The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published June 30, 1997


Winner Steel Services lines way to expansion

PHOTO Jean Angelo/Herald
Winner Steel Services, a hot-dip galvanized steel producer, is seen through the metal fence on Sharpsville Avenue in Sharon. Construction workers are laying the foundation for an addition at WSS. The site used to be part of Westinghouse Electric Corp.'s mile-long complex where electrical transformers were built.

By Michael Roknick
Herald Business Editor

You might say that Clayton Johnson is lining things up at Winner Steel Services Inc.

As general manager of the hot-dip galvanized steel producer, Johnson is overseeing the installation of a new galvanizing line at the Sharon company owned by James E. Winner Jr.

While he wouldn't give a cost of the new line, Johnson said it was in the ``tens of millions of dollars.''

Employing 60 now, Winner Steel will employ 100 when the new line is completed early next year.

``Jim told me when I first came here he wanted to build an employee base for the local economy,'' Johnson said. ``He's living up to his intentions.''

Located along Sharpsville Avenue, WSS sits in a 170,000-square-foot section of the former Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant just a few blocks from downtown Sharon. Winner bought the building from Ultimate Technology Inc., a defunct galvanizing operation that lasted less than a year.

WSS buys steel coils from steel producers, smooths out the coils that are dipped into molten hot zinc to produce galvanized coils.

By adding a new line, WSS will be able to produce wider and heavier products and give the company about a 500,000 ton annual capacity, Johnson said. That translates into 5 percent of the domestic capacity.

``With the leading edge technology in this new line that 5 percent will be the best quality 5 percent,'' Johnson proclaimed.

Galvanized steel is used in such products as autos, appliances, roofs, garage doors and steel building parts.

``This is a product and industry that will have increasing demand over the next 20 years,'' Johnson said.

With its existing line, WSS can produce galvanized coils 48 inches wide, and between 0.008 inches and 0.04 inches thick. But the new line will allow the company to produce 60-inch-wide coils between 0.0008 inches and 0.065 inches thick.

Also, the new line will be able to pump out coils 600 feet a minute, twice as fast as the existing line. In order to house the new line, the plant is expanding its building by 30,000 square feet. As part of that project, rail lines are being installed right up to the building's doorsteps.

``Right now everything we receive and ship is done by truck,'' Johnson said. ``By having the rail tracks it will enable us to sell to customers further away at a competitive price.''

Barely two years old, WSS is running three shifts seven days a week.

Sales have been very strong, Johnson said.

``We're already sold out through the end of the year,'' he said.

At this plant, there's no such thing as inventory.

``As soon as it's produced it goes out the door,'' Johnson said.

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Updated July 2, 1997
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