Sko-Die E-Newsletter - December 2013

As another great year at Sko-Die comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on just how far we have come from back in 1947 when my grandfather, Joseph Steininger, followed his dream and started the business. He left his job as a foreman managing 30+ die makers at a Chicago area company, and risked everything he had and could borrow ($6,000) to make his leap into business. With a great deal of hard work and determination, he built a successful company that has continued to grow and flourish to this day.

Sko-Die - 1947
Sko-Die - 1947

Over the years we have continued to invest in state-of-the-art technology and in our people, and 2013 was no exception. During the year we’ve added a new Amada 4000 Watt FOM2 Laser Machine along with a Miller Peformarc 350S robotic welder to further enhance our manufacturing efficiency and overall value we can provide to our customers. We will have some exciting news to report during the first quarter of 2014 as well.

On behalf of Sko-Die and all of its employees, I would like to sincerely thank all of our customers for their business in 2013. We wish you a very happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Happy Holidays,

Patrick Steininger

Holiday Schedule
Sko-Die Holiday Hours
Closed from 12/25 - 12/27 and on 1/1/14

Industry News

Electrical Steel Trade Cases

The petitions covering Non-Oriented Electrical Steel (NOES) and Grain Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES) that were filed by the Domestic Producers of these materials earlier this fall have moved through their initial review by the ITC.  AK Steel recently released a statement on their website expressing their opinion on the most recent developments, as detailed below.

AK Steel Applauds U.S. International Trade Commission’s Preliminary Ruling Against Unfairly Traded Imports of Non-Oriented Electrical Steel

West Chester, OH, December 03, 2013—AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) said today that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has made a unanimous preliminary determination that non-oriented electrical steel (NOES) produced in several foreign countries is causing injury to AK Steel.  The preliminary injury determination means that cases against NOES producers in six countries will proceed.

“We applaud the ITC’s preliminary ruling against unfairly traded imports of non-oriented electrical steel,” said James L. Wainscott, Chairman, President and CEO of AK Steel.  “The rules of fair trade apply to all of our competitors, and we will continue to vigorously defend our ability to compete by using every tool at our disposal.”

AK Steel filed petitions with the ITC and the United States Department of Commerce (Commerce Department) on September 30, 2013 charging that unfairly traded imports of NOES from China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan were causing material injury to the domestic industry.  Antidumping cases were filed against all six countries, in addition to countervailing duty cases alleging subsidization in China, South Korea and Taiwan.  The cases now move to the Commerce Department for determinations as to whether foreign producers are violating U.S. antidumping law by selling their products at less than fair value in the United States, and U.S. countervailing duty law covering government subsidies. 

The Commerce Department will calculate antidumping margins, which are designed to offset the amount by which the product is sold at less than fair value, and subsidy rates, which are designed to offset the amount by which the product benefits from unfair government subsidies.  Estimated antidumping duties will be collected from importers as of the date of the Commerce Department’s preliminary determinations, which will occur on March 26, 2014.  If foreign producers attempt to “beat the clock” by making massive shipments into the U.S. market before the Commerce Department’s preliminary determinations, antidumping and countervailing duties can be imposed retroactively beginning 90 days prior to the preliminary determinations. 

The expected result of this initial ruling is that the supply of Globally produced Silicon Electric materials from the targeted countries named in the suit will essentially cease, pending the final Duty rulings. 

As discussed in our Sko-Die Newsletter last month, because these grades of steel are such an integral aspect of the products that we supply to our customers, Sko-Die believes that these actions and subsequent rulings will place inflationary pressure on some grades of Electrical Steel in the coming months.  Depending on how these cases play out, the effects could have both short term and long term material cost implications. Our team is staying close to the issue and will continue to keep our customers advised as to what, if any effect this action will have on the products that we supply.

The cases related to Electrical Steels that are in process are not unique within the domestic Steel industry.  Recently, The U.S. International Trade Commission has decided to keep anti- dumping tariffs on Hot-Rolled steel in effect until 2018.  The duties apply to steel from China, India, Taiwan, Thailand and the Ukraine. All are accused of subsidizing their steel production to set up unfair competition for Domestic producers of this material, to include AK Steel.  These tariffs were originally imposed in 2001 and renewed in 2007.

Electrical Steel Raw Material Surcharges

AK Steel will continue with its practice of adding a monthly Raw Material Surcharge to the pricing of its Electrical Steel products into 2014.  This practice has been in place with AK Steel for about 10 years and serves to protect the mill from swings in the costs embedded in the production of their materials, particularly the Energy and Scrap elements.   AK Steel produces 100% of its Silicon Electric Steel via recycled steel scrap, and along with other Steel producers that “Melt from Scrap” such as Nucor and SDI, they are particularly cost sensitive to Scrap and Energy factors.

Meet Sko-Die’s Lead Production Supervisor

George Servin
George Servin

George Servin, Sko-Die’s Lead Production Supervisor, has a philosophy that he uses and trains his employees to follow.”Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes when producing parts for them.”  He explains that if you use that as your #1 priority, you are making sure that the customer receives the highest quality product possible, delivered on the date they requested.

George’s responsibilities include the notching and heavy gauge stamping areas.  The specialized notching presses include machines up to 20 tons that are servo driven, software programmed and robotically controlled, operating at up to 1,100 SPM (strokes per minute). The heavy gauge stamping includes mechanical and servo presses that are up to 330 tons.  He supervises the personnel, schedules and directs the production activities and recommends measures to improve production methods, equipment performance and quality of product.  He is continually using production data and monitoring working conditions to improve operational efficiencies.

In November of 1994 George was living and working in Fresno, California but was looking for a challenging career opportunity. Through the advice of his family, he and his wife packed up their one month old daughter and as much of their belongings as they could fit into a compact car and drove to Chicago.  Two weeks after their arrival, George’s uncle, Servando Vargas (Sko-Die’s Production Supervisor and 33 year veteran), introduced him to Dick Steininger, former President of Sko-Die, Inc.  Recognizing George’s desire to work, learn, and build a career, Dick immediately hired him as a punch press operator.

Through a combination of on-the-job and classroom education, George quickly realized his career ambitions.  He became a die setter in 1995 and was taking training classes for lift truck and equipment operations.  He also received his certification as a tool and die maker from Oakton Community College which led to his accepting a position as a Die Maker in 1997.  For 5 years, as he excelled in constructing new dies and maintaining existing dies, he also completed classes in lean manufacturing and supervision.  In 2003, George accepted a promotion to his present position where he proudly uses his knowledge and experience to lead his team.  He also has continued his education and completed a program in 2011 at Wright College for Electrical/Electronic Industrial Maintenance (EEIM).

George and Janet, his wife of 21 years, live in Chicago.  They have two daughters, Jennifer and Crystal, who are both working and attending college.  George enjoys watching sports, working out at the gym and playing basketball.  He participates in a competitive weekend basketball league and was a key member of his high school team that was Valley Champion and reached the California state basketball championship game. 

For any questions concerning your account please contact:

Jeff Curtin, Customer Service Manager, 800-486-4756 X112,


Michael McGuire, Director – Business Development, 800-486-4756 X120,

For more information visit

Sko-Die Inc.| 8050 Austin Ave. - Morton Grove, IL 60053
Phone: 800-486-4756 | Fax: 847-966-0322

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