An important investment for the Outokumpu bar facility in Richburg, South Carolina (USA) is now fully operational. The new heat treating capabilities include two furnaces; one for high and one for low temperature work, as well as specialty straightening, cutting, and testing.
"This investment allows us to offer our customers a significant increase in capacity, long length capability, and the ability for specialized treatment," explains Lou Kern, head of Outokumpu's bar facility in Richburg. "This is high-end equipment. Over the past several months during ramp up, we have been able to demonstrate that we can improve on the quality of an already superior product. As a result of the new heat treat lines, our customers should also benefit from reduced lead times and increased reliability particularly for our proprietary stainless steels."
The new heat treat plant is located in a new facility near the existing plant which will continue to perform finishing operations and serve as the warehouse for finished bar and billet. The Richburg facility opened for business twenty years ago.
"In the early days we only sold from stock in standard grades," notes Kern. "Back then, finishing and heat treatment were performed elsewhere. We now perform these operations on-site at our Richburg locations," he explains. "Proper heat treatment is critical to assuring the properties of each particular grade. Having heat treat operations performed in-house has always been a goal for the bar business. With this capital investment we are able to achieve that goal, delivering cost benefits to the company and quality improvements to the customers."
The Richburg mill produces standard and specialty grade stainless in round, square, and hex forms. These bar products are used to manufacture valves, fittings, flanges, and other machine components found in chemical processing, oil exploration, food & beverage, pulp & paper, aerospace, and many other industrial applications.