Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Industries and Sumitomo Corp. agreed to acquire Steel Wheel Acquisition Corp. (SWAC), the parent company of Standard Steel, for approximately $340 million. Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Standard Steel is a leading manufacturer of railway wheels and axles. Sumitomo Metal plans to transfer its proprietary SIRD (Sumitomo inclined rotary dishing) pressing facility, a rotary forging press for wheels and its ultra-clean steel technology to Standard Steel in an effort to enhance its global competitiveness in the manufacture and sale of railway wheels. After this acquisition, Sumitomo plans to raise its presence in North America before expanding into Europe and other areas.

Sumitomo Metal has developed a new corrosion-resistant steel that can be used for bridges in salt-containing environments. The new steel has tin additions that improve corrosion resistance, and it provides the same strength and weldability as conventional steels. It could lengthen the intervals between repaints and reduce the repainting workload for such bridges.