Structural and Rail Division

SDI’s second greenfield steel mill was the Structural and Rail Division near Columbia City, Indiana. Since the mill’s start-up in 2002, the division has become the company’s second-largest steel operation.

Uniquely, its primary rolling mill is capable of producing both structural steel and railway rail. Initially, the focus was on producing wide-flange beams with web heights ranging from 6 inches to 36 inches. Within five years the company became a major North American supplier of high-quality structural steel. SDI’s beam shipments reached a peak of 1.2 million tons in 2007.

Our production scheduling flexibility allows us to offer the shortest lead times in the structural-steel industry. This is a result of mill design and technology allowing quick changeovers of products. Adding a second rolling mill in 2008 expanded production capacity and improved the division’s efficiency, plus it allowed extending the structural product line to include new sizes and shapes. A second caster came on line in 2010.

Initial development of rail products was gradual while we focused on the success of wide-flange beams. As the 2008 recession reduced the demand for beams, it allowed us to focus on rail. Volume shipments of standard-strength AREMA rails began in 2010 after our products gained certification by all the U.S. Class I railroads. Our on-site continuous-rail-welding facility allows us to ship rails up to 1600 feet in length.

Annual production capacity in 2014

1.8 million tons


Percent of SDI steel shipments, 2014