September 12, 2006
AK Steel has announced the startup of a new large diameter stainless steel tubing line at the Walbridge, Ohio, plant of AK Tube LLC, its wholly-owned subsidiary. Installation of the resistance-weld tube mill and associated equipment are part of a previously announced $8.5 million capital project to increase production capacity at AK Tube. The new mill is housed in an existing 330,000 square foot facility at the Walbridge plant.
The new mill gives the company the capability to produce large diameter stainless steel tubing that will help heavy-duty truck manufacturers meet stringent new U.S. EPA standards for diesel vehicle emissions. The new standards become effective Jan. 1, 2007 and are designed to reduce particulate matter emissions from heavy-duty diesel engines. The new standard will result in higher peak engine exhaust temperatures, requiring the use of stainless steel. Diesel engine manufacturers have specified large diameter stainless tubing for many of the exhaust components of the new engines. Historically, such components utilized bare and aluminum-coated carbon steel tubing.
The company received assistance from the Ohio Department of Development in the form of a $75,000 grant, as well as up to $170,000 in training funds from the Ohio Investment Training Program. The Walbridge plant employs nearly 220 men and women, including about 150 production and maintenance employees represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) union, and serves as headquarters for AK Tube LLC.