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Ford Rouge Steel Division



Located in Dearborn Michigan on the Rouge River the Ford Steel Division is a source of asbestos exposure, Mesothelioma and other asbestos related cancers. The Ford Steel Division began as an integral part of Henry Ford’s sprawling Ford Rouge automobile complex, built during the 1920s. The steel division remained a lucrative division of Ford until the early 1980s, when it lost profitability due to economic recession and a troubled U.S. auto market. In 1982 Ford Motor Company converted its steel division to form a wholly owned subsidiary, Rouge Steel Company.

Rouge Steel grew out of Henry Ford’s vision of an industrial facility that would bring together the various elements of his automobile production process. Envisioning a manufacturing plant that would transform raw materials into completely finished products, he developed the world’s first vertically integrated factory complex.

Ford acquired coal mines, and a battery of coking ovens were installed on the Rouge site. Coal was shipped into the Rouge by means of the Rouge River as well as by rail. The first of the Rouge’s giant furnaces–the largest of its kind in the world at that time–was finished in May 1920. Blast furnace “A” was started on its inaugural run when Ford’s grandson, two-and-a-half- year-old Henry II, struck a match to ignite the furnace’s coke charge. “B” blast furnace was added in 1922. There were 4 coke batteries consisting of numerous coke ovens.

Steel was first made at the Rouge plant in 1923 with an electric furnace, and plans were made for furnaces with much greater production capacities. Ford, working with technical experts from the Morgan Construction Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, began developing large open-hearth furnaces as well as blooming mills, rolling mills, and other steel-finishing equipment. Two years later, the Rouge’s steel-making facilities were operational and the first “heat,” or batch, of steel was poured on June 21, 1926. In that year the Rouge produced 321,476 tons of ingot steel, and output was doubled within three years. By 1929 the manufacturing complex covered almost 1,200 acres of land, 350 of which were taken up by the Rouge’s steel-making facilities.

The Ford Steel Division continued to expand the Rouge’s steelmaking capacity by adding “C” blast furnace in 1948. Though steel-making technologies remained virtually unchanged, new furnaces and mills were added to Rouge’s steel finishing operations during the 1960s. A move was made toward the consistent expansion of Rouge’s use of scrap steel. In 1964 two basic oxygen furnaces were installed, making use of seventy-five percent “hot metal” from the blast furnaces and twenty-five percent scrap. The Annealing Furnaces treated the coils of steel, while soaking pits and reheat furnaces reheated the Ingot and slab steel before it was rolled into bars, sheets and coils. The reheat furnaces were located in the Hot Strip Mill.

In 1976 two electric arc furnaces (EAFs) were added to Rouge’s operations, capable of producing 850,000 tons of steel per year. The EAF facility, unlike the older blast furnace and basic oxygen furnace combinations, worked in a one-stage process that used only high-grade scrap steel. On January 1, 1982, chairman of Ford Motor, Philip Caldwell announced Ford converted its Ford Steel Division to the Rouge Steel Company, a new subsidiary. In 1983, Ford paid $300 million for a new continuous casting system and an electro-galvanizing facility and rebuild a coke oven battery.

Over the next three years, Ford began an intensive program of investment in new equipment for the steelmaker. Over $300 million worth of improved technologies were purchased, including a rebuilt coke-oven battery, a sophisticated continuous casting system, and an electro-galvanizing operation which was opened as a joint venture between Rouge and U.S. Steel, dubbed Double Eagle. The new galvanizing operation was capable of producing 700,000 tons of galvanized sheet metal per year for use in automotive factories, the largest such operation in the world.

Installation of the continuous caster was a landmark event and brought Rouge back into a competition with other U.S. steelmakers. ln1989, the Marico Acquisition Corporation acquired eighty percent of Rouge Steel’s stock from the Ford Motor Company, and Marico merged with Rouge Steel. Eventually Rouge Steel was purchased by Severstal Steel a Russian company which continues to operate the Steel plant.

Ford Rouge plant also included the Dearborn Iron Foundry and Specialty Foundry which used cupolas to produce iron that were cast into auto parts used by Ford in the production of Ford vehicles. Exposures to the asbestos products at the mill can cause Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer, Asbestosis and other cancers 10 – 40 years later. Even if you smoked you may be entitled to compensation if you are suffering an asbestos related disease.

There are numerous departments and occupations including:

Maintenance: Construction and Millwrights,Bricklayers, Electricians, Insulators, Machinists, Oilers, Painters, Pipefitters, Welders and other trades. They construct, maintain and repair the buildings and equipment throughout the plant.

Powerhouse: Boiler and Turbine Operators, Stationary Steam Engineers, and Maintenance Men. They operate and monitor the boilers, turbines, condensers, compressors, pumps, and valves.

Heavy/Mobile Equipment Repair: Industrial Mechanics maintained and repaired Kress Carriers, payloaders, fork trucks, dump trucks, tow motors, hoists, and other equipment

Material Handling: Hi-Lo Operators, Crane Operators, Equipment Operators, Laborers, Sludge Operators and Tractor Operators. They handle and move the raw materials, steel, and equipment for the mill.

Transportation: Railroad Laborers, Switchman and Engineers operated the locomotives for transporting molten steel, Ingot molds, and other materials.

Furnace Operators and Helpers operated the various foundry and steel mill furnaces. Foundry Workers — made cores, molds, and iron castings for parts.

Receiving and Shipping: They receive and ship materials for the various plants and departments.

Maintenance Foreman and Supervisors: They schedule and supervise the maintenance and repair of the buildings and equipment.

First Line Supervisors/Managers Production and Operating Workers: They directly supervise and coordinate production and operations employees (Precision Workers, Inspectors, Machine Setters and Operators, Assemblers, Fabricators, and Plant and System Operators.

Asbestos exposures at Ford Steel came from a number of sources including asbestos containing blankets, brick insulation, brakes, clothing, electrical products, fireproofing, gaskets, granite, hot tops, furnace cement, insulating cement, pipe covering, refractory insulation and sideboards.

In addition to the Ford Rouge Steel Plant significant exposures to asbestos occurred at the Ford Rouge Plant and other Ford Plants in the Metro-Detroit area.

If you or a loved one have questions regarding asbestos exposure at Ford Steel or anywhere in Dearborn Michigan, we have Michigan based and licensed lawyers with over 50 combined years of experience that would be able to assist you. John Kelsey and John Pomerville are Asbestos & Mesothelioma Attorneys with Goldberg Persky & White. They are very knowledgeable in regards to asbestos exposure at Ford Steel Division, Mesothelioma and the other asbestos diseases caused by asbestos exposure. They have represented many individuals with mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis in Wayne County Circuit Court in the past 20 years. If you have any questions concerning your exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma at Ford Steel Division in Dearborn, MI call one of our Michigan Lawyers, John Kelsey or John Pomerville. Our Michigan-based mesothelioma lawyers may be able to give guidance if you were exposed to asbestos in Dearborn, Michigan.

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma you should immediately speak with an experienced Michigan based Lawyer to preserve your legal rights as this is a time sensitive matter and knowing the facts will help you make the best medical and legal decisions possible and help you recover financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

We have represented people injured by exposure to asbestos whose work histories include Ford Steel Division in Dearborn, Michigan. Our extensive database of jobsites and asbestos product identification built over 30 years of specializing in asbestos lawsuits allows us to effectively and efficiently represent those injured by asbestos in the workplace.

Why does it matter that Ford Steel Division is in our jobsites database?

In order to successfully pursue an asbestos claim, your lawyer needs to be familiar with the jobsites you worked at, including

  • the companies that employed you,
  • the products they purchased and used, and
  • the companies who produced those products,
  • depositions, testimony of other Dearborn Asbestos disease victims
  • documentation from the Plant and Defendants

After more than 30 years pioneering asbestos litigation, we have a vast knowledgebase covering things such as company diagrams, invoices from asbestos product manufacturers, revealing company memos demonstrating their knowledge of the risks, asbestos product packaging through the years, depositions from leading experts, and medical and scientific literature dating from the late 1800’s to the current day.

Ford Steel Division is one of tens of thousands of jobsites in our database. Being familiar with many different industries, manufacturers, and products means we can efficiently and effectively identify all the asbestos containing products that contributed to your injury. It’s a breadth of knowledge gained from years of experience representing people injured by asbestos and their families.

Asbestos Exposure Injuries

Asbestos exposure can cause a variety of non-cancerous and cancerous injuries such as:

  • mesothelioma
  • lung cancer
  • colon and colo-rectal cancers
  • throat cancer
  • laryngeal cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • asbestosis

We have successfully represented hundreds of Michigan UAW members in lawsuits against the responsible asbestos product manufacturers. Millions of dollars in compensation has been recovered for these asbestos disease victims. We have the resources and experience to take on the Asbestos Industry and demand fair compensation for you.

Did you work at Ford Steel Division in Dearborn, Michigan? Have you been injured by asbestos? Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation consultation: 1-800-799-2234

Asbestos in Dearborn Michigan

Dearborn sits along the Rouge River. It has a population of just over 98,000. The city of Dearborn in Wayne County is the eighth largest city in Michigan. Historical tribes belonged mostly to the Algonquian-language family, as well as Huron Iroquoian speaking. Dearborn today is known for its diverse economy with leadership in manufacturing metals, plastics, and energy industries. The Arab American National Museum is the first in the world dedicated to Arab-American history and culture. The area of Dearborn was first settled by Europeans in 1786 after the American Revolutionary War. The village of Dearbornville, established in 1836, was named after patriot Henry Dearborn. Dearborn was a General in the American Revolution and Secretary of War under President Thomas Jefferson. First settled by French farmers along the Rouge River and Sauk Trail the community grew with the Detroit Arsenal on Chicago Road linking Detroit and Chicago. The Arsenal served as supply depot for the army storing, maintaining, repairing arms and ammunitions. Dearborn was well on its way to becoming a diversified industrial center, having attracted such firms as Ford Motor Company, W. R Grace, United Steel, numerous other industrial facilities like Oakwood Hospital and Severstal N.A.

Dearborn has a history of manufacturing in fields known for using asbestos-containing materials, placing workers at a high-risk category for asbestos exposure. Malignant mesothelioma may result when workers and loved ones have been exposed to asbestos. If you have been exposed to asbestos in Dearborn you may benefit by seeking legal counsel from our Michigan based asbestos lawyers. Our lawyers John Kelsey and John Pomerville are very familiar with the Dearborn jobsites and the asbestos products workers were exposed to at these sites.

If you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma you should immediately speak with an experienced Michigan based Lawyer to preserve your legal rights as this is a time sensitive matter and knowing the facts will help you make the best medical and legal decisions possible and help you recover financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.