April 13, 2006
AK Steel has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, AK Tube LLC, has selected its Walbridge, Ohio, plant for a previously announced $8.5 million capital investment to increase production capacity.
The investment will allow AK Tube to produce large diameter stainless tubing that will help heavy duty truck manufacturers meet new standards for diesel vehicle emissions. The new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards become effective January 1, 2007, and are designed to lower particulate matter emissions from heavy duty diesel trucks. The new standard will result in higher peak exhaust temperatures, requiring the use stainless steel. Thus, diesel engine manufacturers have specified large diameter stainless tubing for many of the exhaust components of the new engines. Historically, such components have utilized bare and aluminum-coated carbon steel tubing.
The capital investment includes a resistance-weld tube mill and associated equipment. It will be housed in the company's existing 330,000 square foot facility in Walbridge, near Toledo. The company said installation of the new equipment would be completed by the end of July, with tube production beginning in the third quarter.
The company said that the project will receive assistance from the Ohio Department of Development in the form of a $75,000 grant, as well as $170,000 in training funds from the Ohio Investment Training Program. The Walbridge plant employs 214 men and women, including 146 hourly production and maintenance employees, and serves as headquarters for AK Tube LLC.