Sault Ste. Marie is home to Canada’s only discrete plate and heat treat facility. And it’s undergoing an exciting transformation.
Over the years, Algoma Steel’s (Algoma) plate mill has produced steel for many notable projects that have shaped the lives of Canadians. In the early 90s, Algoma’s steel plate was used in the construction of HMCS Halifax and Toronto, both Halifax-class vessels serving the Canadian Armed Forces, and today Algoma remains a key supplier into the National Shipbuilding program. The steelmaker was a supplier of choice for the Henvey Inlet wind tower project – the largest single-phase wind project in Ontario, along with a multitude of other wind tower projects across the province. Algoma Steel plate products have also been a trusted part of major bridge and infrastructure projects such as the Champlain Bridge, Bluewater Bridge, the Rogers Centre, Pearson International Airport, the GFL Centre and more. Algoma’s armour plate has been deployed as far away as Iraq and here at home in our own SSM Police Service’s ballistic armoured tactical transport unit.
Now, the company is making a significant investment in the plate mill that will grow its plate business with wider plate products, improved flatness and surface quality, and improved logistics to enhance on-time delivery performance. Increased thickness capability will also allow Algoma to further expand its product offerings into the oil and gas, forestry, agriculture, wind energy and mining sectors.
The project will incorporate state of the art technologies in automation systems, surface descaling, hot levelling and a new cooling bed. A new dividing shear, piling system, 'top-and-bottom’ automated inspection system and plate marking machine will upgrade the finishing area.
“The improvements and new technologies will not only bring a greater breadth of plate products to market but will decrease the time from customer order to delivery,” explains Kevin Burman, Plate Sales Manager at Algoma Steel. “Our investments in enhanced plate quality, capability, and ability to expand the volume of direct load shipments are the result of invaluable feedback from Algoma Steel’s loyal customers and experienced team members.”
Civil work for the first phase of the project is complete and the company is now moving into the installation phase. The plate modernization project is scheduled for completion by fall 2022.
“Our focus has been to continuously provide high-quality steel plate products to the most demanding of industries,” said Burman. “Algoma Steel has long been the only Canadian discrete plate manufacturer, and following the conclusion of the plate mill transformation, will be a preferred supplier of plate products to the entire North American steel landscape.”