AK Steel Holding Corporation AKS recently announced that it has accepted an award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The new $1.2-million award is under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office program. It aims to investigate new low-density steels in the laboratory, which can be used in automotive structural applications.
AK Steel stated that the three-year project is in collaboration with DOE, the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center in the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratory Materials Science and Technology Division.
The project aims to conduct laboratory validation, alloy design and testing of low-density steels, which are alternatives to currently available advanced high strength steels and other lightweight metals. Low-density steels are likely to generate energy savings by bringing lifetime savings in automotive structural applications and efficiencies in manufacturing.
Notably, the project’s funding opportunity under DOE was created to enable selected projects to perform early-stage R&D of novel, advanced manufacturing technologies and also encourage R&D contributions from new partners. Moreover, successful projects are likely to reduce technical uncertainty and develop knowledge associated with potential breakthrough materials, tools as well as procedures for U.S. manufacturers. This is expected to boost energy efficiency and improve competitiveness.
AK Steel, which is one of the leading U.S. steel producers along with Nucor Corporation NUE, United States Steel Corporation X and Steel Dynamics, Inc. STLD, stated during second quarter earnings call that it expects market conditions to remain strong in the third quarter.
AK Steel expects flat-rolled shipments to be 5% higher in the third quarter on sequential comparison-basis. It projects average selling price per flat-rolled ton to be $1,105 in the third quarter. The company also anticipates improvement in pricing and shipment to be partially offset by the outage at one of its temper mills. As a result, it expects margins to improve around 50 basis points from second-quarter 2018 tally.
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