Steel News

voestalpine Builds Europe's Most Modern Wire Rolling Mill in Austria

10/23/2013 - By 2016, voestalpine Austria Draht will have completed construction of Europe’s most modern wire rolling mill at its Leoben-Donawitz site in Austria.
The mill will then produce around 550,000 tons of high quality wire rods each year for the automotive and energy sector. The nine-figure investment will secure the long-term future of the Donawitz site, headquarters of the voestalpine Group’s extremely successful Metal Engineering Division. Over the past five years, the Group has already invested more than a €1 billion in its eight sites in Styria. During the last business year, around 8,000 employees in the Metal Engineering and Special Steel Divisions in Styria generated revenue of € 3.3 billion. 800 new jobs were created and 360 apprentices trained in the region in 2012.
Iron ore has been mined in Upper Styria since the 8th century, leading over time to the development of a flourishing iron and steel industry. Now a new chapter in production development at Leoben’s district of Donawitz is being opened: here voestalpine Austria Draht is constructing Europe’s most modern wire rolling mill. “This major investment will extend further our leadership position in wire in Europe and plays a significant contribution to securing our location in Styria. voestalpine Austria Draht currently has around 650 employees; these jobs are secure over the coming years,” says Franz Kainersdorfer, member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and head of the Metal Engineering Division to which voestalpine Austria Draht belongs. The contract to build the new rolling mill was awarded to the Italian constructor Danieli, and the new walking beam furnace is being supplied by Styria’s Andritz AG. “In the future, voestalpine will primarily expand in regions outside Europe, in growing markets such as Asia or North and South America. At the same time, however, investments such as this also secure existing Austrian sites over the long-term,” Kainersdorfer explains.
The new line will completely replace the 34-year old rolling mill that is currently in operation. The latest IT technology and additional investment in logistics will optimize punctual delivery and flexibility. There will be no production stoppages as a result of the investment. voestalpine expanded its wire processing activities as recently as July 2012 by purchasing 54% of CPA Filament GmbH. As part of this joint venture, a new production facility for manufacturing ultrahigh-strength fine wires (up to 0.08 mm) is being constructed at the site in Fürstenfeld and the facility is currently undergoing test operations. The transition to continuous production is scheduled for the beginning of 2014.
Using an integrated production chain, voestalpine Austria Draht manufactures high quality products including wire rod, cold extrusion wire, profile wire, spring steel wire, and pre-stressing steel, primarily for the automotive and energy sectors. Other customers come from the fortification and construction industries. While its customers in Europe have traditionally included many well-known companies, voestalpine Austria Draht is also building up its market abroad. At the same time, the research activities of voestalpine Austria Draht are focused on developing new steel materials as well as innovative processes for thermomechanical rolling. There is close cooperation with partners, customers, pre-material suppliers, the Montanuniversität Leoben, the Graz University of Technology, the MCL Material Center Leoben, and many other research institutions, both in Austria and abroad. The research focuses on heat treatment and surface treatment for wires and optimizing steel analysis.
With twelve production companies and one holding company at eight voestalpine sites belonging to the Metal Engineering and Special Steel Divisions, voestalpine makes an important contribution to creating wealth in the region; 7,989 employees generated total revenue of € 3.3 billion in the business year 2012/2013. Since 2008, voestalpine has invested more than a billion euros in the region, the average export quota is over 70%, and in five of the companies it amounts to more than 90%. The company created 800 new jobs in Styria in 2012 alone. Currently 360 apprentices are undergoing training in 16 skilled trades at voestalpine Group companies in Styria, which offer them excellent career opportunities.
The Metal Engineering Division of voestalpine integrates all of the steel activities of the voestalpine Group in the business units of Steel, Rail Technology, Wire Technology, Tubulars, Turnout Systems, and Welding Consumables. voestalpine is the global market leader in the area of turnout systems, European market leader in rail technologies, and a leading producer of welding consumables, seamless tubes, and high-quality wires. The most important customer segments are the rail, automotive and energy sectors. In the business year 2012/13, the division generated revenue of more than € 2.9 billion across the Steel, Rail Technology, Wire Technology, Tubulars, Turnout Systems, and Welding Consumables business units, of which around 40% was generated outside Europe. The division achieved an operating result (EBITDA) of € 435 million and employs around 10,400 staff worldwide.

The voestalpine Group is a steel-based technology and capital goods group that operates worldwide. With around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries and on all five continents, the Group has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products, the Group is one of the leading partners to the automotive and consumer goods industries in Europe and to the oil and gas industries worldwide. The voestalpine Group is also the world market leader in turnout technology, special rails, tool steel, and special sections. In the business year 2012/13, the voestalpine Group reported revenue of € 11.5 billion and an operating result (EBITDA) of € 1.45 billion; it had around 46,400 employees worldwide.