Steel Mills

Nucor Investment to Transform Gallatin Mill

Written by Tim Triplett

Nucor’s $650 million investment to expand the production capability of its Ghent, Ky., mill will transform the former Gallatin Steel plant into an ultra-modern “quality strip production” plant or QSP, claims Danieli, the Italian company that will design and install the new mill equipment.

The project will nearly double the annual production capability of Nucor Gallatin from 1.6 million tons to 3 million tons and will increase the maximum coil width to approximately 73 inches. The new plant configuration also will allow the mill to improve its thermomechanical rolling capabilities, expanding production of AHSS grades, API line pipe grades and other added-value grades, the company said.

The plan calls for production to be delivered by a new single-strand vertical curved caster—a Danieli fifth generation slab caster. A new tunnel furnace will connect the caster to the two new roughing mill stands.

The six-stand finishing mill will be upgraded with new interstand guides, loopers and a new bending and shifting system to roll strips as wide as 73.5 inches. A new run-out table with advanced combined intensive and laminar cooling, two new downcoilers and coil handling will complete the mill.

The revamped plant will include a high-performance DC EAF featuring a Q-Melt package, twin ladle furnace, with future provision for a vacuum degasser. Danieli Automation will provide complete process control from melting to finished hot-rolled coils with Industry 4.0 integration in mind. The caster and first portion of the tunnel furnace and swivel system will be installed without affecting mill production. The entire project will require three planned mill shutdowns, taking maximum advantage of preplanned maintenance outages, Danieli said.

This expansion complements the $176 million investment currently under way to construct a hot band continuous pickle galvanizing line at Nucor Gallatin. The pickle galvanizing line is expected to be operational in the first half of 2019 and will produce approximately 500,000 tons per year of galvanized hot band steel.

“This investment is another major component of our planned strategy for long-term profitable growth,” said John Ferriola, Chairman, CEO & President of Nucor. “Together with the new galvanizing line, this expansion increases our presence in the important Midwest market, specifically in the automotive, agriculture, heavy equipment, and energy pipe and tube sectors.”

Nucor acquired the former Gallatin Steel in late 2014 for a purchase price of approximately $780 million. The plant currently produces mostly structural steel, micro-alloyed grades and thin line pipe grades.

Nucor continues to evaluate additional expansion projects as part of its initiative to further grow its sheet business, the company said.

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