AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) said today that the company has introduced CHROMESHIELD(TM) 22, a new nickel-free stainless steel product with enhanced benefits and stable pricing for customers. CHROMESHIELD 22 was developed by AK Steel at its Research Center in Middletown, Ohio, principally for manufacturers of appliance and food service equipment, tubing, cookware, automotive exhaust components and heat exchangers. After rigorous testing and customer trials, CHROMESHIELD 22 has proven itself to be an attractive, lower-cost material solution with numerous manufacturing benefits across several of the most demanding applications.
Similar to nickel-bearing stainless steels, CHROMESHIELD 22 is rust and stain resistant with excellent corrosion properties. In numerous applications, the corrosion resistance of CHROMESHIELD 22 will meet or exceed the performance of conventional nickel-bearing stainless steels. This breakthrough in technology will better maintain both the integrity and appearance of the product versus many higher priced stainless steels.
In addition, CHROMESHIELD 22 withstands extreme changes in temperature better than nickel-bearing grades of stainless steel used for comparable applications. This is particularly important to manufacturers of automotive exhaust components, cookware and heat exchangers, as CHROMESHIELD 22 offers enhanced protection against both oxidation and temperature-related stress and fatigue fractures.
AK Steel's CHROMESHIELD 22 also has been approved by NSF International, a leading health and public safety organization, as safe for food contact. This is a critical benefit for the food service equipment market.
AK Steel's CHROMESHIELD 22 is produced in America, allowing customers to secure domestic sourcing for their U.S. manufacturing operations. Since CHROMESHIELD 22 does not contain nickel, pricing is more predictable than the extremely volatile fluctuations of nickel-bearing steels, whose costs are driven by nickel trading on the London Metal Exchange.
Among the many products and processes developed by AK Steel throughout its history, the company pioneered the world's first continuous hot rolling sheet mill in the 1920's. Its trailblazing research also led to the development of various types of electrical steels used in power transmission and distribution equipment. And, the company helped revolutionize the automotive exhaust market in the 1990's with the introduction of specific types of aluminized stainless steels. Today, in addition to several other research projects, AK Steel is developing products that help its automotive customers design lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles that maintain superior strength and safety performance.
AK Steel is a world leader in the production of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, primarily for automotive, infrastructure and manufacturing, construction and electrical power generation and distribution markets. The company's AK Tube subsidiary produces carbon and stainless electric resistance welded tubular steel products for truck, automotive and other markets. Headquartered in West Chester, Ohio (Greater Cincinnati), the company employs approximately 7,900 men and women at eight steel plants and two tube manufacturing plants across five states: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company also has interests in iron ore through its Magnetation LLC joint venture and in metallurgical coal through its AK Coal subsidiary. Additional information about AK Steel is available at www.aksteel.com.