Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--The U.S. Metals & Minerals Industry has been seeing more than a few positive signs as COVID-19 cases began to drop and the economy reopened. Happy days certainly are here again for the steel sector, with rising demand and diminished pandemic-related restrictions fueling a boom in steel prices. And the Industrial Manufacturing Industry is all but begging specialty metal producers to boost their output of products for automobile parts and construction machinery, among other needs. These trends mean steel and metal producers will need to keep their facilities in the best, most efficient conditions. Industrial Info is tracking nearly 200 maintenance-related projects at Metals & Minerals Industry facilities across the U.S. that are set to kick off from July through September.


Grede Holding LLC (Southfield, Michigan), which is owned by Gamut Capital Management (New York City, New York), accounts for five maintenance programs--the most of any company in the industry--that are set to begin this summer. Grede's iron castings plant in New Castle, Indiana, which produces about 53,000 tons per year, expects to see three maintenance projects through the end of the year, while the company's 44,000-ton-per-year ductile castings plant in Brewton, Alabama, expects to see two shutdowns, as does its 32,500-ton-per-year iron foundry in Biscoe, North Carolina.

Two other Grede facilities expect to see a pair of one-week shutdowns through the end of January 2022. Grede provides a variety of casting products, including chassis and exhaust systems, brakes, pumps and engine components, to customers such as Caterpillar Incorporated (NYSE:CAT) (Peoria, Illinois), Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:TM) (Aichi, Japan) and AB Volvo (Gothenburg, Sweden). Subscribers to Industrial Info's Global Market Intelligence (GMI) Metals & Minerals Project Database can read detailed reports for the Indiana, Alabama and North Carolina projects, as well as the one-week shutdowns in Michigan and Minnesota.

Other companies with multiple maintenance programs include Gerdau Ameristeel North America, a subsidiary of Gerdau S.A. (NYSE:GGB) (São Paulo, Brazil), which is preparing for a series of maintenance turnarounds at its steel mill in Georgia. The facility, which produces 1 million tons per year of raw steel and 700,000 tons per year of rolled steel, will see at least a few of the individual turnarounds occur around the Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day weekends. Subscribers can read detailed reports on the rolling mill and melt shop shutdowns in Georgia, as well as a single shutdown at a steel mill in Virginia.

Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:ATI) (ATI) (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is preparing for a trio of maintenance programs in one of the top U.S. destinations for steel production: southwestern Pennsylvania. The company is performing a series of turnarounds at its stainless steel finishing plant in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, and 550,000-ton-per-year specialty steel mill in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania, as well as an individual turnaround at its stainless steel plate mill in Washington, Pennsylvania. Subscribers can read detailed reports for the Vandergrift, Brackenridge and Washington projects.

The three plants in southwestern Pennsylvania cater to ATI's Specialty Rolled Products (SRP) segment, which the company is in the process of overhauling amid weak sales figures. "The good news is that we know exactly what needs to be done to transform SRP into an outstanding business: exit [production of] standard stainless sheet products, consolidate the footprint to streamline product flow, and maximize production capabilities," said Don Newman, the chief financial officer of ATI, in a recent quarterly earnings-related conference call. "We are hitting the milestones laid out in our transformational plan. SRP's performance will look dramatically different in 2022, no longer dependent on good luck from metal prices to generate meaningful profits."

ATI also is negotiating with the United Steelworkers (USW) union to end a strike at several of its SRP facilities. USW walked out on March 30 amid disputes concerning health coverage costs. Affected facilities include a steel coil plant in Louisville, Ohio, which ATI announced in December would close permanently sometime this year, in an effort to cut costs and streamline operations. Subscribers can click here for a plant profile.

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