Industries Inc. plans to expand its cold-rolled strip rolling
mill and strip annealing capacity by up to 40 percent over the
next few years to meet increased demand from automakers and
"Through the recession,
automotive has been the one bright spot. (Automotive steel
demand) bounced out of the trough quickly, and looking through
2017 we expect to see substantial growth year over year,"
Worthington Steel president Geoff Gilmore told AMM,
noting that 58 percent of the companys business is
automotive related and 65 percent of its cold-rolled strip
productionfrom plants in Cleveland and Columbus,
Ohioends up in automotive applications.
Such growth benefits Worthington
overall, but more specifically the cold-rolled strip facilities
are shipping product primarily for transmission and torque
converter production to the Big Three domestic automakers and
to Tier I and II auto suppliers, as well as to Japanese and
German assembly plants across North America.
Worthington will install new
rolling equipment to handle wider strip, some of which is being
rolled 28 inches wide. With the upgrades, the mills will go
beyond 50 inches wide, Gilmore said. Additional features will
include better gauge control and surfaces.
The greater production
efficiency, product availability and improved quality also will
"get us battle-ready" for higher demand from existing
customers, for which Worthington manages large-scale supply
programs, he said.
Worthington also will upgrade
its batch annealing, putting in new bases and furnaces that
offer new technology, and will look to expand finished goods
After the rolling mill and
annealing projects are completed, finished cold-rolled strip
capacity could increase 30 to 40 percent, Gilmore said. "There
is more need for these products (for automotive), but we also
supply other markets; and as we get into healthy (gross
domestic product) growth, those markets will grow as well."
The steel processor exports
strip to Mexican subsidiary Serviacero Worthington SA de CV, as
well as to other Mexican fine blankers.
"We do export a bit to China as
well, and were committed to growing cold-rolled strip
globally," Gilmore said. "We have our eye on opportunities to
expand in other emerging markets longer term."
The message of the upgrades is
Worthingtons commitment to its current customer base and
exceeding their expectations as the market grows, he said. "Not
only can we keep up, we will stay ahead."