United States Steel Corporation (NYSE: X) and Kobe Steel, Ltd., of Japan formally commissioned the new Continuous Annealing Line at their joint venture PRO-TEC Coating Company. PRO-TEC will now process some of the strongest and most formable grades of steel in North America. These new grades will assist automotive manufacturers in reaching the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 54.5 miles per gallon for their passenger vehicle fleets and maintain the rigorous safety standards consumers demand.
Through cutting-edge heat treat and quench technology, the 500,000-ton PRO-TEC Continuous Annealing Line will produce the next generation of Advanced High Strength Steels (AHSS) and Ultra High Strength Steels (UHSS) from 590 mega-pascal and higher. These new grades of steel have unmatched metallurgical properties -- superior strength, flatness and formability previously unavailable at these strength levels. These steels support our customers by offering critical design solutions as automotive companies reduce the weight of component materials in their line to improve fuel economy while continuing to enhance strength to improve passenger safety. These properties, coupled with steel's inherent recyclability and overall environmental performance, make steel the material of choice for automotive manufacturers.
"The investment in this Continuous Annealing Line represents more than just the future of this facility – it also represents the future for automotive steel products and the applications in which they are used," said U. S. Steel Chairman and CEO John Surma. "U. S. Steel and Kobe Steel saw an opportunity for our PRO-TEC joint venture to help our automotive customers overcome the challenges associated with the 54.5 mpg regulation, and the products processed at PRO-TEC's new Continuous Annealing Line will offer our customers affordable, highly advanced options that will position them for ongoing success."
Industry wide, in the last 10 years, the use of high-strength steels has doubled in number, and as a result are the fastest growing materials in the car. These newly formulated grades reduce vehicle weight without sacrificing safety and importantly, affordability.
The commissioning event is a culmination of a $400 million capital investment by the partners into PRO-TEC. Announced in late 2010, the investment created 500 temporary construction jobs as well as 80 full-time jobs. PRO-TEC has served the automotive industry's need for high-quality, value-added steel products for 20 years. Dignitaries attending the event included United States Steel Chairman and CEO John P. Surma; Kobe Steel President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki; PRO-TEC Coating Company President Bryan Vaughn; representatives from automotive manufacturers; and state and local elected officials.
PRO-TEC Coating Company, Leipsic, Ohio, provides world-class, value-added steels to the quality-critical automotive industry. These products help to improve vehicle crashworthiness as well as fuel economy through weight reduction. PRO-TEC is a 50/50 joint venture partnership of United States Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd., of Japan. With a 1.5 million ton annual capacity, PRO-TEC is one of the world's largest facilities producing high-end automotive sheet steel for the automotive industry.
SOURCE United States Steel Corporation