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Published: Friday, 12/6/2013

STEEL PROCESSING

Construction under way in Delta to expand plant

$20M project is designed to raise capacity, add jobs

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

DELTA, Ohio — A steel-processing plant that supplies the building and automotive industries is in the early stages of a $20 million expansion that will increase the plant’s annual production capacity and should bring with it more than a dozen new jobs.

Fulton County Processing Ltd. is adding 82,000 square feet to its plant in Delta. The expansion will give the company more storage space, but more importantly add a second hydrochloric pickling line. Pickling is a process in which scale — a by-product of the milling process — is removed from rolled steel coils. If the scale is not removed, the steel cannot hold a painted or powder-coated finish.

Jeff Kunkel, Fulton County Processing’s general manager, said footers for the expansion have been poured. Construction of the new line should begin in March, once the addition is enclosed.

In addition to pickling, the plant also cuts rolled steel coil down to smaller sizes to fit the tooling of manufacturers and other end users.

Founded in 2002, the plant employs 80. Mr. Kunkel said he expects to add 14 jobs within 3 years to support the new line.

About 70 percent of the steel the independent company processes comes from the nearby North Star Blue Scope steel mill.

“The industry’s been doing fairly well, but what we’re seeing and [have been told by] folks in the area, a lot of material is leaving the area to be pickled or slit elsewhere,” Mr. Kunkel said. “We want to capture that business and keep it in Ohio.”

Fulton County Processing currently has one pickling line that's capable of processing about 120,000 tons of steel per year.

The new line will be able to process up to 500,000 tons of steel annually. The company said the line will be able to handle steel coils that are up to six feet wide and weigh as much as 74,000 pounds.

The plant also has three slitting lines.

“Expansion has always been our goal,” Mr. Kunkel said. “Significant customer input has been put into planning this new capacity, and we are thrilled to see it now come to fruition. This is just one of the many steps we are taking to ensure that FCP can fulfill the needs of our growing customer base today and tomorrow.”

With the new line, the plant’s total product capacity will increase to more than 1 million tons annually.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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