NEW YORK Demand
for high-strength reinforcing steel is growing in the United
States, and MMFX Technologies Corp. is expanding its operations
as contractors and engineers increasingly turn to
longer-lasting steel, chief executive officer Thomas Russo told
AMM in an interview.
"Theres a huge
market in high-strength rebar," Russo said. "No longer is it
acceptable for a bridge to be built with a life-cycle
expectation of 50 years. (The Department of Transportation is)
saying they want more life out of their infrastructure
developments and theyre challenging engineers to build
structures that have a 100-year life cycle."
MMFX licenses a
high-strength rebar to Portland, Ore.-based producer Cascade
Steel Rolling Mills Inc. and supplies products for Department
of Transportation infrastructure projects and commercial
construction, among other areas. The companys
corrosion-resistant rebar is significantly more expensive per
ton than standard rebar grades, but structures built with its
product require less material and less maintenance over their
evaluating the cost of those materials through the whole
history of that structure," Russo said.
MMFX is expanding into
private commercial markets, as well as its traditional
Transportation Department project mainstay, and is considering
a potential deal for a large liquefied natural gas (LNG)
facility in Texas.
"Right now our work
has been heavy on the (Transportation Department) side, but
theres been a groundswell of interest in our technology,"
Russo said. "Were in the process of jointly evaluating
application with a large engineering and construction company
in Texas in utilizing our products in an LNG facility;
thats a commercial application."
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in
May issued revised bridge specifications to allow high-strength
rebar of up to 100,000 pounds per square inch to be used in
reinforced concrete bridges (
amm.com, May 7), opening up a new market for
"Thats been a
huge market opportunity for us to participate in. We are the
only technology that has the ability to participate and take
full advantage of (the new specification)," Russo said.
Calif.-based company once produced high-strength rebar at its
mill in Welland, Ontario, but the company sold the facility
when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010 (
amm.com, Jan. 11, 2010). The company has since
licensed third parties, such as Cascade Steel, to produce its
rebar, and is in discussions with a mill on the East Coast to
potentially become a licensed producer later this year, in
addition to mills in China and Chile.
"We hope by the end of
the year were going to see an East Coast producer pop
up," Russo said. "Youll see a producer in Chile and a
producer in China, so were working aggressively to
support our market."
The company is
investing in other high-strength products as well, including
anchor bolts, micropiles and fasteners, and will spend close to
30 percent of its overall earnings on research and development
for new project applications.