You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

AK Steel blast furnace shut down again


AK Steel’s blast furnace in Ashland, Ky., which already unexpectedly shut down once this year due to some kind of malfunction in February, has shut down again.

“AK Steel recently experienced an unplanned stoppage at its Ashland Works (KY) blast furnace,” said spokesman Mike Wallner in an email. “The company is working to remedy the situation and minimize any potential impact on its customers.”

The blast furnace is the part of the mill where fuel, iron ore and limestone are heated and reduced to make hot metal. AK Steel has two blast furnaces — the one at Ashland, and one at Middletown Works here in Butler County.

Other steel plants operated by AK Steel use electric arc furnaces, which consume scrap steel and heats it with an electrical charge to mold metal.

This means production has been halted a third time since June 2013 because of problems at the Ashland and Middletown blast furnaces.

On Feb. 22 this year, West Chester Twp.-based AK Steel Holding Corp. said it experienced an incident at the Ashland blast furnace. As a result, the furnace was temporarily shut down. Since then, the Ashland furnace was restarted in March, the company said at the time.

Last year, Middletown Works’ blast furnace was taken offline after experiencing a mechanical failure on June 22, 2013. It was restarted within three weeks, but ongoing problems meant AK Steel’s largest steel plant in Middletown did not return to full production until October last year. The total uninsured loss from the Middletown Works accident was expected to be $20 million to $23 million.

The Butler County steelmaker released earnings for the April to June 2014 quarter on Tuesday, showing a trimmed $17.1 million net loss. During remarks to investor analysts discussing results, AK Steel Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Wainscott said the company’s blast furnaces ran much better in the second quarter than the first part of the year.

“That said, we continued to experience operational issues at our Ashland blast furnace, which are continuing, and we are assessing the possible need and timing for a larger maintenance job at that furnace,” Wainscott said.

Before that on July 21, AK Steel announced plans to buy a new steel plant in Dearborn, Michigan, which also produces carbon flat-rolled steel products using a blast furnace. The $700 million deal is expected to close by the end of the year. In light of repairs needed at the Ashland and Middletown blast furnaces, Wainscott says the benefits of acquiring the Michigan steel plant include increased productivity and operational flexibility.

Last year’s unplanned Middletown outage led to a delay of shipments to some customers.

Shares of AK Steel stock soared to a more than two-year high Tuesday of $9.45 per share after the company reported an operating profit.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Time running out on Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations
Time running out on Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations

Negotiations between southwest Ohio’s largest health system, Dayton-based Premier Health, and UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurance company, remained at a standstill Thursday with the first deadline for their contract to expire rapidly approaching. UnitedHealthcare’s contract with Premier hospitals is set to expire...
Airfare decreases at local airports
Airfare decreases at local airports

Average airfare at airports in Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati has dropped in the past year, but still remains among the highest in the United States. Five airports in the region rank in the top 50 most expensive in the country, including Dayton International Airport, John Glenn International Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport...
Frisch’s introduces new, limited-edition cheeseburger
Frisch’s introduces new, limited-edition cheeseburger

Frisch’s Big Boy has introduced a new hamburger to its menu — the Primetime Chili Cheeseburger. The Cincinnati-based fast casual restaurant added the Chili Cheeseburger to its menu this month. The burger features premium ground beef, melted cheddar cheese and is topped with Frisch’s famous chili with beans. The restaurant said the...
Auto lender to military service members must pay $1.25M penalty
Auto lender to military service members must pay $1.25M penalty

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken action against an Ohio auto lender to pay refunds and credits the federal agency says were due to hundreds of consumers, and pay an additional $1.25 million penalty, records show. The CFPB alleged Mason-headquartered Security National Automotive Acceptance Corp., which specializes in vehicle...
5 things to know about Meijer home delivery
5 things to know about Meijer home delivery

Meijer’s home delivery starts today in the Miami Valley, allowing customers to shop for more than 55,000 items online. The service will cover 2,100 square miles including Miamisburg, Middletown, Lebanon, Huber Heights, Englewood, Springfield and Troy, acccording to the company. That’s more than 415,000 houses that can be serviced by Meijer&rsquo...
More Stories