Kloeckner Metals’ flat-rolled group has relocated its Chicago facility to a new, more efficient service center in the southern suburb of University Park. The distributor will use the new 106,000-square-foot facility to warehouse and process light-gauge and prepainted carbon steel, as well as aluminum and stainless.
The new facility, at 25056 Will Center Road, is only slightly larger than the company’s previous location on Torrance Avenue in Chicago, but it’s far more efficient than the nearly 100-year-old building that formerly housed the operation. “It’s about an 8 percent increase in space, but 50 percent in utility,” says Vince Colorito, vice president of sales for the flat-rolled group. Much of the old building was inaccessible by crane, whereas the new building has crane coverage for almost the entire floor.
Kloeckner based the design of the facility on the layout of one of its other distribution centers, with some modifications based on lessons learned and local needs. In addition to the space and efficiency gains, the company relocated and upgraded its cut-to-length and slitting lines.
With the addition of some new components, the capabilities of the lines have also expanded. They can now handle maximum coil widths up to 72 inches and a range of thicknesses from 0.009 to 0.250 inch. Additionally, a double-stacker was installed on the cut-to-length line, allowing it to run more continuously. “That has increased our output by 40 percent,” says Colorito.
Cranes in the new facility can handle coils up to 35 tons, allowing Kloeckner to accept larger coils in its master coil bay. The new facility also has rail access, another change from the previous location.
Kloeckner is currently running two shifts at the operation. The facility could be expanded to double the size, if the company’s future needs dictate. Executives already anticipate knocking down a wall to accommodate growth. Future expansion would likely involve such equipment as new lasers, bending and forming equipment. “There seems to be a real need for that in the marketplace, rather than another CTL or slitter line. There are a lot of those in Chicago,” Colorito says.