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World’s Largest ERW Mill FAQ

on April 15, 2020

Atlas Tube has been anxiously working towards the opening of our new ERW mill. Once completed, it will be the largest single seam ERW mill in the world! As a result of the announcement in July, 2019, we have been receiving a lot of questions surrounding the opening and the impact this new mill will have in the industry. We have answered some of your most frequently asked questions below.

 

What is the significance of Atlas Tube opening the largest ERW Mill?

The new mill will produce the largest single seam HSS sections in the world right here in North America.  Today the largest single seam sections available from a domestic producer are Square HSS 16x16x5/8, Rectangular HSS 20x12x5/8 and Round HSS 20OD x 5/8.  This new mill will be able to produce sizes up to Square HSS 22x22x1.0, Rectangular HSS 34x10x1.0 and Round HSS 28 x 1.0.  This increase in size range will lead to more cost-effective ways to carry heavier loads and span greater distances.  Having larger, cost effective HSS sections gives structural engineers and architects more flexibility and more tools to design high performance structures.

 

How will this impact Atlas Tube’s product availability/capabilities?

This new mill will increase the size range that Atlas is capable of.  Currently, Atlas Tube has the largest size range available in the North American HSS industry.  This new mill will increase the top end of our size range to unprecedented levels with sizes up to 22 inches square, 28 inches round and up to a 1 inch in thickness.  Atlas Tube with its Japanese partner, NSMP, has offered some of these larger sizes since 2011 by bringing material into the US to stock with strategic stocking partners.  By expanding the Blytheville production facility with this new mill, Atlas can now offer the Jumbo HSS product from a domestic source and with the speed and ease that has been the hallmark of Atlas Tube’s strategy and service.

 

What does this mean for the Engineering community?

Having access to larger sizes produced from a domestic source means that engineers now have more tools to work with when designing steel structures.  Now engineers will be able to take advantage of the benefits of HSS in larger sizes.   For example, to achieve architectural requirements for a lobby space with tall columns in a high-rise building, an engineer will no longer need to either cover plate a wide flange section or build up a box column from plate; they will now have larger HSS sizes available to carry larger loads.  Another example, sections with lower width/thickness (b/t) ratios such as 10 sq x  ¾ and 12 x ¾ would be more readily available for use in seismic force resisting systems, which typically require lower b/t ratios for its elements.

 

How does this affect Atlas Tube’s customers?

Our service center and fabricator customers will reap the benefits of these larger sizes as well. Service centers that stock these larger sizes will have access to the expanded size range and can fulfill all their customers’ needs by supplying the full range of sizes available.  Fabricators can take advantage of these larger sizes by offering them as a value-added engineering item.  If a project has large box columns designed into it, a fabricator can offer large HSS as a cost savings item as they typically will be more cost effective than the labor-intensive operation of welding together a box column.

 

Will this new mill impact the structural steel industry?  

The new mill will be engineered to allow for world leading full change over times of less than 60 minutes, as well as special forming and sizing technology for precise dimensional tolerance.  This is the largest private investment in the US steel industry in the last decade.  This new mill will provide a vote of confidence in the manufacturing industry that you can find a quality domestic product when needed right here in the U.S.A.

 

The highly automated production line will create over 75 new manufacturing jobs, so the impact of this new mill goes beyond the product itself.

 

Having accessibility to these larger, cost effective HSS size ranges will provide yet another tool that makes steel the product of choice when it comes to achieving speedy and efficient structures.