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AMM ’s 2012 Steel Excellence award winners

Keywords: Tags  AMM Awards for Steel Excellence, China Beijing International Minin Exchange, Carpenter Technology, ArcelorMittal USA Indiana Harbor, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Steel Market Development Institute, Thomas C. Danjczek, Union Pacific Railroad Sims Metal Management

The people who work for and run steel producers and related companies seek to do more than simply get products to market and make profits. They also are driven by a desire to make a difference within their field and the wider community.

What constitutes “excellence” in steel? A panel of distinguished judges answered that by choosing the winners in the third annual AMM Awards for Steel Excellence. A total of 10 awards, recognizing advancements rooted in pioneering and implementing business improvements that have delivered real change to the steel industry, were presented to nine enterprises and one individual during the Steel Success Strategies XXVII conference in New York.

AMM congratulates the winners, profiled on the following pages, and salutes the best-in-class initiatives that set them apart from 28 other nominations in the following categories: Best Innovation, Best Mergers & Acquisitions, Best Operational Improvements, Best Brownfield/Greenfield Technology Project, Environmental Responsibility/ Stewardship, Industry Ambassador/ Advocate of the Year, Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year, Scrap Company of the Year, Service Center of the Year, Steel Producer of the Year.

BEST INNOVATION: China Beijing International Mining Exchange
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 (CBMX). The platform was developed in February and March, trial implementation, or beta-testing, began at the end of March and actual physical trading started May 8.

The platfrom was launched because it is widely believed that current iron ore pricing indices don’t sufficiently reflect the market in an objective and authentic manner. Prevailing methods for data collection and index formation aren’t considered transparent. For its efforts, the CBMX was awarded the Best Innovation Award by AMM.

Some companies had the foresight--even in an unstable economic climate--to recognize solid opportunities for growth through strategic expansion. One of them was Wyomissing, Pa.-based Carpenter Technology Corp., which acquired Latrobe Specialty Metals Inc. for approximately $538 million earlier this yearÑand captured AMM’s Best Mergers & Acquisitions award.

Both companies had a solid footing in the aerospace industry, and executives agreed that joining forces was an ideal way to bolster market positions, develop new business and reduce required capital investments for future growth. Andy Ziolkowski, senior vice president of operations at Latrobe, said the two companies’ goals for the future were uniquely aligned.

Taking advantage of federal economic stimulus funding, ArcelorMittal USA Inc.’s Indiana Harbor plant in East Chicago, Ind., has not only made its No. 7 blast furnace--the largest blast furnace in the United States--considerably more energy-efficient, but it also has saved current jobs and created new ones.

The subsidiary of Luxembourg-based steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA recently completed the $63.2-million “Energy Recovery and Reuse: 504 Boiler Project,” which is expected to yield an annual savings of about $19.7 million by capturing blast furnace gas that previously was released into the atmosphere, earning AMM’s award for Best Operational Improvements.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.’s integrated steelmaking operations in Hamilton, Ontario, already had the unique distinction of being home to the only steel mill in North America to operate both a basic oxygen furnace (KOBM) and an electric-arc furnace (EF).

The company decided to magnify the benefits of the unusual plant setup through a technology program that would increase production, improve quality and reduce both energy consumption and carbon emissions. The successful implementation of the project, which enabled it add some hot metal from one of its blast furnaces to the EF charge, has earned ArcelorMittal Dofasco AMM’s award for Best Brownfield/Greenfield Technology Project.

In response to the common--but not necessarily accurate--opinion that steel is not a good option in vehicle lightweighting efforst, the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) partnered with several steel manufacturing companies to embark on a three-year study called the Future Steel Vehicle (FSV) program. The goal was to see how steel could play a leading role in the manufacture of lower-emission vehicles of the future. The boldness in pursuing the studyÑand the groundbreaking results it yieldedÑhas earned the institute AMM’s Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship award.

While the goal of the project was to envision the lower-emission steel body structures of the future (roughly 10 to 20 years down the road), it addressed several present-day issues, too. One of the primary initiatives was to propose ways to use steel that were environmentally friendly throughout the entire lifecycle of lower-emission vehicles, up to and including the recycling phase.

For almost half a century, Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) president Thomas A. Danjczek has been doing his best to polish the industry’s image, earning AMM’s Industry Ambassador/Advocate of the Year award. He assumed his post at the SMA in 1998, but his career in steel stretches back to 1970. Rising through the ranks and holding many operational positions, he said, has given him an understanding that he can put to good use.

Danjczek said that two keys to effective advocacy are perspective and credibility. To achieve these, he is willing to disagree on occasion with his constituents. Danjczek said he spends about 40 percent of his time on environmental affairs, another 40 percent on trade, transportation and human resources, and the remainder on safety.

On the 150th anniversary of its founding as one of America’s first transcontinental railroads, Union Pacific Railroad Co. has been named the Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year in AMM’s Awards for Steel Excellence.

Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific is in the midst of a capital investment program totaling $3.6 billion, with about 40 percent of those funds allocated to growth and productivity initiatives. The railroad already controls the nation’s largest fleet of 89-foot flatcars for shipping steel pipe, including more than 500 100-ton cars, and it’s adding 500 new gondolas to its steel fleet this yearÑeach with the capacity to hold four or five truckloads of materialÑand plans to add another 500 gondolas in 2013.

SCRAP COMPANY OF THE YEAR: Sims Metal Management
With its wide reach and full menu of obsolete, prompt industrial, high-quality shredded and plate and structural ferrous scrap, Sims Metal Management LLC is well positioned to keep servicing U.S. steel mills and the export market in a timely, safe and eco-friendly way, much as it has done since the company was created through the merger of Sims Group Ltd. and Metal Management Inc. in 2008

It is because of this flexibility--and the company’s commitment to customer service, continuous improvement, environmental compliance and safety performance--that Sims Metal Management was named Scrap Company of the Year in AMM’s third annual Awards for Steel Excellence.

A focus on customer service and support, environmental awareness initiatives and capital projects aimed at improving and adding capabilities, among other initiatives, earned Olympic Steel Inc. the title of Service Center of the Year in AMM’s third annual Awards for Steel Excellence.

The award was based on success in customer service, support and retention initiatives; technological innovation and continuous operational and product quality and on-time delivery improvement efforts; and comparative inventory turns and credit management performance last year vs. 2010. Founded in 1954, Cleveland-based Olympic Steel is a leading U.S. metals service center focused on the direct sale and distribution of large volumes of processed carbon, coated and stainless flat-rolled sheet, coil and plate steel and aluminum products, and its Chicago Tube & Iron Co. (CTI) subsidiary is a leading distributor of steel tubing, bar, pipe, valves and fittings and also fabricates pressure parts for the electric utility industry.

The argument that the term “integrated” is no longer the exclusive province of the legacy blast furnace operators might hold some credence. Commercial Metals Co. (CMC), Irving, Texas, for example, is a century-old steel company with extensive upstream and downstream operations across the country and around the world. Indeed, CMCÑnamed Steel Producer of the Year in AMM’s third annual Awards for Steel ExcellenceÑis more integrated in some ways than the so-called “global majors.”

Rather than starting with a furnace and moving upstream into coal and iron, CMC was founded in Dallas in 1915 with a single recycling facility and has progressively moved into higher-value segments upstream and downstream along the steel value chain. There is little exaggeration to the company’s claim that its vertical integration model has revolutionized the way the steel industry operates today. CMC operates in four primary business segmentsÑrecycling, steelmaking, fabrication and distributionÑat more than 200 locations in more than 20 countries.

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