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Steel Dynamics forms joint venture, prepares to enter composite tie market


A little more than three years ago, Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) entered the steel rail business and began producing 240-foot rail sections at its Columbia City, Ind., mill. Now, the company plans to enter the composite crosstie market.

Yesterday, SDI announced it formed joint venture Dynamic Composites L.L.C. and will begin producing composite ties by year end. Dynamic Composites will spend about $5 million to equip and start up a facility at a yet-to-be-determined site.

Initially producing about 250,000 ties per year, the joint venture will manufacture ties under an exclusive license from Primix Corp., which previously developed and introduced a Primix composite tie.

The tie features a formed steel core that’s filled with concrete for stability and mass, and recycled synthetic inserts for spike retention. The core and inserts are encapsulated by a synthetic material primarily composed of recycled rubber and plastic. SDI's Flat Roll Division will supply steel for the cores.

Composite ties can gain a substantial share of the North American crosstie market because they offer longer life and operational benefits, and are cost-effective, SDI officials believe.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/10/2006