Hard steel: manufacturing serves as the backbone of manufacturing


Manufacturers across the upstate strive to create everything from cars and airplanes to engines, with their goods shipped across the country and around the world. Often, these manufactured products are carefully assembled with metal parts that are cast, fabricated or cut. Due to its strength, steel is the material of choice for these products. Several companies here in the upstate provide these companies with the Steel fabrication – manufacture various components needed to create the cars we drive, the buildings where we work and the infrastructure we need.

Provide the products needed for construction

One of these companies is Kloeckner Greenville, the upstate branch Kloeckner Metals Company. The company, listed on the German stock exchange, manufactures and distributes steel and metal products. In 2017, it announced its investment of $ 11.3 million to expand its manufacturing facility at 1 White Horse Road, The Northern State Business Journal Previously reported. Greenville County received $ 100,000 from the Economic Development Co-ordinating Council to help cover site preparation costs.

This expansion included a 50,000 square foot bay with 43 ton cranes and a new highly automated slitting line fully capable of processing advanced high strength steels and aluminum.

Kloeckner Metals bought Mac Steel in 2011, which included its Greenville plant.

“South Carolina’s world-class workforce continues to demonstrate an unmatched level of excellence and as a result companies like Kloeckner Metals continue to grow and prosper in our state. I congratulate this great company and look forward to everything we know it will achieve in Greenville County ”, Governor Henry McMaster said at the time.

The company ships carbon and non-ferrous metals from inventory held at its 42 locations across North America.

The 200,000 square foot White Horse Road facility serves Kloeckners customers across Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee, according to the Kloeckner website. . The Greenville plant employs approximately 85 workers.

Kloeckner Metal Corporation’s sales are about 7 billion euros, or about $ 8.3 billion, according to Bob DeMarco, executive vice president of Kloeckner. In North America, the company’s sales are approximately $ 3 billion.

“The Southeast has grown over the past 20 years or so as manufacturing has moved south,” DeMarco said. “South Carolina and our Greenville site have certainly benefited from this migration. “

In its facilities, the company cuts, cuts to length and sells coils. “And we sell various long products in a lot of markets – long products being beams, channels, angles, rounds, squares, plates, plates, tubes, pipes, stuff like that,” he said. declared DeMarco.

Many of Kloeckner’s customers work in the HVAC and automotive manufacturing industries and use these steel parts to make their own products.

The results of the pandemic

While other industries have suffered from the novel coronavirus pandemic, DeMarco said Kloeckner Metals has not seen a significant impact. “Business has not fallen to the level that we initially thought it would,” he said.

During the economic shutdown, Kloeckner, like many manufacturers, was not ordered to shut down.

“At our 42 locations, we have been rated as critical in all of the states in which we operate,” said DeMarco. “Fortunately, we haven’t had any locations closed for a while due to COVID. We have strong policies in place to protect our employees, to protect our customers. “

Around 83,000 employees worked in blast furnaces and steel mills that produced steel for companies like Kloeckner Metals in 2019. Source: Statista.

While DeMarco said trade industry data showed business was down about 30% when the pandemic started around April, it is now down about 15%. The company had to downsize in some places and switch to four-day work weeks, but DeMarco said the company was “on the rise.”

“It wasn’t a V-shaped recovery, but you can see it like the Nike swoosh, right? So here is that bottom of the V, and then it started to come up, then halfway, maybe a little more than halfway, ”DeMarco said.

The situation of steel production

The entire steel industry has suffered due to COVID-19 in what Barron reported was “obvious and some means not so obvious”. The sector has had to contend with a drop in demand as some automotive and construction projects are halted, but steel prices have risen. In May, scrap metal prices rose 13% from a year ago, according to the outlet.

Steel production has changed for years. The pandemic, DeMarco said, has hit factories producing hard steel – due to the closures Barron’s mentioned.

Structural fabrication refers to the cutting, bending and joining of steel to create different products. When fabricating metal frames, several pieces of steel are combined to form different structures of predefined sizes and shapes for assembly in buildings, industrial equipment, tools, and various other end products. Source: Kloeckner Metals Corporation

“I have been in the steel business for 34 years now. And that has been a problem for my entire 34 years: overcapacity in steel production, ”said DeMarco. “Many countries have built factories… to try to do something about their employment situation.”

However, he continued, whenever one was built somewhere, another elsewhere was closed.

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