AK Steel's Rockport Works Named Best Plant By IndustryWeek

Annual Award Program Recognizes the 10 Best Manufacturing Facilities in North America

Middletown, OH, September 20, 2006—AK Steel today announced that its Rockport Works has been selected as one of the 10 Best Plants in North America by Penton Media’s (OCTCBB:PTON) IndustryWeek (IW) magazine.  The honor recognizes world-class manufacturing capabilities and a mindset of continuous improvement.  The AK Steel plant, located in southwest Indiana, was one of nearly 200 facilities nominated for the award.

 “The facilities chosen this year truly exhibit the characteristics of world-class manufacturing plants. Their drive for continuous improvement is a testament to strong leadership, the involvement of their employees, solid supply chain management, and a willingness to adopt strategic technological solutions,” said David Blanchard, IndustryWeek’s editor-in-chief.  “IndustryWeek salutes the exemplary achievements of the 2006 IW Best Plants, and is proud to share their success stories.”

As a Best Plants winner, a profile of AK Steel’s Rockport Works is featured in the October issue of IndustryWeek, and on the publication’s web site at www.industryweek.com/iwbestplants. 

“We are greatly honored to receive this prestigious award and the national recognition that comes with it,” said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO of AK Steel.  “The award is a fitting tribute to our Rockport employees whose dedication to safety, quality, productivity and customer service has helped make Rockport Works a world-class facility.”

According to IndustryWeek, the Best Plants Award Program was started 17 years ago and is an annual salute to outstanding manufacturing facilities that are on the leading edge of efforts to increase competitiveness, enhance customer satisfaction, and create stimulating and rewarding work environments. Winners of the award are selected following an extensive review process.  Plants report practices and performance in such categories as management strategy, customer and supplier relations, environmental and safety programs, inventory management, manufacturing flexibility, productivity, use of technology, market results, employee relations and community involvement. 

Rockport Works is one of the most technologically advanced steel finishing facilities in the world.  Production facilities are housed in more than 1.75 million square feet under roof and include the world’s most powerful continuous carbon and stainless cold-rolling mill, a continuous galvanizing and galvannealing line which holds the world record for tons produced, continuous pickle line, anneal and pickle lines and a temper mill.  The facility utilizes robotic cranes, automatic guided vehicles for material movement, automated product wrapping and inspection, and sophisticated process control modeling for each operation in the plant.  The plant supplies flat-rolled carbon and stainless steels for automotive, appliance, manufacturing and other markets.

AK Steel invested approximately $1.2 billion in the construction of Rockport Works, which began operations in 1998. Since that time, the plant has achieved impressive results in the areas of safety, quality, productivity, customer satisfaction and environmental control.

Special achievements in recent years include: an outstanding safety record, with employees working more than three-and-a-half years without experiencing a single lost-time or restricted activity injury, and a total recordable injury rate in 2005 that was eight times better than the industry average; excellent continuous improvement in product quality, with annual records established in each of the last five years as measured by rejection and rework rates, along with a significant reduction in customer claims; and a solid trend of continuous improvement in productivity, highlighted by world-production records set at the plant’s continuous galvanizing line, along with annual production records established in 2005 at most of the plant’s operating units.

In addition to the IndustryWeek Best Plants award, Rockport Works was recently selected to receive the United States Senate Productivity Award, presented by U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the Indiana Manufacturers Association and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.   Other recognition that the plant has earned in recent years includes the OSHA Star Safety designation in the Voluntary Protection Program of the Indiana Department of Labor, Indiana Chamber of Commerce Safety Award, ISO/TS 16949 Quality Management System Certification, ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification, North American Maintenance Excellence Award, Ford Q-1 Certification, and various other quality awards.

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About AK Steel

Headquartered in Middletown, Ohio, AK Steel produces flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, as well as carbon and stainless tubular steel products, for automotive, appliance, construction and manufacturing markets.