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Ratner Steel near starting service center in Indiana

Keywords: Tags  Ratner Steel Supply, Steve Gottlieb, Red Bud cut-to-length line, freight, flat-rolled steel, steel service center, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — Ratner Steel Supply Co. will likely start up its second service center by the end of May, chief financial officer and general manager Steve Gottlieb told AMM April 2.

The Portage, Ind., service center, announced a little more than a year ago (, March 7, 2012), features a 72-inch by ½-inch cut-to-length line made by Red Bud, Ill.-based Red Bud Industries Inc. It is expected to handle about 10,000 tons of light-gauge sheet per month.

Ratner shipped 200,000 tons of flat-rolled steel last year, but that will rise to at least 300,000 tons with the new center and the capacity it frees up, Gottlieb estimated. "We have customers lined up" to accept product from the line, he said.

Ratner has "put every bell and whistle on" the Red Bud stretcher-leveling cut-to-length line, Gottlieb said. "It can cut edge. That’s a big deal. We added an eDrive to guarantee flatness on light gauge. Then we also created a looping pit in order to increase the speed of the machine."

Roseville, Minn.-based Ratner has initial commitments from large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the agricultural and heavy equipment sectors, including tank builders, and energy customers and fabricators.

"We are allotting a significant percentage (of line time) for toll work for service centers and OEMs that do their own mill buys," Gottlieb said.

Ratner chose Portage for its proximity to major sheet producers in northwest Indiana.

By moving raw material from local mills to Portage, "freight will be inconsequential for customers," he said. "We think we will fill up the line within a year. We will also move 20 to 30 percent of our business from Minnesota to Portage, but we will find new business to fill up the lines here."

The Roseville service center offers leveling, slitting, shearing and blanking services. It also distributes hot-rolled sheet and plate, hot-rolled pickled and oiled sheet and plate, and cold-rolled and coated sheet and floor plate.

The new 102,000-square-foot Portage plant has rail service and one truck that is now picking up coils from mills and storing them in anticipation of the line’s start-up.

Ron Horton has been named Portage’s plant manager and David Hunzelman sales manager, with additional sales, office and warehouse employees also hired, Gottlieb said.

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