Universal Stainless & Alloy Products announced plans to invest $13 million in its Bridgeville, Pa., meltshop over the next 15 months. The capital improvement will include major upgrades in equipment, automation and plant layout. The major components of the project include the installation of a newly designed 50-ton EAF shell and purchase of equipment designed to automate certain recurring operating processes. Also included is the addition of new ladle-preheating equipment and an upgrade of the alloy-addition equipment at the argon-oxygen decarburization (AOD) unit. The project also encompasses the implementation of new melting and refining automation software.

Universal Stainless developed the program in an effort to cut production cycle times, reduce customer lead times, improve on-time delivery performance and reduce operating costs. The company plans for equipment and infrastructure spending to be completed by the end of 2009 and the automation investment to be completed by the middle of 2010. Once fully implemented, the capital improvement is expected to yield cost savings of more than $7.5 million per year.