CHICAGO Gerdau SAs capital improvement projects at its special bar quality (SBQ) steel mill in Monroe, Mich., have marked additional progress.
The plant added a new continuous caster last October and dismantled the old caster this past June.
"The new caster is part of a larger project that will increase the quality of steel we produce," Jay Murthy, director of technical services and product development at Gerdau Special Steel North America, said in a statement Sept. 25.
Construction of the foundation for a new vacuum degasser began in July and is scheduled for start-up next March. The company will decommission the old degasser in July 2014.
Gerdau is also working to expand production capacity by installing six additional rolling mill stands and a new walking beam reheat furnace. It expects to complete that project during the second quarter of 2014.
Another project to increase Monroes straightening and quality inspection capabilities, announced in May 2012, should conclude by October 2014, the São Paulo-based company said.
The upgrades are part of the facilitys overall $155.6-million investment project announced in May 2010. The Monroe plant will have an annual SBQ production capacity of more than 800,000 tons when the work is completed by the end of 2014.
"Completion of this project will enable us to meet the growing demands of our customers so we can continue to be their SBQ supplier of choice," Gerdau Special Steel North America president Jack Finlayson said.
Jackson, Mich.-based Gerdau Special Steel North America makes SBQ for the automotive, commercial vehicle, agricultural, service center and energy markets from plants in Monroe and Jackson and Fort Smith, Ark. It also runs processing centers in Lansing, Mich.; North Vernon and Huntington, Ind.; Pleasant Prairie, Wis.; and Canton, Ohio.