Upticks in the automotive industry are behind significant investments and fired-up production at Cleveland’s ArcelorMittal steel plant. As ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, it’s a welcome turnaround since the recession brought steel production to a standstill.
In 2008, the ArcelorMittal plant’s distinctive flame billowing from a smokestack was all but snuffed out.
But in the past year, 150 workers have been hired, and a blast furnace is undergoing $55 million worth of upgrades.
And a member of the Luxembourg-based company’s management board recently announced that $25 million more would be invested in improving one of the plant’s galvanizing lines.
“It’s been a great success story since restarting in ’09.”
Eric Hauge is General Manager and Vice-President of ArcelorMittal Cleveland.
He says the latest round of hires were for part of the plant that had been shut down five years ago.
It was believed shuttered for good, but Hauge says upticks in demand – especially from local factories -- have fired up production again.
“We supply to really all the auto manufacturers in the state, and also to a lot of service centers. About 50 percent of the steel we make at this plant stays in the state of Ohio.”
Hauge says ArcelorMittal Cleveland’s production is the highest in North America.
Its renewed focus is now on research and development, namely creating stronger, lighter alloys that will meet the federal government’s new standards for fuel efficiency in cars by 2025.
“You know, it’s really been a great opportunity for Cleveland to get in at this early stage and be one of the leaders for making this product. Not only in our region or North America. but really globally.”
What’s especially sweet for Hauge is that this renewed growth and production hits right at ArcelorMittal Cleveland’s century mark.
He’s hoping for another century of high-end steel production for the plant.