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Gerdau Special Steel

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Gerdau SBQ Mill Ready to Accelerate Gerdau Special Steel North America awaits payback from the big investment in its Monroe, Mich., bar mill. By Tim Triplett, Editor-in-Chief When you get a new car, you really want to get it out on the highway to see what it can do. We really haven’t had the market yet to see what we can do,” says Darrel Moore, general plant manager at Gerdau Special Steel North America in Monroe, Mich. Gerdau completed a $155.6 million capital investment at the Detroit-area SBQ mill about two years ago and is currently operating at around 70 percent of capacity. The upgrades boosted the mill’s business with automotive customers, but it continues to feel the effects of weak demand in the commercial vehicle, agricultural and energy sectors. The company made improvements in all three of the Monroe mill’s main processing areas—melting, rolling and finishing. The new equipment, designed to increase production capacity and quality, includes a continuous caster, a twin-tank vacuum degasser, a walking beam reheat furnace, six additional rolling mill stands, a new bar straightening unit and advanced quality inspection equipment. Completion of the project allows the mill to melt larger billets and increases its rolling capacity to approximately 850,000 tons per year, the company says. The new continuous caster takes liquid steel and forms it into larger billets for re-rolling. The transition from 152 mm square billets to 210 mm square billets offers a 90 percent increase in the reduction ratio of its rolled bar products. This improvement allowed Gerdau to expand its product offering of steels for critical powertrain applications in automotive and other vehicular markets and increases the overall quality and cleanliness of its bar products, the company says. Gerdau’s North American special steel division is headquartered in Jackson, Mich., and has steel manufacturing plants in Jackson and Monroe, Mich., and Fort Smith, Ark. Additional steel processing facilities are located in Lansing, Mich., North Vernon and Huntington, Ind., Pleasant Prairie, Wis., and Canton, Ohio.