Surrounded by fields of corn, soybeans and alfalfa in Northwest Ohio sits a shining example of a global partnership that combines American steel-making tradition, Japanese technical and analytical style, and the strong work ethic and family values of a small town.
That partnership is PRO-TEC Coating Company, established in 1990 near Leipsic, Ohio, by U.S. Steel Corp. and KOBE Steel, Ltd., of Japan, two global giants in steel technology and production.
PRO-TEC began operation in 1993 with a state-of-the-art hot-dip galvanizing line to produce steel for the automotive industry. Its 90 employees quickly exceeded the line's original rated capacity of 600,000 tons per year and set world production records in 1995, 1996 and 1997. In response to increased demand, PRO-TEC built a second galvanizing line in late 1998.
Now PRO-TEC is on the grow again, with plans to produce advanced high-strength steel and ultra high-strength steel, also for the automotive industry. Both are new products for the company and call for the construction of a heavy-industry building to house a new state-of-the-art continuous annealing line. "The additional finishing process of annealing takes the steel to incredibly high temperatures to make it extremely strong," explains Courtney Boone, a U.S. Steel spokeswoman.
U.S. Steel and KOBE Steel are making a capital investment of approximately $400 million in this latest expansion that is expected to create 500 temporary construction jobs and add 80 new full-time jobs to the current 229 employee population. The Ohio Department of Development has awarded PRO-TEC a $500,000 Rapid Outreach Grant toward the purchase of new machinery and equipment.
"This new line will give us more operational flexibility in filling customer orders," Boone notes. Construction of the new facility is anticipated to begin in early 2011, with production start up in early 2013.
Impressive track record and future growth plans for a company surrounded by corn, soybeans and alfalfa.
Source: Courtney Boone, U.S. Steel
Writer: Lynne Meyer