Windshield being applied to car in an assembly line
market cycle
Supply balance, auto demand top of mind at Worthington
Worthington Industries Inc.’s Steel Processing division doubled its net sales during its fiscal fourth quarter ended May 31. Tons shipped jumped by 38 percent from the same 2020 period, which was negatively impacted by COVID-related shutdowns, particularly among automotive customers.

“We continue to see solid demand across nearly all of our major end markets, including automotive, heavy truck and agriculture,” Worthington CFO Joe Hayek said during a June 24 earnings call with investors.

“The U.S. steel market remains tight [yet] our Steel Processing team has done a great job managing through a fluid and constrained market to take care of our customers,” he says.

“Our demand levels and backlogs are quite good across almost all of our major markets. We’ve also been proactively raising prices in our downstream manufacturing businesses to offset increased raw material costs,” President and CEO Andy Rose said on the same call.

our demand levels and backlogs are quite good.
andy rose, worthington
Noting that market cycles are a given, “steel prices will decline” at some point, says Rose, so the purchasing department won’t overextend on inventories. “We realize that things will certainly not stay where they have been for the last three or four months, and [we will] be okay, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in.”

Asked about new steel capacity starting up in the U.S. market—such as SDI in Sinton, Texas, Big River Steel in Arkansas, North Star Bluescope in Ohio and Gallatin in Kentucky—Rose says additional volume is generally good for the market. “It [can] provide some relief,” first on availability of material but also, “hopefully, on pricing.”

Regarding additional incremental capacity among other domestic producers and whether Worthington might be interested in negotiating with those suppliers, Hayek says, “We talk to everybody and try to deal with as many people as it makes sense, based on what steel [our customers] require, where it needs to go and what [processing step] needs to happen to it. So we chat with everybody and make the best decisions we possibly can, relative to availability and needs.”

Group posing behind CLIFFS banner
Cliffs marks initial run for DRI plant
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. held a ceremony June 13 to celebrate the first six months of continuous operation and production of hot-briquetted iron (HBI) at its Direct Reduction plant in Toledo. Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president and CEO, noted that the event culminates a $1 billion investment to build the first DRI plant of its kind. “The production and use of HBI within our operations has supercharged our emissions reduction program, and boosted our profitability through enhanced productivity in our blast furnaces and the avoidance of prime scrap purchases from third parties for use in our [furnaces].”
Tenaris starts up Pennsylvania facility
Tenaris starts up Pennsylvania facility
Steel production is now underway at Tenaris’s first melt shop in the United States that will soon supply steel bars for its seamless pipe mills in the U.S. and Canada. The Koppel, Pennsylvania, location, part of the company’s acquisition of IPSCO, has started producing steel bars following a year-long investment of more than $15 million in upgrades to integrate the facility into Tenaris’ global network of steel mills.
James Boehmer headshot
JDM adds account manager
James Boehmer has joined JDM Steel Service Inc., Chicago Heights, Illinois, as account manager for toll processing.
Rolled up dteel
Paragon Steel purchases distributor
Paragon Steel, Butler, Indiana, has acquired Buckeye Metals Industries Inc., a Cleveland-based distributor of carbon steel. Buckeye’s founder and CEO Bruce Ison will remain as the company’s chairman emeritus, and key Ison family members will maintain leadership roles under the Buckeye Metals Industries Inc. division name.
Kartik Vaidyanathan Iyer
Trumpf names director of smart factory
Kartik Vaidyanathan Iyer was named director of the Trumpf Smart Factory in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Iyer succeeds Markus Zimmermann, who has become the head of R&D for Trumpf Austria. Iyer will be responsible for the operation and continuous development of the Smart Factory.
Car door inside panel
Novelis to supply Nissan
Novelis, Zurich, will supply Nissan with sustainable, lightweight aluminum body sheet for the Qashqai SUV and create a closed-loop recycling system in Europe. The Nissan Qashqai will incorporate Novelis aluminum in the hood and doors to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency. Through Novelis’ global Customer Solution Center network, engineers have proven to automakers that lightweighting with aluminum doors and hoods are a cost-effective way to reduce weight.
Milwaukee Tool Building Sign
Milwaukee Tool to expand corporate operations
Milwaukee Tool will invest more than $30 million to purchase and renovate a vacant 333,000-square-foot building in downtown Milwaukee, marking the expansion of corporate operations. Its existing global headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin, will remain the central hub, but the new property will accommodate rapid growth. Set to open in October, this building will house 1,200 employees within three years.
Century restarts smelter
Century Aluminum, Chicago, hosted a ceremonial restart and jobs announcement June 3 at its Mount Holly, South Carolina, smelter with Gov. Henry McMaster and other guests. With a planned investment of $60 million, the company expects to increase production capacity at the Mount Holly smelter by 50 percent. The smelter produces aluminum that ends up in automotive, electrical, construction, aerospace and defense, and renewable energy. The company expects to hire 100 workers to operate the additional capacity.
Hwa-Soo Lee headshot
Matthew Clegg headshot
SME recognizes merit
SME, Southfield, Michigan, chose Hwa-Soo Lee and Matthew Clegg as its 2021 Award of Merit recipients. Lee is a professor specializing in manufacturing at Nihon University in Tokyo. Clegg is a marine equipment designer for Manson Construction Co., Seattle. Lee functions as certification officer with SME’s Japan Chapter 180. Under his watch more than 1,700 applicants successfully achieved the organization’s Certified Manufacturing Engineer and Certified Manufacturing Technologist designations from 1994 to 2020. As chair of SME’s Seattle Chapter 39, Clegg helped the chapter to regain its platinum chapter status, which requires effective communication, interaction with local manufacturing, leadership development and development of best practices.
Eastern Metal Supply to open in Louisiana
Eastern Metal Supply, which distributes aluminum extrusions and sheet products, has opened an 80,000-square-foot branch in Hammond, Louisiana. The branch will specialize in providing customers with rapid access to the Eastern Metal Supply line of hurricane protection products.
Schust selects sales director
Matt Bulman has joined Schust, Auburn, Indiana, as director of sales for steel and foundry. Bulman will provide customers with a range of air pollution control products, services, and support. He has more than 20 years of experience selling graphite electrodes, chemical lime and refractory products to the steel and foundry industries.
Canada Best Managed Companies
AAG named one of Canada’s best
AAG Tailored Cutting Solutions was recognized for business performance and sustained growth with Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation. AAG Tailored Cutting Solutions was recognized for its adaptability during the COVID-19 crisis. Its team helped customers pivot towards producing essential goods such as personal protective equipment. The company created an online community for sharing PPE designs, broadcast free webinars educating customers on PPE production, and provided discounts for customers producing PPE. AAG was able to keep people working, keep customers operating and support the community.
Leon Topalian Headshot
AISI elects new chairman
The American Iron and Steel Institute’s board of directors elected Leon Topalian, president and CEO of Nucor Corp., to serve as AISI’s chairman for a two-year term. Topalian succeeds John Brett, CEO of ArcelorMittal North America. Brett was elected vice chairman of AISI while Chuck Schmitt, president of SSAB Americas, was re-elected as vice chairman.
Dick Couch Headshot
Hypertherm founder retires
Dick Couch, founder of machinery builder Hypertherm, Hanover, New Hampshire, has retired as chairman, and is succeeded by long-time board member and lead director Richard Lettieri. The company’s succession plan, which has included the selection of leading executives, ensures the continuation of the values-based company culture and industry leadership. Evan Smith serves as president and CEO.
AP&T to commission Mexican press line
Tenere, a North American manufacturer of custom mechanicals for technology companies, is expanding its operations in Monterrey, Mexico, with a new production facility for metal part forming. The heart of the facility is a fully automated multi-press line for forming such parts as large panels and chassis for server racks and other information and communications technology products. AP&T, Monroe, North Carolina, is installing, integrating and commissioning all of the automation equipment included in the new press shop. Production on the new is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.
Press line
Laser welding operations switch hands
Worthington Industries Inc., Columbus, Ohio, acquired certain assets of Shiloh Industries’ BlankLight business, a provider of laser welded solutions that deliver material savings, weight and cost reductions and increased fuel efficiency to the mobility market. The acquisition includes three plants, expanding the capacity and capabilities of Worthington’s laser-welded products joint venture, TWB Co. LLC. The deal adds a blanking facility to Worthington’s steel processing business as well.
Doyle Hopper Headshot
Brilex Group picks CEO
The Brilex Group of Companies hired former Nucor Corp. executive Doyle Hopper as CEO of Brilex Industries Inc., Brilex Technical Solutions LLC and Taylor-Winfield Technologies Inc. Hopper was tapped to leverage his 30 years of steel industry and manufacturing expertise to drive strategic growth and commercial excellence across the group’s companies.
Software supplier joins NASA
Enmark Systems Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, has joined the North American Steel Alliance, a purchasing cooperative. Founded in 1983, Enmark Systems provides and supports the software systems designed exclusively for metal service centers.
Belgium Best Managed Companies
LVD obtains gold label
Machinery builder LVD Co. NV, Gullegem, Belgium, won the Gold label as part of being named among Belgium’s Best Managed Companies. The program recognizes private Belgian companies with top management processes, attention to sustainable management and strong financial results. LVD Group is represented in 47 countries, has 19 subsidiaries and multiple manufacturing facilities across Europe and the U.S.
Adria Haines, Brandon Holmes, David Iyoha, James Lindsey Headshots
Team forms for Bystronic smart factory
Bystronic Inc., Hoffman Estates, Illinois, has built a Smart Factory Solutions Team staffed with employees who have extensive experience in demonstrating and implementing Industry 4.0 solutions for manufacturing supply chains and manufacturing plants. The team includes Adria Haines, regional head of Smart Factory Solutions; Brandon Holmes, solutions designer/project manager; David Iyoha, solutions sales expert; and James Lindsey, product manager software.
Thomas J. Gibson receiving Gary Memorial Medal
Gibson wins Gary Memorial Medal
Thomas J. Gibson, former president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute, was awarded the organization’s Gary Memorial Medal. Gibson led the institute from 2008 until he retired in June 2020.
Hallow metal bars stacked
Metals supplier creates parent
Norfolk Iron & Metal Co. Norfolk, Nebraska, has created NIM Group, a new parent company, as an umbrella over each of its brands: Norfolk Iron and Metal, Metalwest and Cd’A Metals. Norfolk Iron acquired Metalwest in 2018. Metalwest processes and distributes carbon and nonferrous sheet and plate from eight locations across the U.S. Norfolk Iron acquired Cd’A Metals in late 2020. The Idaho-based service center has three branches serving the inland Northwest. The parent company will support continued growth of existing geographies as well as future acquisitions.