Zekelman Industries, the parent company of Atlas Tube, announced Tuesday (July 30) in Blytheville it will build the world’s largest continuous ERW tube mill on property adjacent to its existing Atlas Tube mill.
The $150 million facility will employ 75 new workers. Atlas will have a total of about 150 employees once the new facility is finished. Work on the project is expected to begin in early 2020 and is slated to be completed in September 2021.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Commerce Secretary Mike Preston and Zekelman CEO Barry Zekelman were at the Atlas plant Tuesday to announce the project.
“Arkansas has some of the most talented and dedicated steel workers in the country,” Hutchinson said. “Our quality workforce and low business costs make Arkansas stand out among other states as an attractive option for companies looking to expand.”
“We’re very excited to continue investing in a community we’ve proudly called home,” Zekelman said. “Having two mills within close proximity of each other will only increase our organization’s efficiency. We look forward to starting construction of this groundbreaking facility.”
The $150 million mill project is the largest private investment in the U.S. steel industry in the last decade, enabling new domestic manufacturing capabilities. The state-of-the-art facility will be capable of producing hollow structural sections (HSS) in square, rectangular and round shapes and in sizes. Atlas Tube has supplied Jumbo HSS (up to 22″ square x 0.875″ wall) since 2012, the new mill allows the full range of these products to be made in the USA for the first time — and with a larger maximum wall thickness than previously available.
Atlas Tube provides structural support for buildings such as airports, stadiums, mega warehouses and large distribution centers, and they can be used for infrastructure applications such as bridges and oil & gas pipelines.
“It is a great testament to our state when companies like Atlas Tube expand their operations here rather than going elsewhere,” said Preston. “We have put a lot of effort into growing the steel industry in the state, and this is the latest company to realize that Arkansas has the tools in place to help businesses succeed.”
The new Blytheville mill will be Atlas Tube’s sixth mill in North America and its fifth in the United States, all of which also produce HSS. Zekelman Industries includes the operating divisions of Atlas Tube, Picoma, Sharon Tube, Wheatland Tube, Western Tube and Z Modular.