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BETHLEHEM STRUCTURAL PRODUCTS AWARDS CONTRACT FOR CONTINUOUS CASTER IN MODERNIZATION PROGRAM

 BETHLEHEM, Pa., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The first major step in Bethlehem Structural Products Corporation's $100 million modernization program was taken here yesterday with the awarding of a contract for the manufacture of BSPC's uniquely designed continuous casting machine.
 The contract was awarded to SMS Concast, Inc., of Montvale, N.J.
 "The timing of this contract means that we plan to have our caster in place here by late 1995," said Bethlehem Structural President Tim Lewis. "Its installation will mark a new era in Bethlehem Steel's nearly 100-year tradition of structural steelmaking here in the Lehigh Valley.
 "The engineering has gone very well. We're right on schedule on all aspects of the job."
 Bethlehem's new two-strand, "beam blank, bloom, slab" casting machine, conceived by Bethlehem Steel and designed by SMS, will enable BSPC to offer its customers a full range of continuously cast structural steel products. The caster will produce a variety of shapes including the largest beam blank in the world, with a cross-section dimension of 5l.3" x 20" x 4.75", and the rolling mills, modified to accept these shapes, will make the largest H-beams produced in the United States.
 Herbert Fastert, president of SMS, noted during the contract signing that the design of the Bethlehem caster incorporates features that are the source of several U.S. patents, applied for and granted to both Bethlehem and SMS Concast.
 "We have worked intensely with Bethlehem Structural on this project and we are confident that our caster and its superior technological features will provide the quality and productivity that Bethlehem needs to serve its customers competitively in a demanding marketplace," said Fastert.
 Once the new caster is in full operation, Bethlehem Structural will be producing all of its products from continuously cast material, except for jumbo columns which will continue to be produced from ingots.
 "What's unique about the Bethlehem/SMS casting machine," Lewis explained, "is that unlike conventional beam blank casters, our machine will have the capability of varying the thickness of the flanges of the beam blank, thus producing a beam blank that is properly proportioned for the finished product. This minimizes the primary rolling process and substantially improves process yield by eliminating the need to take crop losses before entering the universal mill. It saves time, is much more efficient and reduces our operating costs."
 In addition to beam blanks, the new caster will also be capable of producing slabs -- used in the manufacture of sheet piling. Bethlehem Structural is the only domestic producer of hot-rolled sheet piling.
 "In this first phase of our modernization plans for Bethlehem Structural Products Corporation, we also will be installing a ladle furnace for adjusting the temperature and composition of liquid steel poured into the caster, and we will be making modifications to the soaking pits and rolling mills to process the cast beam blanks into finished products," said Lewis. He noted that contracts for the manufacture of the ladle furnace, mill modifications and process control communications are expected to be awarded soon.
 The BSPC president underscored the importance of the contract signing but cautioned:
 "Technology alone won't make us a success. We must be low-cost, high-quality and competitive in all phases of our business. We must be the best and the most efficient supplier with our new tools. There is no let-up in the competitive marketplace. We must earn our position every day. Our joint labor/management efforts on our restructuring must be completed and we need the relentless pursuit by all employees to continue to eliminate waste, reduce our costs and satisfy our customers' needs."
 /delval/
 -0- 11/9/93
 /CONTACT: Henry Von Spreckelsen, manager of corporate communications of Bethlehem Steel, 215-694-3711/
 (BS)


CO: Bethlehem Structural Products Corporation; SMS Concast, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania, New Jersey IN: MNG SU: CON

MP-LJ -- PH016 -- 2185 11/09/93 10:35 EST
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Date:Nov 9, 1993
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