Robert Broun, a married father of three, submitted the following essay for "GMA's" Work With Me contest about working in a steel mill in Delta, Ohio, that makes the material for everything from automobiles to the armor in Humvees.
Close your eyes and imagine: The steel has been melted in an electric arc furnace almost a half mile away. It's so bright that you can't look at it unprotected or it will blind you, so hot the steel appears as liquid as water.
Over 200 tons have been poured into a ladle, a massive vessel lined with ceramic that can handle the extreme heat.
It has been sent to the ladle furnace, where it has been refined into the type of steel that our customers need, swung on a turret to the caster, cast into a 100-millimeter-thick bar, water cooled on the outside, still slightly molten on the inside.
It moves to the tunnel furnace where it is reheated. After a short stay in this inferno, it exits to the roughing mill and is milled down from 100 millimeters to 28 millimeters into a glowing, elongated bar that fills the heated transfer table.
From here, it enters the finish mill stands using mammoth hydraulic pressure that reduce the bar into a hot strip over 800 degrees Celsius.
It exits the mill at 30 miles an hour. In a flash you see it in the camera as it speeds towards you down the runout table. You have just seconds. NOW CATCH IT!!!
Come be a coiler operator at North Star Blue Scope Steel LLC, the number one mini-mill in the United States for eight years running.