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voestalpine opens world’s largest production site for automotive blanks in Linz

28 September 2016 | 

voestalpine is not only constantly expanding its international production capacities in the mobility sector, investment in this growth segment also continues in Linz. Around EUR 30 million has recently flowed into the construction of a new plant for manufacturing high-quality blanks which will then be processed into automotive components. Following a construction period of just over a year, today marked the opening of what is now the world’s largest production site for laser-welded blanks in ultra high-strength steels. In future, 20 million blanks a year will be produced in Linz and exported throughout the world.

As well as driving forward its strategy of globalization, the voestalpine Group is continuing to focus on Austria, extending its automotive capacities at the site in Linz and investing around EUR 30 million in its second plant for laser-welded blanks. “Today we generate around 48 percent of our Group’s revenue in the growing mobility market, two thirds of which comes from the automotive sector. With what is now the world’s largest production facility for blanks here in Linz, we are again highlighting our material and processing expertise for premium automotive customers,” says Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG.

In the production hall measuring nearly 8,000 square meters at the new plant belonging to voestalpine Automotive Components Linz GmbH (formerly voestalpine Europlatinen GmbH), innovative laser-welded blanks in ultra high-strength steels will be produced for use in automotive construction. Part of the Metal Forming Division, the company is responding to rapid growth in demand for lightweight components in the automotive sector. voestalpine Automotive Components Linz GmbH has already fixed production orders running through to the middle of the coming decade. The investment has created around 70 new jobs. Production of an extra five million laser-welded blanks each year at the new plant (in addition to current production of 15 million blanks a year) is expected to raise annual revenue from its current level of EUR 113 million to more than EUR 160 million over the coming years. The target revenues have already risen since the groundbreaking ceremony in the summer of 2015. “This shows clearly that investing in the new plant in Linz was a future-oriented decision,” says Peter Schwab, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Metal Forming Division. “We are consistently striving to be the technology and market leader in the sophisticated car body construction and automotive safety component niches. Today’s opening shows that we have also lived up to this claim in the laser-welded blanks sector,” explains Schwab.

Innovative lightweight construction solutions for the automotive industry

Laser-welded blanks are used wherever a vehicle needs to be safer and lighter. Whereas blanks were formerly used primarily for larger parts such as side panels, doors, and hatches, today the goal is to find even more innovative solutions for a much wider range of applications. Over the past years voestalpine has succeeded in continuously extending its leading position in this market. In future the two plants in Linz will produce 20 million blanks a year, supplying all European automotive manufacturers of note in the premium segment.

Clear commitment to Linz

The investment in the new production facilities is a clear commitment to Linz as a location, not least due to its highly qualified employees and logistical advantages. Here at this Upper Austrian site premium steels are produced which can then be immediately processed in the new blanks facility using high-tech manufacturing technology. Thus, the voestalpine Steel Division which is located here will also benefit from this investment as the pre-material supplier. voestalpine has a workforce of around 11,200 employees in Upper Austria who generated a total revenue of around EUR 4 billion in the business year 2015/16.

Metal Forming Division

The Metal Forming Division of the voestalpine AG achieved a total sales volume during 2015/16 of EUR 2.2 billion and an operating result (EBITDA) of around EUR 290 million. The division employs 10,500 staff members and does business with almost all European car manufacturers. Within the Group, it constitutes the center of competence for highly refined sections, tubes, and precision steel strip products as well as ready-to-install components made of pressed, stamped, and roll-formed parts in steel and in aluminum, with a focus on the automotive industry. Its combination of material expertise and processing competence is unparalleled throughout the industry, and its global presence makes the division the preferred partner to customers who are looking for innovativeness and quality.

The voestalpine Group

In its business segments, voestalpine is a globally leading technology and capital goods group with a unique combination of material and processing expertise. voestalpine, which operates globally, has around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries on all five continents. It has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products and system solutions using steel and other metals, it 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 2015/16, the Group generated revenue of EUR 11.1 billion, with an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 1.6 billion; it has 48,500 employees worldwide, who are collectively a major shareholder in the company with a stake of 14.5 percent.