The Enormous Success of Standard Steel, LLC

Standard Steel, LLC has its headquarters in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and it remains a leading North American integrated steel wheel and axle manufacturer intended for use in freight railcars, locomotives, and passenger cars. Standard Steel has the distinction of being the sole wheel manufacturer to utilize the forging process, which creates wheels known for its exceptional wear characteristics versus those made using a casting process.

Standard Steel built its rail car wheels and axles at a single plant based in Burnham, Philadelphia. The plant, which has been around since the 1700s, is the country’s oldest manufacturing plant in continuous operation. When Trimaran owned it, thousands of “rust belt” manufacturers were either closing their doors or choosing to move offshore. Instead, Standard Steel massively upgraded and expanded the plant, resulting in a major earnings boost.

Thanks to Trimaran’s favorable relationship with the United Steelworkers of America, and Standard Steel’s advanced profit-sharing agreement with labor, the plant upgrade allowed the workforce to reap the rewards from Standard Steel’s improved profitability.

With better production capacity, Standard Steel entered into forward-looking, multi-year “take or pay” contracts with leading customers, providing assured supply for the customers and extremely predictable earnings for Standard Steel. Standard Steel more than doubled its earnings while under Trimaran’s ownership.

Standards Steel customers have included major North American Class I railroads, builders of freight railcars, railcar and locomotive maintenance shops, Amtrak, locomotive builders, and regional transit authorities.

Trimaran Capital Partners exited its Standard Steel investment after it was sold to Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation.