The Red Bud Industries stretcher-leveler is built to match the flatness-critical applications that Camden Yards Steel’s customers require.
Forming Force
Boutique-style service center retrofits blanking line to achieve higher speed on high-strength material
By Corinna Petry

n a town with a long history, it might be difficult to imagine how successful a relative startup would become in less than 20 years. Camden, New Jersey, began life as a fort in 1626. Camden Yards Steel Co. was founded 375 years later. But CEO Mike Amato and President Alan Kanoff understood they could carve out a niche by leveraging their expertise in flat-rolled products.

“We previously worked for a family owned service center that was bought out by Metals USA Inc. After we worked there awhile, we realized that as metal distributors got bigger and bigger, there was a place for a boutique-style service center with a regional focus,” Amato says. “We chose Camden—that is, Camden picked us because they wanted us to be an anchor” for an industrial development on the Delaware River.

“We have the ability to unload our own ships and the ability to unload 20 railcars a day.” Being able to bring steel straight into the warehouse from the railroad and port is a “huge benefit” in terms of freight savings, he says.

Flat-rolled focus
Being a flat-rolled steel service center, Camden Yards Steel focuses on carbon steel hot-rolled, HRPO, high-strength (up to 100,000 psi yield) material, plus pre-painted products.
Product Range
CAMDEN YARDS STEEL carries and processes hot-rolled, hot-rolled pickled and oiled, high-strength low-alloy Grade 50+, hot-rolled floor plate and coated products in the following forms: coil, sheet, plate, slit coil and blanks. Its gauge range is from 0.015 to 0.5 inches. Common widths range from 48 through 96 inches. Grades include commercial quality, structural quality and HSLA.
“We sell to truck manufacturers, to manufacturers of high-tension cell towers, we sell to smaller service centers and all kinds of manufacturers; one makes trash cans,” Amato says. The service center also sells into the HVAC market and processes galvanized and Galvannealed products for doors, furniture and fixtures.

Inventory on the floor typically tops out at 25,000 tons. The company ships roughly 175,000 tons of steel per year. “Even though we are located in a port, we try to buy mostly domestic steel, but we will take advantage of some foreign offers.”

Camden Yards Steel recently purchased a new Red Bud Industries stretcher-leveler. It is a retrofit to an existing Herr-Voss leveling line, which manages material up to 1/2-inch thick by 96 inches wide.

The retrofit entailed adding the 50-foot-long stretcher-leveler and replacing the shear, drop stacker and stack tables.
The new equipment had to be robust to support high-strength material up to 100,000 psi yield.
The retrofit entailed adding the 50-foot-long stretcher-leveler and replacing the shear, drop stacker and stack tables, according to Red Bud Industries. The 150-ton shear features quick-change blades, the drop stacker is 40 feet long, the stack tables can handle 30 tons each, and 60-inch vertical scissor lift tables allow a whole coil to be run on one stack. The retrofit includes a dust collection system. The line has uncoiling capacity of 40 tons. The line is built for flatness-critical applications.
Amato says the upgrade was “necessary. Stretchers have become an everyday processing tool. You cannot make more money with stretched material, but you have to compete with others who are stretching material.

“It has been a great addition,” he continues. “We manage the same amount of coils now as before—33 to 35 tons per hour. So we are pleased how Red Bud was able to cycle up [production].” He especially likes the convenience of the automated quick-change shear blade.

“We are able to get back up to the tons per hour we had before with the stretcher in line—that is a great value to us. You certainly don’t want to add time. It’s all about tons per hour.”
We manage the same amount of coils now as before. It’s all about tons per hour.
mike amato, camden yards steel co.
Amato notes that Camden Yards Steel didn’t need to staff any additional operators to the upgraded line.

“Even though it performs beautifully, once in a while there is an issue. Red Bud’s service team is very responsive. They connect to our systems, see the problems, and get us back up and running quickly. If we need a part, they have it in stock and ship it immediately.

“We looked at quite a few stretchers before buying,” Amato says. “One of the factors—apart from how to speed up our cycle time—is helping us in situations when we are not running.”

Family friendly
“Alan and I both have our children in the business. My son and daughter and Alan’s son work for me,” Amato says. “We like the idea of being a family owned business. As our competitors get bigger, they get sloppier. We are able to grow with hands-on information, quality and service. That gets lost when you get too big. We can run and process with the least amount of problems.”
Camden Yards Steel Co., Camden, New Jersey, 856/342-7100,