Hoesch Hohenlimburg Investing in Quality and Performance
To meet the mobility requirements of the future, the Hagen/Germany-based specialist supplier of hot-rolled strip steel is addressing two key areas: product quality and delivery performance. The company’s latest development is DuoBond®, an intelligent steel composite that meets the requirements of modern vehicle manufacturers.
When people at Hoesch Hohenlimburg talk about Miba 2015, they are referring to one of the biggest modernization projects in the company’s history. Over the past five years, the company has invested € 30 million to completely upgrade its medium-wide strip mill so as to be in a position to meet future material requirements. The modernized mill went into operation just under a year ago with the aim of ensuring the long-term viability of the ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe site, improving quality, and increasing sales volumes by 25% to 1.3 million metric tons per year by 2015.
For example, the process computer installed in 2009 now calculates roll settings, speeds and cooling strategies fully automatically, from roughing train to cooling zone. The redesigned, noise-insulated, air-conditioned control pulpit provides a full overview of the process via a standard user interface, while below a steel strip speeds through the mill every 20 seconds at a temperature of 1,250 degrees Celsius. Equipped with high-tech drive technology, the seven mill stands are now stronger, more powerful and consume fewer resources. It enables the company to control the profile of the rolled material more closely and produce hot strip of uniform shape, thickness and strength. Hoesch Hohenlimburg is the only medium-wide strip rolling mill in the world with this kind of technology and can already produce the sizes customers are increasingly demanding.
Demand for medium-wide strip from Hoesch Hohenlimburg is high — and so are customers’ requirements. Roughly 80% of production goes to automotive suppliers, who process it among other things into seat rails, brake pistons and gear components — parts that have to withstand extreme loads to guarantee safety and allow further weight reduction. That calls for the reliable and efficient production of extremely high-strength yet readily formable hot strip to ever closer tolerances in thicknesses of 1.5 to 16 millimeters and widths up to 720 millimeters.
The latest production-ready development from Hoesch Hohenlimburg is DuoBond®, an innovative and intelligent steel composite that meets the requirements of modern vehicle manufacturers: To satisfy future exhaust regulations and reduce CO2 emissions, OEMs are turning to smaller-capacity engines. That means higher rpm and torque — both of which place significantly higher loads on transmission components. This requires modifications to the parts and consequently also to the materials used.
DuoBond® combines boron-alloyed tempered steel with high-strength chromium-alloyed high-carbon steel in highly stressed areas. The two materials are inseparably bonded at Hoesch Hohenlimburg in a hot rolling process. As a result, the highly stressed areas achieve strengths of up to 1,300 Mpa and are therefore extremely wear resistant. A further advantage: DuoBond® eliminates the heat treatment operation frequently required during flow forming. That reduces the number of processes and ultimately lowers costs. The new development was a winner in the 2012 Steel Innovation Award (Stahlinnovationspreis).
The ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe business area is focused on the attractive market for premium carbon steel flat products, where it is one of the world's technology leaders. It employs around 27,800 people and generated sales of almost €11 billion in fiscal 2011/2012. Its capabilities range from intelligent material solutions and product-specific processing to comprehensive service. It serves a broad spectrum of steel-using sectors, including the automotive, shipbuilding, engineering, energy, construction, packaging and appliance industries.