bar quality bar producer Republic Steel Co. has had its share
of woes stemming from fire and ice, sometimes at the same time,
over the past three months.
firefighters were called Jan. 7 to extinguish a blaze at
Republics plant in Lorain, Ohio, which started when
workers used space heaters to warm up pipes frozen by the
Arctic blast that swept across much of the United States.
"That was really a
weather-related issue. We tried to heat the pipes and the
insulation caught fire," executive vice president Ted Thielens
told AMM. "We lost power for a day because of a
concern about mixing water and electricity," but that section
of the mill complex returned to normal operations Jan. 9. "It
was a minor fire with minimal damage and no injuries."
Because severe weather
closed major roadways, Republic had to briefly shut down its
Gary, Ind., and Lackawanna, N.Y., plants, Thielens said. "Even
the railroads were down. We couldnt ship by rail for a
couple days." Both plants are open again and shipping
Back in Lorain, a fire
erupted Nov. 30 at the new electric-arc furnace (EF) that was
undergoing hot commissioning (
amm.com, Dec. 2). "We had a problem with the
oxygen system, which caused the fire," Thielens said. "We are
repairing damage to the equipment and that work is progressing
restarting steelmaking operations there in February. "We will
operate the furnace and billet caster then, and will start
operation on the bloom caster in March," he said. Cast product
will start rolling through the 20-inch bar mill in April.
late-November outage, "its obviously been challenging to
meet customer orders and we have had to adjust our schedules.
We are two months behind where we thought we would be,"
Thielens said. "We are fortunate that most customers have been
understanding. We have tried to meet all their steel
requirements and look forward to the operations starting up
that will make us more on-time and reliable."
The Canton, Ohio-based
company broke ground on the Lorain EF in May 2012 and produced
its first heat this past November.
The EF replaced a
blast furnace that ceased operations in December 2008.
Republics rolling mills have long been fed with
semi-finished steel made at its Canton plant. The goal, said
Thielens, "is to establish greater capacity." Combining the new
Lorain EF with the Canton furnace operation, Republic has 2
million tons of annual hot metal production, which is "back to
where we were when we had the blast furnace operation,"