Kentucky Electric Steel LLC (KES) has completed a $6-million
expansion that will allow the steelmaker to supply special bar
quality (SBQ) rounds up to 3.75 inches in diameter to its
sister companies, cold-finished bar producer Niagara LaSalle
Corp. and seamless tube maker Michigan Seamless Tube LLC
"The decision to focus
in on that range really emanated from what our subsidiaries can
buy directly from KES," Michael Salamon, president and chief
operating officer of parent company Optima Specialty Steel
Inc., told AMM.
Ashland, Ky.-based KES
will also look to supply other customers with the new
"That (selling to MST
and Niagara) will consume a fair amount of steel, and then you
can always look outside of that and find out what your other
customers are buying," Salamon said, adding that with its
expanded product offering the company is looking to gain
customers in the forging market.
announced in May (
amm.com, May 23), will also improve the quality of
KES other products, which include flat and rectangular
The addition of a
gauge will allow the company to measure the dimensions of a bar
electronically "right on the mill," KES vice president and
general manager John Scheel, something that previously had to
be done manually.
"It will improve ...
quality and accuracy but it also keeps us running," he
Also, the replacement
of mill drives that are more than 30 years old is expected to
cut down on maintenance time and cost, Scheel said.
KES produced its first
rounds with the new equipment at the end of September, with the
improvements expected to increase KES output by "at
least" 25 percent in 2014, according to Salamon. "Were
off to a very good start. The team did a fabulous job getting
this in on time and on budget."
Specialty Steel hinted at the expansion late last year after it
announced its plan to acquire KES (
amm.com, Nov. 26).