Pro-Tec takes 'a big step forward' with completion of new line at steel processing plant


LEIPSIC — Pro-Tec Coating Co. has completed construction of a new line at its steel processing plant here that will allow the company to turn out new grades of especially strong, lightweight steel.

The new continuous annealing line uses precise changes in temperature to alter the properties of steel. Pro-Tec is a joint venture of United States Steel Corp. and Kobe Steel Ltd. in Japan. The two companies invested $400 million into the expansion.

"This is a big step forward for us," said John Surma, the chief executive officer of U.S. Steel. 

Officials said the expansion added 80 jobs. In all, Pro-Tec now employs 317 people at the Putnam County facility. 

The new product is primarily aimed at automakers. 

The new line was commissioned today. Officials gave a tour of the plant to about 300 people, many of whom were prospective customers.