“This expansion will allow us to meet a greater volume of our customers’ requirements for coated steel,” said Mark Millett, vice president and general manager of the Flat Rolled Division. “Each of these products provides opportunities for margin enhancement, as well as product diversification. Although this project will have no impact on our total steel-making capacity, it will allow us to increase the percentage of our hot band production that is converted into value-added products.”
Central to the expansion is the addition of a state-of-the-art continuous coil coating paint line. Construction is expected to begin in April 2006, with operations commencing in the second quarter of 2007. The paint line will have an expected annual capacity of 190,000 tons.
“We are very pleased with the success of our pre-painted steel business,” Millett said. “Customers continue to reward us with recurring business as a result of the quality of our products and the shorter order cycle time relative to competitor supply chains. Our pre-painted customers also benefit from reduced logistical, administrative, and inventory carrying costs as a result of our simplification of a generally fragmented supply chain. We are the only steel mill in North America to directly offer painted steels.”
The project will include the addition of a second zinc pot to the existing light gauge galvanizing line to enable the company to produce steel coated with an aluminum-zinc alloy. The line has the ability to coat flat-rolled steel in widths up to 60 inches, creating a unique product niche in North America for aluminum-zinc coated products above 52 inches wide. The combination of aluminum and zinc greatly enhances corrosion performance and solar reflectivity, making it the material of choice for premium metal roofing.
The existing galvanizing line will also be modified to allow for in-line application of acrylic coatings. Acrylic coatings provide a number of value-added benefits, including corrosion protection, fingerprint resistance, and enhanced lubricity for rollforming and stamping.