As published in Toledo Business Journal - August 1, 2018

Aerial view of Gerdau Special Steel North America’s Monroe mill

Aerial view of Gerdau Special Steel North America’s Monroe mill

Gerdau invests $70.3M in Monroe facility

Project follows previous $155.6M capital spending in operations

Three years after completing a $155.6 million capital investment at the same facility, Gerdau Special Steel North America, a producer of long steel and a large suppliers of special steel around the world, is launching an additional $70.3 million investment project at its Monroe, Michigan mill. This round of investment will include a new electric arc furnace (EAF) transformer, controls, and mechanical upgrades in the EAF; and a new twin ladle furnace and material handling system.

“This project will upgrade our EAF and secondary refining technology and will be the final step to elevate the technological capability at Monroe to world class,” said Mark Marcucci, president of Gerdau Special Steel North America. “In addition, we will substantially improve our hot metal capacity, which will now fully optimize our previous investments.”

According to Lindsey Erb, specialist II, communication and public affairs for Gerdau Special Steel North America, the previous investments were made due to the demand for high quality special bar quality (SBQ) steel.

Recent corporate tax cuts combined with support from the City of Monroe and State of Michigan helped make this project possible, noted the company. The project was subject to an exemption from the State Essential Services Assessment, which was approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board in June and is worth $2 million.

“We appreciate the support we’ve received from both entities on the investments we’ve made to the facility these last five years and look forward to their continued support,” said Darrel Moore, vice president and general manager of the Monroe mill.

This project will conclude the planned enhancements to Monroe and is expected to be finished in December 2020. Other upgrades to the mill included the installation of a new continuous caster in 2012, followed by a new twin-tank vacuum degasser, walking beam reheat furnace, six additional rolling mill stands, and a new finishing building with bar straightening and advanced quality inspection equipment in 2015. The culmination of all these investments is expected to increase Gerdau Monroe’s shipping capacity to 720,000 tons – a 180,000 ton increase from the current shipping capacity.

“Our further capital investments in the Monroe mill are a result of our confidence in the North American markets, as well as our continued commitment to support our customers,” said Gerdau CEO Gustavo Werneck.

Gerdau Special Steel North America produces special bar quality steel for the automotive, commercial vehicle, agricultural, construction, distribution, and energy markets, including products such as crankshafts, camshafts, steering racks, conrods, wheel hubs, and gears.

“Almost every vehicle produced in the US contains some amount of Gerdau steel,” said Erb.

The division is headquartered in Jackson, Michigan and operates steel manufacturing plants in Jackson and Monroe, Michigan and Fort Smith, Arkansas with an additional heat treating facility in Huntington, Indiana. Gerdau Special Steel is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gerdau.

Gerdau’s North American special steel division, according to the company, employs approximately 1,500 people, with the Monroe mill directly employing more than 525 people and indirectly creating approximately 1,500 jobs.

“While this expansion will not require new jobs directly, the project will create indirect jobs due to contracted work that will be needed to complete the expansion. This project will have a positive impact in Monroe and surrounding areas because it will temporarily bring more indirect jobs to the area, which will also have a positive impact on local restaurants,” said Erb.

Gerdau is also seeking candidates to fill a few skilled trade positions and will be hosting a job fair on Friday, August 17 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm in its parking lot at 3000 E. Front Street.

“Gerdau’s commitment to its core values throughout the organization, from the shop floor to the executive levels, is what sets us apart, particularly our relentless focus on our customers. Our team of outside sales, technical services, and order fulfillment representatives work very closely with our customers to ensure the most effective solutions are implemented. Gerdau is a good corporate citizen in all of the locations in which we operate. Our location in Monroe does a nice job partnering with local schools, specifically Monroe Community College and Arborwood Elementary, as well as local non-profits including United Way, March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, 4H Club, Salvation Army, and First Robotics,” concluded Erb.


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