TimkenSteel plans to install a $40-million heat-treating operation at its specialty steelmaking operation in Perry Township, Ohio, a two-year project that will establish capacity for 50,000 tons/year of quenched and tempered 4- to 13-in. bar, and tubular products. It’s the first major capital program announced by the steelmaker since its spin-off from The Timken Co. last summer.

Further details of the heat-treating system, including the project’s contractor, were not announced. Last summer, TimkenSteel described its plan to install “additional continuous heat-treat capabilities (that) provide the flexibility to create more customized steels to serve energy and other markets that have a strong long-term outlook.”

“Quench and temper” is a heat-treating process to produce material with specific levels of mechanical strength. It starts with heating the steel bar or tube to a uniform temperature in a walking-hearth furnaces, usually over 1,500°F. This step is followed by quenching in a hot liquid (usually oil or water), or air, depending on the steel grade. The second step achieves the rapid cooling that imparts a high level of material hardness.

TimkenSteel has expanded its production capabilities over the past five years, including installing new ladle metallurgy and continuous billet casting capacity, and adding in-line forging capability to produce SBQ steel bars with improved center soundness.

Steels required to produce oil-and-gas drilling and transport equipment have emerged as a significant market opportunity for domestic specialty steelmakers.  TimkenSteel's supplies such materials to equipment manufacturers and service centers worldwide, including steels used to produce “down-hole” tools and oilfield infrastructure.

"Our investment in additional value-added operations feeds growing sales of our most sophisticated product lines, which meet the needs of demanding applications in energy and other markets," stated Shawn J. Seanor, executive vice president for Energy and Distribution.