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Made in America for 100 Years: TimkenSteel's Gambrinus Steel Plant


Editor’s Note: To close out our centennial year, we’re highlighting each of our facilities and its role in contributing to our long-term success. Our Gambrinus Steel Plant is the next stop. Watch for posts on our other locations in the coming weeks.

In 1929, we were growing. We opened our second facility, the Gambrinus Steel Plant, a free-standing piercing mill to replace the original piercing operation, also in Canton.

Gambrinus was brought online in two phases in response to the increasing demand for steel bars and tubes used in the production of tapered roller bearings. Steel-finishing operations provided the capability to alter the physical (size, shape) and metallurgical (hardness, grain) properties of steel. A piercing mill, capable of converting round, solid lengths of steel into seamless steel tubes, was constructed a year later.

Since then, two more piercing mills and a variety of other steel finishing and inspection functions have been added.

The first ultrasonic inspection equipment was added in 1963, a process that continues today. The future was taking shape as the facility began making shaped tubing in 1973.

More growth came in the ’80s with the addition of a continuous thermal treatment facility and an acid recovery plant followed by major renovations in 1998 and 2005.

A radiation-type wall thickness gauge went into service for in-process control of tube production in 1997. Ten years later, Gambrinus increased its heat-treat capacity with the installation of an induction treatment facility line.

Today, the finishing department includes thermal treatment, straightening, cold-draw, cold pilger, lathe boring and turning and other functions. In-line ultrasonic, Magna-Glo, eddy current testing, laser outer diameter (O.D.) check and spectrometers are used to inspect product.

The new advanced-quench-and-temper facility (AQTF) at Gambrinus was brought online in late 2017, increasing heat-treat capacity to serve ramping business.

Carolee Vanicek, director of tube manufacturing, is most proud of the strong sense of teamwork at Gambrinus.

“Everyone has risen to the challenge for improving safety, quality and efficiency,” she said. “The areas work together to benchmark one another and develop strong solutions for improvement.”

She has seen the level of process automation and control change at a very rapid pace, and the biggest impact her plant is making on TimkenSteel’s business today is happening with the commissioning of the new AQTF, bringing changes to the business for quench-and-temper capability and increased capacities.

As for the next 100 years, Vanicek envisions Gambrinus “continuing to serve evolving and challenging markets with the best value-added long products.”

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