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Steelton plant to get USD 12 million investment for facility expansion
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Thursday, 20 Feb 2014

A steel plant in Steelton that sustained an explosion earlier this month is getting an USD 11.5 million investment intended to help the plant increase its ingot production.

Lehigh Heavy Forge Corporation of Bethlehem’s investment in ArcelorMittal will be used to do a 260 foot expansion of the plant’s ingot facility, reroute railroad track and relocate utilities.

Mr Allan Robertson VP of Marketing and Sales for Lehigh Heavy Forge Corporation said that “The investment is meant to increase the Steelton plant’s production of vacuum stream degassed ingots by about 30 percent. The capacity would go from roughly 140 of those particular ingots a year to around 180 ingots.

Mr Robertson said that “They’re the only source that can make ingots as large as we need. And so we’re just very much joined at the hip. We rely on them for the ingots for the products we’re producing. It’s necessary for the products that we make. Currently we were limited by the number of ingots that we could get because there is no other practical source that could supply these.”

The Steelton plant operates a mini mill operation that produces up to 300-ton vacuum poured ingots that get shipped to Lehigh Heavy Forge Corporation. The Bethlehem company then forms the ingots on its open die press creating products including ships shafts, pressure vessels, generator shafts and forged steel rolls for various markets.

Mr Robertson said that this is the first time his company has made an investment like this into the Steelton plant. Part of the work for the expansion already has begun as crews have started taking down a building that was going to be in the way. The projected completion for the first phase is the end of November.

He said that additionally, the investment is the first of three planned investments by the Lehigh Heavy Forge into ArcelorMittal. Though the time frame for the next phases would depend on the market demand for the large forgings the company makes.

He added that “We don’t have a time set for it. The next phases are adding additional equipment in the expansion. We had to have the building first and the building alone will allow us to get more ingots. And then from there, additional equipment would have to be put in.”

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