Ohio Coatings makes its 4 millionth ton of steel
Mar 23, 2021
YORKVILLE — Ohio Coatings Co. has navigated some tricky economic waters, but the company marked a milestone this year, having made 4 million tons of steel.
The business began commercial production in 1997 and completed its 4 millionth ton on Feb. 4.
“Our crews are taking a lot of ownership. It was a huge accomplishment, and they were all very proud to be part of that,” Lori Clark, vice president of commercial, said.
“It’s been an interesting run over the last 20-plus years,” President Jim Tennant said.
Ohio Coatings produces tin plate steel, focusing on electrolytic tin coating lines for the sanitary food can and aerosol packaging markets. Ohio Coatings is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Esmark Inc. and TCC Steel. Information about the company can be found at ohiocoatingscompany.com.
The direct workforce comprises 65 union and salaried personnel. The business also indirectly supports other local businesses, mostly through product supply and material distribution predominantly by truck. The key supplier is Cleveland-Cliffs through the Weirton steel facility.
There are more than 1,000 truckloads supplying and delivering product each month.
Clark said the demand for tin plate cans has increased throughout the COVID pandemic as more sanitary food cans are being used, as well as aerosol cans for disinfectant and cleaning products.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and prior problems impacted the business.
“We’ve all lived this … so many years, and even the struggle of losing our parent company … trying to depend on third party companies to supply us, so we’ve not been able to get up to anywhere, any level that we would like to run at. We’re still running at 60 percent of capacity,” Tennant said. “We’d like to get up around 75, 80 percent.
“It’s been a struggle just getting enough supplies, but the pandemic actually helped us more than hurt us in that most of our product goes into food cans, aerosol cans, a lot of cleaning products, that sort of thing. There’s been a very strong demand. It’s just a matter of getting enough steel to take advantage of that.”
“All of our customers are looking for additional tin plate this year, just because of the pandemic,” Clark said. “More people are looking for soup cans, fruits and vegetables. … We have customers who need a lot of aerosol cans for Lysol products, which are in big demand.”
Company officials expect to continue doing brisk business in the near future.
“I don’t think we see that demand slacking off in the near future. Maybe not even into next year,” Clark said. “Our challenge is and has been to secure enough substrate to keep our line running and to keep enough volume to go out to our customers. That’s a constant search for us.”
“With Cleveland Cliffs taking over the old Weirton facility, which is our 75 percent supplier, we would like to think since that’s pretty freshly done (in December) … we would like to think that we’ll be able to build on what we’ve done with them over so many years and maybe get an opportunity to grow that significantly, which would help them and help us. We look at that as one of the big opportunities,” Tennant said.
“There are three tinplate suppliers in the United States, and we are No. 3 by a long shot,” Clark said, adding Ohio Coatings follows behind US Steel and Cleveland Cliffs. “We’re also the newest line in the United States, so we have a lot more control over the product. We have our electronics and our control over the product is good, and our customer service is far and away better than any of our competitors. I think that means a lot.”
“Couple that with our quality,” Tennant said. “This tin line replaced two very old tin lines from Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp., and this tin line out-produces what those did, and the quality comparison to the old days is just phenomenally better. Our workforce is tremendously skilled in what they do, and they take tremendous pride in the product we put out.”
Ohio Coatings Co. is located at 2100 Tin Plate Place. For information, call (740) 859-5513.
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