The world's largest steelmaker, Arcelor Mittal, in collaboration with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metals Corporation (NSSMC) has announced two investment projects for their advanced joint venture steel finishing facility in Calvert, Alabama.

The plant is currently operating at around 75 to 80% of its designed capacity, having reached 83% back in June of this year.

The biggest investment planned for the plant is a US$40 million expansion of the slab yard. The aim is to increase the plant's slab staging capacity and efficiency. At present the hot strip mill has three bays capable of staging around 335kt of incoming slabs, but if the plant is to achieve its capacity target of 5.3Mt it needs to increase its staging capacity.

The project is scheduled for completion in Q2 2016 and will create 16 new crane operator positions.

Accoring to Chris Richards, president of the Calvert plant, the investment shows the confidence of the Calvert's JV partners.

An additional US$6.7 million is to be spent on the plant's number four continuous coating line. The aim here is to 'significantly increase ArcelorMittal's North American capacity to produce press hardenable steels'. One such product is Usibor, an aluminium-silicon coated (Al Si) high strength steel primarily for automotive applications.

The upgrade of the Calvert facility will also mean that ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor will not be the only plant in the Western Hemisphere capable of producing both Usibor and Ductibor, an energy-absorbing high strength steel offering ductility benefits.

Continuous coating line number four currently operates two coating pots, but has a third which will be modified to enable production of both Usibor and Ductibor. The planned modifications include the addition of a welder, snout articulation and pumps, pot refractory and equipment, drossing robot and coating knife all of which will enable production of aluminium-coated conventional and press hardenable steels.

Modifications to coating line four will be completed by the year-end with production of the first coil scheduled for January 2015.