AK Steel Completes Mill Upgrades, Explains Cause of Steel Spill
“We are already seeing good payback on those investments and expect each to exceed the quality and operational efficiency improvements we targeted,” said president and chief operating officer Kirk Reich, speaking during a call with analysts to discuss the company's quarterly results.
At the Mansfield Works, the company installed what was described as new, state-of-the-art technology that will reduce costs and improve flexibility. And at the Middletown Works, the company made upgrades to the blast furnace, replaced a basic oxygen furnace vessel and replaced several coating tanks on the mill’s electrogalvanizing line.
Also during the call, executives said a ladle spill that put the Middletown steel shop out of commission for more than a week was caused by a hydraulic failure. Reich said the failure allowed the slidegate on the bottom of the ladle to open before it had been moved into the proper position.
No employees were injured in the accident, but the spill, which occurred the morning of 20 January, set the steel shop on fire, damaging the building and equipment.
“We assessed the damage, cleaned up the steel, and have repaired the structure, piping, wiring, and other associated equipment. We have also implemented several corrective actions to address the root cause of the failure,” Reich said.
The facility resumed casting slabs on Monday.