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Hell on Earth...Happiness is..Zug Isand!!

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posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 03:17 AM
My Father worked for National Steel Corporation in the 60's and 70's. I was "hatched" in 63. (old man now). Dad was a Civil Engineer, and a good one. Taught me everything I know.

Although I lived in what they call the "Midwest" then, as a child, I actually grew up in WY (long story, but not here). I went on to become an Engineer, but before I could do that I had to pay some dues (as all real engineers do). So I started out as a layout engineer for industrial-heavy construction. Ironically, I was transferred back to Michigan for a project at none other than Great Lakes Steel (this was back in the mid '80s). Dad had long since retired from Great Lakes as their chief Engineer. I'd been through the plant as a kid, but I'd never worked there.

A layout Engineer is pretty much a surveyor (with some dangerous responsibilities). I was working for an Engineering firm based in Southfield. They sent us to Great Lakes. My crew was to survey for a new facility (hot roll mill) where an existing hot roll mill already existed. It was a nasty job (from an engineering standpoint). In order to understand what we needed to do, the company wanted us to see the operation from raw material to finished product. So, we went to Zug (look it up). Zug Island is like the apocalypse time FIVE. It's truly hell on earth! Lightning shoots across the sky there (on a clear day) for no reason! Everything is coated with feet of ash, even cars parked for a few hours have 2" of ash on them. The sky is dark there. The energy they used was amazing (24" natural gas lines - High pressure, 225kV power lines, etc.) It was shocking! When you got over on 'Zug" the earth just trembled. Those who worked there every day were used to it, but for a noob (like me) it was truly unsettling. EVERYTHING was gigantic. When we were there they were "rebuilding" one furnace and "relining" another. These blast furnaces are like 300 feet tall and 100 feet in diameter, and nothing but the core of the MOLTEN earth flows into or out of them!! There were guys walking around (workers) like this was nothing. (Note: if you set something on a table, the vibrations, explosions and just incredible noise would vibrate the object off the table in less than 5 seconds).

( seeing as how ATS limit's characters, I'm going to pause now...and post a part II to this post).

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 03:31 AM

So, the company gives us this crazy tour, fire shooting everywhere, guys in silver fireproof suits and purple glasses walking around like it's nothing. I was a pretty hardened construction guy by this point, worked some high steel, not afraid of much, but this s# was blowing me away! The dirt and grime didn't bother me so much (you'd be coated with it like a coal miner in about 15 seconds outside), but the rumbling of the ground was pretty spooky to me, just the sheer power of what was happening.

So, now remember, my Dad was one of the Engineers who built these furnaces many moons ago (and this guy knew this, so he's having no mercy on me and my crew). This guy is purposely trying to scare me (and I ain't skeered of nuthin'!!) (and it's working!). So he takes over to one of the furnaces that they're "lancing". I can honestly say this is the scariest thing I've EVER seen in my life (in fact, I can't even believe people actually do this!!) These guys are standing in this pit, underneath a blast furnace that's like 2,300 degrees, way down in this pit. They have these long poles with fire shooting out of the ends of them. (didn't know it at the time, but these are what they call "oxygen lances")

(just so I don't lose this...I'll go to Pt III)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 03:48 AM
Pt III...

From 200 feet back from one of these furnaces the temps (just the air temp) is about 150 degrees. It was December. Underneath one of these furnaces the temps were far hotter. So they've got these "lances" lit with acetylene to keep them burning while they go in. When they get in these other guys fire up the oxygen, the lances turn blue and they start stabbing them into the bottom of this furnace with 50,000 TONS of molten steel above them. The lances are made of this magnesium material, so coupled with the oxy and acetylene they burn nearly white hot. The furnaces are lined with about 20 layers of brick, after a shell of about 3"" of solid steel. (These guys are CRA-ZY!) Their job is to essentially "poke" a hole in the bottom of this giant furnace with these lances...and then get out of the 50,000 tons of molten steel runs out into this pit (because if it hardens in the furnace it will ruin it). A point of mention here, the "lances" actually burn themselves, so the longer they take, the shorter they get. (this whole place was crazy, but this is the craziest stuff I ever watched.)

So anyway, finally one or two of these guys (there were maybe 5) poke through and the molten steel starts running out. Now I don't know if anyone has ever seen something like this, but when molten 2,000 degree steel hits the ground (even 350 degree ground)...well, it's exciting! Believe me, it's not just steam and sizzle! It's like a massive EXPLOSION!! (and there's people in there!!!) So there's this huge fireball, and then all these guys come running out.

And, you know what? I haven't even gotten to my story yet...that's how incredible this is!!!

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:00 AM
So we see all this madness. I mean I never saw more liquid oxygen and natural gas in my life. These guys used tens of thousands of gallons of this stuff every day (liquid oxygen, can you believe that?????? WOW!!) That steel was so hot it took #8 purple polarized lenses to even see what color it was (which is another story...about imperfections, which we would learn later).

Anyway, it's getting late, so I need to cut to the chase. Maybe another time I'll talk about the electric furnace shop and basic oxygen furnace (BOF) shops, but anyway.

So our job was to go survey a footprint for a new "hot" rolling mill (again, long story about what this is, but maybe later). There was essentially another mill there already, and it was almost a mile long. The new mill they wanted to build was about 1.5 miles long (another long story why).

So we get inside this mill. There's these 3,000 hp electric motors and giant gantry cranes everywhere moving steel ingots and rolls around bigger than most people's house. A rolling mill is just the craziest place you've ever seen! So they pass us off to this junior engineer and he's telling us to watch out for this and that. Very safety conscious (to the extent that's even possible in this place). Okay, we get let us get to work! (so here's the beginning of my, what a lead up, right?)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:10 AM
Great stories man. You know if Zug is still operational?

I googled it and looked a quick second. Seems as of 2012 it was creating quite a hum and seismic vibrations to local residents.

article also mentions the area is patrolled by armed guards???? Why armed guards???
edit on 8-10-2016 by tinner07 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:14 AM
Gonna read this later, this is too good.

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:15 AM
So we're surveying what they call the "run-out" end of the mill. This younger engineer pretty much told us where ever we stand is the most dangerous place and not to stand there. Didn't matter, everywhere was dangerous. Well, that seemed pretty silly, but this guy didn't waste any time getting the hell out of there! We get talking to some of the guys running the mill and they explain that the red hot (not molten) steel ingots come into one end of the mill and the giant presses stamp them down to 2/3 their size (they start at about 8 FEET in thickness), and the next set of rollers stamp them down to 2/3 size again. And so on, and so on and so on...for about 1/2 mile. By the time they get about halfway through the continuous rolling mill, the ingot which started out as a red hot block about 8x8x16 is now about 2"x24 (feet) and several hundred feet long. Cool...but there's a catch!

By the time the steel gets to this point in the's HAULING ASS! Remember, the whole thing is continuous! But there's more...

They're going to roll this metal out to car fender (sheet metal thickness) so there's another 1/2 mile to go!

The process doesn't's all one continuous sheet, thinner by every set of giant rollers...and faster at each stop. Squash it twice as moves twice as fast on the out-feed. By the time the steel hits the end of the mill it's about car fender thick and it's moving well over 80mph. At this point it's spooled up onto big reals and sheared (really fast) to make way for the next roll.

This is where we were surveying. They said it was the "dead man zone"

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:32 AM
Well, we get done with our shift on about the 3rd day (and it's kind of a ways back to the parking lot), and this other engineer wants to take us out to see the big electric furnaces (these things are not even funny, they're just flat out f'n scarey!) So, we're in the electric furnace shop (never leaped over a 55 gallon drum until this day) and the furnace does what they call an "arc". No kidding, it was like the apocalypse. I thought the world ended! Seriously.

Right about then there were some sirens which went off. Not surprising, because I figured hell had imploded from all the crazy stuff we'd seen, but that wasn't it. The alarms were from the rolling mill we'd just come from.

At first the alarms were kind of distant, then the whole place went up in alarms everywhere. People were running, others where shouting orders about where to go. Most knew the routines, but we were pretty much clueless, other than take cover (but from what we had no do you take cover in Hell?)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:36 AM
Just backwards for a moment to the electric furnace shop. It's hard to describe the scale of what I'm talking about, but suffice to say there were these huge ladles of about 50 tons of molten steel moving overhead, and they were splashing out what looked like sparks. One guy said, "hard hat be damned, don't let one of those drips hit you...they weigh about 200 lbs a piece!!!"

ETA...I listened the next time one hit the floor and it sounded like a 100 lb sack of concrete hitting a concrete floor form 100 feet in the air. It would kill a man in an instant...hence all the protocols from staying out from underneath the gantry cranes when they were moving ladles.

edit on 10/8/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 04:55 AM
So, all these sirens and alarms are going off. A supervisor runs up to our group (you stay in groups) and says there's been a major malfunction in the rolling mill. We get out of the electric furnace shop, outside, and it sounds like thunder over in the rolling mill. Tradesmen are pouring out of every exit...hundreds of people, just running. I'm not talking about just jogging out...running. like tripping and falling running as fast as they can!! The whole mill is baling out!!

"ROLLER FAILED...SHEET CAME LOOSE" they were yelling as people scattered. Okay, so the protocol was stand clear, and get away. We just followed directions.

From about a half mile away it didn't even look real, the rolling mill building was puffing out like a jiffy-pop popcorn pan thing. And it sounded like serious thunder...and the ground was shaking like an earthquake. After about 5 minutes it subsided. By then there were fire trucks everywhere and they moved in. There wasn't any fire really, but quite a bit of smoke (like lots). We were a ways from the lot where our cars were, but after a while they let us go to our cars. They said there had been a major malfunction in the continuous rolling mill and we should report back in the morning. No further information was available...though they did say there were no fatalities.

End Pt (whatever)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 05:05 AM

We showed up the next day wondering if we'd be able to work. The answer was not only "yes", but "HELL yes". What we walked into in the mill was unbelievable! One of the down line high-speed top rollers had seized. The sheet steel (traveling at 70+mph) pitched up vertical and started filling the building. When we showed up there was sheet metal filling the entire end of the building 150' tall, wadded up like tinfoil, 600 feet wide! It was everywhere! Just this gigantic, unbelievably massive, GOB of sheet metal everywhere. There were guys on scaffolds, guys on lifts, people everywhere with cutting torches cutting the metal apart to clear the mess. It was incredible!

And then we started our survey job.

(END) (thanks for the patience)

True story too.
edit on 10/8/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 05:07 AM
this was secretly recorded when you were there as you recall...

fast forward to 15:00 .... and you thought you had a rough job? Get real, your grandpappy burned and bled so you could drive that car!

edit on 8-10-2016 by bigpatato because: (no reason given)

edit on 8-10-2016 by bigpatato because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 05:20 AM
Holy Crap! I've heard of Zug Island, but never knew about all that! Thanks for the story. Simply incredible.

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 05:42 AM
The hell of the whole thing was, after they cut up all that sheet metal they loaded it in trucks, took it over the electric furnace shop, melted it down and re-fired it again. Aside from the damage to the building itself, none of the steel was wasted.

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 06:00 AM
Not sure if anyone would like me to go on with another story (not nearly as long, I promise).

Zug Island is indeed an island; it's not a natural island (they dredged the canals around it), but it's an island. The giant blast furnaces are on Zug Island, but there are no processing facilities there. So the molten steel is loaded into what they call "torpedo cars" which are these brick lined rail cars that look like giant torpedoes. They haul the torpedo cars across the 'river' over to the plant where they dump the cars out into these huge molds called "ingots". They allow the steel to cool just enough to solidify and then they "quench" it in these huge pits of lime water (think limestone). The ingots are huge so not even the quenching process really cools them down much, but it does affect their hardness. They have these giant tongs that come over on gantry cranes which pull the ingots out of the quenching ponds. When they come out they look black (but they're really still red hot).

The reason they look black is because of what they call "scale" on the outsides. So these massive cranes bring each ingot into the hot rolling mills. When they set the blocks down and start rolling them you can (again) see the semi-molten red steel, but the 'scale" is undesirable so they want to get it off so it doesn't bind into the finished product. On the big roller sets in the first stages of the mill they throw great big shovels full of salt on the slabs of steel. when the rollers go over the salt on the steel it creates these explosions which basically blow off the scale and just leave the steel.

One of the public tour points is at the front of the mill (they have a bunch of protected catwalks with polarized plexiglass and the like). One of the things the guys like to do whenever there's a tour (not very often, who want's to tour hell, right?) is, they will throw extra shovels full of salt on the incoming ingots. It sounds like 80x sticks of dynamite going off as the big 200 ton rollers squash those big ingots. It's so loud and massive you can just feel it in your chest, even with earplugs and behind the glass. Down on the floor we hated it when they'd do that because it sounded like an H-bomb going off. No amount of hearing protection could protect you from that someone lighting off a stick of dynamite while underwater in a kiddie pool!

edit on 10/8/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 07:30 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk



huge; gigantic.
"a beam engine of Brobdingnagian proportions"
a giant.

Many moons ago I learnt the word Brobdingnagian from Larry Nivens Ringworld Sci Fi series. Haven't used it since, until I read your thread.

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 07:43 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

BTW was reading your spaghetti/squash thread. We were in the State's last November and I still can't work out the fascination with Pumpkin; even in chocolate!!!! What sacrilege

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 07:53 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Awesome so far several posts in! Thanks for this! Have to run, will be back to finish!

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 08:52 AM
Great recollection of events!
Im from the D. And then lived in windsor, so i know all about the infamous Zug island.
The windsor hum is said originate from there.

posted on Oct, 8 2016 @ 05:25 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Unfortunately...Im about 6 miles west of Delray/Jug Island....lovely view when sailing up the Detroit River...

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