C. D. Wälzholz Increases Commitment in China
The official opening of the plant extension in Taicang (Shanghai) will take place in the first quarter of 2014.
In the first step, the hall space of Waelzholz New Material Co., Ltd. will be extended to 10,000 square meters offering jobs for 200 employees. Until now the location was used to store steel strip delivered from Europe, to cut it, and to supply the customers with the material. With the extension of the location to become a full-fledged cold rolling mill C. D. Wälzholz enters a new development phase. The foundation stone ceremony took place in December 2011. A four-high rolling stand as well as several high-convection batch annealing units will start production in 2014 together with the slitting and cut-to-length lines already used at the plant. After completion the German company will then be able to supply the Asian market with a sales volume of up to 70,000 metric tons per year. C. D. Wälzholz will then be the first German cold rolling mill to offer the complete production of premium quality steel strip in China.
“Proximity to the customers and the tailor-made solutions we offer are mutually dependent. That is why the extension in China was a consequent decision. We will have on-site fabrication, partly for existing European customers that have also established their own production in China. But we are particularly proud that 60 % of our customers are Chinese companies,” commercial CEO Dr. Gierse said. “Whereas our sales in China only amounted to 2 % of our total sales volume in 2001/2002, the figures have increased to 6 % 10 years later. In absolute terms the increase is even more impressive. The sales volume in the same period increased to 35,000 metric tons, which means a rise by 700 %.”
The customers of Waelzholz New Material are mainly from the automotive sector accounting for about 90 % of the quantities sold. Apart from that, various industrial sectors such as the cutting tool and the electrical industry are supplied with the products.
Since 2007, C. D. Wälzholz and two subsidiaries have been active in the Chinese market. Apart from the fully-owned subsidiary Waelzholz New Material Co., Ltd., there is the joint venture Taicang Waelzholz – Kern-Liebers New Material Co., Ltd. that specializes in microstructure rolled steel strip, which, for example, is used in retaining springs for seat belts.
But China is not the only focus of CDW’s strategy of internationalization. The company is on a continuous international growth curve. In this context Dr. Gierse says, “In the last 10 years our share of international locations has increased from 15 % to 25 %. At the same time, the locations in Germany have grown as well, and our strategy focuses on further growth. In 2011, we acquired the majority of Brasmetal Waelzholz S.A. in Brazil and have been growing there continuously. We also concentrate on the very important U.S. market, which is supplied via our Service Center in Cleveland (Ohio) at present.”
The family-owned company C. D. Wälzholz KG located in Hagen, Germany, was founded in 1829 and employs 1,900 employees worldwide. At nine locations in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia the market leader produces more than 600,000 metric tons of high-quality cold-rolled steel strip and profiles per year. With its wide range of steel materials C. D. Wälzholz offers tailor-made solutions for customers in the automotive sector, in energy generation, in the industrial goods sector as well as for manufacturers of building equipment, electric appliances and cutting tools.