EBNER.blog | BJ Austin, EBNER
EBNER supplies the furnace facilities for a new state-of-the-art flat rolling mill in the USA - a plant that will have no equal in processing recycled aluminum.
Steel Dynamics (SDI) was started in 1993 by three former Nucor executives, and has grown to be counted among the top 50 steel producers worldwide and the top 4 in the US.
SDI and EBNER became partners in the early days after SDI’s founding, and have maintained a close relationship as SDI’s flat rolled steel operations have grown.
This past year, when SDI decided to diversify its operations by adding a new flat rolled metal – aluminum – to its product line, it once again trusted EBNER to support the expansion of its business.
AN AMBITIOUS STRATEGY FOR GROWTH
In 2021, SDI began looking for ways to once again put its profits to work and ensure future growth. As SDI surveyed the world of steel, it noticed another strategic metal with a rising market value, a gap between available mill supply and growing demand, and which fit well into its familiar, sustainable circular manufacturing model – aluminum.
SDI was aware that that many customers for SDI steel are also significant consumers and processors of aluminum flat rolled products, and knew they would value finding the company’s high-quality, sustainable, customer-centric approach applied to the aluminum flat rolled market. While SDI had not yet been involved in aluminum production it recognized that, with the help of industry experts who know the nuances of aluminum production, it could leverage its knowledge of familiar processes and equipment.
After a team of aluminum experts had been gathered under the name Aluminum Dynamics, and board approval for construction and operation of an aluminum plant had been granted in July, 2022, the next chapter in SDI’s success story looked to be one that would focus on aluminum.
The board’s approval represented a bold and expanded vision compared to previous plant proposals, which were primarily intended to serve the automotive and industrial markets. The new 650 kMT plant, the most modern and energy-efficient mill in North America, will also have the capacity to serve the growing beverage market. It will thus be able to respond to the urgent calls from the US market for high-quality, domestically produced flat-rolled aluminum.
EBNER: CONVINCING EXPERIENCE AND QUALITY
To successfully implement its plans, SDI once again chose to rely on EBNER‘s extensive experience with pusher-type furnaces (for preheating and homogenizing ingots/plates used for hot-rolled coils), floater-type furnaces (for continuous annealing and solution heat treatment of finishing sheet) and batch-type coil annealing furnaces (for intermediate and finished cold-rolled coils) used to produce high-quality aluminum alloys for the automotive industry, can stock, and common alloy sheet.
The hallmarks of EBNER quality such as temperature uniformity during processing, the surface quality of the material, the reliability of the equipment, the ease of operation provided by innovative automation software and low environmental impact were influential factors in the choice.
In the fall of 2022, EBNER’s price/performance ratio provided the final impetus for SDI to place an order with EBNER for the supply of all three types of furnace. These furnaces will support the production of 950 kilotonnes of rolling ingots/plates and 650 kilotonnes of finished flat products at the Columbus, Mississippi (USA) works.
On March 7, 2022 Herbert Gabriel, EBNER Furnaces’ General Manager, had the pleasure of joining the
Aluminum Dynamics team for a groundbreaking ceremony during which the main partners for the project were recognized.
It is truly an honor for the entire EBNER team to support SDI and Aluminum Dynamics during this exciting project, and we look forward to continuing the partnership forged almost 30 years ago. We would like to thank the entire team from SDI and Aluminum Dynamics for their professionalism and for the trust they place in EBNER.
Following the choice for EBNER, Mark D. Millett, Chairman, President, and CEO of Steel Dynamics, Inc. stated: “We are excited to partner with EBNER on this project. Their industry-leading technology, focus on environmental impact mitigation, and high-quality equipment drove this important decision.”
Robert Ebner, CEO of the EBNER GROUP, commented: “Seeing the mini-mill mentality transitioning into aluminum, paired with an extremely high level of professionalism and passion, makes everybody from the EBNER team tremendously excited about this project and poises us to provide world class technology for highest temperature uniformity, industry leading productivity with a low carbon footprint.”