Company History

 

 

Back in the early 1950's, our founder Harry Dickinson was working as a Mining Superintendant at a local coal mining company in Central Alabama. He quickly became aware of the many problems and increased production costs associated with downtime and the wearing down of equipment due to the use of normal grades of steel. After countless discussions with steel producers, it became evident that they could not deliver a product that could effectively handle the heavy abrasion and impact to which the mining equipment was subjected. It was at this point that Harry Dickinson set out on a mission that ultimately became Astralloy Steel Products, Inc. He began to study metallurgy at night and was determined to develop a superior steel that would actually harden with work and not lose its toughness. After joining a local steel company, Mr. Dickinson soon realized that no one there had any interest in helping him further develop his ideas. They were content with the existing standard A.I.S.I 4340 and quench and tempered abrasion resistant products.

Harry Dickinson soon resigned from the steel company and turned his dining room into a steel research center. He then began to experiment with adding alloying elements to existing steels to see if he could improve their durability. By charting and graphing the effects of such additions, he was able to formulate an improved steel that retained both high toughness and hardness in wear resistance.

This formulation came about after many trials and failures, many sample heats, and a staggering personal expense. The heat samples were submitted to the Southern Research Institute of Birmingham, Alabama and their ensuing study provided the necessary data to confirm the creation of a new and unique steel. Mr. Dickinson named the new product "ASTRALLOY-V." Because there was no other steel like this one at the time, his invention was granted a patent by the United States Patent Office for formulation and physical properties on April 23, 1968. Harry Dickinson, through great effort and personal sacrifice, solved the problems he was plagued with as a mining maintenance superintendant, while significantly contributing to the world of steel.

Soon after the patent was granted, Harry Dickinson formed Vulcan Steel Corporation to distribute his new product, ASTRALLOY-V. With the help of local metallurgist Sidney G. Holder, an engineer for Rust Engineering Company, Astralloy-V was launched into the industrial world. Holder and Dickinson then devoted much of their attention to promoting ASTRALLOY-V as a superior selection in the demanding task of wear resistance and shock absorption necessary in Pulp and Paper wood yards and mining sites.

In 1972, Vulcan Steel Corporation changed its name to ASTRALLOY-Vulcan Corporation. This name change became the focal point of an aggressive identity and product promotion campaign and Astralloy began marketing its products to heavy industrial applications through North America. During the late 1970s, Astralloy realized that one product could not meet the need for all the abrasion and impact applications that existed and began adding new products to its product line, including the EB-450 and Linebacker. In 1977, Astralloy also recognized the need to move its products and services closer to the growing mining markets of the West and opened a warehouse and fabricating facility in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 1982, Astralloy-Vulcan Corporation was acquired by Harsco Corporation, a fortune 300 company of diversified industrial products and services. Soon after the acquisition Astralloy-Vulcan became known as Astralloy Wear Technology. In 1984, Astralloy expanded its product line to include the ROL-MAN product which was marketed to the railroad industry and to the Mining, Steel Production, and Pulp and Paper industries which Astralloy was already targeting.

In the 1990's, Astralloy focused on strengthening their position in the marketplace with investments in the areas of personnel, equipment, warehousing facilities and state-of-the-art business systems. In 1995, the company opened a warehouse and distribution center in Edmonton, Alberta Canada in order to service the Oil and Gas industry with steel bar. Then, in May of 1998, Astralloy opened another warehouse and distribution center in Masury, Ohio in order to service its growing customer base in the northeast United States. During these decades of growth, Astralloy's international business was also growing rapidly. Sales to Latin America's largest mining companies increased with the presence of local sales representatives in Mexico and South America.

In 1999, Astralloy continued to diversity its product line by entering into the commodity wear plate business, increasing its market share further into the mining sectors of the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Astralloy Steel Products offers the most complete line of anti-abrasive and industrial wear steels in the industry. Keeping in line with our founder's vision, we strive to find the most cost effective solutions to our customer's abrasion, impact and wear problems and are committed to providing the best quality products and services available anywhere in the industry.