Following a 3 year construction period, the new steelmaking and processing plant of ThyssenKrupp Steel USA and ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA at Calert in Alabama in the southeastern USA was officially opened on December 10th 2010.
The program, in one half of ThyssenKrupp’s largest warehouse, followed a reception that took place in the other half of the building. Transported by a never ending stream of buses from parking areas and downtown Mobile hotels, 4,000 workers, guests, customers, company leaders and government officials flooded in before the official 5 PM start time. Inside, they found half the building transformed into a reception hall. Lights were covered with blue filters, and a sound system had been hung on a special rigging that ran the length of the reception area. Some machines were atmospherically lit, and the painted concrete floor gleamed.
Acrobats built a steel structure, spun from hoops, and did flips while wearing pogo stilts, and swung from bungee cords. Models showed off outlandish fashions made of steel and its ingredients.
Among the highlights of the event was a surprise appearance by legendary Southern rock bank Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Executives had made too many references to “Sweet Home Alabama” since the USD 5 billion project was announced in 2007. Skynyrd’s performance capped a frosty two hour program marking the opening of the complex on the Mobile-Washington county line.
The superlatives rolled off the tongues of the speakers as they lauded free trade and foreign investment “Largest industrial project in the history of Alabama. Largest German investment ever in the United States.”
Dr Ekkehard Schulz, the head of Germany’s largest steelmaker, opened his Friday morning press conference with “Big wheels keep on turning,” likening it to the startup of the plants in Calvert and in Brazil.
He closed the morning by trying out two variations of the title “We’ve arrived here, or to put it another way, ‘Steel Home Alabama.’ Or perhaps even better, ‘ThyssenKrupp Home Alabama.”
Dr Ekkehard Schulz CEO of ThyssenKrupp AG, at the opening ceremony in Calvert said “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. 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.”
The construction of the steelmaking and processing plant in Alabama is one of the biggest ever foreign investments in the USA. ThyssenKrupp has invested USD 5 billion in the overall complex, USD 3.6 billion for the carbon flat steel facilities and USD 1.4 billion for the stainless area.
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 2nd 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 3 million tonnes 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 5 million tonnes 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.
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 tonnes.
(Sourced from ThyssenKrupp and al.com)