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Manufacturing

Shipping_containers_at_ClydeIt’s hard to imagine a world without container ships. These ships make it possible for us to request and send products all over the world. How do you think that Chinese- made pair of jeans go to you? Container ships are a feat of engineering and the backbone to our modern economy. The container aboard these ships are able to seamlessly be transported to the ship by semi-trucks, loaded on the ship, and taken off to be transported by truck to their destination. There is no need to unload the contents as in the old days.

Before containerization was invented, items were transported in packages and placed aboard ships. It was a painstaking, time consuming process. Containers can hold up to 64,000 lbs of cargo each. Thanks to the invention of containers, the shipping time for cargo was reduced by 84% and costs went down 35%. By 2001, almost 90% of dry cargo was shipped in a container.

Shipping containers are built to hold heavy material, withstand the salty ocean air, and last a long time. They are usually made of steel, but can also be made of aluminum, fiberglass, or even wood. The invention of the container was not met with open arms. Many trade unions for dock workers balked at the idea. They believed this invention would cause massive job losses. Many companies involved in ports and railways were worried about the huge costs involved in developing infrastructure to handle these new containers.

Containers can now be loaded and unloaded from a ship in a few hours. The sturdy containers also allow for less breakage while the ship is underway. There is also less theft. Container ships now make up about 14% of the world’s fleet based on tonnage. Despite improvements in efficiency, about 2,000-10,000 containers are lost at sea each year. This costs companies about $370 million dollars. This is due to storms, or even ships sinking. Shipping by container is still the best way to go for many companies around the world. You can thank this containerization innovation next time you purchase an item made overseas.

2015-ford-f-150-photo-564664-s-986x603-626x382It seems we have discussed the use of steel in automobiles in a number of blogs over the last several months. First steel is going to be replaced by aluminum, then an article retracts that idea saying steel is around to stay. I suppose it will always depend on the vehicle but Ford recently announced the final steel-bodied F-150 rolled off the line at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant last month. 

According to caranddriver.com, Ford’s Kansas City facility will continue to manufacture steel-bodied F-150s until the end of the year, the line in Dearborn is being dismantled to make room for the new tooling and equipment required to produce aluminum-bodied trucks for the 2015 model year.

 

The Dearborn plant will be closed until mid-September, putting about 3,000 workers on temporary layoff. Employees will be called back in tiers, with two crews returning on September 21 and a third on October 20. Starting initially with preproduction models, the plant is scheduled to return to full speed before January.

According to experts, the company’s decision to switch its venerated pickup truck to aluminum is not without risk. Ford sold 63,240 F-150s in the U.S. in July, the last full month of production before the $359-million switchover began. In order to keep the cash flowing, Ford needs to expedite the switch but without sacrificing quality.

Read the full article here

 

UnknownOur modern infrastructure is possible thanks to steel. You may not realize it, but most everything we use today is comprised of steel. In the early days of transportation we relied on steel for the railroads. Now our cars, trucks, buses, and ships are made using steel. 
 
Electricity comes to our house through steel power lines and the power plants creating this energy are also made of the material. Our military relies on steel for battleships and aircraft carriers. 
 
Our homes contain tons of steel items. Most of our appliances have steel in them like fridges, ovens, and laundry machines. Forks, knives, spoons can also be made of steel. Even our food can come packaged in steel cans. group-stainless-steel-kitchen-items-13989128
 
Next time you’re at the hospital or doctor’s office, take a look around. Most of the surgical instruments used today are made of top quality steel. 

Steel is all around us!
Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 12.14.21 PMLeveltek President Mike Kelly and his wife Carla just returned from Australia where they attended the grand opening for the new $8 million BlueScope processing line. The Kelly’s were among the 120 guests which included customers, distributors, contraction companies and executives from Bradbury. The line was officially opened (ahead of schedule!) by Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and BlueScope executives. Mike are Carla were able to tour the new line. “Everything looked fantastic and ran perfectly. All of the feedback was extremely positive. It has been a great project, a great team effort and one that Leveltek is proud to be a part of,” says Mike Kelly. 
 
 
A new $8 million hot rolled coil processing facility opened at BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks on Monday.

The new processing line uses state-of-the-art stretch-levelling technology to make coil plate and has been strategically installed next to the hot strip mill.

Construction finished ahead of schedule, which meant Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery was able to open it a month early. Cr Bradbery spoke about the importance of adding value to the region’s economy.

He said BlueScope’s willingness to continue its long relationship with Wollongong was testimony to its ongoing confidence in the region.

BlueScope sales, marketing, innovation and trading general manager Jason Ellis said it was a great day for the steelworks and an investment in the future. The company was able to deliver a higher-quality product, he said.

“It is also important for our industry in general because this is a reinvestment back in steel. It doesn’t happen very often. It really is a significant milestone for all of us, not just BlueScope. This material and this product will help deliver better value for our customers and their customers,” he said.

BlueScope manufacturing general manager John Nowlan said the new processing line would employ about 10 people in two shifts.

“It is adding value to the coil that we make,” he said. BlueScope’s new coil plate product will be available in the market as TRU-SPEC™ Coil Plate steel. It is designed to bend, cut, press and form predictably to ensure quality products can be produced efficiently and easily.

BlueScope product and brand manager Gregory Moffitt said customers were definitely in mind in the latest investment.

The flatness and consistency of the coil plate steel was particularly suited to the industry’s growing preference towards laser cutting, which required products to stay flat during cutting, he said.

“Stretch levelling technology produces a ‘memory-free’ product, which means TRU-SPEC™ Coil Plate steel is less likely to flex up and jam or damage the laser cutter.”

Full production is expected to begin on September 1.

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At Leveltek International, we are always looking for the incredible things that steel creates. The New Safe Confinement is the structure intended to contain the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, Ukraine, part of which was destroyed by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

THE SACROPHAGUS 

The sarcophagus that currently encases Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is a giant metal concrete structure quickly constructed as an emergency measure in 1986 to halt the release of radiation into the atmosphere following the explosion. The official Russian name is “Obyekt Ukrytiye” which means shelter or covering.

It is estimated that within the shelter there is 200 tons of radioactive corium, 30 tons of contaminated dust and 16 tons of uranium and plutonium (source Wikipedia). In 1996 it was considered impossible to repair the sarcophagus as radiation levels within it were as high as 10,000 röntgens per hour (background radiation in cities is around 20-50 microröntgens per hour, a lethal dose being 500 röntgens over 5 hours).inside-sarcophagus

A decision to replace the sarcophagus with a “New Safe Containment” was taken and construction of the new structure is now well underway. Originally planned to be in place by 2005, the New Shelter is expected to be completed by the French consortium Novarka in 2015.

 

 

THE CHERBOBYL NEW SAFE CONFINEMENT 

The Chernobyl New Safe Confinement is the largest moveable steel structure out there. It will prevent radioactive leakage from the old nuclear site. Just one way steel is keeping us safe! 

According to The Chernobyl Gallery, The New Safe Confinement (NSC or New Shelter) is the structure, paid for by the Chernobyl Shelter Fund, intended to fully contain the damaged nuclear reactor and prevent the reactor complex from leaking further radioactive material into the environment for the next 100 years. The confinement is expected to be completed by the French consortium Novarka in 2015.

 

Photographs of construction progress can be seen at www.chnpp.gov.

 

The word “confinement” is used rather than the traditional “containment” to emphasize the difference between the “containment” of radioactive gases that is the primary focus of most reactor containment buildings, and the “confinement” of solid radioactive waste that is the primary purpose of the New Safe Confinement.

Objectives of the NSC:

 

  • Make the destroyed ChNPP Unit 4 environmentally safe (i.e. contain the radioactive materials at the site to prevent further environmental contamination)
  • Reduce corrosion and weathering of the existing shelter and the Unit 4 reactor building
  • Mitigate the consequences of a potential collapse of either the existing shelter or the Unit 4 reactor building, particularly in terms of containing the radioactive dust that would be produced by such a collapse.
  • Enable safe deconstruction of unstable structures (such as the roof of the existing shelter) by providing remotely operated equipment for their deconstruction.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about The Chernobyl New Safe Confinement

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 2.08.53 PMU.S. Steel Corp. (X) is out and Martin Marietta Materials is in. After five straight annual losses, the 113-year-old metal producer, will be replaced in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index by Martin Marietta Materials Inc. (MLM) 

This announcement came late last month. The Pittsburgh based company was founded by J.P. Morgan and steel magnates including Andrew Carnegie, but according to a statement from S&P Dow Jones Indices the metal producer is too small for the American equity benchmark. 

“It’s an old name,” Walter “Bucky” Hellwig, a senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management, said in a phone interview from Birmingham, Alabama. “There may be some short-term price movement based on the fact that it’s not in the index, but it’s not going out of every index.”

According to an article on bloomberg.com, U.S. Steel, the country’s largest producer of the metal by volume, has struggled amid overcapacity in the global steel industry and competition from cheap imports. It has posted five straight annual losses and the shares tumbled 12 percent this year. 

Shares of the Pittsburgh-based company were included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) in 1901. Ninety years later, when the company was called USX Corp., it was dropped.

Martin Marietta, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, has seen its shares rally 32 percent in 2014. It has a market value of about $6.1 billion and the U.S. Justice Department yesterday approved its $2.7 billion purchase of Texas Industries Inc., helping the company gain entry into the cement market amid a recovery in the construction industry.

Steel may seem like a standard material in skyscrapers, office buildings, schools, and big retail stores, but it can be manipulated to create intricate structures and architectural wonders. Check out these eye-catching buildings created with structural steel:

 

1) Nascar Hall of Fame | Charlotte, North Carolina

Nascar Hall of Fame

 

Steel trusses are used to achieve significant spans in the project:

  • A set of trusses spanning 175 feet achieve a grand column-free ballroom
  • A 100-foot-long, bi-level footbridge, supported by a pair of one-story-deep trusses, links the ballroom with the existing Charlotte Convention Center
  • Two- and three-story-high trusses cantilever 30 feet over the broadcast studio.

 

2) City Creek Center Retractable Roof | Salt Lake City, Utah

City Creek Center Retractable Roof

The resulting retractable, barrel‐vaulted roof is configured in two sections, each spanning one city block:

  • Each section is 240 ft. long and 58 ft wide, with an S‐shape that echoes the curve of the signature City Creek
  • The precision‐sculpted steel and glass transparently shields patrons when closed, and disappears from sight when open; connecting nature with the areas below.

 

3) Bird’s Nest | Beijing, China

Bird's Nest

  • 110,000 tons of the steel were used in this structure built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  • “In China, a bird’s nest is very expensive, something you eat on special occasions.”- New York Times
  • According to Reuters, more than 17,000 people worked on this one stadium alone

 

Gateway Arch | St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch

  • The Arch is made of 142 stainless Steel Sections
  •  The structure was built as a monument to Thomas Jefferson and all those pioneers for who St. Louis was the Gateway to the West
  • The Gateway Arch is made of steel and concrete
  • Double wall construction with 1/4” stainless steel on the outside and 3/8” structural steel inside
  • The distance between the wall or “skins” at the surface is 3 feet, narrowing to less than 1 foot at the top
  • There is a layer of concrete between the skins approximately half way up the legs of the Gateway Arch

 

Sources: BDC Network