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

Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info
Gmail phishing scam may lead users to give up login info

A new phishing scam is allowing hackers to gain access to unsuspecting Gmail users' accounts and target their login credentials, according to recent reports. Mark Maunder, CEO of security service Wordfence, described the scam in detail in a blog post, adding that it is also targeting other services beyond Gmail. Tech Times reported that the scam involves...
Millennials spend more on coffee, save less for retirement
Millennials spend more on coffee, save less for retirement

A large number of Millennials spent more on coffee in the past year than they invested in their retirement savings, according to a new study. » RELATED: What makes Millennials tick in the workplace? It may surprise you About 41 percent of the Millennials — ages 18 to 35 — admitted to spending more on coffee than they saved for retirement...
Some worry over impact from health care law repeal
Some worry over impact from health care law repeal

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday joined the U.S. Senate in passing a budget reconciliation measure that would allow Congress to de-fund key elements of the Affordable Care Act, including tax credit subsidies and federal funding for Medicaid expansion in states like Ohio. While some are rejoicing over the move, replacing President Obama&rsquo...
Will Obamacare repeal leave people in the lurch?
Will Obamacare repeal leave people in the lurch?

As Congress moves forward on a resolution to repeal the Affordable Care Act, experts have warned such a measure could crash the law’s commercial insurance program, jeopardizing coverage for 11.5 million Americans, including more than 230,000 Ohioans. But local industry leaders remain hopeful that congressional Republicans — who are leading...
Holiday retail sales up, but some stores suffering
Holiday retail sales up, but some stores suffering

Retail sales hit about $658 billion for the holiday season, but several chain retailers still announced the closures of hundreds of unprofitable brick-and-mortar stores in January — including several stores locally. “These numbers show that the nation’s slow-but-steady economic recovery is picking up speed and that consumers feel...
More Stories