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Coil Processing
Monday | 15 November, 2021 | 1:58 pm

Proven skills

Written by By Matt LaFleur

Above: Amerinox Processing commissioned Delta Steel Technologies to custom build it a cut-to-length line that would handle a large scope of stainless and aluminum flat-rolled products.

Processor partners with aluminum mill and equipment builder to settle into new territory

November 2021 - Amerinox Processing Inc. was established 25 years ago in Camden, N.J., and has kept very busy ever since, gradually expanding to 325,000 square feet. Today, the company processes stainless steel and aluminum, plus certain coated carbon steels and other materials. The New Jersey shop houses four cut-to-length lines; a coil polishing line; a plate polishing line; a third polishing line that handles sheet and light-gauge plate; and a fourth polishing line that imparts a Super No 8. mirror finish.

“We have many moving parts,” acknowledges Amerinox Processing President Seth Young. Customers include both producers and service centers.

A couple years ago, Amerinox Processing was invited by Texarkana Aluminum to work with it as it modernized an aluminum mill previously owned by Arconic. “They were going to improve the operation, restart it and bring back certain common alloys. The new owners believed in the project and we thought it would be good for us to expand our footprint into the region,” Young says.

“There is a ton of opportunity for value-added services on products that come out of that facility,” he says of the reasoning behind accepting that invitation. “We were able to get property directly across the street from the mill.”

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Amerinox’s new plant in Texarkana is already running two shifts per day.

Geographic expansion

Amerinox Processing built a 125,000-square-foot facility on 26 acres with six cranes that can handle up to 20 tons.

“We went into the market to acquire a new cut-to-length line that would handle a large scope of stainless and aluminum and awarded the contract to Delta Steel Technologies,” based in Irving, Texas, less than 200 miles away.

According to Young, the new CTL line was engineered to handle 72-inch-wide aluminum and stainless from 0.015-inch to 1/4 inch thick. The line can level coil, shear blanks up to 20 feet long and create 10,000-pound bundles.

“It has unbelievable new technology, including a rotary shear that holds rare tight tolerances,” Young says. It is capable of very high output and is able to create “exceptionally flat material.”

The Southwest market is difficult to serve from Camden due to freight costs, he says. “Many of our customers in the mid-Atlantic region are privately held multi-location or single-site service centers,” but others belong to the top 50 national service center chains. The new facility serves additional branches of those existing national chains.

“We started this project about 18 months ago and completed the building in December 2020. The timing was not pleasant due to the pandemic but things turned around quickly,” Young says. “Installation and commissioning allowed us to begin production in late March 2021. By May, we received wonderful reception from the market, mainly because of the service we provide.”

The new plant is already running two shifts a day. “We are very fortunate, yet we continue to fine tune what we are doing.” Amerinox expanded its enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems to Texas, including online customer portals, where clients “can see their material in our building, where it is, bills of lading, test reports, etc. It’s a user-friendly environment. So far, so good,” he says.

‘Bright young people’

“I have commissioned many processing lines, installed and rebuilt, brand-new and quasi-unproven technology,” says Young. “There are always hiccups. Then you layer on new employees, who may or may not have previous training and quality experience. Human errors look like line errors.”

He credits a cadre of experienced employees who traveled from Camden to “train a team of bright young people who were eager to learn. And they learned how to run a highly complex machine like this [CTL line] quickly.”

Within two months, he says, “we felt like we had the depth we needed. We still bring in technicians and management to work with the new employees. This has been a fantastic experience. We are proud of our workforce—those from New Jersey and those from Texas, who are so on the ball.”

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Delta Steel Technologies can troubleshoot remotely and has cameras on the line to spot issues.

Tech support

Young credits Delta Steel Technologies’ primary role in the Texarkana plant’s success. “When we have issues, they tap [remotely] directly into the machine and analyze the functions, or come to our location to work with us. They continue to help us whenever we need to make it perfect and work out any bugs.”

Joe Savariego, president of Delta Steel Technologies, notes that his company has a full machine and assembly shop in Irving, Texas. “A large majority of our equipment is designed, manufactured and assembled in Irving, with the exception of things like bearings and cylinders.”

The Amerinox CTL line was a “totally custom design. We worked hand in hand with Amerinox’s team in Camden and toured their facility to understand their needs and wants, what they liked and didn’t like with their existing equipment. And we addressed all of those shortcomings,” Savariego says.

“The line is very productive, user friendly and it measures productivity, downtime and key performance indicators. If the line stops, the control system asks for a reason the line is down,” he continues. Perhaps there has been a quality stop, which might prompt the operator to call in quality control. Perhaps there is a maintenance stop, prompting the operator to change a blade on the shear. If there is an unplanned stop or operator delay, it may mean the operator had something else to do at the moment.

“If the operator doesn’t check one of those options, it is called an operator delay. This encourages him to answer the question and account for any issues,” Savariego says.

Delta does “get occasional phone calls from Amerinox. We are able to dial in through the internet and give them remote support in most cases. We installed camera systems as part of the installation. We do that because it’s helpful to watch the process,” Savariego says. “If they have an issue, we watch to see what’s going on. It gives us a chance to keep in touch and help them troubleshoot.”

Bells and whistles

At the entry end of Amerinox’s line, there are auto indexing and staging systems, Savariego says. “We load the first coil in first saddle and, if the next three saddles are open, it automatically places coils on the empty saddles. Then the coil car seeks the coil in the first position, lifts it out of the saddle and takes it to a measuring station to measure the inner and outer diameters.”

Once the coil is automatically loaded and centered, the operator takes over. “The line is run from the entry to the stacker with just one operator.”

A vision system looks for defects. The rotary shear eliminates the need for a looping pit. The six-high leveler was also built by Delta Steel Technologies.

Amerinox has been able to process up to two coils per hour. “We are producing beautifully flat material,” notes Savariego.

Teamwork

The Amerinox team consists of “wonderful people,” Savariego says. “The task of building a new plant during a pandemic, erecting new structures, training new employees can all be a challenge. Through such obstacles, the Delta and Amerinox teams resolved issues and the installation was a success.”

Young says that “Joe and his team make very robust equipment. They know what they are doing.  Everyone at the company is dedicated to working with the customer, and they want the relationship to last forever.

“We are going to be expanding in a relatively short period of time. Delta would remain my first choice to make that happen,” he adds.

“We are always looking to prove ourselves in this market, to show customers they don’t have to settle for less than outstanding service and quality,” Young says. “We are also creating a long-term relationship with Texarkana Aluminum, helping them with their quest by processing their coils into cut sheet, plate and custom items.

“Over the next year we will look at slitting capacity. We may also want to add polishing lines,” Young says. With such substantial plans, down time is not an option. MM

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