Info, Tutorials and How To Guides

SJF's Material Handling Blog

Congress Moves toward “Buy American” Steel for Schools

There is a move in the U.S. Congress to protect schools from “unsafe steel from China” and elsewhere. The 21st-Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (H.R. 3021) would mandate American made steel in all public school construction projects. The legislation is supported by the Congressional Steel Caucus.

Earlier this year the Steel Market Update along with Steel Business Briefing and other news organizations reported on the failure of Chinese pipe and tubing that had been installed in public schools in California. It was discovered that the pipe and tubing did not meet the testing standards to which it had been ordered.

Representative Pete Visclosky held hearings in April about sub-standard steel being imported into the United States. According to an American Metal Market article U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection had no way of monitoring the safety of foreign steel.

H.R. 3021 would require that any facility using federal funds under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Department, Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security must use 100% domestic steel. This measure would apply to civilian and military construction projects including airports, bridges, railroads, tunnels, harbors, piers and the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. All would need to utilize 100% domestically produced steel.

According to AMM the bill is not expected to go anywhere this year but, there are speculations that if Obama becomes president it would quickly pass. (Source: American Metal Market)

Chameleon Brings New Life to Old Equipment

Recently, if an industrial carousel manufacturer discontinued supporting its controls package, the equipment dependent on it was doomed as instantly obsolete. Manufacturers controls systems are inherently proprietary.

For years, thousands of warehouse and distribution centers around the world have utilized these vertical and horizontal carousel systems to store and retrieve the products they manufacture and distribute.

The status quo required buyers of these systems, to be inherently dependent on the manufacturers to supply all of the support, repair, installation, updates and/or parts necessary to keep these systems operational for the owners. Due to the proprietary control systems that operate these systems, there was no other alternative in the event a buyer wanted to outsource these functions to someone other than the original manufacturer.

With thousands of systems now deemed unsupported, old and/or outdated by the manufacturer, many see a sizable market alternative to the status quo. A sizable, ever growing market for an alternative controls solution which could operate any make or model of older vertical or horizontal carousel regardless of age, make, model does exist.

While industry insiders agree the need and market are real, developing it is not. “Its like trying to find the holy grail”, said one insider. Like the grail, many have tried but all have failed.

Or have they? Some think not.

Recently news has hit the material handling industry about a controls system appropriately named “Chameleon” (because it adapts to everything) rumored to do what many thought impossible. The creators of Chameleon claim the controller can be adapted to any industrial ASRS carousel. Any carousel as in any make, any model, old or new, doesn’t matter what carousel they claim. Even ASRS carousel systems declared obsolete or no longer supported by the manufacturer? “Especially carousels deemed obsolete by the manufacturer,” said Stafford Sterner, a company spokesman.

The key benefit Chameleon offers is bringing new life into equipment thought to be obsolete and worthless. In addition, the elimination of the need to purchase unwanted upgrades in order to maintain warranty and support on an existing system is a big plus as well. Chameleon Carousel Controls provide an economical option for systems that till now, where anything but.

Users can use the touch screen to select a bin location and automatically bring the part to the operations area. The carousel can also be run in Manual or Jog mode, and the system includes full diagnostics and error messages. Encoder type carousels can be “Homed” automatically, or proximity carousels can be positioned at any location.

“The key benefit Chameleon offers,” says Sterner “is the elimination of the need to purchase unwanted upgrades in order to maintain warranty and support on an existing system. Chameleon Carousel Controls provide an economical option.” For users requiring more sophisticated search and retrieval tools, The company is currently testing a PC-based software control option for Chameleon due for release this summer.

Read more about Chameleon Carousel Controls and related software at

US flat rolled steel market braces for another price leap

It is pretty much inevitable that US flat rolled prices for July production are headed up, but the question is by how much?

Source: SteelOrbis Bulletin

Free Subscription to Steel Market Update Newsletter

For those who have been readers of Steel news & updates on SJF’s blog, we have arranged for you to receive a free trial subscription to John Packards ” Steel Market Update”

Trial subscriptions are free of charge and you have no obligation to purchase anything.

John is a top steel market annalyst. You can see many of his articles and insights posted here at SJF’s blog. This trial suscription is great for smaller end users and distributors that don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on newsletters that have too much “stuff” in them and not enough hard-hitting detail about what you want and need to know regarding todays steel market.

It’s Free! … It’s easy!

Simply drop John Packard an email at

Let him know you are interested the free trial subscription offer seen on SJF’s Blog to ” Steel Market Update” John will provide you everything you need to get “logged in”, up and going.

Scrap numbers said to be a key factor to watch

Nucor Scrap Surcharge (contracts) to Increase by $120/Ton

Nucor’s scrap surcharge will increase on June 1, 2008 by $120 per ton ($6.00/cwt) based on the latest published #1 Busheling scrap prices. This increase comes after an increase of $170 per ton for the month of May.

Number 1 Busheling has moved from $430/l.t. in March to $600/l.t. in April and is now being published at $720/l.t. for May. The May number determines the surcharge that Nucor will charge for the following month (June).

As I have mentioned on a number of occasions the scrap numbers are one of the key pricing factors that we need to watch.” said John Packard. “We can now anticipate that Nucor will announce their flat-rolled spot prices some time this week (I would anticipate early this week) and the increase could be in excess of the $70 per ton announced by AK Steel earlier this month.”

AK Steel’s base prices on HR for July are $56.25/cwt and I anticipate that Nucor’s number may exceed the AK Steel number.

Source: John Packard:

Possible shortages of light gauge galvanized

I am hearing that there may be a shortage of light gauge galvanized/Galvalume during the July time frame. I am aware of a Chinese galvanizing line that is experiencing problems that may cause it to not ship approximately 15,000 tons of light gauge galvanized meant for the U.S. market.

I am also hearing ArcelorMittal may be having some issues – especially working through the changes necessary with the sale of Sparrows Point and the supply of material to the Double G coating facility in Jackson, Mississippi.

Source :

At the same time I am hearing from HVAC suppliers that inventories are tight at the moment but there is a concern a combination of hedge buying by end users coupled with continued buying of allocated tons by both the service centers and wholesalers may cause a surge in supply during the month of July. I would appreciate any information that you would like to share regarding your particular situation and what you are seeing and hearing from your customers/suppliers.

Scrap – SDI bought another scrap supplier within the past few days. Nucor has been buying up sources as well.

This is something steel buyers need to be aware of and to watch as it can go two ways

1) control of the sources guarantees the mini-mills ample scrap now and into the future.

2) Control of the sources of steel scrap can artificially keep the price of scrap high – thus hurting the buyers of steel products – and pumping up the bottom line of the mills in control of scrap.

Steel Prices – SDI (June), USS (July), Nucor (July), ArcelorMittal (July), Severstal – especially Sparrows Point (July) and the conversion mills – The Techs, Sharon Coatings, CSN and Wheeling Nisshin should all be coming out with prices either yet this week or, if they want to be nice to me because I’m on vacation, by early next week. Please send me an email or a call when you get the news.

Steel Mill Upcoming Steel Price Release Dates

Steel Prices – SDI (June), USS (July), Nucor (July), ArcelorMittal (July), Severstal – especially Sparrows Point (July) and the conversion mills – The Techs, Sharon Coatings, CSN and Wheeling Nisshin should all be coming out with prices either yet this week or, by early next week.


Steel Prices Continue to Move Higher

Steel Business Briefing released The Steel Index of Reference Prices for the week ending May 4, 2008. The new numbers show that the market prices for hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized have continued to move higher as compared to the week prior.

Hot-rolled prices showed a $5 per ton move to the upside ($.25/cwt). Over the past four weeks, HR pricing has increased by $201 per ton ($10.05/cwt) or 24.8%.

Cold-rolled prices also moved higher. They increased by $11 per ton ($.55/cwt) as compared to the week prior and have moved higher by $190 per ton ($9.50/cwt) over the past four week period or, 20.8%.

Galvanized coil increased by $20 per ton ($1.00/cwt) compared to the previous week. Over the past four weeks galvanized has increased by 19.3%.

Provided courtesy of Steel Market Update ( )

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :