Zekelman Industries, Chicago, plans to build the world's largest continuous ERW tube mill. The mill will be capable of producing hollow structural sections (HSS) with a size range of 8" square x 0.750" wall up to 22" square x 1" wall. Atlas Tube, a division of Zekelman Industries, will produce square, rectangular and round structural sections in the mill. The largest rectangular section will be 34" x 10" x 1" wall, and the largest round section will be 28" OD x 1" wall. The new mill will produce products to meet or exceed ASTM A500, ASTM A1085, CSA G40 and ASTM A252. This will be the first time ERW sections above 16" square will be available domestically.
The mill will also be engineered to allow for full change-over times of less than 60 minutes, as well as special forming and sizing technology for precise dimensional tolerance. Zekelman Industries has selected SMS as the supplier for the mill, Kusakabe for the milling cut-off, and Mair for the material handling and packaging line. Zeckleman said in a press release that the total project investment is over $150 million — the largest private investment in the U.S. steel industry in the last decade. The investment is a firm vote of confidence in U.S. manufacturing and the future growth of the steel industry in America. The highly automated production line will create over 75 new manufacturing jobs. Frank Lagac, sales manager of welded pipe plants at SMS, noted that it will be the "world's largest continuous ERW tube mill."
"At Zekelman, we continue with our long-standing goal of creating, not waiting for, the future," said Barry Zekelman, CEO of Zekelman Industries.
This new ERW mill will greatly increase the range of HSS products available to the North American market and will help grow the use of all steel products in the nonresidential construction market. Startup of the new mill is scheduled for September 2021.
"Over the past few years, we have seen the increasing need for larger, domestically produced HSS in the bridge, transportation and building markets," said Tom Muth, president of Atlas Tube. "Also, HSS with thicker walls that meet the more stringent width-to-thickness ratio requirements of the AISC Seismic Provisions are in greater demand for lateral bracing systems."
"This new mill gives structural engineers new tools to meet the demands of designing and building cost-efficient and safe steel structures," said Brad Fletcher, senior sales engineer for Atlas Tube.
Zekelman Industries includes the operating divisions of Atlas Tube, Picoma, Sharon Tube, Wheatland Tube, Western Tube and Z Modular. The company says it’s the largest independent manufacturer of hollow structural sections (HSS) and steel pipe, and the biggest producer of electrical conduit and elbows, couplings and nipples in North America.