Steel and Standards

An Interview with Robert Puccia of ArcelorMittal USA

ArcelorMittal USA’s Robert Puccia, an experienced metallurgical engineer, talks about his corporation, its focus on innovation and its involvement in standards development.

How does ArcelorMittal use standards in its materials production business?

ArcelorMittal USA utilizes ASTM International and SAE International specifications as the standard definition for steel product properties and testing, such as chemistry, mechanical properties, metallic coatings and microstructure, as well as conformance to tolerances, certifications and test reporting.

Standards play an important role in all facets of the steel production process, ranging from mining raw material ores, producing iron that is refined into steel, hot rolling, pickling, cold rolling, heat treating, applying hot dip and electrolytic coatings, temper rolling, slitting, applying surface treatments, inspection, testing, packaging and transporting to the customer.

How does the use of standards benefit ArcelorMittal with marketplace access worldwide, regulatory compliance, product quality, time to market and other purposes?

Since there are a variety of recognized worldwide specification governing organizations, there is the opportunity to correlate standards such as those from ASTM, SAE, Canadian Standards Association, European Norms, Japanese Industrial Standards, the International Organization for Standardization, etc. to identify an equivalency of product characteristics suitable to meet the needs of a specific end use application. Examples include part blueprints or design drawings that cross reference comparable standards to enable the application of alternative steel grades available throughout the world. Additionally, standards improve supplier-customer relationships by facilitating mutually successful transactions through creating common material performance expectations.

Why is ArcelorMittal involved in standards development? How is the company’s standards work involvement coordinated and administered?

With an understanding of the needs of the marketplace, ArcelorMittal USA maintains internal product and manufacturing standards focused on consistently meeting or exceeding customers’ requirements. It is important to be actively involved in the process of updating and maintaining existing voluntary consensus standards as well as developing new standards.

Being competitive goes beyond “keeping up”; it requires constant innovation to drive the market. As specifications are revised or established, they are thoroughly reviewed and incorporated into corporate records to ensure that all individual processing facilities are linked to the same standards.

ArcelorMittal has had a significant focus on worker safety. What approach has the company taken in this work?

The health and safety of our employees and contractors is the number one priority for ArcelorMittal. Health and safety is stressed daily at all levels within the company, and safety checks are conducted on a regular basis. Training, written work instructions, risk assessments and control, work site inspections and audits are incorporated into everyday activities. Accidents are thoroughly investigated to understand source causes, steps are taken to eliminate them and the information is shared across other facilities. Employee education is constant — from management to the shop floor — using multiple communications vehicles.

How do interlaboratory testing programs contribute to the value and use of ASTM International standard methods?

ASTM standards are utilized by a broad scope of producers, processors and end users. The integrity of specification standards is directly linked to the value they offer to a diverse population of users. Having active participation across the industry — focused on data collected from different producers, processing equipment, testers, testing equipment and varying locations — enables specification standards to be meaningful and thorough.

How would you describe the value of your participation in the work of ASTM International and Committee A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel and Related Alloys?

Active participation enables ArcelorMittal USA to be part of the decision making process associated with changing and/or creating specifications. The collaborative process of working with other steel producers and customers allows incorporation and integration of multiple viewpoints. There is also opportunity for ArcelorMittal USA to establish a leadership role in enhancing the value of specification standards.

ArcelorMittal is a leading steel producer; what challenges and opportunities does that hold for the company in the next few years?

ArcelorMittal USA is constantly striving to enhance steelmaking processes and bring about industry-wide improvements in sustainability. It is important that we understand the current marketplace, anticipate changes and be innovative in developing products to meet future market needs. An example is developing higher strength steels for vehicle weight reduction and occupant safety in automotive applications as well as steels that offer high strength-to-weight ratios with greater formability and enhanced corrosion protection for a variety of end uses.

Robert Puccia, a senior engineer in the USA central quality department of ArcelorMittal USA, has more than 30 years of metallurgical engineering experience in the steel industry. His career has been focused on quality improvement, problem-solving and process/product control. In his current role, he provides technical support to the commercial sales, marketing and product control department. He represents ArcelorMittal USA sheet steel product interests on ASTM International and SAE International committees, and in 2012 he received the Distinguished Service Award for contributions to ASTM Committee A05 on Metallic-Coated Iron and Steel Products.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.