Wavy works when its a pie crust.
But when flat-rolled steel isnt quite flat at the edges, it can present a problem for automakers that feed steel sheets into machines that stamp out doors and other parts.
Steel Dynamics Inc. is investing $18.5 million in a building expansion and equipment so it can start pressing some of the 3 million tons of steel it produces each year in Butler, a company official said Monday.
The process will flatten waves that appear when the flat-rolled steel cools from 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to room temperature.
The project will create 10 to 15 hourly jobs paying from $65,000 to $70,000, according to paperwork filed with the DeKalb County Council. The Fort Wayne-based steelmaker is asking for a 10-year tax break on the project.
Construction on the steel plant addition, at 4500 County Road 59 in Butler, is scheduled to begin after July 1 and be completed before Sept. 30, 2013, according to the filing.
The projects budget includes $6.7 million in building costs and $11.8 million in new equipment.
Numerous customers have requested the added process, said Glenn Pushis, Steel Dynamics vice president and general manager of the flat-roll division.
They want those blanks to be dead flat so a laser can easily cut the desired shapes, he said.
The steelmaker now produces about 1.4 million tons of unprocessed hot band steel each year. The plan is to flatten 600,000 tons of that output. An additional 1.6 million tons is processed in the companys cold mill facility.
This investment doesnt increase the mills total capacity of 3 million tons.
The customers who have been buying unprocessed hot band steel are increasingly adding more sophisticated products that require steel to be flattened before it can be used, reducing their consumption of unprocessed steel, Pushis said.
I guess you could argue its retention of those customers driving the project, he said.
Steel Dynamics Butler flat-roll mill employs about 630. Wages, including bonuses, average $33 to $35 an hour. Salaried workers average $113,000, including bonuses, according to the tax abatement filing.