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Up from the Ashes: The Rise of the Steel Minimill in the United States

Barnett, Donald F., and Crandall, Robert W.

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ISBN 10: 0815708335 / ISBN 13: 9780815708339
Published by The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, 1986
Soft cover
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xii, [2] 135, [3] p. Illustrations. Footnotes. Index. From Wikipedia: "A mini-mill is traditionally a secondary steel producer; however, Nucor (one of the world's largest steel producers), as well as one of its competitors, Commercial Metals Company (CMC) use mini-mills exclusively. Usually it obtains most of its iron from scrap steel, recycled from used automobiles and equipment or byproducts of manufacturing. Direct reduced iron (DRI) is sometimes used with scrap, to help maintain desired chemistry of the steel, though usually DRI is too expensive to use as the primary raw steelmaking material. A typical mini-mill will have an electric arc furnace for scrap melting, a ladle furnace or vacuum furnace for precision control of chemistry, a strip or billet continuous caster for converting molten steel to solid form, a reheat furnace and a rolling mill. Originally the mini-mill concept was adapted to production of bar products only, such as concrete reinforcing bar, flats, angles, channels, pipe, and light rails. Since the late 1980s, successful introduction of the direct strip casting process has made mini-mill production of strip feasible. Often a mini-mill will be constructed in an area with no other steel production, to take advantage of local resources and lower-cost labour. Mini-mill plants may specialize, for example, making coils of rod for wire-drawing use, or pipe, or in special sections for transportation and agriculture. Capacities of mini-mills vary; some plants may make as much as 3, 000, 000 tons per year, a typical size is in the range 200, 000 to 400, 000 tons per year, and some old or specialty plants may make as little as 50, 000 tons per year of finished product. Nucor Corporation, for example, annually produces around 9, 100, 000 tons of sheet steel from its 4 sheet mills, 6, 700, 000 tons of bar steel from its 10 bar mills and 2, 100, 000 tons of plate steel from its 2 plate mills. Since the electric arc furnace can be easily started and stopped on a regular basis, mini-mills can follow the market demand for their products easily, operating on 24 hour schedules when demand is high and cutting back production when sales are lower." Good. Cover has some wear and soiling. Bookseller Inventory # 66559

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Up from the Ashes: The Rise of the Steel ...

Publisher: The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC

Publication Date: 1986

Binding: Trade paperback

Edition: First edition. First printing [stated].

About this title


Large U.S. steelmakers, suffering from aging physical plants, import competition, rising costs, and declining demand, have steadily reduced their production capacity since 1974. Numerous firms have failed, and the future is bleak for many of those remaining. There is one bright spot in the U.S. steel industry, however: minimills—small-scale plants producing steel from scrap instead of iron ore. While Big Steel has been shrinking, minimills have been growing, and they now turn out about one-fifth of the raw steel produced in the United States. In this study, Donald F. Barnett and Robert W. Crandall present a comprehensive survey of U.S. minimills—their operations, methods, costs, growth, and competitiveness. They show that by constantly reducing costs through more efficient facilities and incentives for labor productivity and by steadily expanding the array of products offered, minimills will likely account for 40 percent of the U.S. steel market by the end of the century. Indeed, the minimills have been nearly as important as imports in contributing to the decline of the large, integrated producers. Despite a number of failures, minimills have out-performed larger steel companies on the stock market and have continued to attract investment capital more easily. Minimills, the authors conclude, do not require trade protection to survive and in fact are highly competitive with all other steel producers.

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