August/September Business View Magazine

30 31 engineering firm) in 2016. Due to regulatory mandates by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Showa Den- ko was forced to resell the U.S. company to Tokai Carbon at the end of 2017,” explains Company President, Scott Carlton. “The new company is comprised of many of the former SGL employees and a considerable number of new employees. Tokai Carbon, as a global company, just celebrated its hundred-year anniversary, so there’s a lot of history and technical expertise within both com- panies. Tokai has been making graphite for over 100 years, and the U.S. graphite electrode plants from the former SGL have over a 40-year histo- ry as well. So, the combination has given a very bright future for Tokai and our customer base in the U.S. steel industry.” Today, Tokai Carbon GE LLC has about 160 employees and two plants in the U.S.- one in Hickman, Kentucky, and one in Ozark, Arkansas. “The Hickman plant is our extrusion plant, where the electrode is formed to meet all the customer requirements. Then it gets shipped to the Ozark, Arkansas plant where it is further processed, fin- ished and shipped to the customer,” says Carlton. “And we have our corporate headquarters, here, in Charlotte, North Carolina.” Jay McCloy, Vice President for Sales & Mar- keting, explains that the company also has a nine-member sales and technical services team that covers its U.S. customer base. This includes such major steel manufacturers as Nucor Steel, Steel Dynamics, Charter Steel, Northstar Blue- scope, North American Stainless, and CMC (Com- mercial Metals Company), to whom it sells the graphite electrodes for their electric arc furnaces. “If you looked at all the steel mills in the U.S. that have electric arc furnaces, we supply the majority of those,” Jay states. “The services that TOKAI CARBON GE LLC we provide are to support our customers. From a technical perspective, we have various monitor- ing systems and measurement tools which allow us to work with our customers to achieve optimal performance.We can make recommendations to the steel customers on how to set their furnace parameters to run more efficiently. The goal is to help the customers become more efficient in utilizing our electrodes to produce steel. We work closely with the customers to make sure that our quality is right to meet the furnace parameters.” Regarding the company’s competition, McCloy says, “Our breadth of service is deeper and more experienced. You can drill it down to the expe- rienced and dedicated individuals in the com- mercial team, as well as the technical team. As an example of the breadth of experience we have is that technical team is comprised of an expert in graphite; another gentleman worked as a smelter for over 23 years; and then, we have two individ- uals that installed furnaces. So, if there are any questions that come up from a customer, we’re able to address them.” “As for our commercial team– everyone has at least 20 years of experience in the industry and some have 40 or more,” he continues. “They’ve been calling on the same customers for decades, so they know them intimately and have access to a lot of the furnaces and the furnace data. By uti- lizing this experience and knowledge when we’re making our suggestions to the customer on how to optimize their performance, we can make the right recommendation because they can count on us to get it right.”