On Friday, February 24th, members of the APICS Student Chapter at Cleveland State University went on a plant tour at Mittal Steel. Operating in 60 countries, ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company. It is the leading supplier of quality steel products in all major markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging.
There were about 20 people in attendance at the tour. Four tour guides split everyone into two groups, taking the groups in vans to visit different parts of the facility since there are different buildings for separate processes. Everyone wore hard hats, safety glasses, and green jackets for protection from sparks and other dangers. Since the noise in the facilities was quite loud, the groups were given headsets so that they could hear their tour guide.
The groups were able to see the entire process of making steel, from when it is molten to when it is a finished coil and ready to sell. The process, described below, is highly automated and very capital intensive:
Niki Zmij, President of CSU's APICS Student Chapter, commented on how surreal the experience was:
“At one point, I was standing next to this gigantic cauldron of molten steel. The intense heat and glowing red appearance make me feel as though I was staring into a volcano. Then the crane operator lowered these enormous hooks, and gingerly picked up the cauldron (literally maybe 15 feet in front of me) and moved it toward its new location. As he gently poured the steel into another container, sparks flew like crazy and flames erupted out of the cauldron. It was completely surreal.”
Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside the steel making facilities. Nonetheless, all of the attendees had a great time, and seeing the inner workings of this factory was a great experience for everyone.