CHICAGO U.S. Steel Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd. commissioned the new continuous annealing line at their Pro-Tec Coating Co. joint venture in Leipsic, Ohio, on May 13.
Using heat-treat and quenching technology, the new line will supply advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) and ultra-high-strength steel (UHSS) with a strength of 590 megapascals (MPa) and above for the automotive industry, the companies said.
Pro-Tecs new line has a capacity of 500,000 tons per year.
"The investment in this continuous annealing line represents more than just the future of this facility. It also represents the future for automotive steel products and the applications in which they are used," U.S. Steel chairman and chief executive officer John Surma said at the commissioning ceremony.
"U.S. Steel and Kobe Steel saw an opportunity for our Pro-Tec joint venture to help our automotive customers overcome the challenges" associated with corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, which will require vehicles to have an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, Surma said, noting that the use of high-strength steels has doubled in the past 10 years.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel and Japan-based Kobe Steel invested $400 million in the new line, which will require 80 additional full-time workers.