Sweet Home, Alabama: ThyssenKrupp opens steel manufacturing facility

Calvery plant to employ 2,700, expand company's footprint in the Americas; ThyssenKrupp is entering a new dimension of its history,” said ThyssenKrupp AG CEO Dr. Ekkehard Schulz


Following a three-year construction period, the new steelmaking and processing plant of ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA in the southeastern USA was officially opened today. “With the startup of the plant in Alabama and the launch of the steel mill in Brazil in the summer, ThyssenKrupp is entering a new dimension of its history,” said Dr. Ekkehard Schulz, Chief Executive Officer of ThyssenKrupp AG, at the opening ceremony in Calvert. “These two projects are the cornerstones of our transatlantic growth strategy: We plan to achieve profitable growth in international markets of the future. That’s why the investments in our plants in the USA and Brazil are true investments in the future,” he continued at the event, which was attended by 3,000 employees, customers and guests from government and industry and featured a performance by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The construction of the steelmaking and processing plant in Alabama is one of the biggest ever foreign investments in the USA. ThyssenKrupp has invested $5 billion in the overall complex, $3.6 billion for the carbon flat steel facilities and 1.4 billion for the stainless area. The Calvert plant will eventually have 2,700 permanent employees. Many times that number of jobs will be created indirectly.

 “Our processing facilities here in Alabama are of the highest international standard and set a benchmark for steel production sites in the USA,” said Dr. Schulz in his speech.

From the new location in Alabama, ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA intend to strengthen their competitive position in North America. The carbon flat steel market in the NAFTA region has a large, steadily growing premium segment. ThyssenKrupp wants to tap more into this market – with customers in the service center, automotive, construction, appliance and tube sectors – and increase its market share to over five%. Stainless steel flat products from ThyssenKrupp are already marketed in the NAFTA region through sales companies. The current market share is more than 15%. This too is expected to increase significantly through ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA. “We are confident we will succeed: ThyssenKrupp enjoys a strong reputation the world over and is known for the quality of its products,” said Dr. Schulz. “Customers in the USA are waiting for us.”

The decision to build a greenfield plant in the USA was made in May 2007. The Calvert location in Mobile County was chosen for its excellent logistics with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico for the supply of starting materials from Brazil. Further advantages included short distances to customers in the industrial centers of the southern USA, Mexico and Canada, the availability of employees and the broad support of government and industry associations in Alabama.

The groundbreaking ceremony on the 14 square kilometer site took place on November 2, 2007. During the construction phase up to 30,000 people were working on the site at the same time. For the foundations, around 8.5 million cubic meters of earth was moved, roughly 75,000 piles were sunk and more than 750,000 cubic meters of concrete cast. The total covered area is approximately 630,000 square meters. The amount of steel used in the construction of the plant would be enough to build ten Eiffel Towers.

For the production of carbon flat steel, the plant will be supplied with three million metric tons of slabs per year from Brazil. These will be shipped to the Port of Mobile, which has been specially expanded for this purpose, and from there along the Tombigbee River to the plant’s own river terminal. The central element of the plant is a wide hot strip mill with a capacity of over five million metric tons per year. The first coil was produced here in July. The cold rolling mill started operation in September. The coating lines of ThyssenKrupp Steel USA will be completed step-by-step. The first cold-rolled products have already been shipped to customers.

In the future the hot strip mill will also be used by ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA. Stainless operations got underway in September 2010 with one cold rolling mill and an annual capacity of around 100,000 tons. Further units such as the hot-rolled annealing and pickling line, which is scheduled to start production in fall 2011, are currently at the planning stage or under construction. A second, 72 inch cold rolling mill is scheduled to come on stream around the same time. Starting material for ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA is currently being supplied from the Group’s European plants. In the future the stainless steel slabs will be produced in an on-site melt shop in Calvert. Construction work is now starting. Part of the stainless hot-rolled produced there will later be supplied to ThyssenKrupp Mexinox in San Luis Potosí (Mexico). Startup of the electric-arc furnace melt shop is planned for December 2012. It will have an annual capacity of up to 1 million metric tons.

In building and operating the equipment in Calvert, the companies are meeting and exceeding strict American and European environmental standards. ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA use extensive energy recovery and recycling technologies, including an innovative water treatment plant. ThyssenKrupp is also investing in employee training, for example through the Erich Heine Learning Center. As at all its locations around the world, ThyssenKrupp is demonstrating its credentials as a good corporate citizen in Alabama, promoting education and social projects in the region and developing partnerships with organizations, schools and universities.

“The American South is an engine of growth for our entire country, and the new ThyssenKrupp plant in Alabama helps secure that economic leadership position for this region,” said Alabama’s Governor Bob Riley at the opening ceremony. “This enormous investment in our state provides new opportunities for even more growth, gives employees and their families good jobs, and makes Alabama and the entire region more competitive,” he continued. “Realizing the three projects – USA, Brazil and the construction of our new headquarters in Germany – all at the same time was a mammoth task. But we managed it,” said Dr. Schulz. “We have arrived here, or to put it another way: ‘Steel Home Alabama’ or even better ‘ThyssenKrupp Home Alabama’.”

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.