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Made in America for 100 years: TimkenSteel's Faircrest Steel Plant


Editor’s Note: To close out our centennial year, we’re highlighting each of our facilities and its role in contributing to our long-term success. Our next focal destination is the state-of-the-art Faircrest Steel Plant. Watch for our final two location posts next week.

The Faircrest Steel Plant began operations in 1985 after an extensive study of the company’s steel business and steelmaking technologies. With an ultra-high-powered 175-ton electric arc furnace at its heart, the facility uses state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, under the control of a hierarchical computer system, to produce the highest-quality steel possible for customers.

The company took a bold step with construction of the plant. The $500 million invested in Faircrest represented two-thirds of the company’s net worth at the time. When it was built, it was the only completely new alloy steel plant in the United States since World War II. Amid industry struggles, it represented one of the world’s most advanced steel operations, establishing our reputation for producing some of the cleanest steel in the world.

President Ronald Reagan visited the plant during construction in 1984 on a campaign stop.

“It is a thrill for me to see what's happening here,” the President said. “I can now say with confidence, I've seen the future, and the future looks very good, indeed.”

A few decades into that future, it was time for another big investment, this time $225 million for an expansion in 2012. A year later, the facility’s new in-line forge press came online. And, in 2014, the first heat of steel was cast through the jumbo bloom vertical caster, the largest of its kind in North America. The caster improves productivity, capacity and product range to provide large-bar capabilities that are unique in the United States.

Today, Faircrest offers the only combination in the world of a jumbo bloom vertical caster and in-line forge press, which together help improve sound centers in large-bar sizes. These two investments have impacted nearly every operation and function, either directly or indirectly, with updates to standards, procedures and training processes.

Faircrest Steel Plant Director Nick Valentine believes there are many things to be proud of at the plant. He noted the plant’s hard-working and dedicated employees, the tradition of continuous improvement that led to doubling the original plant capacity and the establishment of a strong safety culture as just a few examples.

“What I most often find myself telling others about is the quality of steel products that comes out of the Faircrest plant,” he said. “When I talk to people outside of the steel industry about where I work, I’m sure to tell them that some of the cleanest, highest-performing air-melted steel in the world is produced in Canton, Ohio, right here at Faircrest. Other companies simply can’t match the quality we can produce. It’s surprising to many people that a company in a mature and mostly commoditized industry can still reach the level of differentiation TimkenSteel can.”

As end markets are rebounding, Faircrest is focused on maximum utilization, supplying high-quality, hot-rolled bars to the industry as well as to TimkenSteel’s downstream operations like its tube-making, thermal-treat and value-added facilities.

“Faircrest is a true workhorse,” Nick said. “It’s strong and dependable, and our people are dedicated to supplying material to keep downstream operations humming along. We plan to continue making some of the world’s best steel for the next 100 years.”

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