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On June 22, Latrobe Specialty Steel’s VIM-VAR expansion won the inaugural American Metal Market Award for Excellence for Best Operational Improvement. This expansion supports growing demands for high quality vacuum melted steels from the American military, as well as from many commercial aerospace, power generation and petroleum exploration customers. Latrobe Specialty Steel (LSS) put the needs of its customers first and tripled capacity for vacuum melted steel which reduced the lead times for these products from approximately 72 weeks to 20 weeks.
LSS along with its partners, Consarc of Rancocas, N.J., and Continental Design and Management Group of Pittsburgh, installed one of the world’s largest Vacuum Induction Melting (VIM) furnaces and several Vacuum Arc Remelting (VAR) furnaces starting in mid-December 2007. The first heat was melted in September 2008. Beginning work in Pennsylvania’s winter months, Latrobe excavated 40 feet below ground and built 100 feet above ground a 65,000-square-foot building. As soon as the roof was partially completed, assembly began of the 30-ton VIM using a modified design-and-build technique to overcome the elements and a compressed schedule.
The American Metal Market presented the Award for Excellence for Best Operational Improvement to LSS on the evening of June 22 at a celebratory dinner at the AMM Steel Success Strategies Conference in New York City. Other finalists for the award included AK Steel Corp. and ArcelorMittal SA. This is the second award LSS has received for the VIM-VAR expansion this year. In January the Association for Iron & Steel Technology’s (AIST) presented LSS the 2009 Project Excellence Award.
LSS produces and sells worldwide VIM-VAR steel for numerous critical aerospace, defense, power generation and oil and gas exploration applications. For example, you will find LSS’s VIM-VAR steel on many jet airplane and high-performance helicopters made in the United States, and overseas.
Latrobe Specialty Steel, in business since 1913 in Latrobe, Pa., has been supplying the aerospace, defense, power generation, oil and gas exploration, and industrial sectors since 1958. The firm employs approximately 800 people.