Records Falling as Nucor Hits 25 Years

August 12th, 2012

News Coverage:
KPC News

Records Falling as Nucor Hits 25 Years

By Dave Kurtz,

Sunday, August 12, 2012, 12:00 am

WATERLOO – Nucor Building Systems marked its 25th anniversary this weekend, but there’s even more to celebrate.

“We had a record-breaking production week last week,” said Kevin Kimpel, a quote engineer who has worked at the plant since it opened in 1987.

The company moved 870 tons of steel through its production lines last week, beating the previous high mark of 790 tons, Kimpel said.

“That’s not just breaking a record — that’s smashing a record,” he said while leading a tour of the factory Friday. The plant is working toward a goal of processing 47,000 tons of steel this year,

The factory in Waterloo’s west-side industrial park creates practically everything needed to erect a steel building — columns, rafters, siding, roofing, gutters, downspouts and cross members known as purlins in ceilings and girts in walls.

“If you look at our production schedule, there’s anywhere from 15-30 buildings going through in a week,” Kimpel said. “I quote everything from 10-by-10 (feet) to 400 by 1,000.” The plant recently took an order for twin buildings, each 2,000 feet long.

Local buildings produced by Nucor Building Systems include the Butler, Corunna and Waterloo fire stations and the giant National Military History Center south of Auburn. The plant also made components for the new Scot Industries factory that will be rising soon at the southwest edge of Auburn.

Most of the steel that workers cut, form and weld in the Waterloo plant comes from Nucor’s steel mill at Crawfordsville. Nucor Fastener at St. Joe produces large nuts and bolts used to assemble the buildings.

Business for Nucor Building Systems has been good in spite of economic headwinds.

With more than 300 employees, “We’re fully staffed, which is a good thing,” said production manager Chris Ramer.

Nucor Building Systems also takes pride in its safety record. A scoreboard at the front of the plant Friday recorded a streak of 610 days without a lost-time accident.

“It’s a very employee-generated safety culture,” Ramer said. Nucor Building Systems holds merit status in Indiana’s Voluntary Protection Program, awarded to fewer than one in 1,000 Hoosier factories. The Waterloo plant soon will undergo an audit toward gaining even more-exclusive star status in the safety program.