May 10, 2006
WCI Steel Inc., Warren, Ohio, has announced that it is investing $36.7 million in a new walking beam slab reheat furnace at its hot strip mill that is intended to increase quality and productivity while reducing operating, maintenance, and energy costs. Construction is expected to begin immediately, with project completion set for January 2008.
The new walking beam furnace will replace three pusher-type furnaces now in operation at the strip mill. During construction, the strip mill will operate with two of its three existing furnaces.
WCI President Patrick G. Tatom said the new furnace will employ state-of- the-art combustion control technology that will reduce electricity usage by 25 percent per ton produced and, overall, reduce fuel consumption by 37.5 percent per ton produced.
David A. Howard, WCI vice president-commercial, said the walking beam furnace will allow the company to roll longer slabs (from 28 feet to up to 33.5 feet) and meet market demand for 1,000 PIW coil sizes (compared with the existing 850 PIW maximum).
Also included in the project scope is the expansion of existing heat retention boxes to accept larger steel slabs, an upgrade of existing shipping cranes and an upgrade to the shipping floor online coil scales.
WCI is an integrated steelmaker that employees nearly 1,600 workers.