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USX CORPORATION, KOBE STEEL JOINT VENTURE UNVEILS GALVANIZING LINE

 LEIPSIC, Ohio, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The PRO-TEC Coating Company today formally unveiled the newest of the world's large continuous, hot-dip galvanizing lines to hundreds of automotive, appliance and construction customers and other dignitaries.
 The 600,000-ton-per-year, state-of-the-art joint venture between the U.S. Steel Group (NYSE: X) of USX Corporation, Pittsburgh, and Kobe Steel, Ltd., Tokyo, was viewed by more than 500 galvanized sheet product users, civic leaders and media. The operation, located in rural Northwestern Ohio, began commercial production earlier this year.
 The event included the symbolic blending of the two partners' cultures with that of Ohio, with a tree-planting ceremony at the plant concluding the dedication event. Sokichi Kametaka, president, Kobe Steel, Ltd.; Charles A. Corry, chairman, USX Corporation; and Ohio Gov. George V. Voinovich joined to plant the trees. The trees were: A Yoshino cherry tree representing Japan; the Pennsylvania state tree, a hemlock; and the Ohio state tree, a buckeye.
 Voinovich, keynote speaker following a luncheon at the plant, said PRO-TEC and its employment "bring a real economic impact to this part of Ohio. This world-class galvanizing plant is the culmination of excellent cooperation between the Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation and the Ohio Department of Economic Development. It's an example of how state and local government can work with industry to benefit all parties for years to come."
 During the dedication events, visitors had the opportunity to walk through the facilities guided by PRO-TEC employee/associates.
 "As I walked around the plant, I was impressed by the top-class equipment," said Kametaka. "But hardware is not enough. It is people who make products and PRO-TEC has top quality people working for it. To the associates of PRO-TEC -- as we say in Japan -- now is the time for you to infuse your spirit into this plant and nourish it.
 "And to everyone else, I ask that you extend your cooperation and support to this new plant and its employees, so they can succeed by making the highest quality products. And the plant in turn, then can contribute to the prosperity of customer and supplier businesses, and more importantly, to the people in the community," Kametaka said.
 Before PRO-TEC began commercial operations on Jan. 4, its 90 employee/associates received extensive training which was assisted by a grant through the Ohio Department of Economic Development.
 "The facility which we're formally dedicating today represents a true partnership in the largest and most beneficial sense of that term," said Corry. "This world-class coating facility was brought to reality through the cooperative efforts of the two partner firms, the communities of Leipsic and Putnam County, the state of Ohio and PRO-TEC's skilled, enthusiastic team of employees.
 "Working together, these parties have raised -- here amid the corn fields of America's heartland -- a functional example of the economic benefit which comes through shared vision and commitment between the private and public sectors," Corry said.
 The $200 million joint venture was constructed to supply high quality coated steel products mainly to American and Japanese-owned automotive manufacturing facilities. Other markets for the product include home appliances, construction and agriculture.
 PRO-TEC supplies quality coated sheet products in gauges of 0.015 to 0.090 inches and in widths of 28 to 74 inches. The sheets have coating weights of 30 to 150 grams per square meter for galvanized products and 30 to 90 grams per square meter for galvannealed products. Master coils for the new facility are supplied primarily from U. S. Steel's Gary Works in Indiana.
 "We have had an excellent startup, especially considering that most of our employee/associates had little or no previous experience with the galvanizing process," William Lewis, PRO-TEC general manager said. "Each person received more than 500 hours of classroom training. Also, we sent associates to Kobe's Kakogawa Works in Japan for 'hands-on' training before we started up our own line here at Leipsic."
 The galvanizing line is close to 1,000 feet long and incorporates the latest control and monitoring computer technology. The line is housed in a seven-acre building. A slit-side-trim line also has been installed to provide edge trimming, slitting and additional production inspection.
 Coils of steel begin the hot-dip process at uncoilers at the head of the line. After shearing, coil ends are welded together and accumulated to maintain the continuous process. The sheet is then heated at approximately 1,550 degrees F. in a continuous heat treating furnace. After a controlled cooling, the sheet enters a molten zinc bath at a temperature of about 870 degrees F. The strip passes through an air knife to control coating thickness and is cooled to solidify the zinc on the steel surface.
 Galvannealing is accomplished in a vertical furnace immediately after hot dipping. In the furnace, the coating metal remains molten until it alloys completely with the base metal.
 After galvannealing, the sheet is cooled and temper rolled. Tension leveling and chemical treatment follow. The sheet then enters the exit accumulator before going to continuous inspection, the electrostatic oiler, rotary shears and recoilers. Coil weights at exit are up to 90,000 pounds with a maximum outside diameter of 84 inches. Inside diameters are 20 and 24 inches.
 To provide for customers' diverse applications, one of three different oils, including prelubes, can be applied accurately at the electrostatic oiler. After coils are packaged they are shipped directly to customers via rail or truck from PRO-TEC's automated warehouse.
 Environmentally, the new facility has incorporated the best available technology to meet environmental requirements. A water-recycle system processes residual water. Approximately 350,000 gallons of water per day are used during the galvanizing process. Exhaust fume scrubbers and efficient furnace burners were incorporated into the line's design to minimize air emissions.
 The definitive agreement to form PRO-TEC was signed in March 1990 by USX and Kobe Steel. Construction of the greenfield plant on 1,200 acres on the edge of Leipsic began in February 1991. The plant, which at one point is more than 220 feet high, stands in marked contrast to neighboring corn and soybean fields. The site, 20 miles northwest of Findlay and 55 miles southwest of Toledo, was chosen because of its access to Midwestern steel markets, a solid transportation network and favorable tax incentives.
 The plant was designed by a joint team of technical experts from U.S. Steel and Kobe Steel. Construction ran ahead of schedule and was completed in 22 months. Plans originally called for production on the line to begin in February. However, cold commissioning was able to be started last September and hot runs started in December. Commercial production began Jan. 4, two months ahead of schedule.
 USX and Kobe Steel have another joint venture in Ohio, the USS/Kobe Steel Company in Lorain, producer of steel bars for the automotive and machinery industries and tubular products for oil and gas-producing markets.
 /delval/
 -0- 5/13/93
 /CONTACT: T.R. Ferrall of USX, 412-433-6899; or H. Miichi of Kobe Steel, USA, 212-751-9400/
 (X)


CO: PRO-TECH Coating Company; U.S. Steel Group; USX Corporation;
 Kobe Steel, Ltd. ST: Ohio IN: MNG SU: JVN


KC-DM -- PG005 -- 8082 05/13/93 12:05 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1993
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