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international trade
U.S., Japan agree to tariff deal
The U.S. has reached a new agreement with Japan to allow historically based sustainable volumes of Japanese steel products to enter the U.S. market without the application of Section 232 tariffs. “This deal will help ensure the long-term viability of our steel industry and protect American jobs. It is also part of our efforts to provide relief for American manufacturers who rely on readily accessible, affordable steel to make their products and lower prices for American families,” Trade Representative Katherine C. Tai stated Feb. 7.

Under the agreement, a tariff-rate quota on steel imports from Japan will be established to prevent import surges in the future, according to Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute. He also welcomed “continued vigorous enforcement of our laws to prevent circumvention and evasion of U.S. trade remedies on steel.”

The Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users (CAMMU) believes the U.S.-Japan agreement “will increase the supply of steel in the U.S., which could help U.S. manufacturers who continue to have long delivery delays and continue to pay the highest prices in the world.”

However, CAMMU members would have preferred that the administration had completely terminated these trade restrictions on Japan, noting that in a previous agreement with the European Union, the steel products quota “filled up for the year in the first two weeks of January.”

“Sensible tariff rate quotas and a melted and poured requirement will allow American steelworkers and steelmakers to contribute to rebuilding our nation,” stated Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul.

The agreement calls for quota volumes of 1.25 million metric tons, which is based on 2018-2019 shipment levels. Steel Manufacturers Association President Philip K. Bell said member companies “are particularly glad to see that that exclusion-based imports of Japanese steel products will count against the quota volumes. In 2021, 58 percent of Japanese imports came to our shores as exclusions. The represents approximately 550,000 metric tons of steel products.”

The melted and poured requirement “will help prevent circumvention and transshipment of steel products and the inclusion of an adjustment mechanism will allow the flexibility needed to deal with changes in the global steel market,” he said. “Overall, this is a strong deal for American steelmakers.”

Al Glick in front of Alro Steel building
Alro Steel’s founder dies
Al Glick, the founder, chairman and CEO of Alro Steel, Jackson, Michigan, died Feb. 8 at age 95. Glick had led Alro Steel, the company he co-founded with his brother Robert, since June 1948. Through his foresight and guidance, Alro grew to become a company employing 3,000 people at 70 service centers across 13 states. Glick was possibly the biggest fan of University of Michigan football, and was a generous philanthropist throughout the state, particularly in youth sports and pediatric health. Glick was also a leader in the service center industry, earning the Metal Service Center Institute President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2003. Glick is survived by one son, Randy (Rhonda) Glick and their three children; one daughter, Valerie (Terry) Banning and their son; one great-grandchild; and numerous nieces and nephews.
85-inch-wide slitting line
85-inch-wide slitting line starts up
Ferrous 85” Co., Sinton, Texas, has started commercial production on the largest slitting line in North America. Located adjacent to Steel Dynamics Inc.’s EAF steel mill, Ferrous 85” is providing SDI and its customers with toll slitting of hot-rolled and hot-rolled pickled & oiled coils. The Ferrous 85” slitter can process incoming master coils in widths from 36 to 87 inches and up to 105,000 pounds.
Metal sheets
Nucor to modernize Indiana mill
Nucor Corp. has approved a $290 million investment to expand the product capabilities of its Crawfordsville, Indiana, steel sheet mill by adding a construction-grade continuous galvanizing line and prepaint line. This project is expected to take two years to complete. The construction-grade continuous galvanizing line will have a capacity of 300,000 tons per year while the prepaint line will have an annual capacity of 250,000 tons.
General Motors Co. presentation
GM invests $7 billion in EV factories
General Motors Co. plans to invest more than $7 billion in four Michigan factories to significantly increase battery cell and electric truck manufacturing capacity. The investment includes construction of a new Ultium Cells battery cell plant in Lansing and the conversion of GM’s assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan, for production of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra. This is GM’s second assembly plant scheduled to build full-size electric pickups.
Daniel Carranco headshot
Software firm director celebrated
Global Shop Solutions marked 15 years of service from Daniel Carranco, director of continuous improvement. Carranco oversees customer services including consulting, custom projects and customers’ continuous improvements. He rose through the ranks at the company, holding several roles including operations consultant, project manager and Latin American operations consultant.
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Metal tubing
Tubing facility expansion dedicated to solar
Lock Joint Tube, South Bend, Indiana, plans to expand its Temple, Texas, location by adding 37,500 square feet in an effort to enhance operational capability and create opportunities. This facility will build upon Lock Joint Tube’s existing solar operations and help foster the use of clean energy technologies.
ATI facility
Ulbrich acquires ATI facility
Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals Inc., North Haven, Connecticut, has acquired a distribution facility in Pico Rivera, California, from ATI Specialty Rolled Products. This facility will operate under the name Ulbrich of California. ATI will continue supplying Ulbrich with nickel, titanium and specialty alloy products.
Plasma cutter
Plasma cutting grants available
Hypertherm, Hanover, New Hampshire, is accepting applications for its Spark Something Great educational grant program. The program provides 12 North American schools with a Powermax45 XP air plasma system and in-person training from a Hypertherm product expert. It’s designed to support the next generation of welders and metal fabricators by making plasma cutting equipment and standardized instruction available to schools. To date, the company has awarded systems to 76 schools. Applications are due April 1 with grant decisions communicated by May 2.
Lacey Jackson Headshot
Michael Delay Headshot
Leeco names directors of operations
Leeco Steel, Lisle, Illinois, promoted Lacey Jackson to director of operations–North, and Michael Delay to director of operations–South and Canada. In these newly created roles, Jackson and Delay will manage Leeco’s U.S. and Canadian distribution centers.
Empty factory
Odyssey Logistics expands
Odyssey Specialized Logistics LLC has opened a new metal logistics facility in Brooklyn, Ohio, dedicated to roll-and-hold warehousing and transportation. The Brooklyn location joins roll-and-hold facilities in California, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, all of which offer flatbed trucking and warehousing.
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Toll processor orders laser blanking line
RSDC, Holt, Michigan, has placed an order for a dual-head, 8kW coil-fed blanking line, the first of its kind in North America, from equipment builder LaserCoil Technologies, Napoleon, Ohio. This line features sealed optics and LaserCoil’s proprietary high-speed Z-axis. It is expected to be running production by fourth quarter 2022.
Service center breaks ground for leveler
MidWest Materials Inc., Perry, Ohio, broke ground for a new Red Bud Industries stretch-leveling cut-to-length line. The line will be able to process material up to 0.75 inch thick by 78 inches wide from coils weighing up to 40 tons.
Engineers working together in an office
Engineering professor wins steel industry award
The Steel Bridge Task Force selected William Collins, associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Engineering, to receive the 2022 Robert J. Dexter Memorial Award Lecture. The lecture program provides an opportunity for individuals early in their careers in structural engineering to present a lecture on their steel bridge research activities and to participate in the task force’s semiannual meeting. Collins will present a lecture on his research findings in August in Philadelphia. The task force is made up the American Iron and Steel Institute, the National Steel Bridge Alliance and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials T-14 Technical Committee for Structural Steel Design.
U.S. Steel partners with the Carnegie Foundry
U.S. Steel Corp. and Carnegie Foundry, a robotics and AI studio, will work to accelerate and scale industrial automation driven by advanced robotics and artificial intelligence. Carnegie Foundry will use accelerate the commercialization and scaling of its industrial automation portfolio of robotics and AI technologies in advanced manufacturing, automated warehouses and supply chains, industrial robotics, integrated systems, autonomous mobility, voice analytics and more. Carnegie Foundry is affiliated with the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Their work combines applied R&D work in autonomy with corporate venture capital partners like U.S. Steel to bring multi-use technology solutions to market.
Novelis Net Zero Lab
Novelis launches Net Zero Lab
Novelis Inc. will collaborate with HES-SO Valais-Wallis, EPFL of Energypolis Campus, a Swiss innovation and research hub, as well as energy distributor OIKEN, to start a joint R&D laboratory to advance carbon neutral solutions for aluminum manufacturing. Scientists will focus on identifying and implementing solutions to neutralize the carbon footprint of Novelis’ manufacturing operations and neighboring communities, starting in Sierre, Switzerland. The aim is to reach carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and 2 emissions at the plant by 2030. The R&D lab will be called Net Zero Lab Valais.
Lutz Labisch Headshot
Machinery builder picks CEO
Lutz Labisch was named president and CEO for TRUMPF Inc., overseeing production, sales and service of machine tool and laser technology product portfolios in North America and Brazil, and lead strategy and business operations at TRUMPF subsidiaries in the United States. Labisch succeeds Peter Hoecklin, who is leaving the company after more than 18 years of service.
Lab work
MC Machinery selects distributor in Texas
MC Machinery Systems, Elk Grove, Illinois, has chosen Prosper Machine Tools, Richland Hills, Texas, as its new distribution partner in Texas for its Mitsubishi wire and sinker EDMs and high-precision machining centers from OPS Ingersoll and Roku-Roku.
Yu-Hsien Ho Headshot
Cosen Saws promotes Ho
Cosen Saws, Charlotte, North Carolina, promoted Yu-Hsien Ho to director of channel sales and marketing. He started with the company in 2008 as a sales and marketing assistan t and has held a number of positions in sales, marketing and operations, most recently as inside sales and marketing manager. Ho will now focus on growing sales in welding supply and cutting tool/MRO channels.
NASA adds new members
Bahco, SecturaSOFT and U.S. Lubricants have joined the North American Steel Alliance, a purchasing cooperative. Bahco offers bi-metal bandsaw blades. SecturaSOFT is an estimating platform for service centers and fabricators. U.S. Lubricants distributes industrial and metalworking lubricants.
Mike Kowalsky Headshot
Star SU adds regional sales manager
Cutting tools manufacturer Star SU appointed Mike Kowalsky as a regional sales manager for Wisconsin and Minnesota, responsible for sales of gear and round cutting tools. Kowalsky has over 15 years of tooling experience, having worked at Kennametal and at Riga-bore.
Bystronic acquires automation specialist
In 2018, Bystronic, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, acquired 70 percent of Antil S.p.A. in San Giuliano Milanese, Italy, which specializes in automation equipment for precious metals processing. Since then, Bystronic has integrated Antil’s operations, doubled sales and increased head count from 110 to 200. Bystronic recently acquired the remaining 30 percent minority stake, and will increase customer proximity and expand the market. Antil’s portfolio includes loading and unloading, laser cutting and punching systems, automated sheet metal storage systems, and robot-assisted bending solutions.
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