Stainless steel long products are used by the oil and gas, process, construction and power generation industries. Round bar, hex and squares – long products lingo for stainless steel bar produced from semifinished products like billet, bloom and ingot.
Outokumpu long products eventually become valves, pumps, flanges, fasteners, springs, wire rod in coil, and even surgical equipment. And they may likely support the bridge you cross on your daily commute.
“We’ve been selling bar in North America for 40 years,” says Outokumpu’s Lou Kern, Senior Vice President, Long Products, for North America, “and we’ve been producing here for 20 years.”
Kern adds that Outokumpu in the Americas is a quality and service leader for stainless steel bar. He cites solid relationships which concentrate on few but influential suppliers as a recipe for success.
“A broad product range, great quality and full service are the bases to our great reputation.”
This way of working has generated an impressive track record. “Our delivery reliability is between 90 and 95 percent every year,” says Kern.
To keep its edge, Outokumpu recently constructed a heat treatment plant just east of its existing cold finishing plant in Richburg, South Carolina. The plant added 20,000 tons of high- and low-temperature heat-treating capactity for lengths up to 32 feet (9.75 meters).
“In addition to capacity, this expansion gives our customers a larger variety of products, shorter lead times, and improved delivery reliability in special grades like 17-4, 2205 and 2507 – all critical to oil and gas,” says Kern.
Growth through value-added products
The United States Energy Information Administration predicts a 38 percent growth in global oil consumption by 2040,with total natural gas consumption forecast to move from 25.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2012, to 31.6 Tcf in 2040.
To take advantage of this trend, Outokumpu offers its PRODEC® stainless steel plate and bar produced for optimal machinability. This translates to lower cost machined parts with better final surface and dimensional tolerances.
With PRODEC®, Outokumpu customers have reported regularly achieving 25 to 30 percent faster machining speeds, with tools sometimes lasting twice as long.
Reinforcement bar is also attracting a lot of attention.
“Stainless rebar has been around for 90 years, but people have usually considered it too expensive compared to carbon steel,” says Kern. Development of duplex steel in the last 20 years now enables the corrosion resistance of stainless at a lower cost.
Kern offers the example of bridge construction. “If you have three layers of rebar on a bridge deck, you might go with stainless rebar for the top layer. Builders can use a thinner concrete cover and reduce the premium.”
What once lasted 20 to 30 years may now last 100 or more. Or even a thousand. The Phra Mahathat Chedi temple in Thailand has been engineered to last that long. The temple uses stainless rebar from Outokumpu for critical structures like its groundwork and shear key. Outokumpu supplied more than 22,000 pieces in 90 different diameter and length combinations with 100 percent delivery accuracy.
Message of value
No matter which Long Product an Outokumpu customer uses, the value proposition is still the same. “Long Products have good machinability, a good surface and conformance specifications.
We also deliver right on time, and offer customers both marketing and technical services,” says Kern.
All this adds up to one thing: Outokumpu as the undisputed quality and service leader for stainless steel bar in North America.