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Fastmarkets Awards for Steel Excellence

Aug 10, 2021 | 01:08 PM |


Finalists in 23 categories were selected from nominations received spanning steel industry inputs and processes with the support of myriad service providers. Finalists were selected by senior editors of Fastmarkets, The nominations of the finalists are reviewed by a panel of steel industry experts.

Best Innovation – Product

Big River Steel

Big River Steel has used a mini continuous strip processing (CSP) flex mill to develop and commercially produce ultra-high strength (100 ksi yield strength, UHSS 100) hot rolled steel in thickness of up to 10 mm for the North American market.

Such steel has been increasingly in demand by the automotive, construction, agricultural and machinery sectors, where companies are looking for reduced structural weight, extended service life, increased payload and lower fabrication costs. However, there has been limited domestic availability of this premium steel product in the United States, resulting in much of the US demand being met by imports.

After initiating the conceptual development to produce this product in late 2019, Big River produced its first commercially successful ultra-high strength hot-rolled coils in April 2020, and, since at performance trials it showed that it is meeting all of its customers’ critical product quality requirements, the steelmaker anticipates that it can fully substitute imports of this product. It has a lean alloy design with very low carbon and Ti-Nb microalloying for thicker gauge material, and titanium-only microalloying for thinner gauges.

The product has a low-temperature toughness of greater than 20 foot pounds at -40 degrees Celsius, as well as outstanding stretch flanging characteristics with a hole expansion ratio of more than 70% in 4 mm thickness and elongation values of more than 18%.

No capital investments or resource mobilization were needed for this development, as Big River, helped by its own in-house intelligence, was able to innovate this product with the most-competitive, least-cost alloy design and process it through routine operational schedules.

Big River is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified and notes that it uses less energy for reheating than other steel mills.

Majestic Steel USA

Majestic Steel USA has created MHUB, its digital customer portal that includes account and order information, market research and intelligence, auto-replenishment, inventory management and real-time communication and support applications, to create a direct-to-consumer experience for its business-to-business customers.

The company had already been providing many of these services to its customers, but in a different way. While its sales executives provide a human touch, Majestic Steel’s customers were also seeking a more modern way to access market intelligence, insights, order information and procurement automation.

The initial build of the MHUB portal required years of development work, customer research and joint application development sessions. Majestic Steel also plans to continually evolve and upgrade the portal with new features and capabilities for many years to come so that the company can continue to offer it as a flagship digital solution. The company’s goals for upgrading the portal include optimizing the user interface to reduce the time it takes customers to access critical information and to transact new orders.

MHUB is already utilized by over 50% of Majestic Steel’s customer base and is seen as a successful sales tool to secure new business, given that the company notes that a very large majority of active MHUB users have rated the product as being the best in the industry.

The portal has already resulted in a huge reduction in customer requests to support and account managers, as well as large increases in customer retention and growth in the volume of steel sales. Majestic Steel projects that after a few more releases it can expect its inbound customer support and request for order information outside of MHUB to reach a single-digit percentage of its overall requests.

Metal Networks.ai

Metal Networks.ai’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered JAQI search engine was designed to significantly reduce the time it takes to search for industrial metal products on metal service centers’ and distributors’ e-commerce websites and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, therefore making it easier for metal buyers to receive quotes.

This patented initiative, which was developed over a two-year period, involved observing the “shorthand” that buyers use to describe metal products, translating it using artificial intelligence, and matching that translation to metal service centers’ product catalogs with high accuracy to find the right product.

Metal Networks explains that this enables metal service centers and other metals buyers to copy and paste long lists of products into its JAQI.ai search box, therefore substantially reducing their search time compared with conventional searching techniques.

The company says that by using this search engine its users can find 100-plus products listed in any catalog in less than 10 seconds with very high accuracy, by contrast with taking 30-60 minutes or longer using traditional search technologies. This can be accomplished whatever the searcher’s knowledge of metals since the search technology does all the ‘heavy lifting’.

This is particularly advantageous for sales teams using high-volume-activity ERP systems or e-commerce sites as it could speed the adoption of e-commerce as a primary tool for ordering products.

Sennebogen LLC

Building upon its extensive range of efficient load-handling equipment, Sennebogen LLC’s newly introduced “Green Hybrid” energy recovery system can reduce energy costs for material handlers lifting large loads in ports and steel mills by as much as 30% compared with conventional machines of similar size and power.

In keeping with its corporate goal to deliver maximum business value to its customers throughout their machines’ lifecycle, Sennebogen’s launch of its E-Series machines introduced multiple “green efficiency” improvements to reduce energy costs and increase machine life. The company’s “eGreen” electric-drive material handlers combine energy savings with reduced maintenance costs.

The Sennebogen models equipped with the “Green Hybrid” system have a large energy-recovery cylinder mounted between two hoist cylinders on the lifting boom. On every downstroke of the boom, energy is captured by using the weight of the heavy boom to drive hydraulic fluid through the recovery cylinder. That hydraulic pressure compresses gas in a bank of nitrogen cylinders at the rear of the machine, effectively storing the energy. Then on the next upstroke the compressed gas is released to the lifting cylinders, supplementing the hydraulic power required to lift the load.

Sennebogen notes that “Green Hybrid” machines will even outlift conventional machines, and do that using less horsepower, enabling equipment managers to replace larger equipment with a smaller “Green Hybrid” machine, which will still meet the same goals for lift capacity, throughput and cycle time, while doing so with lower energy costs, reduced component wear and lower maintenance costs.

The “Green Hybrid” system performs best in operations that cycle frequently through up and down strokes, such as barge-loading operations or large scrap-handling facilities.

Best Innovation – Process

ArcelorMittal Hamilton Research & Development

Bad strip shape can make it difficult for roll coaters to apply an acrylic coating upon galvalume products, resulting in poor coverage or skips that are difficult to detect visually, especially on a moving strip. Such incomplete coverage could result in claims or cause general customer frustration given that the acrylic passivates and protects the strip.

After there had been, in 2018, significant downgrading of tonnages because of acrylic coating issues at an ArcelorMittal galvanizing line, the company decided to investigate existing sensor technology with the intention to develop an on-line, non-contact strip inspection system that could detect acrylic coating coverage issues. And since there were no known off-the-shelf solutions available, it was decided that an in-house innovation was required to develop an online acrylic coating coverage inspection system – later named the Acrylic Coating Coverage Camera (A3C) system – to provide a remote real-time view of both sides of the strip to the inspection pulpit, and to automate the section to alarm upon potential coverage problems.

ArcelorMittal developed a final industrialized prototype in just 11 months, which included hardware procurement and installation, display inspection and alarm algorithm development, testing and commissioning, documentation and operator and maintenance personnel training.

As part of the development of the industrialized solution, two infrared cameras were installed on the line – one for each side of the strip. An image processing algorithm was developed that could automatically detect and alert the operator of potential coating issues, and after a coating problem was detected and verified the coil could be downgraded or sent to a rewind line, diverting it from the customer.

ArcelorMittal estimates that the early detection of coating problems has saved about 400 tonnes of downgrades per year. There also was a 23% decrease in customer claims attributed to this solution.

Cronimet Envirotec

Given the push for a more sustainable industry, one common goal is for companies to achieve more closed-loop, zero-waste production processes. But while there is wide use of ferrous scrap for steel production, the usage of byproducts has been limited due to a lack of appropriate recycling technologies.

Consequently the Cronimet Envirotec unit of Cronimet Holding GmbH has developed a technology that enables the recycling of such byproducts as sludge, mill scale and filter dust to enable hazardous waste to be turned back into raw materials that can be used as a substitute for solid scrap in stainless steel production. The combination of an innovative vacuum distillation process to dry and de-oil sludge or mill scale and a high-strength briquetting plant using an organic binder for dust and powder allows the company’s customers to reduce their waste balances and close production cycles.

The vacuum distillation plant was originally developed to recycle silicon sludge from the solar power industry. In 2015, Cronimet Envirotec began recycling about 20,000 tons per year of metal-containing sludge and other soft scrap by using the distillation process, continuously optimizing the process since then, and applying it to various waste streams and industries.

One of the company’s latest milestones was in 2019, with the start-up of a 50,000 tpy briquetting plant that has enabled the company to also recycle metal powders and dusts. The company also built an additional feeding and separation system in 2021, which allows it to treat waste and byproducts a wide range of particle sizes and moisture contents.
With this recycling process, waste balances and disposal costs are reduced while sustainability and resource efficiency are increased.

Metal Networks.ai

Metal Networks.ai has developed a cloud based business to business (B2B) platform that allows such metal buyers as manufacturers, fabricators and machine shops to connect with metal service centers and distributors, streamlining the process of buying intermediate metals.

This platform, which was in the planning and development process over the past 18 months and was just recently completed, significantly reduces the time, effort and administration required for a company to search, compare and close a buy, taking only a few hours – all in a single application.

It is a very user friendly, fast and efficient cloud based technology platform that is accessible for a monthly fee. There are no integration investments required. Users can get started with only a 15 minute registration process. As Metal Networks isn’t a metals distributor, it doesn’t charge transaction fees.

This platform replaces a very tedious manual process that could take 48-72 hours start to finish that required metal buyers to email and/or call their suppliers about the products they were interested in, issue a request for quote (RFQ), compare the RFQs they receive using spreadsheets, sharing such documents as material test reports and invoices and working out the logistics for the product’s delivery.

Metal Networks notes that its B2B platform reduces buying administration by 50-75%, has digital tools that allow customer orders to be completed in half the time, helps buyers to search for difficult to find products, helps buyers plan their inventory and purchasing strategies more effectively and empowers sales teams and buyers with its easier and faster tools. A characteristic of the platform is that metal buyers are able to invite their trusted and established informal “buying circles” to join them on the platform to do business.

Prospect Steel Company

While innovation is vital for any industry to remain successful, for the past 30-40 years most of the equipment used in steel fabrication has changed little. There have been some improvements in equipment performance, but most structural steel fabricators have similar equipment to perform similar major tasks rather than new, innovative processes.

One problem is that investing in innovative technology and equipment is very expensive and, given the cyclical nature of the of the industry, investments that would significantly change the traditional way of fabricating steel is seen as being too risky, notes Prospect Steel. Overcoming the skilled labor shortages that have been troubling the steel fabrication industry – especially with the Covid-19 pandemic – requires more than process improvements.

Prospect Steel Company’s executives foresaw the severe labor shortages and the need for automation to increase its capacity and productivity to stay ahead of its competitors and, as part of their strategy, saw the development of an integrated robotic fabrication system that works with steel being a perfect solution for the company to service its customers with an innovative technology.

In keeping with its pioneering spirit and the need to make a timely change, Prospect Steel took less than two years to move its new robotic fabrication system – the first such robotic system to be installed by a US steel fabrication line to assemble parts and complete welding in one operation notes the company – from concept to being fully operational.

Given the speed and accuracy of the work it offers, the multi-million dollar robotic system has enabled Prospect Steel to expand its fabrication capacity by 40% and to obtain a return on its investment with 12 months, rather than the much longer time of 5-10 years that it notes some industry experts predicted it would take.

Reynolds Services Inc.

In an effort to revolutionize the design process by significantly reducing the “concept-to-container” lifecycle in the metal packaging and stamping industry, Reynolds Services Inc. (RSI) has developed several new advanced manufacturing capabilities that include, but are not limited to, 3D scanning, 3D printing, digital printing and augmented reality and virtual reality modeling.

Its industrial-grade 3D printing capabilities include the ability to print in various grades of stainless and tool steels and copper, as well as in polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and other plastics and carbon-fiber composites with continuous fiber reinforcement.
Using its advanced manufacturing capabilities, RSI can design and manufacture a prototype in days rather than months, making low-volume production parts, replacing obsolete or broken parts, and tooling or creating sales samples.

RSI notes that the prototype designs can be distributed as easily and quickly as sending a text message or accessing a web page and customer-requested revisions and their distribution is only limited by the speed at which the engineering and pre-press teams can deliver them.

When used natively on a customer’s smartphone, this prototyping service creates an interactive experience that allows them to “place” and manipulate a virtual object like the prototype in a real-world environment.

RSI says this as an additional opportunity to complement its current metal processing operations, lithography, coating and pre-press services and an opportunity to reinvigorate the packaging industry with new technology and services to help support their efforts to bring new innovative ideas to metal packaging and to do so faster.


Best Mergers & Acquisitions

Aveva

The acquisition of OSIsoft by Aveva, a global leader in industrial software, for $5.0 billion in March 2021 created a global company offering industrial software and data management leadership for industrial and other essential organizations to accelerate their digital transformations. Integrating OSIsoft’s PI System into Aveva’s comprehensive software portfolio has created an integrated foundation that can drive big data, cloud and artificial intelligence-driven insights to create meaningful business solutions. This combination will enable Aveva to expand the industries it serves as well as its footprint in existing and new markets and geographic regions.

The combined portfolio brings OSIsoft’s world-class data management together with Aveva’s leading industrial software for more accurate decision-making and increasing sustainability. Steel companies can leverage all levels of data analytics to achieve operational excellence, including real-time visibility of their assets and processes for diagnostics during reliability-centered maintenance analysis and for the implementation of condition-based maintenance or condition-based process monitoring. Using Aveva’s advanced analytics and AI technologies with operational data captured in the PI System, steel mills can also improve their maintenance strategy to predictive or even prescriptive maintenance. Additionally, steel companies can plan advanced process improvement such as autonomous operations of blast furnaces or direct reduction furnaces.

The joint portfolio of offerings and potential new capabilities will help deliver Aveva’s long-term strategy for growth and market leadership in industrial software and information management by accelerating the solid growth trajectory and continuing to help customers on their digitalization journeys.

Lock Joint Tube

With tubing operations in three states, Lock Joint Tube, South Bend, Indiana, is a niche tube producer that specializes in tight tolerances, special shapes and difficult tube applications. When looking to expand its geographic reach and market penetration, the acquisition of Welded Tubes, Inc., Orwell, Ohio, was a perfect combination of similar niche products and processes that, at the time, was owned by a non-tubing organization. The addition of the Welded Tubes’ facility, leadership and employees has enabled Lock Joint Tube to further penetrate the highly competitive automotive market, where Welded Tube has long had a presence, and enter the HVAC market. Lock Joint Tube is owned by the Lerman Enterprise family of companies, which includes Steel Warehouse, a large steel service center also with headquarters in South Bend.

The addition of Welded Tubes’ Ohio facility to Lock Joint Tube’s four locations provides opportunities to achieve efficiencies across all aspects of the tubing company’s business. The firm can now utilize best practices to improve scheduling, expand inside and outside sales, and establish new supplier and customer relationships. In addition to synergies in niche tubing products, Welded Tubes also specializes in products that are challenging to manufacture, such as low diameter/thickness ratio tubes using both high-strength low alloy and advanced high-strength steels.

Lock Joint Tube approached its purchase of Welded Tubes as a partnership. Although the backing of its parent Lerman Enterprise has given Lock Joint Tube greater access to capital, the acquisition is viewed as mutually beneficial. In addition to retaining all management and operating personnel of Welded Tubes, Lock Joint views its new employees as the experts in their operations and has called on the Welded Tubes’ vice president and general manager to lead the integration.

Target Metal Blanking

The distressed condition of an automotive supplier presented a golden opportunity for Target Steel, Flat Rock, Michigan, to expand its footprint serving the midwestern automotive industry and Tier 1 and 2 stampers and steel mills. Target owners Valentino and Michael Simone realized that they could build on their business acumen of serving the needs of steel users in the Midwest by acquiring the distressed supplier and gaining facilities in Illinois and Indiana. The new business under Target ownership has been named Target Metal Blanking.

Since the takeover of this business, Target Metal Blanking has already achieved IATF status, increased production at a leading automotive stamping plant by revising quality systems and equipment, leading to recommendations for more automotive business, increased and added production including bumper blanks for Tier I automotive suppliers and completely revamped the facilities. In addition to physical and process changes, the corporate culture of the acquired facility has embraced growth and innovation.

Target Steel was started 30 years ago by Valentino Simone, who had only $250 in his bank account at that time. Today, Target employs about 350 people in multiple locations in the greater Detroit area and is a leading supplier to the automotive industry with slit coil, configured blanks, chevrons, parallelograms and rectangular blanks.


Best Operational Improvements

Majestic Steel USA

When Majestic Steel performed time studies and observational studies on its processing lines, the service center found that it was experiencing excessive downtime due to products waiting between several of the different functions of its lines, such as packaging, coil changeovers and skid availability and loading.
In response, the company decided to make various improvements, including implementing additional labor where needed and improving processes to reduce downtime through cross-functional teams. It also implemented Vorne Boards in November 2020 to better monitor downtime and focus teams upon line performance. Majestic Steel automated its downtime tracking and visual controls system to give it a better understanding of the improvement opportunity.

As result of this project, since 2019 Majestic Steel has seen a 13% improvement in pounds per hour and a 21% improvement in pounds per labor hour, as well as having its processing line associates achieve a better understanding and better engagement regarding line performance. With a return on investment of 791%, this project has resulted in savings of $4,894,135.

There have also been quality and safety enhancements. From 2019 to 2020, Majestic Steel achieved a 42.7% reduction in plant-caused customer rejection due to its moves to mistake-proof the allocation of coils to ensure that the correct form, size, grade and coating weight of materials were properly assigned. Also, owing to its new data warehouse query system that checks material attributes to ensure they conform with order requirements, the company only had one customer rejection in 2020 (compared with 44 in 2019), which occurred before full implementation of the new system.

In addition, through its installation of proven engagement tools and risk reduction strategies designed to create a proactive safety culture, Majestic Steel is near to a world class mark with a total recordable case rate of 0.88 in 2020 versus 3.0 for all industries.

Target Metal Blanking

In 2020 the owners of Target Steel acquired two distressed plants that supplied automotive stampings – one in Sauk Village, Illinois, and another in North Vernon, Indiana – and rebranded them under the name of Target Metal Blanking.
Since acquisition, there has been substantial improvements made to those operations, with Target Metal Blanking now being considered a high-quality supplier in the Midwest for slit coil, configured blanks, chevrons, parallelograms and rectangular blanks. That is the result of a complete overhaul of the quality systems and equipment at the Sauk Village location and additional production, including of bumper blanks for Tier 1 auto suppliers, and a complete revamp of the North Vernon facility.

Under Target Steel’s ownership, investment in plant cleanliness and efficiency has allowed Target Metal Blanking to substantially improve the products made.

This turnaround has also boosted the morale of Target Metal Blanking’s staff because its team members now have a company and facilities that they can take pride in. That has reduced employee turnover there and has gone a long way to ensure the continued upward trajectory of its success. Already Target Metal Blanking has achieved International Automotive Task Force (IATF) recognition at the two facilities.


Legal Services Provider of the Year

Wiley Rein LLP


Wiley Rein LLP’s (Wiley) International Trade Team includes lawyers, dedicated international trade advisors, economic analysts, and former U.S. government officials. Wiley solves clients’ problems with a blend of legal expertise, trade policy thought leadership, data analytics, and public relations capabilities. The firm’s partners are called on regularly by high-ranking Administration officials to provide advice and counsel on innovative trade strategies and policies.

The firm notes that its International Trade professionals’ strategy – based on a deep understanding of Sections 201, 232, and 301 of the trade laws – has transformed the engagement of trade remedy proceedings in the United States, particularly in the steel industry. Wiley notes the depth of the firm’s involvement in the new trends in trade proceedings and policy over the past several years and that the firm continues to be involved in advising the new Biden Administration on trade policy priorities.

Wiley’s traditional trade policy and remedies work, including antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations, remains a prime capability. The firm has won large, complex, and high-profile AD and CVD cases on behalf of the U.S. steel industry. It handles trade litigation and trade policy for large steel producers and serves as counsel for many US steel trade associations.
Wiley also advises U.S. industry and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in World Trade Organization (WTO) proceedings. It has worked closely with USTR in the preparation and conduct of three successful WTO challenges to China’s rare earth and raw materials export restrictions. The firm notes its extensive expertise in trade matters involving China.

The firm has extensive knowledge and experience in assisting steel industry clients in all facets of export and sanctions compliance, bolstered by its long-tenured relationships with the governmental agencies involved in administering export controls and sanctions regulations.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP

Morris, Manning & Martin’s International Trade Group represents multinational businesses, U.S. importers, and foreign governments, as well as some of the world’s largest foreign producers, before regulatory and judicial entities, including the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Court of International Trade, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The group has an active practice in World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution and represents clients before WTO panels and appellate bodies.

The legal firm’s attorneys have been involved in hundreds of U.S. trade remedy proceedings, including antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, suspension agreements, unfair import practices (Section 301), national security (Section 232) actions, and “escape clause” or “safeguard” (Section 201) actions. Its activities have included both counseling and litigating with respect to trade-related matters. In the past year, Morris, Manning & Martin has obtained multiple exclusions to Section 232 duties and Section 301 duties on behalf of several different clients.

The law firm’s International Trade attorneys represent clients based globally. Its team continues to expand its international presence to include work in China, Malaysia, Turkey, Peru, Korea, Thailand, India, South Africa, Vietnam and Canada.

The firm notes that it has positively impacted its clients’ business by:

• Mitigating 232 duties and minimizing antidumping and countervailing duties.

• Instructing clients on how to file prior disclosures with Customs.

• Educating clients on how to better manage their import process and estimated duty liability.

• Guiding clients through the process of U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigations, audits and requests for information that may have the potential to disrupt important supply chains.

• Substantially reducing antidumping and countervailing duty margins for multiple clients, resulting in big cost-savings for them and boosting overall profitability for their businesses.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP

The attorneys and economists at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP have provided the U.S. steel industry with critical federal advocacy and regulatory counsel regarding international trade, environmental compliance, and many other types of regulatory and commercial challenge faced by U.S. steelmakers for decades.
Kelley Drye’s team of international trade attorneys work with U.S. steel and steel products manufacturers to file trade remedy cases before the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce), the International Trade Commission (ITC), seeking antidumping and countervailing duties on under-priced imports.

The firm notes that it is among the most experienced law firms prosecuting trade remedy cases. Its clients produce carbon, alloy, stainless and other specialty steel products in virtually every form. The firm works for a wide range of steel producers – from large multinational steel businesses to smaller American producers – as well as manufacturers of downstream steel products, including bar and wire products, pipe and tube products, shelving, lockers, cabinets and cylinders. Kelley Drye represents individual steel companies, ad hoc coalitions of steel companies, and steel trade associations.

Kelley Drye also advises the steel industry on complex trade rules and restrictions, including U.S. Customs, sanctions and export compliance, helping the industry successfully import and export its products and services. Its trade attorneys work alongside its government relations and public policy professionals to advocate for the steel industry at the Executive and Legislative branches on issues that directly affect the industry, including trade enforcement, Buy America and the negotiation of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

Kelley Drye’s Environmental Practice Group represents steel manufacturers and their trade associations in regulatory and litigation matters at the federal and state levels, and throughout the United States. The firm notes that its environmental attorneys have represented the domestic steel industry in nearly every major environmental health and safety rule and regulation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sought to impose on steel companies since the 1980s.

Financial Services Provider of the Year

Bank of America

Bank of America serves small and middle-market businesses and large corporations in more than 100 countries and has relationships with 95% of the US Fortune 1000 companies and 77% of the Fortune Global 500. The bank has been a key financing partner for the metal industries for over 40 years and widely across the spectrum of the metal industries and companies. It delivers this both on a global basis through its metals team and locally in the markets it serves. The bank has done this through many industry cycles, including through the current Covid-19 crisis.
In addition to providing over $17 billion in credit commitments to companies in the industry, Bank of America notes that it provides a full array of banking, investment banking, risk management and wealth management solutions for its metal industries clients, adding that because of its knowledge of and comfort with the industry, it is willing to commit significant capital and high credit hold positions in credit facilities for its clients.

The bank is an active member of the Metal Service Center Institute (Affiliate Committee), the Association of Women in the Metal Industries, and the Fabricated Manufacturers Association. Its efforts include financial education for employees, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
The bank notes that it has leading global equity, fixed income and commodity research which provides its clients with global insight and perspective. It adds that it is heavily focused on assisting its clients with green steel initiatives and sustainability-linked financing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The bank notes that digital transformation is a key focus for it and that it is driving operational excellence. It adds that it has made substantial investments to streamline, digitize and address client pain points.

Operational excellence generates savings and efficiencies that make it possible for us to continue to invest. By improving the way we serve clients, streamlining our internal processes and creating other efficiencies that stem from the thousands of ideas our teammates generated last year, we were able to invest in our capabilities. This has been a continuous process of improvement; and, we share our ideas and experiences with our clients.

Within the past two years, the bank has played a major role in transformational transactions for the largest US steelmakers, worth billions of dollars. It has also been active in financing through the use of Green Bonds and Sustainability-linked Loans. It works with its clients to hedge commodity prices, enabling them to mitigate commodity price risk and to offer fixed pricing on their product sales and win customer contract business.

BMO Harris Bank N.A.

BMO has been instrumental in assisting the financial performance of its steel and metals customers and continues to expand its presence in the steel and metals space. FYE 2020 was a challenging year in metals and BMO showed its true character by assisting companies during the Covid-19 pandemic through the PPP program, and through working with its customers to get through the Covid crisis.

BMO has focused on metal companies of all sizes – from the large mills/producers to the small or middle-market metal service centers and the bank added value in process. The establishment of a metals vertical means focusing on companies of all sizes and all types of metals, and 2020 ended strongly for BMO and its metal clients.

Although the metals market was deeply affected by Covid-19, BMO Harris continued its success in gaining market share due to its commitment and dedication to the space. Its customers are grateful to be working with a lender who can provide an alternative to their existing banking relationships and one which has extensive knowledge of the space. BMO’s education comes through attending and speaking at metals conferences, visiting with its customers and prospects, and following metals trends daily.

Weissenrieder & Co. AB

Weissenrieder & Co notes that virtually all companies in all industries use a traditional capital allocation process where capex projects are prioritized using Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR) or payback calculations in combination with, perhaps, some favourite risk KPIs .

Weissenrieder has developed a new way of allocating capital/capex throughout a corporation, which it calls Weissr® Capex Strategy. This has been used/implemented for more than 20 years by many companies in the pulp & paper industry. The finance business is now advising the steel industry and other mining & metal companies and has been present and active with its services for about three years. In the more than 10 industries it is present in, it has had more than 700 mills/plants in its projects on six continents, with a replacement cost of more than $400 billion.

The positive effect/result of Weissr® Capex Strategy is big because decisions on capital are made so differently and the future of a company – and eventually the industry – is positively changed. The difference is the criteria for where capital should be allocated is not each capex proposal’s NPV/IRR/payback (the traditional way), but instead which portfolio of capexes and other asset-related decisions create the best long-term cash flow for the company. Weissenrieder notes that these two approaches are in opposition to each other and will never come to the same conclusion regarding capital allocation.

Weissenrieder says that companies today spend too much of their capital in plants/mills that are not sustainable (performance-wise). It adds that the consequence of this allocation of capital is that lots of money (capital) is wasted that will never come back to the company or its owners. Weissenrieder’s capital allocation process and the Weissr® Capex Strategy tool stop that leakage, and simultaneously make sure that the decisions around capital strengthens the company in the long term, it explains.

Technology/IT Provider of the Year

Aveva

Aveva recently acquired OSIsoft, maker of the PI System, an operations-data management platform in the steel industry and other industrial sectors. Aveva notes that nine out of the top ten of the world’s largest global mining and metals companies, and more than 500 metals companies around the world, rely on the PI System to operate better and drive sustainable efficiency.

The PI System serves as a data historian, but it also handles contextualization, normalization, visualization, and sharing across business functions, systems and enterprises. It is vendor-agnostic, so it can be integrated with almost any equipment or system across SCADA, IIoT, cloud, and partner solutions. PI System users can be up and running in a week, with no programming required.

Steel companies use the PI System to collect, contextualize and deliver real-time and historical operations data. This data allows them to optimize critical functions. As an example, one capability is to help steel companies shift from calendar-based to data-driven condition-based maintenance to improve mill reliability. Current operators include major steel businesses in Europe, North America and Asia.

A European steelmaking customer achieved 10% savings in production losses and a 15% increase in quality.

An Asian producer of the system reduced maintenance costs by 10%, and improved equipment efficiency by over 50%, equipment reliability by over 20%, and product rate and equipment energy efficiency over 5%. It estimates efficiency improvement of five to 10 times.

By using the PI System, and PI System’s Asset Analytics, a North American steel producer has realized savings of $1 million per year per furnace ($19 million in total project savings), 13% equipment availability increase, and 15% improvement in yield and quality. The company has seen a 50% drop in the ratio of costly, disruptive reactive maintenance versus efficient, proactive maintenance.

Dassault Systems

The Delmia digital-twin from Dassault Systems is an executable virtual representation of a supply chain. The Virtual Twin Experience can be designed, planned and optimized before plans are executed in the real world. It can be used for downstream operational activities and to create what-if scenarios to improve production planning, asset management, delivery and other optimizations.

For example, the master production-scheduling function provides visibility to upstream and downstream work orders as well as material flow synchronization. It performs daily dynamic re-planning with advanced optimization algorithms, using the latest information regarding material and work order progress, resource shutdowns and attained inventory levels.

Delmia’s Quintiq supply-chain planning functions combine planners’ deep knowledge of the business with a practical approach to planning based on mathematical optimization and driven by key performance indicators (KPIs). The system provides optimization for hundreds of thousands of operations within a short timeframe, and based on key performance indicators. The optimizer iteratively considers all the constraints, rules and KPIs in parallel to make informed planning decisions.

The Delmia Quintiq scheduler enables planners to create optimal schedules for steel casting, hot-rolling and cold-rolling processes. Integrated scheduling of casting and hot rolling increases the hot-charging rate.

Quintiq’s sales and operations planning capability takes into account rules, financial constraints and KPIs to model the supply chain and create optimal supply plans that are driven by financials. Planners are able to gain accurate data through real-time collaboration and KPI-driven planning. From work-order planning and order combinations to ensuring on-time delivery at the right cost and location, organizations can synchronize demands with supplies and identify optimum inventory targets.

Using these systems, steel and metal companies have been able to achieve significant operational improvements. One steelmaking company was able to improve its on-time, in-full delivery rate by 12.8%; another business reduced its inventory by 33%; a third company reduced its manufacturing cycle time by almost 30%; and a fourth large metals business reduced unconstrained plan generation time by 75%.

Fero Labs

Fero Labs provides machine learning (ML) software solely developed for industrial process optimization. The emphasis is on explainability, transparency, and ease of use, in contrast to systems that rely on black-box models and off-the-shelf ML. The software is purpose-built to help industrial manufacturers solve complex process and asset optimization challenges using explainable ML. The software is being used by steel mills to reduce raw material costs, improve production quality, decrease scrap rate, control emissions, and increase energy efficiency.

Steel companies have seen dramatic reductions in raw material costs, “as much as seven figures in a single mill,” notes Fero Labs. One customer used Fero Labs’ software to stabilize mechanical properties and reduce alloy consumption, leading to average alloy reduction of 9.3%.

The software uses readily available data collected from existing sensors, so it does not require additional hardware investment. Achievements are quantified and tracked through the software, which produces a monthly report detailing savings by heat, and summarized by product and total savings.

Since Fero Labs’ initial successful introduction at a steel mill in 2018, the software has been deployed at several additional mills in North America. Those implementations resulted in several key product and process innovations. For example, new product grades were developed with lower alloy content and significantly lower cost, while meeting the tensile and yield strength targets required by the mills’ customers.

In terms of process, the software was equally transformative. Engineers, metallurgists and operators were able to improve the daily decision-making process thanks to new insights obtained from data they had all along, but were unable to leverage.
These successes led to the adoption of Fero Labs software across multiple mills and use cases.

Metal Networks.ai

Metal Networks developed a platform using artificial intelligence (AI) that service centers, distributors and buyers can use to search catalogues and listings. The initiative is intended to support search, quotes, and e-commerce in general as part of the evolution of Industry 4.0. The company has filed for a patent on the search engine.

The company notes that the platform, as driven by the search engine, can translate the shorthand often used by metals buyers and sellers into standard specification and terminology used in catalogues. Metal Networks.ai noted that the strengths of the new search engine and platform are threefold: the highly accurate translation function, the efficient and accurate search engine, and the user interface that uses familiar features such as search boxes, filter options, and menus that drop.

The search engine can conduct simultaneous mass searches for descriptions with 100 or more line items in less than ten seconds. The company estimates that using the platform can reduce search time by 90% or more as compared to manual searches.

The platform also has a quote function that allows sales teams to build quotes for potential customers in half the time or less that the same procedure would take using a standard enterprise-resource-planning system.
There is also a buyout feature that allows sales and procurement teams to close business with other service centers when the sellers are out of stock. The process is estimated to take 50-75% less time.

Overall, the cloud-based platform requires no hardware or software integration. That means users that have a small or limited IT department can implement the platform without complication. Service centers can invite others to bid directly on their requests for quote. That reduced a process that usually takes two or three days to just a few hours.

Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship

Cronimet Envirotec GmbH


Cronimet Envirotec (CRE) has developed a technology that enables the recycling of byproducts such as sludges, mill scale, and filter dust. Hazardous waste is turned into raw materials that can be used as a substitute for solid scrap in (stainless) steel production. The combination of an innovative vacuum distillation process to dry and de-oil sludges or mill scale and a high-strength-briquetting plant using an organic binder for dust and powders allows CRE’s customers to reduce their waste balances and close production cycles.
The briquetting plant allows the usage of fine metal powders and dusts in foundries or steelworks. Materials that have previously been disposed of in landfill or by incineration can thus be returned to the cycle.

By reducing or partially avoiding primary mining less carbon dioxide is emitted. CRE notes that, according to the Fraunhofer institute, the usage of one ton of stainless steel scrap amounts to 4.3 mt of CO2 saved. With CRE’s technology waste can be used similarly to scrap, thus preserving resources and reducing pollution.
The briquettes produced out of waste or byproducts can either be returned to the waste producer (e.g. toll treatment) which closes the loop entirely, or the waste is bought by CRE and then sold as a raw material. Either way the technology increases resource efficiency and sustainability.

CRE strives to educate people and companies across industries about technologically advanced options for waste treatment. Thus an online event series has been started to further enable suppliers and customers to increase sustainability in their companies by recycling byproducts which have been disposed of before and by offering further tips on how to become a “greener company”.

Another green initiative by CRE is a yearly christmas tree campaign. Instead of sending out printed cards to all business associates the company started planting a tree for each customer and supplier. In addition, every potential customer who gets in touch with CRE due to a recommendation of another company leads to another tree being planted in Germany.

The company is also part of the “Rewimet Innovationsforum” for waste handling companies sharing best practices within the recycling industry. The German foundry association (BDI) has recently started an initiative called “Circular Economy” in which CRE aims to play a key role as well.

In addition, the CRE fleet of production vehicles was replaced by electric vehicles (e.g. electric forklift) and employees with company cars are to drive EVs exclusively starting 2021. The EVs are charged with 100% carbon-dioxide-free electricity.

SSAB

Projects undertaken by SSAB have not only made a significant environmental impact, but also have saved the company more than $5.5 million annually. SSAB Americas recycles water, steel and other materials.

In 2020, the SSAB Iowa facility installed a vacuum tank degassing system. The initial installation was powered by two natural gas steam generators to produce the vacuum. As the process matured and the steam generators aged, an investigation to replace the natural gas steam generator system was evaluated. In 2021, a new mechanical pump system was installed and commissioned with the benefits of a safer work environment for operators; reduced maintenance and operating costs; and environmental benefits (for example air emissions and water use reductions). Air emissions were reduced by 99.99% for this process, which included an estimated reduction of CO2e by 25,765 tons per year.

In 2019, SSAB Americas announced the intention for its operations to produce steel using a completely fossil-free process beginning in 2026. With this target, SSAB Americas notes that it is set to be the first North American supplier of fossil-free steel. SSAB Americas' mill in Montpelier, Iowa is working toward becoming powered by renewable electricity.

SSAB's U.S. mills utilize scrap-based EAF technology, using almost 100% recycled materials in their production process. In addition to scrap, SSAB Iowa and SSAB Alabama intend to utilize fossil-free sponge iron produced in Sweden as part of the HYBRIT project in the coming years, enabling the eventual production of fossil-free steel. (HYBRIT is a joint project led by SSAB in collaboration with Swedish mining company LKAB and Swedish Energy company Vattenfall.)

In 2016, SSAB launched the EcoSmart™ program as a way of making people more aware of the environmental sustainability of its steel. EcoSmart was launched to many of the company’s large customers throughout 2016, and continues to be communicated to customers. The program enables customers to know more about what makes SSAB’s steel sustainable, and then use this information in turn with their own customers. Customers who have been onboarded to the EcoSmart program receive the EcoSmart imprint on their products (as a stencil on plate or a printed tag on coil) and customized documentation like test reports and invoices.

To produce its steel, SSAB Americas uses nearly 100% recovered scrap metal. This material is diverted from landfills, and includes everything from discarded appliances to old car parts. Annually, its mills recycle more than 3 million tons of scrap metal.
SSAB's steel is 100% recyclable. With the company producing, processing and selling high-quality steel across North America – with facilities in Alabama, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and Ontario, Canada – it notes that it is constantly working to improve the way it does business to ensure it is making a positive impact on its employees, communities, customers and the environment.

Over the past five years, SSAB Americas has focused on several new and ongoing projects to achieve its goals in environmental responsibility. They are: the VTD mechanical pump system; a ladle dryer burner optimization project; a Steckel mill surface air blower optimization project; waste minimization, including general trash sorting; scrap tire recycling; EAF baghouse dust recycling; the EcoSmart program; and energy efficiency.

SSAB says that the results of its initiatives have been outstanding, from sending less waste to landfills, to less energy consumption and more materials being recycled. Specifically, more than 8 million pounds of trash diverted from landfills, nearly 7 million scrap tires recycled, reduced consumption of electricity in certain areas by more than 5.5 million kWh, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and more than 400,000 tons of EAF baghouse dust recycled.

Linde plc

Linde has made a large number of installations at its steel customers using flameless oxyfuel technologies, which greatly supports the reduction of carbon footprint. These technologies have been developed in such a way that they are “hydrogen-ready” (i.e. ready for replacing a carbon-based fuel fully or partly with hydrogen).

These Linde-developed technologies provide considerable reduction of NOx emissions and also improved material yield in reheat furnaces. Linde has also developed technologies for low-carbon ironmaking, which supports use of biomass for production DRI.

The company is taking on studies with its steel customers to support Carbon Capture Sequestration and Use. It provides technologies for parts of these solutions and also for blast furnace top gas recycling.

As part of its SD2028 targets, Linde has specific targets in the area of decarbonization and growth:

• Invest >$1 billion in decarbonization initiatives.

• Direct at least a third of Linde’s annual R&D budget to decarbonization.

• Contribute more than 50% of revenue from its sustainability portfolio.

• Save $1.3 Billion from sustainable productivity.

Linde also has an active Zero Waste Program, currently with more than 500 sites participating. A Zero Waste to Landfill site is defined as one that diverts more than 90% process waste from landfills; this can include incineration for energy recovery.

Zero Waste to Landfill helps extend company’s mission and values and promotes circular economic practices. In many cases, the program brings social benefits to local communities, from education to job creation.

Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year

PLS Logistics Services

Founded in 1991, PLS Logistics Services has become a leading logistics services provider of outsourced logistics solutions as well as freight brokerage services. The firm, with headquarters in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, has serviced, since 2018, more than 5,000 customers across North America, experiencing a 30% growth rate due to rapidly expanding its brokerage division, adding a national accounts department, implementing its PLS PRO 3.0 TMS technology and expanding services. PLS supports small and mid-sized businesses and Fortune 500 organizations alike and is consistently recognized as a top logistics provider.

The proprietary PLS PRO 3.0 technology makes communications between the shipper and the carrier as efficient as possible, allowing all data to be stored securely and to be accessed remotely from any location at any time. PLS’ customer tracking portal provides a complete view of a full truckload and partial truckload shipments. The technology allows PLS account management teams to address problems before they arise, taking a proactive approach to customer service and providing clients end-to-end visibility into their transactions.

PLS is also committed to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and air-polluting particle matter. To achieve this end, PLS works directly with its freight carriers to consistently improve their environmental performance. The firm embraces the social responsibility of helping to reduce transportation pollution by initiating conscientious practices with its freight carriers. PLS strives to help its customers achieve the most cost- and fuel-effective methods for moving their products.

Ports of Indiana

The Ports of Indiana, with offices in Indianapolis, is a statewide port authority that operates a system of three ports on the Ohio River and Lake Michigan that serve the steel, manufacturing, energy and agricultural sectors. The Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor is strategically located in northwestern Indiana between mills owned today by Cleveland Cliffs and U.S. Steel. Of the 30 companies located on the Port, more than half are members of the steel industry supply chain.

Currently the Ports of Indiana–Burns Harbor has 30 steel-producing and processing tenants that handled 730,233 tons of steel in 2020. Maritime operations at the Ports of Indiana-Burns Harbor generate $5.2 billion per year in economic activity and support 30,000 jobs. The Ports of Indiana offers cost savings that include steel sourcing leverage, inbound logistics savings, outbound transportation negotiation leverage and other cost-effective attributes.

The Ports of Indiana has increased its support for the steel industry in the last two years by constructing nearly $40 million in infrastructure upgrades, securing two federal grants to support future steel-related cargoes and by helping steel-related companies continue to grow their business within the state’s port system despite challenging economic and political climates. In recent years, the Ports of Indiana has secured new steel clients, some of which have already expanded their initial facilities because of the growth opportunities created by the Ports. In the last five years, the Ports’ overall steel shipments have averaged two million tons per year, more than double the previous 10-year average.

Ryder System

Its more than 90 years of experience along with cutting-edge technology allowed Ryder System, Miami, Florida, to become part of the solution to the problem of the global pandemic. Ryder re-deployed idle trucks and drivers from non-essential to essential businesses, established pop-up warehousing and fleets to safely store and move critical supplies, and helped customers pivot with changing manufacturing needs. Ryder helped a leading steel distributor increase its capacity to support critical demand for medical manufacturing for items such as ventilators, personal protective equipment and tents for drive-through Covid-19 testing.

Additionally, Ryder’s proprietary technology RyderShare™ played a vital role in helping customers deliver essential goods to their customers. The real-time visibility and collaboration platform eliminates long-standing silos of information and accesses and connects all parties involved in the supply chain, empowering operators to collaborate in real time to handle exceptions pro-actively and avoid costly delays while maximizing efficiencies.

With ever-escalating industry challenges such as driver and labor shortages, capacity concerns and stringent federal regulations, getting freight to its destination safely and on time is a growing concern. Since partnering with Ryder, customers have experienced greater than 99% on-time delivery, increased fleet size by 400% during peak seasons, reduced inventory and equipment losses, and improved service levels and safety ratings.

Scrap Company of the Year – Large

Ferrous Processing & Trading

With headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, one of the world’s largest automotive production centers, Ferrous Processing & Trading (FPT) is consistently recognized as one of the largest-volume metals recycling and trading companies with 27 locations in North America. Annual sales of about 3.3 million gross tons of metallic scrap top $1 billion, and the firm has a private fleet of more than 800 rail cars. FPT’s workforce consists of 605 employees with a turnover rate of 2.14%, resulting in a very experienced workforce with employees having an average 10.17 years of service with the company.

The pandemic presented unforeseen challenges to most metals companies, but FPT was able to turn those challenges into opportunities. For example, it helped one of its largest OEM Tier 1 corporate scrap management customers with maintaining scrap services while the customer converted its largest US scrap producing plant from a compactor system to a multi-bay scrap conveyor loading system. For another customer, FPT was able to help resolve another OEM’s on-site baling operations that were inefficient and costly. To develop a solution for the customer, FPT sent its design engineering staff to the plant for several weeks to study the operations and process flow of the current system, and recommended a low-cost solution that was accepted by the customer to fix all design, process-handling and marketing/logistics inefficiencies.

In addition to providing innovative solutions for its customers, FPT has grown in the recent past through strategic acquisitions of the assets of a trucking company and another scrap company. It continued to pay attention to health and safety issues, including preventive measures against virus exposure, and hired a full-time corporate nurse to provide not only responsive care but preventive guidance as well. In addition, FPT has supported the Detroit community’s fire houses and other community improvement efforts.

OmniSource

OmniSource, Fort Wayne, Indiana, embodies an entrepreneurial culture fostering energetic, positive, driven, and innovative individuals by utilizing open communication and performance-based compensation aligned to its strategic focus. This results in its safe, low-cost, highly efficient operations which drive best-in-class operating and financial performance.
The company invests in its communities with innovative employment options. It offers a career pathway to empower those with autism and other disabilities to attain a long-term fulfilling career with the business.

OmniSource’s primary collection and processing facilities are concentrated in the Midwest, the South and the Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. But its reach stretches across North America, utilizing a wide-ranging fleet of trucks, containers, railcars and barges to collect and haul metals. OmniSource was acquired in 2007 by Steel Dynamics, Inc., and operates independently as a wholly owned subsidiary.

The firm’s core principles of scrap management are centered on strategic partnerships with its customers and focusing on long-term relationships. When a customer needs assistance improving their scrap handling operations, OmniSource works with them to explore new ways to accomplish their objectives in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Although the global Covid-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, OmniSource was able to increase profitability with minimal impact to employee working hours.

OmniSource continues to look for ways to diversify its end markets into higher margin products rather than focusing solely on commodity-grade steel. Under SDI’s leadership, OmniSource has strategically increased its margins and broadened its product mix to create more stability.

Further strengthening its long-term prospects, OmniSource’s new location in Texas gives pipe producers in that region a competitive supplier to be able to compete with foreign pipe importers. In addition, the acquisition of a scrap facility in Mexico was part of the raw material procurement strategy to support Steel Dynamics’ new steel mill in Texas. The acquisition in Mexico expands OmniSource’s commercial presence in the region, allowing the company to grow its metals recycling presence in that country.

Schnitzer Steel Industries

Since its founding in 1906, Schnitzer Steel Industries has grown to become one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of recycled metal products in North America. The firm, with headquarters in Portland, Oregon, today has about 100 recycling and auto parts facilities in 23 US states, Puerto Rico and western Canada. Schnitzer also operates an EAF-based steelmaking plant that produces rebar, wire rod and other products using scrap from its recycling facilities.

To cope with the economic slowdown at the start of the global pandemic, Schnitzer pivoted quickly to accommodate the operational changes that were necessary to continue operating safely and effectively. Despite the challenges, the firm had strong financial performance. In its quarterly period that ended February 28, 2021, Schnitzer achieved adjusted Ebitda per ferrous ton of $73, its highest quarterly performance since 2008. This financial performance was significantly better than in fiscal 2011, when both commodity prices and volumes were higher than during the recent quarter.

In fiscal 2020, Schnitzer delivered, ahead of schedule, the full annual targeted benefits of $15 million (annual run rate of $20 million) from the productivity initiatives announced in October 2019. In fiscal 2020, the firm also generated strong operating cash flow of $125 million, demonstrating its ability to effectively manage working capital and generate positive cash flows through the cycle. This allowed Schnitzer to continue to invest in the business with $82 million in capital expenditures, while also decreasing its net debt to its lowest level in a decade and achieving a net leverage ratio of only 11%.

W. Silver Recycling

With its headquarters in El Paso, Texas, W. Silver has one of the widest physical operational footprints relative to tons moved in the industry. The company is completely familiar with cross-border transactions between the United States and Mexico and with ever-present and increasingly complex trade compliance matters. Coupled with arbitrage opportunities across markets, W. Silver has the physical assets and experience to grow its business near and across the southern US border.

During the past few years, there have been issues along the border that have complicated cross-border business transactions. The global pandemic became another issue to be managed, particularly with a workforce in Mexico that was receiving some similar and some very different information from the Mexican media and government about the virus than what was being communicated in the United States. During the early days of the pandemic, W. Silver leadership decided it would continue to travel to conduct business to instill faith and confidence in the overall W. Silver mission while balancing a daily rotating list of restrictions and shutdowns across city, county, state and federal systems in two countries.

W. Silver Recycling is at the end of a multi-year plan to increase overall handling capacity by 300% in the ferrous bandwidth and 200% in non-ferrous bandwidth. While the pandemic delayed some aspects of this broad-reaching vision, 2021 will see all projects completed. W. Silver will complete construction on its new non-ferrous hub in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, tripling regional handling capabilities. W. Silver’s current non-ferrous operations will be streamlined with this new facility, and the space and layout will allow overall “touches” per non-ferrous pound to be reduced by 50-70% with a corresponding decrease in variable operating expenses.

Scrap Company of the Year: small to midsize

ICD Alloys & Metals

ICD Alloys & Metals specializes in the sourcing, processing, recycling and supply of minor metals, superalloys, titanium and ferro-alloys, rare earth elements, intermediates and oxides. ICD serves an international customer base composed of specialty steel mills, superalloy ingot makers and casting foundries from a variety of industrial sectors, including aerospace, medical, oil & gas and electronics. Privately held, ICD Alloys & Metals was founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 2013 and is a subsidiary of ICD Group International.

Before the global pandemic, ICD Alloys & Metals was on track for a record year. Despite the severe reduction in demand from its aerospace customers, ICD achieved an impressive year. A strong effort by the sales team and a well-positioned order book allowed ICD Group to capture 98% of 2019’s gross profit performance and it only narrowly missed a record year. At the time of awards nomination, ICD Alloys & Metals had the equivalent of more than nine months of open orders for 2021, not including a variety of sales contracts spanning three-to-five-year periods.

ICD Alloys & Metals was resistant to the Covid-19 crisis, while remaining profitable, supporting its sustainability commitment and investing in R&D and innovation. During 2020, ICD Alloys & Metals created ICD Applied Technologies, an additive manufacturing and powder metallurgy company, which can use the revert material from ICD Alloys & Metals to create powder mixtures. Those materials feed the production process for ICD Applied Technologies, thus completing ICD Group’s strategy of supplying material from mine to market.

Southern Recycling

Now in its 40th year, Southern Recycling has grown to become a full-service recycling company serving customers in Kentucky, Tennessee and surrounding states. The firm, which is part of Houchens Industries, has spent the past two years focused on improving facilities and equipment. In 2019, Southern Recycling invested $11.4 million in a new facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where its headquarters are located. Along with equipment purchases, the investment improved operating and freight costs, which directly impact the competitive pricing offered to its customers. Southern Recycling’s relationship with Houchens Industries, a very large and diversified wholly owned S Corp ESOP, enabled it to not miss or delay a payment to any vendor or supplier while continuing to invest in equipment and facilities upgrades to benefit its suppliers.

Over the past two years, Southern Recycling has made numerous changes, which have included management changes and restructuring or divesting unprofitable contracts. The plan to eliminate unprofitable sales reduced total sales by $30 million and increased net income by $7 million. Despite market difficulties caused by the global pandemic and a tornado that resulted in widespread damage to its Nashville yard and subsequent transfer of non-ferrous material to its Bowling Green facility, Southern Recycling finished fiscal year 2020 in a positive net income position.

Having overcome significant challenges in the past year, Southern Recycling is building its future customer base with purpose and strategy. Its fiscal year 2021 first-quarter earnings were excellent, second only to the second quarter of fiscal year 2020 (at that time) which operated largely outside the influence of Covid. With records in several financial measurements in early 2021, the company is looking to have its most profitable year ever.

Scrap company of the year – EMEA

Sharif Metals Group

From a family business founded in 1963, Sharif Metals Group (SMG) has diverged into a large privately owned recycling company in the Middle East, which focuses on the innovation of sustainability and the circular economy.

Predominantly, SMG is a ferrous and non-ferrous metals recycling company for various grades, for which it purchases, recycles and exports quality products.
The business has grown in the Middle East, covering its procurement, processing and recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals through its fully equipped yards in the region. It has three shredders and three aluminium and lead state-of-the-art alloy producing plants, catering to the main automotive and battery makers worldwide.

SMG notes that it uses very efficient air pollution control systems in its plants, qualifying to the highest standards of EPA.

The group has a fully integrated system and supply chain. Backward integration was established three decades ago, wherein it secured its backyard supply flow by having stakes with its various suppliers’ yards whom it became shareholders with.

The group notes that international trade restrictions and regulations disturbed supply and demand back in 2019. Chinese imports flooded the market, which left minimal margins and, together with a slowdown in the economy, was quite challenging.

With the Covid-19 pandemic being the main challenge in 2020, construction activities dropped by 60%, which directly affected steel business and production was dented to avoid over-supply, the group notes. The cost of production has become very high due to the effects on supply of manpower and maintaining health and hygiene restrictions.

Realizing that the human-centric approach is the core focus of its industry, Sharif Metals has mechanized many of its operations, which has left manpower to focus on very technical operational areas in which machines could not have served the job. Efficiency has reduced the cost of production by 30%.

The group has also adapted virtual board meetings and home working, which has helped senior management to think "out of the box" in lots of areas. The sustainability of the business works in parallel with the safety and welfare of group personnel households.

SMG fulfils a fundamental role in the creation of a circular economy and whilst recycling itself is an inherently environmentally driven activity. Its commitment to the circular economy, as part of its environmental, social and governance values, means clients now consider it a critical part of their closed-loop business.

The latest generation of the family is advancing the business by combining digital methods of management and operations with the legacy of previous generations.

RKG International FZC

RKG International FZC as a company notes that it plays an important role in preserving natural resources by recycling metal.

Factors contributing to the success of the company in the ferrous scrap arena include: adopting the latest innovation and technology and investing in continuous learning,creating value from waste; setting the highest standard of quality and customer service; creating a better relationship with the client to meet their needs for ferrous scrap.

RKG is an integrated metal recycling company in Middle East with wide-ranging activities involving sourcing to distributing of ferrous and non-ferrous material. RKG has a European based shredder and shearing machine, which it notes make it unique. It also has its own excavator and fleet of transport for collecting, distributing and exporting ferrous & non-ferrous metal. RKG has expanded its premises in Sharjah. Earlier it had one scrapyard. Now it has three yards – one yard for HMS & aluminium and the other two yards for shredding ferrous metals.

RKG notes that the ripple effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have affected the world, which has resulted in the decline of scrap generation globally. RKG has met requirements for the high quality of scrap metals in the current situation and has met big fluctuations in the supply, demand and pricing of ferrous scrap.

RKG International says it is a symbol of quality and consistency in a turbulent and rapidly changing scrap trade market and that it has been promoting the economic and environmental benefits of recycling in the UAE.
The shredder is an innovative choice made by RKG, which produces a large number of scrap metals for recycling. It is useful for size reduction and also helps to manage wastes in the best ways and support auto recycling processes. It also helps to segregate non-ferrous and ferrous metals, and non-metallic materials. The company also has a shearing machine, which it notes saves a lot of time on further processes

RKG notes that its HR Team plays a very important role in managing employees and providing the right kind of training, adding that the management also played a very important role in providing benefits and promotions from within the company.
The company is reimagining marketing in the ‘next normal’, following Covid-19, noting that the future is about three things: getting better at predicting demand, increasing sales, and using agile techniques to sustain hard-won momentum.

RKG International FZC has been in the market dealing with all major categories of ferrous and non-ferrous metals and working on an international platform.

Scrap Equipment Company of the Year

Sennebogen LLC

Sennebogen LLC recently introduced a new energy-recovery system that lowers the operating cost of lifting heavy loads safely. Originally introduced in its larger machines, the company brought the Green Hybrid system to its smaller models this year, rounding out the preferred machine sizes for heavy-lift applications in scrap recycling. In typical lifting cycles, Sennebogen notes that the Green Hybrid system can reduce energy costs by as much as 30%. The system has a purely mechanical hydraulic design to maximize reliability and ease of maintenance with standard service parts.

The Green Efficiency initiative in the new E Series machines introduced a series of improvements to achieve Tier-4F emissions compliance without adding complex devices or controls. The program cut emissions by as much as 90% and reduced fuel costs. The features include Eco Mode low-idle control, optimized hydraulic flows, and a flow-through cooling design for the engine compartment.

Sennebogen supplies electric drive for material handlers, offering significantly lower emissions and noise as well as reduced maintenance and fuel costs. A range of electric drives is available for the full line of mobile and stationary models.

Sennebogen has also expanded its initiative to help customers think beyond the machine, specifically to help them lower the total cost of ownership. Following an in-depth customer survey, the company implemented hundreds of changes through every department and process.

The initiative includes parts supply, a service network, technical training, application support, and financing. The company has a large network of factory-trained material-handler technicians through more than 250 dealer branches. Financing includes a program to lease equipment by the hour.

Wendt Corporation

As quality expectations for metal scrap commodities continue to rise, Wendt Corporation saw new industry requirements. For example, in 2020, Wendt entered an exclusive partnership with Didion International combining Wendt’s scrap processing equipment with Didion’s rotary drums designed to remove dirt, debris, surface contamination, and oxidation from shredded “melt-ready” commodities. The focus of the partnership is on the ability for scrap processors to create clean and polished finished goods, which can help with classifying it to be ready for downstream equipment.

Wendt has a new showroom at its headquarters in Buffalo, New York. The new showroom continues to act as a key resource for customers to do material sampling, prove a business case and gain hands-on training from the company’s experienced service technicians. It also offers the new ability to continuously feature the latest and most advanced technology and equipment available.

The showroom’s initial focus has been on the firm’s ferrous dirt separator, eddy current equipment and several Wendt/Tomra finding and extractor technologies. Wendt has had a partnership with Tomra in North America for 20 years.
Wendt has also introduced new equipment for production of low-magnesium twitch from zorba. In 2020, Wendt and Tomra released new X-ray equipment which can separate magnesium from aluminium, which enables trading low-magnesium twitch on domestic markets.

With the Wendt Corporation showroom operational, customers can send samples that are representative of their own material. Materials are tested, analyzed and customers are provided with a full report of data-driven recommendations for an equipment solution, providing customers with the information necessary to make smart purchasing decisions that are quantified and justified.

Separately, Wendt and its partner MTB have introduced a new pre-shredder. It uses a low-speed, high-torque technique to homogenize hammermill feedstock. That allows a shredder to achieve full box shredding, increasing tons per hour while decreasing the wear on castings.

Tube & Pipe Manufacturer of the Year

Corinth Pipeworks

Corinth Pipeworks opened its new plant in Thisvi, Greece in 2020. Construction started in 2002 and was completed for an investment of EUR 350 million to date. Capacity is 925,000 tonnes per year. Further upgrades and expansions are planned. The company offers in one location all welded-pipe manufacturing methods in four mills, including electric-resistance welded, longitudinal submerged-arc welded, and helical submerged-arc welded. The plant also has capability for pipe coating that is required for the supply of a complete on/offshore pipeline package.

Downstream operations include: external and internal coating mills with a range of coatings, concrete weight coating, double jointing, a weld-on-connectors line, a laboratory for testing sour conditions, and storage areas. Port facilities are just 1.5 km away.
Corinth Pipeworks has been in business for more than half a century and works with major energy companies across the globe on projects. In that time the company has supplied more than 22,000 km of pipeline; 3,000 km of offshore pipeline; and 1,000 km of carbon-dioxide pipeline. It has major energy-sector clients in more than 45 countries.

Looking ahead, Corinth Pipeworks expects its portfolio to support energy transition through R&D for the manufacture of pipes that can be certified for the transportation of hydrogen or a mixture with natural gas. The company is investing in the R&D of new technologies related to pipe manufacturing, such as pipe certified according to ASME B31.12 Option B standards.

The steel-pipe manufacturer for the energy sector has been certified as carbon neutral (Scope I & II) l by TÜV Nord for its production activities. All of its electricity comes from renewable energy.

Nucor Tubular Products

Nucor Tubular Products (NTP) produces steel pipe and tube to many ASTM specifications, and notes that it is the only conduit manufacturer in the United States to electrogalvanize EMT and IMC, resulting in protective zinc coatings that do not flake or chip when subjected to extreme stress.

NTP operates more than 2.3 million square feet under roof in eight locations among five states. Customers include many of the largest electrical distributors, steel service centers and manufacturers of agricultural, transportation, lighting, fire sprinkler and material handling equipment throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.

At the corporate level, Nucor claims primacy as North America’s largest recycler by volume, with all of NTP’s input material supplied by its EAF-based flat-rolled-product mills.
NTP booked a record year of shipments and market share in 2020, despite the many complications and limitations of the pandemic. It was able to continue its operations and supply customers, which was an extra challenge because NTP had brought together three established companies.

For example, the high-strength steel customers were purchasing from two different portals. To address that, NTP integrated its systems to build a one-stop shop where customers can browse and search inventory, order from floor stock or rollings, submit and view inquiries, receive notifications via email when an order is shipped, and review documents.

NTP recently completed an expansion of its Trinity, Alabama location. That $27.2 million expansion includes new production, finishing, as well as processing and packaging equipment.

Separately, NTP implemented enhancements to its Birmingham mills with about $4 million in upgrades and new equipment. The focus was on maintaining a full range of capabilities while simplifying mill scheduling, such as adding quick change-over technology. The site also upgraded mill coolant systems to improve surface quality and increase tool life, and upgraded mill cut-off systems to improve cut-end quality and length tolerances.

Webco Industries

Webco Industries is a specialty metal tubing manufacturing company head-quartered in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. It operates five tube-production facilities in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania and eight enhancement facilities in Oklahoma, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas. The company makes seam-welded carbon steel, stainless steel, nickel alloy and titanium forms. It also manufactures carbon-steel seamless drawn-over-mandrel mechanical and pressure tubing. A key end-use segment is heat exchangers.

In 2020, Webco celebrated its 51st year of operations in a year that represented multiple supply and demand challenges related to the spread of Covid-19. Energy and transportation market demand was severely impacted in the early months of the pandemic. The price of raw material has fluctuated significantly. Hot rolled carbon steel ranged from a low of around $400/ton to a current high of almost $1,500/ton. Stainless steel strip has seen significant challenges related to costs and availability.

Maintaining the ability to service customer needs has required a commitment to continuously anticipate market demand, successfully arrange supply chain options and act at the right time. To accomplish this, Webco had to change planning frequency and organizational design.

In late 2019, Webco embarked on a project to build a greenfield leadership campus that will house its technology center, Webco University, and eventually its corporate offices. This campus will be located on a 48-acre tract that will provide the company with the space to continue to innovate and grow for years to come. In the past six months, the initial campus design was completed.

The Technology Center will support Webco’s position in the markets it serves. It will provide the resources needed to further develop in seam-welded corrosion-resistant alloys and specialty drawn-over-mandrel mechanical tubing.
Webco University will allow the company to expand employee training to be successful at work and in life. In 2019 alone, Webco employees completed 91,760 online, self-paced training modules.


Best Service Center – Large

Alro Steel

The mission of Alro Steel, since its founding in 1948, has been to exceed expectations and to conduct business with honesty, integrity and loyalty. The firm, with headquarters in Jackson, Michigan, today has 70 locations in 12 states with more than 3,000 employees. Alro Steel offers a combination of metals, plastics and industrial supplies with cut-to-size metals and plastics available on a next-day basis. The company has one of the widest range of products available in North America with thousands of grades, shapes and sizes.

Alro Steel evaluates potential organic and acquisition opportunities for growth on a weekly basis. These efforts have led to a steady pattern of growth for the company. Currently there are multiple building projects under way, including expanding facilities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Potterville, Michigan; and York, Pennsylvania. Since 2018, the firm has acquired two companies – Sedalia Steel, with two locations in Missouri, and Riverfront Steel in Ohio.

In addition to operating a large quality-centered service center, Alro Steel also is involved in giving back to the community and promoting manufacturing to the next generation of employees and community members. The company supports Manufacturing Day with tours and training for local high school students as well as growing its footprint in social media and online opportunities. Alro Steel and its foundations look for opportunities to make the most impact within their communities. The foundations are focused on supporting and enhancing youth programs, helping the underprivileged, improving children’s health, and assisting with manufacturing education and training.

Kloeckner Metals

The global pandemic propelled Kloeckner Metals, Roswell, Georgia, to accelerate its digital transformation, making it a foundational piece of the organization, which is a full-line manufacturing, production and service center. In 2020, the firm built its own proprietary pricing and inventory management system that leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data. This system has allowed Kloeckner to dramatically reduce its cost structure and increase tons in revenue per head. Additional investments in technology are supporting sales and account management teams to access and price inventory nationwide, generate quotes, run credit checks, track payments and consult with customers.

As part of the internal digitization strategy, Kloeckner looked to identify every redundant or manual process in its operations and streamline or digitize it, not only to reduce manual labor but to ensure that the right person is doing the right job at the right time. First input was sought from every one of Kloeckner’s more than 2,000 employees and, from the wealth of information, projects were created that ranged from sourcing to processing or manufacturing to delivery. Kloeckner’s employees, including warehouse staff across its 40 branches, are aware of the firm’s strategic vision and clearly understand how they contribute in their job to Kloeckner Metals’ objectives.

To safeguard employee health during the pandemic, Kloeckner increased communications with employees by launching monthly town-hall-style meetings with the executive team, monthly briefings from the safety team and regular notifications about CDC guidelines and internal safety protocols. Where possible, the company switched to remote work, and for those who had to be in the workplace all Covid health and safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing, were implemented. As a result, exposure rates were minimal across Kloeckner’s branches, and the firm also recorded its lowest number ever of OSHA recordables, lost-time accidents and injuries.

Leeco Steel

Leeco Steel is one of North America’s leading steel plate distributors due to its adaptability to change, narrow product focus, customer service commitment and financial strength. The Lisle, Illinois, company has a flat organizational structure that enables it to quickly adapt to market changes, including making inventory changes based on pricing and demand fluctuations, as well as adding distribution centers and value-added services as new market opportunities are identified. By focusing solely on steel plate, Leeco can dedicate all of its resources and efforts on growing its steel plate market reach and ensuring all products meet quality standards. Under Leeco’s ISO 9001-certified quality management system, the firm achieved a quality rejection rate of just 0.4% percent in 2019 and 2020. Customer satisfaction reached 97%.

In the past year, Leeco has expanded digital initiatives and improved distribution and processing capabilities. To provide more steel plate buying options and digitize parts of the order process, Leeco has developed an online buying platform to help customers place orders, manage existing orders, and access account information and historical order documentation. The company has also invested heavily in digital marketing tools that created organizational efficiencies in marketing, communications and data centralization. Additionally, Leeco enhanced the digital capabilities of its purchasing team by adding new purchasing software and enhancing existing software. These software programs enable Leeco to better forecast inventory needs and achieve a high inventory turn rate, which has been a rate of about 5.5 times per year in the last three years.

To improve offerings to its Canadian customers, Leeco expanded to a larger distribution center in Hamilton, Ontario in January 2020, which has resulted in a 25% year-over-year increase in Canadian shipments. Leeco has invested in several equipment and facility updates, including crane upgrades at three of its facilities and a new kinetic processing machine at one distribution center.

Reliance Steel & Aluminum

The member companies of Reliance Steel & Aluminum, Los Angeles, comprise about 300 locations across 40 US states and 13 other countries, making it the largest metals service center company in North America. Known for its integrity, quality and timeliness since its founding in 1939, Reliance has a track record of strong operational execution, pricing discipline, effective expense control, growth and innovation, resulting in steady profitability. In 2019, about 96% of Reliance orders were from repeat customers, and in 2020 the rate rose to 98%.

Fully recognizing the cyclical nature of the metals industry, Reliance has focused on honing its agility, which has resulted in increased productivity, profitability and overall performance. Its resilience to fluctuations is attributable to a focused growth strategy of diversifying its products, end markets and geographies as well as its heightened focus on value-added processing. As a result, Reliance is less vulnerable to regional or industry-specific economic volatility and somewhat buffered from the volatility experienced in commodity pricing and cyclicality of its customer end markets, as well as general economic trends.

While Reliance did not escape the reverberations of the coronavirus pandemic, the company notes that it is proud of what it achieved in 2020, including a second consecutive year of record annual gross profit margin (31.5%), net sales of $8.81 billion, net income attributable to Reliance of $369.1 million and cash flow from operations of $1.17 billion. Of particular note, Reliance generated a record quarterly gross profit margin of 33% in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 60 basis points from both third quarter 2020 and fourth quarter 2019. In 2020, Reliance also returned value to its stockholders through $164.1 million in quarterly cash dividends and $337.3 million in share repurchases.

Service Center of the Year – small to midsize

Flack Global Metals

Flack Global Metals (FGM) has taken a non-traditional approach to how steel products are bought and sold. By design, FGM is an asset-light flat-rolled distribution business at scale, which means it can stock inventory throughout its expansive network across North America. This business model ensures the firm creates supply chains specific to customer locations, not its own. Its network of more than 200 vetted suppliers and processors allows FGM to engineer more sustainable, cost-effective and nimble supply solutions and to provide a full range of processing capabilities. In 2020, FGM supplied customers in 42 states. It has an administrative office in Scottsdale, Arizona.

FGM uses risk-management techniques to navigate market fluctuations with a team that includes five former pit traders, a certified financial analyst and an economic research analyst. Together they provide sophisticated market intelligence to help drive profitability for FGM and its customers even in the most volatile market cycles. Another recent enhancement to its portfolio of services is the 2020 implementation of an ingrained, dynamic strategy to continuously assess and improve customer service and innovative supply chains that deliver profitability.

As for nearly all companies in and in support of the steel industry, the global pandemic presented challenges for FGM as well. But with its asset-light structure, the firm was able to nimbly redesign supply chains thanks to its business model of not being tied to a finite geographic region and to use its network of vendors and capitalize on the resurgence in demand to its and its customers’ benefit.

Jemison Metals

Effectively managing adversity caused by the global pandemic resulted in Jemison Metals, Birmingham, Alabama, achieving an industry-leading 14.3% Ebitda ROIC performance in 2020. In addition to the high performance put in by all the company’s team members in such challenging times, the hallmarks of achieving that result were Jemison’s commitment to its commercial strategy focused on a 100% customer retention rate, targeting the “right” customers and tonnage performance relative to peer companies. Jemison believes the quality of its customer base and its growth expectations have never been stronger.

Jemison approaches customer care and satisfaction by creating an optimal supply chain. By working with and understanding the full scope of what each customer requires, Jemison is able to offer cost-saving solutions that frequently require capital Investment from Jemison to create longer-term satisfaction for its customers.

Since 2015, Jemison Metals has been offering its customer base a “futures pricing option” whenever relevant. The tonnage commitments and contracts the company secures on a futures deal are tons that do not have to be bought immediately (although, in some cases it will do this) to avoid risk. Consequently, that allows Jemison to improve its inventory turn figure without introducing any additional risk into its business.

Jemison is working on expanding its fabrication services in Sumter, South Carolina, a $14-million expansion in 70,00 square feet of space that will create, when completed in 2023, about 57 new jobs in the community.

Klein Steel Service

Klein Steel Service, Rochester, New York, implemented strategic steps in 2020 to advance its best-in-class operations to integrate the customer experience, boost financial performance and strengthen its competitive advantage. As a result, Klein continued its successful performance when compared with industry benchmarks year over year – and especially in the context of industry uncertainty during the global pandemic. Klein’s continued success is supported by continuous improvement, in both its organization and operations, while executing a consistent company-wide mission to recognize that total customer satisfaction is a promise achieved only when products and services consistently meet customer needs.

While 2020 revenue declined by about 12%, Klein’s pretax profit fell by only one-tenth of 1%. Klein was able to retain its entire workforce without any reduction or furloughs for the entire year of 2020. Deemed an essential business during the depth of the pandemic, the firm did not miss a single day of operations despite the closure of many of its customers for more than 60 days. Measures to safeguard health and wellness were immediately implemented and included additional cleanings on an hourly basis in common-use areas. Additionally, more than 25% of the workforce switched to remote working, and outside sales employees were shifted to inside sales and prospecting.

Klein has also developed a set of operating key measures that are used to monitor the firm’s performance as well as future forecasts. Recent investments of more than $3 million in new equipment and technology are helping to produce value-added products, which account for 40% of sales on an annual basis. Klein has also focused on paying down debt to position itself for future market volatility.

Majestic Steel USA

Innovation and flexibility have long been hallmarks of Majestic Steel USA, Cleveland, Ohio. Since its founding in 1979, the family-owned company has faced – and surmounted – challenges in an ever-changing marketplace. That tradition of remaining flexible, particularly when facing adversity, has allowed Majestic to not only survive but thrive when the going gets tough.

Remaining flexible gave Majestic a head-start on how to best adapt to the market and health threats of the global pandemic. It provided a safe and flexible work environment that thrived during uncertain times. While many were concerned about the future, Majestic made strategic decisions to double down on talent and inventory while continuing its investment as a leader in technology within steel. In addition, Majestic was able to further its commitment to servicing partners on the West Coast by buying P&S Metals based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In addition to taking significant measures to protect human health during the pandemic, Majestic also strengthened sustainability through zero waste, and its commitment to safety has led to a recordable injury rate 70% better than the industry average. Other achievements include recycling 132,000 pounds of steel scrap, saving it from ending up in landfills. Majestic also continued its investment as a leader in technology within steel, including both external and internal-facing software tools.

Target Steel

Since its founding in 1988, Target Steel has identified its competitive advantage as the service it provides to its customers. The Flat Rock, Michigan, service center notes that it operates in a commodity-driven market where pricing is pretty well regulated. Target notes it has set itself apart from its competition by providing the same level of service to all customers – from billion-dollar automakers and suppliers to the independent artist looking to buy a single piece of steel.

Target has faced adversity with a can-do attitude that has resulted in gains. During the deep recession of 2008-2009, the business grew without laying off any employees. In 2010, a fire destroyed a major piece of equipment, and Target’s response was to install a new and superior piece and implement a new ERP system. More recently during the global pandemic, Target in 2020 closed on an acquisition and never claimed force majeure or shutdown any customers because of materials shortages, thus leading to more business and increased sales.

Maintaining lean inventories and building on mill relationships allow Target to remain nimble when materials become available in large quantities from the mills. The firm’s financial stability lets it pay under terms with supplying mills, for which it says Target Steel is a desirable customer. This means that when material supply becomes tight, the firm is able to maintain its supply to its customers, which results in year-over-year growth.

Raw Materials Supplier of the Year

Cronimet Envirotec

In times of growing concern for a more sustainable industry, the goal is closed-loop, zero-waste processes. While there is wide use of steel scrap, the use of byproducts has been limited due to the lack of appropriate recycling technologies. Cronimet Envirotec developed a process to recycle byproducts such as sludges, mill scale, and filter dust. Hazardous waste is turned into raw materials, which can be used as a substitute for solid scrap in stainless-steel production. The re-use of oils and metals requires less energy than is needed to extract primary raw materials.The process starts with vacuum distillation to dry and de-oil sludges or mill scale and is followed by a high-strength briquetting step using an organic binder for dust and powders. Cronimet Envirotec is part of Cronimet Holding GmbH.

Since 2015, metal-containing sludge and other soft scrap could be recycled in the distillation process with a capacity of 20,000 metric tons per year. The processes have been continuously developed, optimized further and applied to various waste streams and industries. In 2019, the start of an innovative briquetting plant with 50,000 tpy capacity was the latest milestone of Cronimet Envirotec, enabling metal powders and dusts to also be recycled. An additional feeding and separation system built in 2021 allows the company to treat waste and byproducts in a wide range of particle size and moisture content.

Since the start of production of the vacuum-distillation plant, Cronimet Envirotec has been growing continuously. While waste containing stainless steel is still the focus, the technology is also applicable for materials containing tungsten carbide, high-speed steel, copper, zinc and tin in 2021.

Owing to the high quality of Cronimet Envirotec’s process, the output materials can be directly introduced into smelters again. For example, when 592 metric tons of nickel sludge can be treated in a year, that translates to 3,400 metric tons of nickel ore and 52 metric tons of pure nickel that can be saved.

Sibanthracite LLC

Since 2019, a focus for Sibanthracite LLC, based in Russia, has been producing low-volatile coal for pulverized coal injection (PCI) in blast furnaces. Sales reached 3.4 million tonnes in 2020.
New Products and grades created by Sibanthracite at the request of customers include medium-volatile (MV PCI) and Grade 6-20 anthracite, as well as Siban Premium 1-6 mm, which is a high-quality concentrate of small size that is in demand among ferro-alloy enterprises because of its stable high-carbon content and the absence of fine fraction (0-1 mm).

In 2020, the company began producing PCI Siban, which has proved popular, not least with a very large Chinese steel company, which began accepting delivery in 2020. In 2021, Sibanthracite signed a partnership agreement with that steel producer for the supply of various types of anthracite and metallurgical coals, with the main volume of deliveries consisting of PCI Siban.

Separately, shipments to India have almost doubled to 2.2 million tonnes, as there is a high demand for MV PCI there, as well as increased demand for traditional grades. Sibanthracite has also seen the geographical reach of its deliveries expand. In 2020, the company entered markets in Mexico, Morocco, Canada, the United States and Argentina.

Sibanthracite has invested in new equipment and upgraded its fleet of vehicles. In 2020, the company purchased 24 Belaz dump trucks as part of a program that was launched with the goal of increasing production by more than 30% in 2021.

Anthracite extracted at the Kolyvansk coal mine in the Novosibirsk Region has unique physical and chemical properties. It has high carbon content of more than 92%, and a low proportion of impurities such as sulfur, phosphorus or nitrogen. Anthracite does not require preheating as coke does, Sibanthracite notes.

Production/Processor/Fabricator of the Year

Ferragon Corporation

Since its founding in 1983, Ferragon, Cleveland, Ohio, has grown from a batch pickling operation, a slitting line and a cut-to-length line to become one of North America’s leading metals toll processor providers, with more than 200 employees who annually process more than 1.2 million tons. Ferragon supports manufacturing supply chains in myriad industries, such as automotive, energy, appliance, construction and others in the midwestern and southern United States. Its divisions perform value-added processing of hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel and aluminium coils, as well as providing transportation and metallurgical laboratory services.

To differentiate itself from its competitors, Ferragon has invested in ultra-heavy duty, state-of-the-art processing equipment and technologies. The services performed by Ferragon allow its customers to invest in inventory, sales personnel and customer service rather than processing lines, thereby enabling customers to focus on market share and profitability. The locations of Ferragon’s facilities were strategically chosen because of access to low-cost rail and water transportation and proximity to mills and manufacturing hubs. Underscoring its attributes is Ferragon’s commitment to quality systems, including ISO9001 and IATF 16949, which help ensure the proper procedures to produce a high-quality product that meets customers’ needs.

In the past year, Ferragon has invested heavily in technology, with projects including upgrading drives on its pickling line, establishing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to become paperless and implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track and grow its customer base. The pickling line upgrades helped reduce downtime by 20%. The ERP system and CRM upgrades have helped Ferragon focus on being proactive instead of reactive with customers. The company has seen a 25% increase in customer dialogue and response rate, and an increase in annual tons processed.

PJ Tube

Vertically integrated PJ Tube, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, terms itself a one-stop source for all tubing needs spanning custom-tube manufacturing, precision cutting, laser fabricating, laser marking and just-in-time stocking. With two million square feet of manufacturing space across five states, PJ Tube controls the supply chain from inception at the mill through fabrication and delivery to customers. Its sister company is Webco Industries, a leading tube producer.

For more than a half a century, PJ Tube has been leveraging partnerships, streamlining relationships and collaborating with vendors to offer products manufactured outside of its capabilities. These partnerships allow PJ Tube to be a dependable supplier of the widest range of ferrous and non-ferrous tubular metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, copper and specialty alloy tube and pipe products for customers in a wide variety of markets.

The global pandemic presented an extraordinary challenge when in the spring of 2020 PJ Tube was called upon to supply material to a long-time customer for 250,000 medical beds to outfit field hospitals. PJ Tube supplied the needed product to contribute to the fight against the pandemic. During the pandemic, PJ Tube also implemented network operation centers with dashboards that monitor networks across all of its facilities in five states. In addition, it invested in three new cutting/fabricating machines with new capabilities, the tightest tolerances and operating speeds at nearly double the rate of most existing equipment. Another improvement is a new cutting machine to increase size ranges and create new opportunities to meet the demands of PJ Tube’s customers.

Prospect Steel Company

In the past 30 years, Prospect Steel, Little Rock, Arkansas, has grown into one of the largest and most sophisticated structural steel fabrication and erection contractors in the United States. The firm designs, fabricates and erects complex steel structures and also supplies and coordinates the installation of joist, deck, grating and miscellaneous steel. Prospect Steel also offers services for all types of bridges and industrial facilities, including steel mills, power plants and automotive lines. The company provides services in the commercial market as well for high-rise offices, residential towers, convention centers, arenas and healthcare facilities.

The year 2020 started with great promise, but the global pandemic forced Prospect Steel, and nearly all metals companies, to adjust operations. Executive management developed day-to-day functions in various management levels, customer interactions and deliveries, and capacity/capability assessment. Although the pandemic created turmoil for many, Prospect Steel Company had its best year ever for performance, productivity and profitability.

One of the key reasons for Prospect Steel’s record performance was the decision by the owners and manager to invest in a robotic steel fabrication system that eliminated labor-intensive and time-consuming processes. Prospect Steel Company has created unique workflows for the robotic fabrication process, which helped to increase its maximum throughput, productivity and profits. The results: capacity increased to over 120,000 tons per year, revenue increased by more than 150%, man-hours increased by less than 10%, and floor space increased by less than 10%.

Steel Producer of the Year

Nucor Corp.

Nucor has built itself into North America’s largest steel company, with a very diverse range of steels and steel products. From more than 300 locations, it provides a full range of steel products, from rebar to value-added products for the automotive industry. The company notes that it is also North America’s largest recycler, operating 25 scrap-based steel production mills in 17 states with an annual production capacity of almost 27 million short tons. It runs many downstream businesses that use the steel that the company’s mills produce, and it runs upstream businesses that supply steelmaking raw materials.

The company’s long-term growth strategy is based on five drivers: being a low cost producer; being a leader in the markets in which it competes; moving up the value chain to expand its capabilities for its value-appreciative customers; expanding its channels to market; and achieving commercial excellence to complement its operational strength.

It is these objectives that are the driving forces of the investment projects that Nucor is undertaking. Some of the company’s projects, particularly those in its sheet mill group, are aimed at moving Nucor up the value chain, while others, like its new rebar micro-mills in Missouri and Florida, leverage logistical cost advantages in raw materials and transportation. Meanwhile, Nucor’s biggest investment – the building of a greenfield plate mill in Kentucky – is both a logistics and value-added play.

This all supports a continuation of Nucor having a tradition that has been built on innovation. One example of that has been the over $5 billion that the steelmaker has invested since 2008 to grow its capabilities to produce a broad range of automotive steels. Nucor notes that it is currently achieving quality levels on par with integrated steel mills and is in the process of developing several third-generation advanced high-strength steel grades.

Outokumpu Americas

Outokumpu is a global leader with more than 100 years of stainless steel manufacturing, R & D and innovation experience, with excellence in stainless steel manufacturing and sustainability embedded in all its operations throughout the value chain.
Its Americas business unit comprises its fully integrated and technologically advanced stainless steel mill in Calvert, Alabama, and its Mexinox cold-rolling finishing mill in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, with the latter mill being the only stainless steel plant in Mexico.

Calvert has a 900 kt capacity stainless melt shop, 870 kt hot-rolled capacity and 350 kt cold-rolled capacity and it is able to roll coil 72-inches wide. Mexinox has 250 kt cold-roll capacity.

While the Covid-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in availability and in supply chain operations, for the past two years Outokumpu Americas has been going through a successful turnaround due to the company’s focus on cost, quality, sustainability and diversity. This included systemic work to raw material efficiency and to lower fixed operational cost, which resulted in six consecutive quarters of positive Ebitda from the fourth quarter of 2019 through the first quarter of 2021.

Outokumpu Americas also strengthened its resilience with a multi-million dollar ferritic investment to position the company to increase its share in the US automotive and appliance markets, and it has taken action to increase the flexibility of its workforce.

As a result of these moves, Outokumpu Americas improved its productivity by 5% in 2019 and another 4% in 2020. Also, by recovering more metal from slag, reducing over-alloying on minimum chemistry and sharing best practices with its sister facilities, the company has reduced its slab production costs by 6% since 2018.

SSAB Americas

SSAB Americas is one of the largest North American producers of steel plate and coil, serving many industrial markets, including energy, construction, agriculture and transportation from its five state-of-the-art facilities in the US and Canada. It operates as a division of Sweden’s SSAB, whose vision is for a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world and says it is on track to be the first steel producer to offer fossil-free steel in 2026.

The company is unique in many ways, ranking as leader in the industry for both safety and quality. It has also earned prestigious supply awards from many major OEMs, with its steel being used in the infrastructure that builds and moves the world.

As part of its focus on sustainability, SSAB’s Iowa mill is on track to be completely powered by renewable energy soon. Also, SSAB’s US mills all utilize scrap-based EAF technology, using almost 100% recycled materials.

SSAB Americas is also focused upon corporate social responsibility, contributing greatly to the communities in which it operates, and it incorporates inclusion, diversity and civil treatment workplace training for company managers, team leads, shift coordinators and human resources employees.

The company also has several projects for continuous improvement to enhance its operational efficiencies, having woven in Lean Six Sigma into its project work since 2003.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, completion of an important investment in its Alabama operations to increase production capacity for quenched and tempered steels, and to increase efficiency and reduce costs there, has been pushed back to 2022. The company has, however installed new plate cooling equipment in Mobile and installed several upgrades to the surface inspection system hardware and software at SSAB Iowa. It is continuing to ramp up other initiatives related to technology and innovation, including deploying artificial intelligence throughout its US manufacturing facilities.

Steel Dynamics Inc.

Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) sees its entrepreneurial culture and passion to deliver quality products and excellent service to its customers to be at the core of its success, complemented by the fact that it has one of the most diversified, high-margin product offerings of any US steelmaker.

This – and given that over 70% of its steel and fabrication sales are considered to be value-added and given its higher through-cycle steel production utilization – has enabled SDI to sustain higher volumes and a better profitability through varying market environments.

SDI also has a synergistic relationship between its steel and steel and metals recycling operations, with its metals recycling platform supplying 40% of its steel mills’ ferrous scrap requirements, which, in turn, allows the company to retain less scrap inventories there.

Although last year was clearly challenging because of Covid-19, resulting in SDI taking decisive actions and instituting additional health-related protocols, none of SDI’s operations were closed or idled due to the pandemic. And even when demand returned more quickly than expected the company was able to meet its customer needs.

To ensure that it continues to be in a competitive position, SDI has been investing both in the optimization of existing operations and in growth projects. Not only did SDI complete its 400,000 ton per year galvanizing line at its Columbus, Mississippi, facility in the second quarter, but it is in the midst of building a 3.0 million ton per year greenfield mill for flat-rolled products in Sinton, Texas.

That mill is due to have product capabilities that existing EAF steelmakers do not have. For example, it will be able to produce higher strength, tougher grades of steel for the energy and automotive markets, including 84 inch wide, 1 inch thick, 100 ksi hot-rolled coils up to 52.5 tons each.


Workforce Diversity Company of the Year

Hatch

Hatch is committed to diversity and inclusion because of its belief that a diverse and inclusive work environment fosters a plurality of thought and perspectives that solves problems and creates value for clients in its industry, communities and in the world at large.

Three years ago, Hatch increased its efforts in developing a fully inclusive work environment. It recognized that if it were to truly drive positive change and solve the world’s toughest challenges, it needed to tap into the best, most creative and innovative minds it could find. It noted that required growth in a diverse and inclusive workforce – one that is successful not regardless of its diversity in gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, disability or way of thinking, but because of it.
It launched a company-wide survey on diversity and inclusion (D&I) and, based on the responses, it has been executing a global D&I strategy and implementation plan.

It established a Global D&I Steering Committee, led by its chairman and CEO, and a Global D&I Action Team to drive change throughout the organization. It also launched employee-driven regional committees, who play a key role in providing valuable feedback to the global program, and are responsible for rolling out localized materials, programs, events and communications.

Hatch has achieved: receipt of Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Bronze certification in Canada (2016 and 2020); Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment rating in South Africa for three years running; accreditation in Australia as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality from the Workplace Gender Equality Authority.

Hatch has also received: Most Outstanding Company in Gender Diversity in Australia from Engineers Australia ; Canada’s Best Diversity Employers 2021; Canada’s Top Employer for Young People 2021; and Employer of the Year by WTS International’s Greater New York Chapter.

Hatch notes that its vision for diversity and inclusion builds on its core values, including the belief that its employees are entrepreneurs with a technical soul.

Majestic Steel USA

Majestic Steel USA notes that diversity and inclusion are interdependent on each other in the workforce and that the efforts it has taken to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce are not only present in year-over-year associate demographic statistics, but perhaps more importantly, in its associate culture.

Over the past three years, the company has seen a statistical increase in its diverse workforce: +2.5% minority representation; +10.8% female; +14% over 40.

To encourage more women to be a part of its team, Majestic Steel has partnered with AWMI (Association for Women in Metal Industries) and WIM (Women in Manufacturing).

Majestic’s Talent Acquisition team began a practice of blind resume sharing in 2020. Unconscious bias – especially similarity bias – is removed through this practice. The practice has been key to the increase in diverse Majestic associates. Majestic notes that feedback from its hiring managers has been overwhelmingly positive: from the caliber of candidates to the vast backgrounds and diverse experiences these candidates bring to the company.
The business will also be implementing a Majestic Intern program with a mission to recruit in underrepresented populations and minority communities.

Majestic revamped its company website to not only feel more customer friendly, but also better attract top diverse talent. In its “Work Here” section, it published its evolved statement of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging: “Majestic is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diverse voices are welcomed from all associates. This requires a culture of inclusion where all are respected and treated fairly; where different viewpoints, opinions, thoughts and ideas are encouraged and embraced.”

The Majestic Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging committee was formed in 2020. It meets regularly to take a culture pulse of its organization and implement creative ways to share unique and diverse selves with other associates. Majestic is a Ruby National Partner of the National Diversity Council (NDC) and its COO sits on the NDC board.


SSAB Americas

SSAB strives for an inclusive culture, meaning that employees feel a sense of belonging and have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed. In 2018, the SSAB Americas inclusion and diversity strategy “Stronger Together” was created. The following year SSAB developed a leadership survey to benchmark where the company needed to focus its efforts in relation to inclusion and diversity. Additionally, in 2019, SSAB Americas administered a survey to top leaders to get a pulse on its culture, commitment and awareness of inclusion and diversity.

SSAB Americas is working on key efforts for continuous improvement, including creation of the Committee for Inclusion and Diversity (CID), adoption of an Inclusion & Diversity strategy, development and launch of civil workforce training and inclusion and diversity training for all employees in leadership positions across the company, and creation of an Inclusion & Diversity leadership pledge.

SSAB defines inclusion as having a collaborative, supportive and respectful work environment that increases the engagement and contribution of all employees. Diversity, it believes, is an understanding, accepting and valuing of differences between people, including those of different races, ages, religions, disabilities, genders or orientations, or with differences in education, skills, experiences, family status, geography and more.

SSAB Americas wants the diversity of its workforce to continue to evolve. On its 15-member Committee for Inclusion & Diversity, employees commit to serving a two-year term. It strives for diversity in terms of departments represented, gender, minorities, backgrounds/experiences and communication styles when it solicits nominations during the year for it.

SSAB Americas President & CEO has sent a strong message of support to all employees that today runs on all internal communications devices in all facilities. It says: “You are entitled to feel safe and valued at SSAB regardless of your race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or anything else that makes you who you are. That’s our moral and legal obligation to you and one we take seriously.”

Ferrous Futures Trading Company of the Year

FIS Ltd

FIS has established its client base through active engagement with the ferrous supply chain. By utilizing brokers who have spent time working in physical trading, FIS can provide expert insight into trade flows within the market, which result in actionable market information. The company’s expertise in commodities markets has allowed it to grow from an original client base centered on Freight to a global commodity client network.

FIS creates value for its clients by providing price transparency and best execution for all ferrous derivative products. Its efforts in aggregating live prices provide clients with the opportunity to pick and choose markets that best fit their needs. By operating solely as an executing broker, FIS holds no position in the market, prioritizing client service and unparalleled market expertise. With the launch of its app – FIS Live – Freight Investor has provided easy and up-to-date pricings that accessible at the desk and on the move.

As a firm, FIS has focused on bulk commodity derivatives. By specializing, FIS ensures clients are aware of market intelligence across complementary commodity markets, as well as being able to provide an in-depth holistic view of entire commodity complexes. In addition to this focus, building and maintaining strong client relationships is at the forefront of FIS strategy. It is proud of its status as an independently owned derivative brokerage.

FIS offers brokerage and execution and advisory services to customers throughout the steel supply chain on the use of the futures market. There are several areas where derivatives can create value in the ferrous supply chain. First, firms who engage in trading can lock in margins against unpredictable market moves. Secondly, a company who is active in the physical market can offer fixed pricing for key suppliers and consumers. Finally, a company utilizing a hedging strategy may be able to smooth earnings and compile information from both the physical and futures markets to better assess overall market direction.

Flack Global Metals

From its inception, Flack Global Metals (FGM) has been a vocal proponent of hedging, consistently promoting the benefits that the proper use of futures and options can have on producers, distributors and consumers of flat-rolled steel. FGM combines consumer-facing, swap-based steel pricing structures with asset-light, sustainable steel distribution. FGM promotes the market value of the intersection of exchange-cleared ferrous derivatives and physical steel.

FGM's measured and successful handling of price risk and supply chains on behalf of it clients has organically grown its client base. It also delivers the education needed to help prospective clients embrace a new way of buying and selling that allows them to control the total cost of ownership for a ton of steel – benefiting both FGM’s clients and the firm, which has continued to invest in infrastructure to support them.

The firm creates documented cost savings over the market price for steel and builds a loyal client base in the process. FGM’s OEM clients have found considerable value in its strategies, the support of which ties directly to the firm’s growth. Since 2017, FGM has grown its hedged transactions by 1,340%. Year-over-year, it has increased the hedging segment of its business by 240%.

The FGM Risk Management and Research Team assists clients with execution and strategy development. The six-person, team’s functions include HRC futures and options market making, client strategy development and price modeling, clearing and margin maintenance, market research, and econometric modeling. The FGM bench works with clients to match their risk strategies to their actual business needs. This team has the breadth and scope to handle most situations in-house and with little involvement from the client, making it easy to do business and hedge risk.

FGM's balance sheet supports the necessary margin maintenance on behalf of its clients and FGM market-making operations. FGM consistently operates with liquidity in excess of $50M in order to fully support all client positions.

Theme International Trading

Theme International Trading is a dominant market maker in thee internationally traded Iron Ore derivatives. The business secured “SGX Most Active 62% Iron Ore Futures Trader Award 2019” and had been confirmed to be receiving the same award for 2020 at the time of nomination.

Owing to the company’s sizable presence in market making across the Iron Ore derivatives, it notes that clients approached it for pricing quotes directly, providing feedback to Theme International that it is more efficient to trade with them without an intermediary inter-dealer broker. The trading company’s client base has thus been established through the firm’s reputation in the market as a capable liquidity provider that is able to provide competitive and sharp prices across the Iron Ore derivatives, notes Theme. It trades directly with counterparties with different backgrounds, including physical trade houses, physical steel mills, banks, hedge funds and clearing houses.

Owing to an established ferrous metal team with several traders on the desk covering the markets throughout the day, the Theme International team is able to respond quickly to pricing requests from its counterparties. With the help of several quantitative analysts and its pricing model, Theme International says it is able to quote sharp and competitive prices down the entire pricing curve across the Iron Ore derivatives to its counterparties.

Theme International Trading has made significant investments to develop proprietary algorithmic trading models that allow it to assess the absolute and relative values across various iron ore products, allowing it to offer better market-making services in both the voice-brokered, electronic screen and direct trading markets.

In addition to its existing activities across the iron ore futures and options markets, Theme International is also building the desk to add Iron Ore Lump Premium and the SGX Mysteel Rebar contracts to its suite of products. The business strives to be a one-stop shop in the ferrous metals derivative space and aims to build its team across the bulk commodities in the near future.

Exchange Company of the Year

Shanghai Futures Exchange

In 2020, the SHFE recorded a total trading volume of 2.13 billion futures and options contracts, with a total turnover amount of 152.80 trillion RMB. The total number of clients has increased to more than 1.5 million, among which more than 30,000 are corporate clients. Starting from 2009, SHFE has gradually introduced steel futures such as rebar, wire rod, hot rolled coils and stainless steel. SHFE has listed 20 futures and five options, covering such essential basic industrial products as metals, energy and chemicals.

In 2020, the total volume of steel futures contracts traded on SHFE reached 459 million lots, or 4.54 billion metric tons. In particular, rebar futures have been the most actively traded futures for five consecutive years and hot-rolled coils futures the most traded flat-steel futures.

SHFE has launched four steel futures, with rebar futures and wire-rod futures reflecting changes in the demands for urbanization, hot-rolled coils futures reflecting changes in the demands for industrialization, and stainless steel futures reflecting changes in the demands for consumption upgrading.

A brand-registration system helps offer substantial deliverable resources and improves the visibility of quality enterprises. Currently, 37 registered brands of steel rebar from 37 manufacturing companies and 13 registered brands of hot rolled coils from 13 manufacturing companies are recognized on SHFE. The output of registered brands accounts for around 50% of the total output of steel rebar and hot rolled coils in China, making abundant deliverable resources available to market participants.

SHFE continues to improve its contracts by carrying out extensive market surveys and receiving comments and suggestions from market participants. For example, SHFE plans to create a standard warrant trading platform for steel futures contracts to meet the diversified and personalized needs of enterprises. The exchange notes that “steel futures have gradually fulfilled their price discovery function and provided the main basis for spot pricing at home and abroad.”

Singapore Exchange

In 2020, SGX’s iron ore derivatives volume hit a new high of more than two billion tonnes, as iron ore continued to gain prominence as a proxy for global economies. Average open interest during 2020 was 172 million metric tons.

The exchange notes that, since 2009, volumes in SGX’s iron ore derivatives have seen substantial growth, giving SGX a dominant market share of over 90% of the seaborne iron ore derivatives market and 100% of the coking coal derivatives market. That had also spurred the growth of a paper market that today surpasses the size of the underlying physical market.

While most of the users of SGX’s iron ore contracts in general are Asian miners, mills and traders, the exchange is also seeing sustained involvement from financial market participants, as iron ore evolves into a fundamental portfolio factor for institutional investors. There was a notable increase after the introduction of iron ore trading on screen in 2016. As iron ore establishes its stature as a key macroeconomic indicator, the pace of financialization accelerated, reflected in over a quarter of SGX’s iron ore volumes coming from funds.
By supplementing its iron ore offerings with coking coal and freight futures, SGX offers participants in the downstream steel industry, such as producers and end-users, the ability to manage upstream price volatility.

Those participants can also benefit from margin efficiencies when they cross trade in what the SGX calls a “virtual steel mill.” That has seen increasingly strong participation from clients across different market segments, geographies and time zones, leading to enhanced capital efficiencies for SGX’s clients

Automotive Supplier of the Year

Nucor

Over the past five years, Nucor has made several significant capital investments to grow its capabilities in the automotive market, two of which had their first full year of operation in 2020. One was a galvanizing line at the Kentucky sheet mill; the other was the specialty cold mill at the Arkansas sheet mill.

The new galvanizing line shipped 39% more tons than projected, while shipments from the specialty cold mill were 30% ahead of initial plan. The company also reports excellent progress on other growth projects at the two sheet mills: an expansion in Kentucky and the “Gen 3” galvanizing line in Arkansas.
The investments at the Arkansas sheet mill will mean an additional 400,000 to 500,000 tons that can be sold directly to OEMs and their suppliers. A recently completed joint venture galvanizing line in Mexico, built with JFE Steel of Japan, will produce 200,000 to 250,000 tons of galvanized sheet steel per year to sell into the regional automotive market.

Investments in two direct reduced iron (DRI) plants are also geared toward expanding the automotive-steel portfolio. Using DRI and prime scrap, Nucor said its electric-arc furnaces can achieve quality levels on par with blast-furnace steelmaking. The company notes that it is producing almost all of the automotive steel grades made by the domestic integrated mills, and a few that they do not produce. It sees the opportunity to grow its annual automotive market shipments up to 3 million tons within the next few years.

Nucor highlights in particular its hot-rolled MultiPhase 800 as a true multi-phase grade with improved formability. It is produced uncoated as well as galvanized for numerous chassis and suspension applications.

Another highlight is the cold-rolled Multiphase 700Y980T, which Nucor highlights as a fine-grained dual-phase steel with outstanding local formability, including superior edge stretchability.

Target Steel

Target Steel has installed a new cut-to-length line at its Flat Rock, Michigan headquarters, which can produce sheets of as much as 25 feet long for automotive rails. The company has also added a fourth multi-blanking line, which cuts sheet-processing times in half of current industry standard. The firm has also added warehouse space to accommodate what has become a very tight automotive supply chain.

For one large automotive OEM, it conducted some part studies on a rocker panel component for which the requirements for light weight and hardness made it difficult to make the part flat enough. Target Steel diagnosed and solved the problem, making use of the advanced equipment installed in its leveler, and says that it became the first service center that the OEM had added to their supplier pool in years.

The company operates a private fleet of steel haulers to move materials and finished parts among its five geographically dispersed processing locations. It also has its own in-house testing laboratory, certified by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation.

Notably, when other service centers were completely shut down by the pandemic, Target Steel remained in operation by switching focus to tubing customers to make hospital beds and hand sanitization stands until the automotive market resumed operations.

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ndemic. It provided a safe and flexible work environment that thrived during uncertain times. While many were concerned about the future, Majestic made strategic decisions to double down on talent and inventory while continuing its investment as a leader in technology within steel. In addition, Majestic was able to further its commitment to servicing partners on the West Coast by buying P&S Metals based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In addition to taking significant measures to protect human health during the pandemic, Majestic also strengthened sustainability through zero waste, and its commitment to safety has led to a recordable injury rate 70% better than the industry average. Other achievements include recycling 132,000 pounds of steel scrap, saving it from ending up in landfills. Majestic also continued its investment as a leader in technology within steel, including both external and internal-facing software tools.

Target Steel

Since its founding in 1988, Target Steel has identified its competitive advantage as the service it provides to its customers. The Flat Rock, Michigan, service center notes that it operates in a commodity-driven market where pricing is pretty well regulated. Target notes it has set itself apart from its competition by providing the same level of service to all customers – from billion-dollar automakers and suppliers to the independent artist looking to buy a single piece of steel.

Target has faced adversity with a can-do attitude that has resulted in gains. During the deep recession of 2008-2009, the business grew without laying off any employees. In 2010, a fire destroyed a major piece of equipment, and Target’s response was to install a new and superior piece and implement a new ERP system. More recently during the global pandemic, Target in 2020 closed on an acquisition and never claimed force majeure or shutdown any customers because of materials shortages, thus leading to more business and increased sales.

Maintaining lean inventories and building on mill relationships allow Target to remain nimble when materials become available in large quantities from the mills. The firm’s financial stability lets it pay under terms with supplying mills, for which it says Target Steel is a desirable customer. This means that when material supply becomes tight, the firm is able to maintain its supply to its customers, which results in year-over-year growth.

Raw Materials Supplier of the Year

Cronimet Envirotec

In times of growing concern for a more sustainable industry, the goal is closed-loop, zero-waste processes. While there is wide use of steel scrap, the use of byproducts has been limited due to the lack of appropriate recycling technologies. Cronimet Envirotec developed a process to recycle byproducts such as sludges, mill scale, and filter dust. Hazardous waste is turned into raw materials, which can be used as a substitute for solid scrap in stainless-steel production. The re-use of oils and metals requires less energy than is needed to extract primary raw materials.The process starts with vacuum distillation to dry and de-oil sludges or mill scale and is followed by a high-strength briquetting step using an organic binder for dust and powders. Cronimet Envirotec is part of Cronimet Holding GmbH.

Since 2015, metal-containing sludge and other soft scrap could be recycled in the distillation process with a capacity of 20,000 metric tons per year. The processes have been continuously developed, optimized further and applied to various waste streams and industries. In 2019, the start of an innovative briquetting plant with 50,000 tpy capacity was the latest milestone of Cronimet Envirotec, enabling metal powders and dusts to also be recycled. An additional feeding and separation system built in 2021 allows the company to treat waste and byproducts in a wide range of particle size and moisture content.

Since the start of production of the vacuum-distillation plant, Cronimet Envirotec has been growing continuously. While waste containing stainless steel is still the focus, the technology is also applicable for materials containing tungsten carbide, high-speed steel, copper, zinc and tin in 2021.

Owing to the high quality of Cronimet Envirotec’s process, the output materials can be directly introduced into smelters again. For example, when 592 metric tons of nickel sludge can be treated in a year, that translates to 3,400 metric tons of nickel ore and 52 metric tons of pure nickel that can be saved.

Sibanthracite LLC

Since 2019, a focus for Sibanthracite LLC, based in Russia, has been producing low-volatile coal for pulverized coal injection (PCI) in blast furnaces. Sales reached 3.4 million tonnes in 2020.
New Products and grades created by Sibanthracite at the request of customers include medium-volatile (MV PCI) and Grade 6-20 anthracite, as well as Siban Premium 1-6 mm, which is a high-quality concentrate of small size that is in demand among ferro-alloy enterprises because of its stable high-carbon content and the absence of fine fraction (0-1 mm).

In 2020, the company began producing PCI Siban, which has proved popular, not least with a very large Chinese steel company, which began accepting delivery in 2020. In 2021, Sibanthracite signed a partnership agreement with that steel producer for the supply of various types of anthracite and metallurgical coals, with the main volume of deliveries consisting of PCI Siban.

Separately, shipments to India have almost doubled to 2.2 million tonnes, as there is a high demand for MV PCI there, as well as increased demand for traditional grades. Sibanthracite has also seen the geographical reach of its deliveries expand. In 2020, the company entered markets in Mexico, Morocco, Canada, the United States and Argentina.

Sibanthracite has invested in new equipment and upgraded its fleet of vehicles. In 2020, the company purchased 24 Belaz dump trucks as part of a program that was launched with the goal of increasing production by more than 30% in 2021.

Anthracite extracted at the Kolyvansk coal mine in the Novosibirsk Region has unique physical and chemical properties. It has high carbon content of more than 92%, and a low proportion of impurities such as sulfur, phosphorus or nitrogen. Anthracite does not require preheating as coke does, Sibanthracite notes.

Production/Processor/Fabricator of the Year

Ferragon Corporation

Since its founding in 1983, Ferragon, Cleveland, Ohio, has grown from a batch pickling operation, a slitting line and a cut-to-length line to become one of North America’s leading metals toll processor providers, with more than 200 employees who annually process more than 1.2 million tons. Ferragon supports manufacturing supply chains in myriad industries, such as automotive, energy, appliance, construction and others in the midwestern and southern United States. Its divisions perform value-added processing of hot rolled steel, cold rolled steel and aluminium coils, as well as providing transportation and metallurgical laboratory services.

To differentiate itself from its competitors, Ferragon has invested in ultra-heavy duty, state-of-the-art processing equipment and technologies. The services performed by Ferragon allow its customers to invest in inventory, sales personnel and customer service rather than processing lines, thereby enabling customers to focus on market share and profitability. The locations of Ferragon’s facilities were strategically chosen because of access to low-cost rail and water transportation and proximity to mills and manufacturing hubs. Underscoring its attributes is Ferragon’s commitment to quality systems, including ISO9001 and IATF 16949, which help ensure the proper procedures to produce a high-quality product that meets customers’ needs.

In the past year, Ferragon has invested heavily in technology, with projects including upgrading drives on its pickling line, establishing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to become paperless and implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track and grow its customer base. The pickling line upgrades helped reduce downtime by 20%. The ERP system and CRM upgrades have helped Ferragon focus on being proactive instead of reactive with customers. The company has seen a 25% increase in customer dialogue and response rate, and an increase in annual tons processed.

PJ Tube

Vertically integrated PJ Tube, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, terms itself a one-stop source for all tubing needs spanning custom-tube manufacturing, precision cutting, laser fabricating, laser marking and just-in-time stocking. With two million square feet of manufacturing space across five states, PJ Tube controls the supply chain from inception at the mill through fabrication and delivery to customers. Its sister company is Webco Industries, a leading tube producer.

For more than a half a century, PJ Tube has been leveraging partnerships, streamlining relationships and collaborating with vendors to offer products manufactured outside of its capabilities. These partnerships allow PJ Tube to be a dependable supplier of the widest range of ferrous and non-ferrous tubular metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminum, copper and specialty alloy tube and pipe products for customers in a wide variety of markets.

The global pandemic presented an extraordinary challenge when in the spring of 2020 PJ Tube was called upon to supply material to a long-time customer for 250,000 medical beds to outfit field hospitals. PJ Tube supplied the needed product to contribute to the fight against the pandemic. During the pandemic, PJ Tube also implemented network operation centers with dashboards that monitor networks across all of its facilities in five states. In addition, it invested in three new cutting/fabricating machines with new capabilities, the tightest tolerances and operating speeds at nearly double the rate of most existing equipment. Another improvement is a new cutting machine to increase size ranges and create new opportunities to meet the demands of PJ Tube’s customers.

Prospect Steel Company

In the past 30 years, Prospect Steel, Little Rock, Arkansas, has grown into one of the largest and most sophisticated structural steel fabrication and erection contractors in the United States. The firm designs, fabricates and erects complex steel structures and also supplies and coordinates the installation of joist, deck, grating and miscellaneous steel. Prospect Steel also offers services for all types of bridges and industrial facilities, including steel mills, power plants and automotive lines. The company provides services in the commercial market as well for high-rise offices, residential towers, convention centers, arenas and healthcare facilities.

The year 2020 started with great promise, but the global pandemic forced Prospect Steel, and nearly all metals companies, to adjust operations. Executive management developed day-to-day functions in various management levels, customer interactions and deliveries, and capacity/capability assessment. Although the pandemic created turmoil for many, Prospect Steel Company had its best year ever for performance, productivity and profitability.

One of the key reasons for Prospect Steel’s record performance was the decision by the owners and manager to invest in a robotic steel fabrication system that eliminated labor-intensive and time-consuming processes. Prospect Steel Company has created unique workflows for the robotic fabrication process, which helped to increase its maximum throughput, productivity and profits. The results: capacity increased to over 120,000 tons per year, revenue increased by more than 150%, man-hours increased by less than 10%, and floor space increased by less than 10%.

Steel Producer of the Year

Nucor Corp.

Nucor has built itself into North America’s largest steel company, with a very diverse range of steels and steel products. From more than 300 locations, it provides a full range of steel products, from rebar to value-added products for the automotive industry. The company notes that it is also North America’s largest recycler, operating 25 scrap-based steel production mills in 17 states with an annual production capacity of almost 27 million short tons. It runs many downstream businesses that use the steel that the company’s mills produce, and it runs upstream businesses that supply steelmaking raw materials.

The company’s long-term growth strategy is based on five drivers: being a low cost producer; being a leader in the markets in which it competes; moving up the value chain to expand its capabilities for its value-appreciative customers; expanding its channels to market; and achieving commercial excellence to complement its operational strength.

It is these objectives that are the driving forces of the investment projects that Nucor is undertaking. Some of the company’s projects, particularly those in its sheet mill group, are aimed at moving Nucor up the value chain, while others, like its new rebar micro-mills in Missouri and Florida, leverage logistical cost advantages in raw materials and transportation. Meanwhile, Nucor’s biggest investment – the building of a greenfield plate mill in Kentucky – is both a logistics and value-added play.

This all supports a continuation of Nucor having a tradition that has been built on innovation. One example of that has been the over $5 billion that the steelmaker has invested since 2008 to grow its capabilities to produce a broad range of automotive steels. Nucor notes that it is currently achieving quality levels on par with integrated steel mills and is in the process of developing several third-generation advanced high-strength steel grades.

Outokumpu Americas

Outokumpu is a global leader with more than 100 years of stainless steel manufacturing, R & D and innovation experience, with excellence in stainless steel manufacturing and sustainability embedded in all its operations throughout the value chain.
Its Americas business unit comprises its fully integrated and technologically advanced stainless steel mill in Calvert, Alabama, and its Mexinox cold-rolling finishing mill in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, with the latter mill being the only stainless steel plant in Mexico.

Calvert has a 900 kt capacity stainless melt shop, 870 kt hot-rolled capacity and 350 kt cold-rolled capacity and it is able to roll coil 72-inches wide. Mexinox has 250 kt cold-roll capacity.

While the Covid-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in availability and in supply chain operations, for the past two years Outokumpu Americas has been going through a successful turnaround due to the company’s focus on cost, quality, sustainability and diversity. This included systemic work to raw material efficiency and to lower fixed operational cost, which resulted in six consecutive quarters of positive Ebitda from the fourth quarter of 2019 through the first quarter of 2021.

Outokumpu Americas also strengthened its resilience with a multi-million dollar ferritic investment to position the company to increase its share in the US automotive and appliance markets, and it has taken action to increase the flexibility of its workforce.

As a result of these moves, Outokumpu Americas improved its productivity by 5% in 2019 and another 4% in 2020. Also, by recovering more metal from slag, reducing over-alloying on minimum chemistry and sharing best practices with its sister facilities, the company has reduced its slab production costs by 6% since 2018.

SSAB Americas

SSAB Americas is one of the largest North American producers of steel plate and coil, serving many industrial markets, including energy, construction, agriculture and transportation from its five state-of-the-art facilities in the US and Canada. It operates as a division of Sweden’s SSAB, whose vision is for a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world and says it is on track to be the first steel producer to offer fossil-free steel in 2026.

The company is unique in many ways, ranking as leader in the industry for both safety and quality. It has also earned prestigious supply awards from many major OEMs, with its steel being used in the infrastructure that builds and moves the world.

As part of its focus on sustainability, SSAB’s Iowa mill is on track to be completely powered by renewable energy soon. Also, SSAB’s US mills all utilize scrap-based EAF technology, using almost 100% recycled materials.

SSAB Americas is also focused upon corporate social responsibility, contributing greatly to the communities in which it operates, and it incorporates inclusion, diversity and civil treatment workplace training for company managers, team leads, shift coordinators and human resources employees.

The company also has several projects for continuous improvement to enhance its operational efficiencies, having woven in Lean Six Sigma into its project work since 2003.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, completion of an important investment in its Alabama operations to increase production capacity for quenched and tempered steels, and to increase efficiency and reduce costs there, has been pushed back to 2022. The company has, however installed new plate cooling equipment in Mobile and installed several upgrades to the surface inspection system hardware and software at SSAB Iowa. It is continuing to ramp up other initiatives related to technology and innovation, including deploying artificial intelligence throughout its US manufacturing facilities.

Steel Dynamics Inc.

Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) sees its entrepreneurial culture and passion to deliver quality products and excellent service to its customers to be at the core of its success, complemented by the fact that it has one of the most diversified, high-margin product offerings of any US steelmaker.

This – and given that over 70% of its steel and fabrication sales are considered to be value-added and given its higher through-cycle steel production utilization – has enabled SDI to sustain higher volumes and a better profitability through varying market environments.

SDI also has a synergistic relationship between its steel and steel and metals recycling operations, with its metals recycling platform supplying 40% of its steel mills’ ferrous scrap requirements, which, in turn, allows the company to retain less scrap inventories there.

Although last year was clearly challenging because of Covid-19, resulting in SDI taking decisive actions and instituting additional health-related protocols, none of SDI’s operations were closed or idled due to the pandemic. And even when demand returned more quickly than expected the company was able to meet its customer needs.

To ensure that it continues to be in a competitive position, SDI has been investing both in the optimization of existing operations and in growth projects. Not only did SDI complete its 400,000 ton per year galvanizing line at its Columbus, Mississippi, facility in the second quarter, but it is in the midst of building a 3.0 million ton per year greenfield mill for flat-rolled products in Sinton, Texas.

That mill is due to have product capabilities that existing EAF steelmakers do not have. For example, it will be able to produce higher strength, tougher grades of steel for the energy and automotive markets, including 84 inch wide, 1 inch thick, 100 ksi hot-rolled coils up to 52.5 tons each.


Workforce Diversity Company of the Year

Hatch

Hatch is committed to diversity and inclusion because of its belief that a diverse and inclusive work environment fosters a plurality of thought and perspectives that solves problems and creates value for clients in its industry, communities and in the world at large.

Three years ago, Hatch increased its efforts in developing a fully inclusive work environment. It recognized that if it were to truly drive positive change and solve the world’s toughest challenges, it needed to tap into the best, most creative and innovative minds it could find. It noted that required growth in a diverse and inclusive workforce – one that is successful not regardless of its diversity in gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, disability or way of thinking, but because of it.
It launched a company-wide survey on diversity and inclusion (D&I) and, based on the responses, it has been executing a global D&I strategy and implementation plan.

It established a Global D&I Steering Committee, led by its chairman and CEO, and a Global D&I Action Team to drive change throughout the organization. It also launched employee-driven regional committees, who play a key role in providing valuable feedback to the global program, and are responsible for rolling out localized materials, programs, events and communications.

Hatch has achieved: receipt of Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) Bronze certification in Canada (2016 and 2020); Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment rating in South Africa for three years running; accreditation in Australia as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality from the Workplace Gender Equality Authority.

Hatch has also received: Most Outstanding Company in Gender Diversity in Australia from Engineers Australia ; Canada’s Best Diversity Employers 2021; Canada’s Top Employer for Young People 2021; and Employer of the Year by WTS International’s Greater New York Chapter.

Hatch notes that its vision for diversity and inclusion builds on its core values, including the belief that its employees are entrepreneurs with a technical soul.

Majestic Steel USA

Majestic Steel USA notes that diversity and inclusion are interdependent on each other in the workforce and that the efforts it has taken to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce are not only present in year-over-year associate demographic statistics, but perhaps more importantly, in its associate culture.

Over the past three years, the company has seen a statistical increase in its diverse workforce: +2.5% minority representation; +10.8% female; +14% over 40.

To encourage more women to be a part of its team, Majestic Steel has partnered with AWMI (Association for Women in Metal Industries) and WIM (Women in Manufacturing).

Majestic’s Talent Acquisition team began a practice of blind resume sharing in 2020. Unconscious bias – especially similarity bias – is removed through this practice. The practice has been key to the increase in diverse Majestic associates. Majestic notes that feedback from its hiring managers has been overwhelmingly positive: from the caliber of candidates to the vast backgrounds and diverse experiences these candidates bring to the company.
The business will also be implementing a Majestic Intern program with a mission to recruit in underrepresented populations and minority communities.

Majestic revamped its company website to not only feel more customer friendly, but also better attract top diverse talent. In its “Work Here” section, it published its evolved statement of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging: “Majestic is committed to creating an inclusive environment where diverse voices are welcomed from all associates. This requires a culture of inclusion where all are respected and treated fairly; where different viewpoints, opinions, thoughts and ideas are encouraged and embraced.”

The Majestic Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging committee was formed in 2020. It meets regularly to take a culture pulse of its organization and implement creative ways to share unique and diverse selves with other associates. Majestic is a Ruby National Partner of the National Diversity Council (NDC) and its COO sits on the NDC board.


SSAB Americas

SSAB strives for an inclusive culture, meaning that employees feel a sense of belonging and have equal opportunities to contribute and succeed. In 2018, the SSAB Americas inclusion and diversity strategy “Stronger Together” was created. The following year SSAB developed a leadership survey to benchmark where the company needed to focus its efforts in relation to inclusion and diversity. Additionally, in 2019, SSAB Americas administered a survey to top leaders to get a pulse on its culture, commitment and awareness of inclusion and diversity.

SSAB Americas is working on key efforts for continuous improvement, including creation of the Committee for Inclusion and Diversity (CID), adoption of an Inclusion & Diversity strategy, development and launch of civil workforce training and inclusion and diversity training for all employees in leadership positions across the company, and creation of an Inclusion & Diversity leadership pledge.

SSAB defines inclusion as having a collaborative, supportive and respectful work environment that increases the engagement and contribution of all employees. Diversity, it believes, is an understanding, accepting and valuing of differences between people, including those of different races, ages, religions, disabilities, genders or orientations, or with differences in education, skills, experiences, family status, geography and more.

SSAB Americas wants the diversity of its workforce to continue to evolve. On its 15-member Committee for Inclusion & Diversity, employees commit to serving a two-year term. It strives for diversity in terms of departments represented, gender, minorities, backgrounds/experiences and communication styles when it solicits nominations during the year for it.

SSAB Americas President & CEO has sent a strong message of support to all employees that today runs on all internal communications devices in all facilities. It says: “You are entitled to feel safe and valued at SSAB regardless of your race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or anything else that makes you who you are. That’s our moral and legal obligation to you and one we take seriously.”

Ferrous Futures Trading Company of the Year

FIS Ltd

FIS has established its client base through active engagement with the ferrous supply chain. By utilizing brokers who have spent time working in physical trading, FIS can provide expert insight into trade flows within the market, which result in actionable market information. The company’s expertise in commodities markets has allowed it to grow from an original client base centered on Freight to a global commodity client network.

FIS creates value for its clients by providing price transparency and best execution for all ferrous derivative products. Its efforts in aggregating live prices provide clients with the opportunity to pick and choose markets that best fit their needs. By operating solely as an executing broker, FIS holds no position in the market, prioritizing client service and unparalleled market expertise. With the launch of its app – FIS Live – Freight Investor has provided easy and up-to-date pricings that accessible at the desk and on the move.

As a firm, FIS has focused on bulk commodity derivatives. By specializing, FIS ensures clients are aware of market intelligence across complementary commodity markets, as well as being able to provide an in-depth holistic view of entire commodity complexes. In addition to this focus, building and maintaining strong client relationships is at the forefront of FIS strategy. It is proud of its status as an independently owned derivative brokerage.

FIS offers brokerage and execution and advisory services to customers throughout the steel supply chain on the use of the futures market. There are several areas where derivatives can create value in the ferrous supply chain. First, firms who engage in trading can lock in margins against unpredictable market moves. Secondly, a company who is active in the physical market can offer fixed pricing for key suppliers and consumers. Finally, a company utilizing a hedging strategy may be able to smooth earnings and compile information from both the physical and futures markets to better assess overall market direction.

Flack Global Metals

From its inception, Flack Global Metals (FGM) has been a vocal proponent of hedging, consistently promoting the benefits that the proper use of futures and options can have on producers, distributors and consumers of flat-rolled steel. FGM combines consumer-facing, swap-based steel pricing structures with asset-light, sustainable steel distribution. FGM promotes the market value of the intersection of exchange-cleared ferrous derivatives and physical steel.

FGM's measured and successful handling of price risk and supply chains on behalf of it clients has organically grown its client base. It also delivers the education needed to help prospective clients embrace a new way of buying and selling that allows them to control the total cost of ownership for a ton of steel – benefiting both FGM’s clients and the firm, which has continued to invest in infrastructure to support them.

The firm creates documented cost savings over the market price for steel and builds a loyal client base in the process. FGM’s OEM clients have found considerable value in its strategies, the support of which ties directly to the firm’s growth. Since 2017, FGM has grown its hedged transactions by 1,340%. Year-over-year, it has increased the hedging segment of its business by 240%.

The FGM Risk Management and Research Team assists clients with execution and strategy development. The six-person, team’s functions include HRC futures and options market making, client strategy development and price modeling, clearing and margin maintenance, market research, and econometric modeling. The FGM bench works with clients to match their risk strategies to their actual business needs. This team has the breadth and scope to handle most situations in-house and with little involvement from the client, making it easy to do business and hedge risk.

FGM's balance sheet supports the necessary margin maintenance on behalf of its clients and FGM market-making operations. FGM consistently operates with liquidity in excess of $50M in order to fully support all client positions.

Theme International Trading

Theme International Trading is a dominant market maker in thee internationally traded Iron Ore derivatives. The business secured “SGX Most Active 62% Iron Ore Futures Trader Award 2019” and had been confirmed to be receiving the same award for 2020 at the time of nomination.

Owing to the company’s sizable presence in market making across the Iron Ore derivatives, it notes that clients approached it for pricing quotes directly, providing feedback to Theme International that it is more efficient to trade with them without an intermediary inter-dealer broker. The trading company’s client base has thus been established through the firm’s reputation in the market as a capable liquidity provider that is able to provide competitive and sharp prices across the Iron Ore derivatives, notes Theme. It trades directly with counterparties with different backgrounds, including physical trade houses, physical steel mills, banks, hedge funds and clearing houses.

Owing to an established ferrous metal team with several traders on the desk covering the markets throughout the day, the Theme International team is able to respond quickly to pricing requests from its counterparties. With the help of several quantitative analysts and its pricing model, Theme International says it is able to quote sharp and competitive prices down the entire pricing curve across the Iron Ore derivatives to its counterparties.

Theme International Trading has made significant investments to develop proprietary algorithmic trading models that allow it to assess the absolute and relative values across various iron ore products, allowing it to offer better market-making services in both the voice-brokered, electronic screen and direct trading markets.

In addition to its existing activities across the iron ore futures and options markets, Theme International is also building the desk to add Iron Ore Lump Premium and the SGX Mysteel Rebar contracts to its suite of products. The business strives to be a one-stop shop in the ferrous metals derivative space and aims to build its team across the bulk commodities in the near future.

Exchange Company of the Year

Shanghai Futures Exchange

In 2020, the SHFE recorded a total trading volume of 2.13 billion futures and options contracts, with a total turnover amount of 152.80 trillion RMB. The total number of clients has increased to more than 1.5 million, among which more than 30,000 are corporate clients. Starting from 2009, SHFE has gradually introduced steel futures such as rebar, wire rod, hot rolled coils and stainless steel. SHFE has listed 20 futures and five options, covering such essential basic industrial products as metals, energy and chemicals.

In 2020, the total volume of steel futures contracts traded on SHFE reached 459 million lots, or 4.54 billion metric tons. In particular, rebar futures have been the most actively traded futures for five consecutive years and hot-rolled coils futures the most traded flat-steel futures.

SHFE has launched four steel futures, with rebar futures and wire-rod futures reflecting changes in the demands for urbanization, hot-rolled coils futures reflecting changes in the demands for industrialization, and stainless steel futures reflecting changes in the demands for consumption upgrading.

A brand-registration system helps offer substantial deliverable resources and improves the visibility of quality enterprises. Currently, 37 registered brands of steel rebar from 37 manufacturing companies and 13 registered brands of hot rolled coils from 13 manufacturing companies are recognized on SHFE. The output of registered brands accounts for around 50% of the total output of steel rebar and hot rolled coils in China, making abundant deliverable resources available to market participants.

SHFE continues to improve its contracts by carrying out extensive market surveys and receiving comments and suggestions from market participants. For example, SHFE plans to create a standard warrant trading platform for steel futures contracts to meet the diversified and personalized needs of enterprises. The exchange notes that “steel futures have gradually fulfilled their price discovery function and provided the main basis for spot pricing at home and abroad.”

Singapore Exchange

In 2020, SGX’s iron ore derivatives volume hit a new high of more than two billion tonnes, as iron ore continued to gain prominence as a proxy for global economies. Average open interest during 2020 was 172 million metric tons.

The exchange notes that, since 2009, volumes in SGX’s iron ore derivatives have seen substantial growth, giving SGX a dominant market share of over 90% of the seaborne iron ore derivatives market and 100% of the coking coal derivatives market. That had also spurred the growth of a paper market that today surpasses the size of the underlying physical market.

While most of the users of SGX’s iron ore contracts in general are Asian miners, mills and traders, the exchange is also seeing sustained involvement from financial market participants, as iron ore evolves into a fundamental portfolio factor for institutional investors. There was a notable increase after the introduction of iron ore trading on screen in 2016. As iron ore establishes its stature as a key macroeconomic indicator, the pace of financialization accelerated, reflected in over a quarter of SGX’s iron ore volumes coming from funds.
By supplementing its iron ore offerings with coking coal and freight futures, SGX offers participants in the downstream steel industry, such as producers and end-users, the ability to manage upstream price volatility.

Those participants can also benefit from margin efficiencies when they cross trade in what the SGX calls a “virtual steel mill.” That has seen increasingly strong participation from clients across different market segments, geographies and time zones, leading to enhanced capital efficiencies for SGX’s clients

Automotive Supplier of the Year

Nucor

Over the past five years, Nucor has made several significant capital investments to grow its capabilities in the automotive market, two of which had their first full year of operation in 2020. One was a galvanizing line at the Kentucky sheet mill; the other was the specialty cold mill at the Arkansas sheet mill.

The new galvanizing line shipped 39% more tons than projected, while shipments from the specialty cold mill were 30% ahead of initial plan. The company also reports excellent progress on other growth projects at the two sheet mills: an expansion in Kentucky and the “Gen 3” galvanizing line in Arkansas.
The investments at the Arkansas sheet mill will mean an additional 400,000 to 500,000 tons that can be sold directly to OEMs and their suppliers. A recently completed joint venture galvanizing line in Mexico, built with JFE Steel of Japan, will produce 200,000 to 250,000 tons of galvanized sheet steel per year to sell into the regional automotive market.

Investments in two direct reduced iron (DRI) plants are also geared toward expanding the automotive-steel portfolio. Using DRI and prime scrap, Nucor said its electric-arc furnaces can achieve quality levels on par with blast-furnace steelmaking. The company notes that it is producing almost all of the automotive steel grades made by the domestic integrated mills, and a few that they do not produce. It sees the opportunity to grow its annual automotive market shipments up to 3 million tons within the next few years.

Nucor highlights in particular its hot-rolled MultiPhase 800 as a true multi-phase grade with improved formability. It is produced uncoated as well as galvanized for numerous chassis and suspension applications.

Another highlight is the cold-rolled Multiphase 700Y980T, which Nucor highlights as a fine-grained dual-phase steel with outstanding local formability, including superior edge stretchability.

Target Steel

Target Steel has installed a new cut-to-length line at its Flat Rock, Michigan headquarters, which can produce sheets of as much as 25 feet long for automotive rails. The company has also added a fourth multi-blanking line, which cuts sheet-processing times in half of current industry standard. The firm has also added warehouse space to accommodate what has become a very tight automotive supply chain.

For one large automotive OEM, it conducted some part studies on a rocker panel component for which the requirements for light weight and hardness made it difficult to make the part flat enough. Target Steel diagnosed and solved the problem, making use of the advanced equipment installed in its leveler, and says that it became the first service center that the OEM had added to their supplier pool in years.

The company operates a private fleet of steel haulers to move materials and finished parts among its five geographically dispersed processing locations. It also has its own in-house testing laboratory, certified by the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation.

Notably, when other service centers were completely shut down by the pandemic, Target Steel remained in operation by switching focus to tubing customers to make hospital beds and hand sanitization stands until the automotive market resumed operations.

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