Steel Products

Steel: From the Eyes of the Newbie

Written by Sandy Williams

Written by: Sandy Williams

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”—Theodore Roosevelt.

When I was asked to write for SMU I did exactly what Teddy suggested and every day since I’ve been learning how. With a background in the “soft” industry of public relations and education, learning the ins and outs of a “hard” industry like steel has been challenging to say the least. First there are the acronyms: BOF, EAF, DRI, OCTG, HRC, CRFH, SBQ, etc. During my first conference call I listened to a man continually talk about his ibbeda. Only after seeing the transcript did I realize it was actually EBITDA—earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Who knew?

How about those words like Galvalume, Galvannealed, Galfan, pickled, sinter, busheling, spangle? It seems like I spend a quarter of my time just Googling terms, so when I was asked to attend Steel 101 I was definitely excited about going.

Most of the workshop attendees were newbie’s like me: very young (me not so much) and recent college graduates. They came from service centers, a scrap company, steel mill and manufacturing companies. Looking at all their smiling faces I could only hope that some of them were as lost as I.

The first morning we learned about the steel making process starting at the very beginning—raw materials—then moved through the melting and rolling process. Severstal Columbus has an electric arc furnace so we compared the traditional blast furnace to the EAF (hey I know that one now). Then we moved on to the hot rolling, pickling, cold rolling processes and the coating operation. It was a lot to cover but well explained and vital to know before we traveled to the mill to see the process in action.

The class was attentive and eager to learn and the instructors added anecdotes that kept us amused, intrigued and engaged. You could hear and see the passion in the instructors when they talked about areas that were especially relevant to their careers. The wide industry focus and geographical variety of our class kept questions and the “ah ha” factor going. You could almost see the light bulbs flashing on over heads when understanding clicked in. It was a great morning and we were all psyched to get to the mill for our tour.

To be continued…

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