Category Archives: Steel

The Importance of U.S. Steel in National Security

Trump and Steel

With the Trump administration’s pro-defense stance, the U.S. will need of a robust and steady supply of steel to support an increase in defense manufacturing. A major war could cut off our supply of steel from overseas and thereby impact our ability to ramp up the requisite production of armaments. The military’s heavier utilization of domestic sources of steel is arguably the answer to many national security concerns.

National Security Issue

Unsurprisingly, domestic steelmakers argue that the best way to ensure a viable industry is by clamping down on countries that engage in unfair trade practices. In response to these concerns, the administration recently mandated an industry-wide investigation that could lead to the penalization of those behind unfair steel imports.

Section 232 Steel Investigation

The investigation being conducted by the Department of Commerce, (“Section 232”), may soon lead to the further curbing of steel imports with the imposition of tariffs beyond the existing anti-dumping penalties and quotas limiting steel imports. The concern is price increases for our many industries that depend on steel. However, it is believed that progress is being made in finding a sweet spot in which our national security concerns are addressed while consumers’ price concerns are also taken into account.

How We Fit into the Equation

As a custom material handling manufacturer, many of our customers work in the US steel industry. We provide heavy-duty equipment built for large scale projects such as infrastructure development and defense manufacturing. Therefore, the state of steel is something that we pay close attention to.

Let us know what you think about the US steel sector and the Section 232 steel investigations on Twitter. And, to learn more about Hunter Lift, give us a toll-free call at (800) 231-6501 or drop us an email at info@hunterlift.com. Also catch up by connecting with us on LinkedIn and by reading our blog.

Prioritizing Domestic Steel for Key Infrastructure Upgrades

The US steel market has been going through a monumental slump. On the face of it the fact looks simple enough. But those who dig deeper unearth a startling truth. The demand for steel in the nation has steadily increased over the past few years.

More foreign investment, recovery from recession and rising demand of consumer goods have necessitated increased use of steel equipment and consumption of larger volumes of raw steel. And with a renewed focus on investing in United States infrastructure by repairing roads and bridges, the outlook for steel should look even better.

So why has US manufactured steel stagnated at a utilization of only 70% of production capacity?

The Real Culprit:

Countries like China have a huge advantage over the United States. First and foremost their labor is inexpensive. Even with wage revisions the minimum hourly rate is far below what US laws mandate. Moreover their steel industry is almost unfairly subsidized. This allows them to export steel equipment and raw steel at a fraction of the cost of the United States.

The surplus pumped by the Chinese juggernaut has flooded the US market. This cheap steel has been serving the needs of manufacturers, pushing home based producers to the back-burner. Illegal imports have been another cause of worry. The free US market has been unable to put a stop on the inflow of foreign steel far beyond the accepted quota. This has made matters worse.

But 2016 leading into 2017 brings good news. The Trump election led to an unprecedented spike in projected steel share prices across the Dow Jones index. And the focus on using domestic steel for infrastructure will likely continue this upward trend.

4 Reasons Why 2017 will be Better for Steel Manufacturers:

  1. The Chinese economy has slowed down. Recession is creeping to claim casualties and a preponderance of cheap steel is the very first one. By 2020 China is expected to cut down its steel production by at least 20% to 30%. Without the glut of foreign steel chocking the US market, home based producers will breathe easy.

 

  1. Globally a bullish market is calling for rising prices of steel and metal. The manufacturers who depended on imports will see less value in paying for shipping and assembly with the original margin slimming down.

 

  1. The new government will continue down its path of protecting American interests. President Trump and his team have already insisted that pipe manufacturers use US produced steel to complete key projects in Dakota. This bodes well for steel prices in the country.

 

  1. Finally the trillion dollar infrastructure improvement plan will provide impetus for strengthening trade and will make US a prime target for reshoring. The long term effect of this strategic move is bound to be growing steel demand and this time without cheap imports eating into the market share.

 

Steel producers are optimistic. And Hunter Lift – a premium provider of below the hook lifting devices and mobile crane attachments – is fully equipped to serve US steel manufacturers and other home based producers during this boom in the economy. We look forward to seeing how the market plays out in coming months and years.

2017 Might Just be the Springboard the Steel Market is Looking For

The year was 2010.

The price of steel per ton in the US was a healthy $646.7.

In 2011 it rose to $749.6.

But the ensuing period instead of being the golden era of steel production turned out to be a bitter slump that has spiraled despite assurances of stability.

The World Steel Association had predicted that the fall in demand of 2015 had led to a “bottoming out” of steel prices. So the only way to go was up.

But the US steel market sank lower in 2016.

This has been a disturbing trend for well over 6 years now.

So what does 2017 have in store for steel manufacturers?

Let’s take a look at the drivers and the possible outcome.

The Trump Presidency:

“Making America Great Again” has been the cornerstone of the Trump campaign. And the President Elect has focused heavily on improving trade ties, protecting domestic markets and uplifting national manufacturing.

In fact, after his win was officially declared, the Down Jones Steel Index registered a steep rise, the highest in two years.

In short, investors are on board with a more optimistic evaluation of the steel market.

The Slowing Down of the Chinese Economic Engine: 

For almost a decade now China has led the global economy as the most prolific producer of steel. It certainly has the manufacturing advantage of inexpensive labor and a strong domestic demand. However the juggernaut is now cutting back in terms of its export expansion. Quality conscious buyers are turning to alternative channels to procure affordable and robust goods. And with this shift China has decided to bring down its steel output by almost 20% over the coming three years.

Right now the production of steel outpaces its demand. But the move will turn the tide ensuring that the consumption of steel takes the edge again, bolstering prices across the board.

Increase in Non-Residential Construction Activities:

The American Institute of Architects has good news. It is estimating a spike in non-residential construction efforts of almost 6.7%. This increase is not inconsequential and will positively impact steel demand as well as prices.

Based on these projections it looks like 2017 will springboard the steel market. Even if the rise in prices isn’t significant right away, there is optimism for the future.

ArcelorMittal Aims to Boost Domestic Steel Supply

ArcelorMittal is promoting domestic steel, applauding the United States Department of Commerce (DOC) investigations into China’s handling of corrosion-resistant carbon steel and cold-rolled carbon steel. ArcelorMittal has also joined in the recent tribute to U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and announced plans to open a new steel production plant in Detroit.

Joining the Circumvention Case Against China

As a leader in the U.S. steel sector, ArcelorMittal’s activities carry a lot of weight. Thus it meant a lot when the company filed an anticircumvention petition, along with the petitions of three other American steel providers, that charged China with circumventing AD/CVD orders on corrosion-resistant carbon steel and cold-rolled carbon steel.

ArcelorMittal took a stand under the belief that Chinese steel producers tried to bypass these orders by transshipping steel products through Vietnam to complete finishing stages. This damages the U.S. steel industry. As a major American steel producer, ArcelorMittal used its prominent position to protect our national steel industry.

Celebrating U.S. National Aircraft

When November rolled around, ArcelorMittal proudly participated in U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Month, which honored the contributions, value, and achievements of the men and women who serve on the huge seaward vessels.

ArcelorMittal provides top-quality plate materials to fleets that the government continues to expand. These steel plates are used by shipbuilders to construct aircraft carriers and other U.S. Navy vessels, including cruisers and submarines. With three plate mills and comprehensive gauge and grade abilities, ArcelorMittal can provide an impressive volume of parts for use on the important ships and other vessels.

Plans to Expand to Detroit

Another way that ArcelorMittal is elevating the domestic steel supply is by opening a new Detroit-based manufacturing plant which will produce strong, laser-welded steel blanks for the auto industry.

The plant will not only provide necessary parts to major automakers but also has the potential to elevate Detroit’s economy. It will create over 120 jobs in about five years. The 317,000-square-foot building will be near I-94.

By producing vital steel parts for U.S. vessels, intending to open a new steel production plant, and encouraging the following of U.S. AD/CVD orders, ArcelorMittal is taking steps to help inspire a stronger U.S. steel sector.

A Custom Below the Hook Lifter Designed by Hunter Lift is Doing its Job and Taking on Some ‘Heavy Stuff’ at a Fusion Power Generation Project

We wanted to tell you a little bit about our involvement in a New Mexico fusion power generation project. First, let’s define “fusion”: The simple definition of “fusion” is “a combination or mixture of things.” The dictionary also provides a more scientific definition: “the union of atomic nuclei to form heavier nuclei resulting in the release of enormous quantities of energy when certain light elements unite.”

“Fusion power offers the prospect of an almost inexhaustible source of energy for future generations,” according to the World Nuclear Association. “But it also presents so far insurmountable scientific and engineering challenges.”  At Hunter Lift, we welcome all types of “engineering challenges,” so we were honored to have been selected to design and build a custom lift for this fusion project, which could greatly impact the future.

Here’s a summary of what we did: Hunter Lift designed and built a custom below-the-hook lifter that is used to insert a gamma ray detector to detect fusion. Usually, we design lifters capable of lifting up to 300,000 lbs. or so. But this time we designed a below the hook lift capable of handling light loads – from 500 to 1000 lbs.! This specific lift is being used as part of an ignition experiment.

According to government sources, the main goal of ignition experiments is “to create self-sustaining ‘burn’ of fusion fuel (the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium) that produces as much or more energy than the energy required to initiate the fusion reaction – an event called ignition.” Hunter Lift designed and built a CSA rigging fixture that lowers a sensor assembly into a unit where fusion occurs to measure and detect gamma rays emitted during the experiments. (Now, that’s what we mean by “heavy stuff”!)

This is just one example of the many types of lifts we’ve designed for our customers. To learn more about other lifts Hunter Lift has designed and built, visit our website, or give us a call at 800-231-6501.

Get the Lift Your Business Needs: A Hunter Lift Hydraulic Lift Can Take Your Business to New Heights!

According to an economic survey earlier this year that was cited in a Forbes.com article, U.S. businesses are looking for ways to achieve growth in 2016. The article reports, “U.S. private companies reported that they expect to grow their revenue by an average of 8.7% over the next 12 months, with over one-third of private companies expecting double-digit growth. The question is how to achieve these levels of growth in an uncertain economy.” At Hunter Lift, Ltd., we advise industrial companies to take a closer look at their material handling operations and, more specifically, the lifting devices and mobile crane attachments they’re using for material handling. We can also recommend, design and manufacture material handling equipment, including custom-engineered hydraulic lifts to take your business to new heights!

We’ve seen many industrial operations gain a competitive advantage by modifying and upgrading their material handling equipment and operations. As a designer and manufacturer of “below the hook” lifting devices and mobile crane attachments, we have extensive experience creating custom material handling equipment — and we have many success stories in our portfolio to prove it. One of these success stories: Hydraulic lifters we custom designed and manufactured for a metal processing facility in Alabama. The hydraulic lifters are used for sheet metal processing and can handle a weight capacity of up to 45,000 lbs.

Here’s a summary of this specific collaboration for success: Our client came to us requesting that we design and manufacture sheet lifters that could quickly move a wide range of sheet lengths. Another request was that they needed to easily adjust between the different lengths of the metal sheets being handled. They needed hydraulic lifters that were unlike any other available in the market at that time. So, we created a custom design: A hydraulic lifter that has a failsafe adjustment for handling and lifting extreme variations in length, both short and long sheets ranging from 360” to 720” in length.

Designed under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer, this specific hydraulic lifter includes several different length lifting attachments – five sets of lifting beams, ranging in length from 192” to 600”, that are designed to be changed out quickly. We also designed and fabricated a special rack to store the lifting beams while not in use. This specific hydraulic lifter was designed with rack-and-pinion driven hydraulic cylinders to drive the legs in and out.

hydraulic-sheet-lifterThe entire design and delivery process for this hydraulic lifter was less than four months, and our client couldn’t be any happier with the end results – and we feel the same way about this project. It was quite a collaboration and accomplishment!   

Learn more details about this hydraulic sheet lifter for the metal processing industry, and also check out our complete portfolio of “success stories” and products on our website. If you have any questions, give us a call at 800-231-6501.

Hunter Lift Invites You On A Virtual Tour

We pride ourselves on building  strong connections to all of our customers. Because of the nature of our business, our customers are spread far and wide, and most of our communication happens over the phone.  In an ideal world we would always meet in person and host our customers with a tour of our facilities, but we know this isn’t always possible. So, if the customers can’t come to us, then we will go to them!

Our new Virtual Tour lets our customers inside the home of Hunter Lift. Having pictures to associate with the people we work with builds another sense of community and allows you to see how we build your equipment. The Google technology used is the same that has mapped out streets all over the world– So instead of just seeing us from the outside, you can see us on the inside too! (Follow the white shadowed arrows and X’s that pop up to ‘walk’ through the offices and into the job shop.)

We have the capabilities to design,build, and test our devices from this well-equipped facility in the beautiful foothills of Eastern Ohio. Notice the tooling and overhead cranes  we use in the building process? We are proud  of our capabilities and want our customers to see for themselves where the outstanding products we deliver come from.

A view of our state-of-the-art facility is available 24/7 and should help you feel like you are a part of the process.

As specialists in the highest quality engineered and fabricated below the hook lifting devices and material handling solutions, we are dedicated to providing our customers with the best products. We hope you enjoyed the look inside our offices and manufacturing shop and welcome the chance to greet you in person one day. Contact us with any questions or to set up a personal tour!

Hunter Lift Hydraulic Tongs Help Grasp and Handle ‘Below the Hook’ Needs

The Material Handling Institute (MHI) forecasts U.S. material handling consumption to be nearly $165 billion in the coming 12-18 months. That’s a big number – and a lot of material – to grasp! In material handling, in general, and especially in metal processing and handling, Hunter Lift hydraulic tongs can help grasp and handle “below the hook” lifting needs.

As a manufacturer of custom material handling equipment, Hunter Lift Ltd. focuses on efficient material handling. Everything we do, and everything we design, reflects this intense focus on efficiency – it’s at the heart of all of our efforts and our lifting systems! Hydraulic tongs make up just one piece of the below-the-hook lifting systems we design and engineer. We manufacture lifting devices for all industries, but the hydraulic tongs are especially helpful for metal processing and handling heavy sheets of metal.

We fabricate the hydraulic tongs in-house at Hunter Lift, and we do the same for all the components for the lifting equipment we engineer and manufacture (except for forgings and castings). The lifting devices we manufacture have capacities ranging from 100 lbs. up to 500 tons, and we work with each of our customers to determine their individual lifting needs and to create lifting equipment that meets their needs.

hydraulic-sheet-lifter-bigGet a grasp on your material handling needs by discovering what Hunter Lift can offer your business! Visit our website for more information or to contact us directly.

The Fundamental Advantages of Using Steel

When you’ve spent years designing and engineering the strongest, most durable and powerful lifting devices, you learn a thing or two about metals and materials. You get to know what works well—and what works even better—and you can identify the reasons why certain materials more reliable than others.

Without a doubt, one of the world’s most reliable and advantageous materials is steel. Its use dates back almost 4,000 years, there are 1,000s of types of steel, and its applications are almost infinite. From construction to automotive, steel is incredibly versatile and low cost, providing the strength necessary to create and support the most challenging of applications.

While the benefits of using steel are as numerous as its applications, let’s take a look at a few. There’s weight reduction, for instance; the latest generation of automotive steels are being used to greatly reduce the weight of automotive parts and entire vehicles. Of course this leads to greater efficiency and lower costs.

Then there’s steel’s longevity. Using steel results in parts with greater durability, which means they last longer. This saves money, time, and a lot of worry.

By then there’s steel’s incredible recyclability, and this is what may come as a surprise to a lot of people. Steel is actually the most recycled material in the world, and it is singlehandedly expected to help bring us toward a more sustainable future.

Consider these statistics*:

• Almost 69% of all steel used in North America each year is recycled; that’s more than 80 million tons
• Recycling steel saves the equivalent energy to power 18 million households each year
• Steel products can be repeatedly recycled without ever losing their strength
• In the last 10 years, the North American steel industry has achieved a 90% reduction in the discharge of air and water emissions

And this is just the beginning; steel’s sustainability and environmental benefits are numerous but are only getting better. Technology continues to create newer, even more beneficial steels, and it’s safe to say that as a result, entire industries are improving accordingly.

According to the Worldsteel Association, “Steel is inextricably linked with economic growth and prosperity… A healthy and profitable steel industry generates added value through investments in advanced technologies, capital expenditure and the creation of new knowledge.” Additionally, “Steel contributes to society through the creation and distribution of economic value in the form of community investments, taxes and royalties paid, shareholders dividends and employee wages and benefits. Steel also contributes to the creation of employment.”

So when you’re choosing to use steel to make a car, a lifting device, or as any solution to your needs, you’re using a material that is good for the planet and good for the economy—in addition, of course, to being good for your business.