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U.S. STEEL'S MON VALLEY WORKS UNVEILS NEW CONTINUOUS SLAB CASTER

U.S. STEEL'S MON VALLEY WORKS UNVEILS NEW CONTINUOUS SLAB CASTER
 BRADDOCK, Pa., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works today unveiled a new continuous slab caster, a $250 million commitment by USX Corporation (NYSE: X) to world-class steel production in the Pittsburgh region and one of the most significant investments by any industry in Western Pennsylvania in recent decades.
 The dual-strand caster has been under construction the last two years at the Edgar Thomson plant here, the "hot end" of the Mon Valley Works. The facility began a "hot commissioning" start-up process Aug. 19 and is quickly progressing toward its commercial production capacity of 2.6 million tons annually.
 Continuous casting increases quality and productivity, reduces costs and energy consumption and enhances environmental performance over traditional ingot steelmaking methods.
 Slabs from the new facility are shipped to the Irvin Plant in West Mifflin, Pa., and rolled into bands on the hot strip mill, where recent improvements have been made in connection with the caster project.
 The hot bands are converted at Irvin and at Mon Valley Works' Fairless division near Philadelphia into finished sheet and tin mill products for customers in the appliance, automotive, construction, container and other industries.
 With start-up of the Mon Valley caster, U.S. Steel becomes one of the few integrated steel companies in the world capable of producing all of its steel via the continuous casting method. The company operates four slab casting lines at its Gary Works in Indiana and a slab caster and a bloom caster at its Fairfield Works at Birmingham, Ala.
 "The start-up of the Mon Valley caster represents an important milestone not only for the Mon Valley Works and its customers, but for U.S. Steel as a whole," said Thomas J. Usher, president of the U.S. Steel Group of USX. "In achieving our strategic goal of total cast capability, we will significantly enhance our position of quality leadership and cost efficiency in the world marketplace."
 The caster complex is manned by about 200 operating and maintenance employees who underwent extensive training over the last nine months on continuous casters at other U.S. Steel plants.
 "Without this investment, some 5,000 jobs would be in danger of becoming non-competitive at Edgar Thomson, Irvin, Fairless and the Clairton Works, which provides blast furnace coke for Edgar Thomson," Usher said. "Our Mon Valley and Fairless facilities serve customers in quality critical markets. It would be impossible in the years ahead to meet the stringent surface, uniformity and other product demands of those customers without cast slabs."
 The caster's dual-strand capability -- in which one or both lines can cast from the single tundish -- offers maximum operating flexibility and productivity.
 The caster converts molten steel through more than 100 pairs of rolls into eight-inch thick slabs which are then torch-cut to length -- from 204 to 430 inches -- and moved down a run-out table, where cranes remove them for shipment to Irvin.
 An integral part of the caster project was installation of a new ladle metallurgy facility (LMF) which assures proper chemistry, temperature and consistency of molten steel from Edgar Thomson's basic oxygen process shop before it goes to the caster. The LMF began operation in February.
 State-of-the art computer systems and monitors assist the operators in tracking and control of the product throughout the casting process.
 Philip X. Masciantonio, vice president of environmental affairs for U.S. Steel, said, "The continuous caster will significantly enhance Edgar Thomson's already excellent environmental performance with its integral state-of-the-art control systems, its greatly reduced energy usage, and the elimination of the slab mill and its 26 soaking pits" (ingot re-heat furnaces).
 The caster and LMF are equipped with more than $18 million in air and water emission controls, Masciantonio noted. The ladle metallurgy facility includes a high capacity baghouse which, along with built-in controls on the caster, significantly reduce emissions of sulphur oxide, particulate matter, nitrogen and volatile organic compounds.
 A water recycle system recycles most of the 24,500 gallons of process water used each minute for cooling and cleaning during the casting process. Any discharge water is treated to meet tough environmental standards before being returned to the Monongahela River.
 Edgar Thomson began production in 1875 as Andrew Carnegie's first mill. "This start-up adds a monumental chapter to the story of one of the most historic steel plants in the world," Usher said. "But our focus in bringing the caster on line is not on the past, but on the future.
 "This technology gives general manager John Goodish and all the other employees of the Mon Valley and Fairless facilities an essential new competitive tool. With the ongoing support and involvement of those employees, and the continued cooperation of state and local officials, we believe this investment will pay huge dividends for all of us -- employees, holders of USX-U.S. Steel Group stock, our customers and the communities in which we operate," Usher concluded.
 -0- 9/2/92
 /CONTACT: T.R. Ferrall, 412-433-6899, or R.W. Glenn, 412-433-6792, both of USX/
 (X) CO: USX Corporation; U.S. Steel Group ST: Pennsylvania IN: MNG SU:


CD -- PG005 -- 5808 09/02/92 10:00 EDT
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Date:Sep 2, 1992
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