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AK Steel's Latest Claim

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Pacman View Drop Down
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    Posted: Oct 31 2008 at 8:44am

"There are no planned layoffs for the Middletown facility, Rich said.

Alan McCoy, AK Steel spokesman, said the company had no comment on any talk of layoffs.

But he said what could affect the Middletown plant is a delay of SunCoke's $340 million coke oven facility to be built adjacent to its facility along the Monroe border. The plant would produce coke and electrical power exclusively for the use of Middletown Works, McCoy said.

"Beyond (Dec. 31, 2009), we do not have an assured supply of coke. ... Our current supplier has been sold and the new suppliers have said they will not have any coke available for us once this current contract runs out," he said."

This is a quote from the MJ today.   I don't recall this being discussed at all in any of the meetings that Concerned the New Coke Plant.  I was under the impression that the whole deal with SunCoke and the Dec. 2009 deadline was due to Energy Credits or something from the US Government.  Now we are hearing that AK has lost their Coke Contract.
 
Someone enlighten a steel mill novice.  What does AK produce at it current Coke Ovens.  Is anyone really buying that AK's whole future in Middletown Hinges on one contractor being sold.  Are they the only contractor in the USA for COKE?
 
Or is this just another scare tactic by AK to rally support behind the Coke Plant?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 31 2008 at 8:57am
Pacman--Mr.McCoy CLEARLY made this statement at the City Council open forums, and pretty much in the exact wording used above. I remember watching/hearing it.
 
Nothing new here.
 
They DO need the coke.
Still--the thought of the new choke plant at the intended location makes me ill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 31 2008 at 9:00am
So what do they produce at the current Coke Facility???????????
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 1:08pm
Journal article-11/13/08- Now, AK claims that without that new coke plant, steel production may be halted by next year in Middletown.Alan McCoy says they are stuck between a rock and a hard place to keep local operations going. Isn't all this very convenient? This scenario plays well for them and gives them an excuse to build it and a defense against the opponents, if one wants to believe this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 2:32pm
My guess is that after the new choke plant is totally approved and under construction, AK Steel will then be sold.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote .308 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 3:21pm
Better to be sold than to be "Bailed Out".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Josh Van Cleave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 4:29pm
US Steel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 8:12pm
Originally posted by Pacman Pacman wrote:

 
Someone enlighten a steel mill novice.  What does AK produce at it current Coke Ovens. 
 
Pacman:

Here is a short course in steelmaking:

First, metallurgical grade coal is heated (in an oven by INDIRECT heat--it is sort of “roasted” and NOT set afire) in order to drive off a lot of volatile chemicals and other “icky” stuff. Then, the coke is added to a big load of iron ore (this ore is an ORE and NOT pure iron) along with dribs and drabs of this and that. This mixture is “blasted” with extremely hot air in a BLAST FURNACE (the large, tall, black, two liter bottle-shaped thing with the doo-hickey on top that you might see from Oxford State Road just southeast of the big red BOF-continuous caster building), and this results in molten IRON (with a layer of “sl*g“ floating on top)!

The molten iron is “tapped off” into “torpedo” railroad cars and shipped a hundred yards or so to the Basic Oxygen Furnaces (BOFs) where it is transferred into another large vessel which usually (but not always) contains some scrap steel (which has been pre-graded). Dribs and drabs of some magic additives are thrown in, then a large, long pipe (called an oxygen lance) is lowered into the vessel and pure oxygen is blown into the mixture at a high volume and pressure. A miracle occurs! The large furnace vessel is tilted, the sl*g is skimmed off, and the molten STEEL is poured into a ladle.

The ladle of molten steel is transferred to the casting aisle where it is dumped into the top of a large device which molds it into a slab (anywhere from 4” to 10” +- thick, 4’ to 8’ wide, and in a CONTINUOUS strand. The strand is cut, by automatic cutting torches, into whatever length is required. The steel slab is then ready for rolling into bars, plate or strip, and/or whatever further processing is required for any particular application. (Similar continuous casters cast billets--more square than rectangular in cross section than slabs-- to be rolled into structural shapes, or “thin slabs” that eliminate the need for parts of the “rolling” process.)

To answer your more basic question “What does AK produce at it current Coke Ovens?”:

At their existing coke plants (as well as most existing coke plants in the USA) the main product is COKE. However, there are several useful (and some not so useful) by-products including: ammonia, benzene, some nitrates useful as fertilizers, tars, and others. However, at the proposed new SunCoke facility, these volatile by-products will not be recovered, but will instead be incinerated by high heat as part of the process. The waste heat will be recovered to generate electricity for use by AK.

For more detailed and accurate description of the steelmaking processes, I recommend “The Making, Shaping, and Treating of Steel”. I would think it is available at our local library. Also, I know that there are (or at least there were in the past) several copies in the AK engineering department. If you know someone there, perhaps you could borrow a copy.)

I hope that this helps.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 8:33pm
Originally posted by Pacman Pacman wrote:

  Is anyone really buying that AK's whole future in Middletown Hinges on one contractor being sold.  Are they the only contractor in the USA for COKE?
Or is this just another scare tactic by AK to rally support behind the Coke Plant?
 
 
Thare are many producers of metalurgical coke in the USA.  However most of the existing coke plants are of the "by-products recovery" type and are quite old and difficult to maintain.   I don't think any new by-product recovery type coke plants have started construction for at least fifteen years due to stringent EPA requirements enacted about that time.
 
Now, to the best of my knowledge, the USA is/was a net IMPORTER of coke, at least until the current financial meltdown began, and domestic steel demand started to decline.  There remains a huge demand for coke in China and a few other nations, and until a few months ago, that demand was projected to continue for the forseeable future.  Up to that time the price of coke had been increasing, and I can easily believe that AK's supplier could have started negotiations with other users at a higher price.
 
By the way, further to my previous post on steelmaking, and all of this is STRICTLY JUST MY SPECULATION:
 
If the steel market for AK's product mix had remained as it was projected a year ago, a new coke plant with heat recovery used for POWER GENERATION would have well placed AK to build an ELECTRIC ARC FURNACE or two and perhaps a thin slab caster to enhance their position and their profitability in the world market.  This would also reduce their dependence on COKE, since electric arc furnaces melt scrap steel (they do NOT make new steel out of iron ore and coke).  Once again, this is just MY OPINION!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 8:46pm
Mike, Thanks for the Coke Lesson.  Tell you wife PacMan says Hi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 13 2008 at 9:25pm
Pacman:
You are welcome.   I'm glad that I could help.  I've had extensive experience in steel mill engineering and construction, including having been involved in either the bidding, or building, or both of nearly every coke plant in America from the early '70s to the mid '90s.
 
PS:  Dawn says "Hi", and we figured out who you are!
PPS:  Your secret is safe with us.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 14 2008 at 6:19am
Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 14 2008 at 7:05am
I just read yesterday's (Thursday, 11/13/2008's) Middletown Journal about three hours ago.  Non-steel mill people:  Don't be confused by the fact that the picture on the Journal's front page may not match what you imagined a HOT STRIP MILL to be.
 
The picture in The Journal is of the run-out area of a twin strand CONTINUOUS CASTER, even though the caption talks about a hot strip mill.  (The hot strip mill is housed in the very long--over 4,000 feet, as I recall--building about a quarter mile east of the continuous caster, and running parallel to Breiel Blvd.)
 
PS:  Several years ago, after The Journal made several similar errors regarding construction equipment and activity, I offered to act as a resource or consultant on such matters at NO COST to The Journal.  They have never bothered to call.  I guess they prefer to run FRONT PAGE pictures with erroneous captions in a city where a large number of folks can recognize the error at a glance!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov 14 2008 at 10:38am
Journal article-11/14/08- AK laying off 34 more people at the Coshocton plant. Layed off some Mansfield and Ashland folks recently. Question: When companies start laying off people, why is it always the lower wage workers that have to go and not the higher paid middle and upper managers who draw the big salaries? Wouldn't the elimination of a middle manager's job duties and subsequent re-incorporation of their job responsibilities save the company more money while reducing the impact on the sheer number of people lost from the organization, given the major differences in the salaries? Articles like this always relate to the "floor people" getting cut, but almost never indicate any cuts in management. If money savings is the real issue, shouldn't the company be chopping the positions that demand the higher wages/benefit packages/bonuses? If the lesser skilled jobs have to go, why shouldn't the higher paying "professionals" take a hit also?
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