Further equipment goes into operation at ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA in Alabama: Only manufacturer in NAFTA countries for stainless steel flat products in widths of 72 inches. For the first time, customers in NAFTA countries can now buy stainless steel flat products in widths of 72 inches (183 centimeters) produced in the USA.
The corresponding units have gone into operation at ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA's Alabama plant and are currently being ramped up. "Both customers and service centers have expressed great interest in 72 inch products. We are the only manufacturer in the USA and the NAFTA region who can offer this width," says Dr. Ulrich Albrecht-Früh, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA, a company of the Inoxum group. He emphasizes that this is an important signal for the market in North and Central America.
To date no stainless steel producer has manufactured 72 inch coils in the NAFTA region, and only small volumes have been imported. This special size is used e.g. in the manufacture of large tanks for the chemical, oil and gas industries, and also for milk tanks. The extra-wide coils and sheet, in part cut to 36 inches, offer processing and welding advantages for customers. Dr. Albrecht-Früh explains that this addition to the product portfolio gives ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA a unique selling point in the USA and enables the company to move into a new market with great potential.
A hot strip annealing and pickling line and a second Sendzimir or 20-roll cold rolling mill have gone into operation in Alabama to manufacture the 72 inch coils. They are now being ramped up step-by-step and initial volumes have already been produced. Production began at the Calvert site back in September 2010 with one cold rolling mill (width: 64 inches, roughly 160 centimeters). To process this cold-rolled strip, a cold-rolled annealing and pickling line, a skin pass mill and various polishing, slitting and cut-to-length lines were also taken into operation. The additional cold rolling mill which has now come on stream has expanded capacity to over 200,000 metric tons of cold-rolled strip per year. "This further milestone shows that we are making steady progress in the development of our stainless steel location in the USA," states ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA.
Construction work on the 1 million ton per year capacity melt shop is continuing to proceed on schedule. The first 350 ton teeming crane has already been installed. The melt shop is scheduled to go into operation in December 2012. Until then the Calvert plant will continue to be supplied with hot band and slabs from the European mills. ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA currently employs around 550 people. In addition to the production facilities in Alabama, the company has a sales office in Chicago which also markets products from the ThyssenKrupp Mexinox cold rolling mill in San Luis Potosí and from European supplies.