CHICAGO Steel Dynamics
Inc. (SDI) plans to spend nearly $27 million to install a new
heat-treating system at its structural and rail division in
Columbia City, Ind.
The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based
steelmaker said Tuesday that the system would be able to
produce up to 350,000 tons of standard strength and
head-hardened plain, carbon steel rails.
SDI has said it was looking to
boost rail output at the Columbia City facility in part to make
up for sluggish demand for construction-related products (
amm.com, Oct. 19).
Site preparation will begin
immediately, SDI said, and construction is expected to start in
the first quarter of 2013. The heat-treating system is expected
to be commissioned by 2014, with a ramp-up to full production
by early 2016.
SDI said the new heat-treating
capabilities would make it the "pre-eminent" rail manufacturer
in North America, given that the system would be capable of
processing 320-foot-long rail instead of the 80-foot lengths
produced by some of its competitors. Longer rails, some welded
together in quarter-mile strings, reduce the number of welds
and weld-related problems and maintenance costs, the company
"This investment will allow us
to further expand and diversify our structural and rail
divisions market in a capital-efficient manner," SDI
chief executive officer Mark Millett said in a statement.
"Customers will be able to make us their one-stop
shop for all cut or welded rail products."
But he stressed that the
structural and rail division in Columbia City would continue to
offer the products it traditionally has, including beams and
SDI said that the project would
create approximately 40 jobs and that it planned to source much
of the material for it domestically.