AK Steel’s Rockport Works To Receive U.S. Senate Productivity Award


Middletown, OH, September 14, 2006—AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) today announced that its Rockport, Indiana Works is the winner of the United States Senate Productivity Award, sponsored by U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the Indiana Manufacturers Association and the Association for Manufacturing Excellence.  The award is being presented for the plant’s 2005 performance.  In recognition of the achievement, AK Steel will receive the U.S. Senate Productivity Award medallion. 

“We are proud that AK Steel’s Rockport Works has been chosen for this high honor,” said James L. Wainscott, chairman, president and CEO of AK Steel.  “The outstanding efforts of our Rockport employees have contributed to a continuous and significant improvement in each metric of the plant’s manufacturing performance.”

The award honors organizations that are using particularly effective productivity improvement techniques or processes.  Applicants for the award are evaluated by a special judging committee based on criteria including improvements or redesign of operations or systems, product or service innovation, quality programs, capital investment and/or new technology, and employee involvement and participation. 

Rockport Works employees have achieved an outstanding safety record, working more than three-and-a-half years without experiencing a single lost-time or restricted activity injury.  The plant’s total recordable injury rate in 2005 was eight times better than the industry average.

During 2005, annual production records were achieved at three of the plant’s four major production units—the continuous pickle line, continuous cold rolling mill and continuous galvanizing line.  In addition, record unit availability performance was set at the continuous anneal and pickle line, continuous pickle line and continuous galvanizing line.

Record levels of product quality were established at the plant in 2005 as measured by internal rejection and retreat rates, continuing a five-year trend of continuous improvement.  And, the cost of quality, a metric used to quantify the cost of product rejections, rework and yield performance, continued a three-year trend of continuous improvement with a 37 percent decrease in 2005.

Rockport Works is one of the most technologically advanced steel finishing facilities in the world.  The plant supplies flat-rolled carbon and stainless steels for automotive, appliance, manufacturing and other markets.  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, automated product wrapping and sophisticated process control modeling for each operation.

Rockport Works received runner-up honors for the 2004 U.S. Senate Productivity Award.  In addition, the plant has earned 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.

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.