A division of Colonna Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, Steel America is a fabrication and machine shop that undertakes prodigious projects for a variety of heavy-duty industries, from shipbuilding
to nuclear energy. In Steel America’s world, every project has its inherent excitement. But when they landed the role as prime contractor to build Caisson Boston – the caisson gate that would house the venerable U.S.S. Constitution during the ship’s repairs, they knew they were about to forge history. They also knew that to succeed, they needed to partner with a steel supplier who not only had extensive experience in shipbuilding, but who already stocked the inventory of steel that was needed for the project. They chose Ryerson.
What precisely gave Ryerson the edge?
Explains Ken Mebane, vice president at Steel America, “Because Ryerson had the steel at their Mobile plant along with equipment we currently do not have, they can process a tremendous volume of steel. So we knew we could bid on this job with a high probability of success. Ryerson is a one-stop, fastturnaround shop that provides everything the job requires – and quickly.” Specific to Caisson Boston, “They had the plate, got it cut, processed and shipped to us so we were able to put it all together in short order.”
That wide range of processes and services is what separates Ryerson from its competitors. Ryerson has the in-house machinery that enables it to process and/or fabricate materials and streamline operations for customers. For instance, in addition to an on-site blast and prime line and press brake, Ryerson is specially equipped with a structural profiler that burns and cuts large beams, channels and beveled edges. The structural profiler is very precise, making Steel America’s job that much easier. Steel America received the perfectly cut pieces as if they were kits, marked with numbers for quick assembly, all ready for welding.
Service that knows no bounds
Yet as extensive as Ryerson’s equipment and services are, it was its vast geographical network that helped solidify Ryerson’s partnership with Steel America.
With approximately 100 locations, Ryerson was able to pull together resources from multiple facilities to ensure Steel America received the product it needed, when it was needed, at the best possible price. This geographical freedom gave Steel America the opportunity to choose the best supplier for the job – a supplier who happens to be known for its leadership in providing solutions for jobs large and small.
Says Ryerson’s General Manager of Sales for the Gulf Coast/ Atlanta Multi-Market Shane Stewart, “Ryerson’s scale and expertise are advantages that benefit every industry we serve, from shipbuilding and transportation to energy and defense. The fact that we can offer those advantages to customers no matter where they are is a win-win for everyone.”
A history of working together...with a future
Teaming with Ryerson is simply a continuation of a long partnership anchored in trust. In the past, Ryerson has provided and processed massive loads of steel for barges, as well as for two caissons previous to Caisson Boston – the largest of those being an aircraft carrier caisson that incorporated 985 tons of steel. Caisson Boston is estimated to weigh 675,000 pounds and measure 35-feet high, 16-feet wide and 64-feet long. These are daunting structures, to be sure. But Ryerson has always been up to the challenges Steel America presents, with winning results.
Mebane affirms, “There’s a lot of competition out there among suppliers, but the choice was clear. Ryerson provided everything we needed to be successful on this project.”
Over the years and in the wake of each project, Ryerson and Steel America have helped each other continue to learn, grow and succeed. If past is prologue, they will stay the course, with no bounds as to what they can achieve together.