A $30 million expansion has been announced for Wheatland Tube in Warren.

Executive Chairman and CEO of Zekelman Industries Barry Zekelman and Rep. Tim Ryan were at the Dietz Road manufacturing facility to make the announcement on Wednesday.

The money will be used for a fully automated storage and retrieval warehouse to handle product. Zekelman says it will allow for touchless handling of product to keep workers safe, increase productivity, better serve customers and reduce costs.

Zekelman says the system will allow them to service customers around the clock. For example, it would be able to put together material for trucks on a Sunday night to get it ready and staged to load up come Monday morning.

"Everyone wants everything instantaneously now," Zekelman said. "We all order something from Amazon and are tracking the package. The steel industry is no different."

When asked if the new system will create more jobs, Zekelman said it's still hard to find workers in the current job environment. He stresses they want to keep the people they do have and make Wheatland Tube a choice place to work.

"This system will be able to expand our output, create higher-paying jobs... keep our people here and put them on the critical machines that produce the product rather than walking around out in the yard trying to find it," Zekelman said.

It will take 18 months to construct the fully automated storage and retrieval warehouse.

Ryan toured the plant and stressed the need to keep steel here in the United States. Ryan says we need a comprehensive approach. He says we need to place tariffs on countries like China, adding that "you have to use steel that's not made in places like China, which is the most polluting country in the world."

"It's got to be a comprehensive approach; And if we do that, if we say we want to make American steel that's the greenest steel in the world, and we're going to put tariffs on those people that cheat and who make dirty steel, then you're going to make millions of jobs here in the United States, and that's the goal," Ryan said.