its headquarters in Washington, the American Iron and Steel Institute and Thomas J. Gibson, its president and chief executive officer, have aired, promoted and lobbied in support of the industrys interests on the environmental, trade, currency, climate, energy and economic fronts. Besides lobbying heavily and successfully for the inclusion of Buy American provisions in the American Recovery and Revitalization Act, the AISI has worked steadily on Capitol Hill for provisions in any climate legislation that would maintain the competitiveness of steel and other energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries.
Dr. Sunil Widge, a 35-year veteran of Wyomissing, Pa.-based Carpenter Technology Corp., has the perfect combination of abilities and knowledge that suited him to serve not only as Carpenters senior vice president of strategic business development and governmental affairs, but also as chairman of the Stainless Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) from 2009 to 2011. Widge, who helped steer SSINA through a difficult time for the industry, has the in-depth technical background to deal with complex regulatory issues, and he also knows the industrys customer base and product markets well. His unique, resourceful and decisive leadership at SSINA contributed to the entire industrys arena of influence, including the steel market, politics, economics, legislation, trade, technology, safety and labor.
Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Olympic Steel Inc. has pioneered a private fleet of 117 tractor-trailers that enhance the companys implementation of a state-of-the-art fleet-management system. Olympic Steels private fleet is maintained using U.S. Department of Transportation requirements as a minimum standard. About 90 percent of Olympics fleet is model-year 2010 or newer, and all are equipped with satellite/electronic onboard recorder devices, which include black-box monitoring, communication and birds-eye-view/breadcrumb tracking. Olympics fleet-management system, provided by Xata Corp., monitors in real time and maintains a running log, which allows the company to manage all aspects of the fleet and ensure full utilization from scheduling to fuel consumption and even driver handling and vehicle wear.
Through the introduction of numerous new products, including Pipeline Express, Seamless Steel and Copper Connection, Union Pacific Corp. has sought to improve the ease of doing business by rail for metal-shipping customers. Its energy site tracker for pipeline shippers is a Web application that has streamlined the pipeline project process. The database systematically allows the user to select distribution locations best suited for new pipeline projects, allowing quicker responses to project inquiries, including site viability, site requirements and rail rates. Union Pacifics Transverse Trough greatly improves the ease of loading while eliminating the need for blocking and bracing. The cars design also has eliminated damage associated with coil telescoping. The new equipment design also is equipped with gaskets to keep out water and debris. Every locomotive Union Pacific operates is tracked via GPS.
SCRAP COMPANY OF THE YEAR
All Star Metals
Brownsville, Texas-based All Star Metals LLC is a licensed ship recycling, metal processing and environmental remediation contractor that has achieved steady growth over the past nine years. The federal government is one of All Stars largest clients, which the company said has helped it realize the importance of customer service. All Star completes projects in a timely manner and within budget, traits that have made it a popular choice for clients. All Star last year completed a 1,000-foot dredge to build its own shipping dock for large cargo vessels.
Privately owned family business Cohen, the former Cohen Brothers Inc., celebrated a banner year in 2011, when it rebranded, added satellite operations and adopted an aggressive plan to integrate several new product lines and services into its business model. The result is the addition of several skilled professionals and seven new divisions designed specifically to increase the flow of material into its facilities. Cohens sales and volume growth increased 25 percent as the Middletown, Ohio-based company added satellite operations through both acquisition and greenfield development, bringing its total locations to 26 in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
Sims Metal Management
New York-based Sims Metal Management Ltd. has implemented various customer service and continuous improvement initiatives to ensure that the company continues to be the best in the industry. Sims invites input from personnel at all levels of the organization and empowers them to implement necessary customer service improvements within their area or facility. In addition, feedback from customers is closely monitored. Written communications from the chief executive officer and management demonstrate to everyone in the company the importance of excellent customer service, keeping all employees on the same page and dedicated to the same goals. Sims works to motivate all levels of employees to provide the highest-quality service.
Upstate Shredding-Ben Weitsman & Son
Customer-centered service, community participation and strong support have helped make Upstate Shredding LLC-Ben Weitsman & Son Inc. one of the largest privately held scrap metal processors on the East Coast. The Owego, N.Y.-based company has seen a significant increase in both scrap volume processed and revenues in recent years, and expects to process more than 850,000 tons of ferrous scrap and 150 million pounds of nonferrous metal this year. Upstate Shredding-Ben Weitsman has continued to grow aggressively, with 11 locations and more planned in the future, but it has continued to ensure that the same level of integrity and customer care persists for each and every customer.
SERVICE CENTER OF THE YEAR
A.M. Castle & Co. acquired Houston-based Tube Supply Inc. for approximately $165 million late last year. Tube Supply is a metals service center specializing in tubular and bar products for the oil and gas industry. The transaction was of enormous strategic benefit to Oak Brook, Ill.-based A.M. Castle as Tube Supply has provided high-quality products and services, primarily to the North American oilfield equipment manufacturing industry, for the past 25 years. Tube Supply has the reputation of being a leading provider of a broad range of oilfield-quality metals, with a specific focus on the equipment and tools used in downhole drilling, completion and wellhead applications. Tube Supply has service centers in Houston and Edmonton, Alberta.
Hammond, Ind.-based Berlin Metals LLC has worked to achieve excellence in customer service, support and retention. Berlins on-time delivery rates have exceeded 99 percent for nearly a decade, with a low customer complaint percentage. Berlin has dedicated inside and outside customer service teams for each account to ensure follow-up consistency and to cement relationships with each customer. Customer service representatives are engaged in a continuous education process in quality procedures and systems, steel production, and steel market news and economics so that they can be better resources for customers. Berlin provides customization of service options for each account to meet each customers unique needs.
Last year represented a year of significant growth for Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Mill Steel Co., and the majority of its initiatives focused on managing that growth in order to maintain a high standard of overall customer care as it broadened the number of customers served and expanded service to current customers. Mill Steel grew 41.5 percent in terms of tons sold and 26.3 percent in terms of its customer base in 2011. It also completed a variety of expansion and equipment installation projects but experienced no customer defaults. Metallurgical expertise, quality slitting, professional customer service representatives and superior logistics support were all part of the initiatives. Mill Steel last year completed the acquisition and expansion of its 175,000-square-foot Birmingham, Ala., plant, along with the installation of a ¼-inch by 72-inch slitting line. The company acquired the plant as part of the purchase of certain Coated Steel Corp. assets
Olympic Steel Inc.s Chicago Tube & Iron Co. subsidiary last year installed one of the biggest tube lasers in North America, the Adige LT14. The introduction of the equipment significantly expanded business opportunities for Olympic Steel and Chicago Tube and provided a new range of capabilities for customers. The Adige LT14 automatically loads, cuts and discharges tubing up to 14 inches in diameter and 40 feet long. Bedford Heights, Ohio-based Olympic Steel acquired Chicago Tube in July 2011. Olympic Steel and Chicago Tube executives had worked together for many years on trade association initiatives and continue to be focused on growth within their respective market segments and the long-term success of both organizations. About five years ago, executives at both companies noticed that major accounts increasingly sought one-stop shopping.STEEL PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Commercial Metals (Editors Choice)
Commercial Metals Co. is a vertically integrated Fortune 500 company that recycles, manufactures, fabricates and trades steel globally. Its vertical integration model revolutionized the way the steel industry operates today. Originating in 1915 with a single recycling location, CMC has progressively moved into higher-value downstream segments of the steel value chain. With corporate headquarters in Irving, Texas, today it operates in four primary business segments at more than 200 locations in more than 20 countries. CMC has operated under a single set of core values that guides its way of conducting businesswhat it calls The CMC Way.
Timken (Editors Choice)
Canton, Ohio-based Timken Co. is a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy steels and related components and assemblies. Timkens technologies and products turn up virtually everywhere equipment moves or power is transmitted. By applying its knowledge of friction management and power transmission, Timken helps customers products run smoother, faster and more efficiently. The companys team of 21,000 employees in 30 countries is dedicated to improving customers performance in a variety of applications. Timken provides friction management and power transmission solutions for market segments including aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer, defense, energy, industrial, health, heavy industry, machine tools, positioning control, power generation and rail.