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voestalpine celebrates 20 years of lightweight design know-how at the world’s largest site for automotive blanks in Linz

1 August 2018 | 

Lighter, stronger, faster. That has held true for 20 years of product innovations at voestalpine Automotive Components Linz GmbH. Today, this company in the Metal Forming Division of the voestalpine Group has 300 employees and generates revenue of EUR 170 million. It is the world’s largest production site and the global leader in the production of laser-welded high-tech blanks for the automotive industry. Demand for lightweight products from Linz is so high that EUR 16 million has recently been invested to expand the site.

The order from a German premium automobile manufacturer for the production of laser-welded inner door panels marked the start of blank production in Linz 20 years ago—the starting point of a remarkable success story. Since then, almost 190 million blanks have left the plants of Automotive Components Linz—formerly voestalpine Europlatinen GmbH—and made their way to international automobile manufacturers.

In just two decades, the combination of comprehensive product know-how, ongoing innovation, and a high degree of digitalization has made voestalpine Automotive Components Linz an international pioneer in the production of automotive blanks.

Wolfgang Eder Wolfgang Eder, CEO of voestalpine AG

Ongoing research into new product and process solutions  

The most important milestones were the installation of the world’s fastest laser-welding system in 2015 and the construction of a second plant in 2016, which made Linz the leading production site for laser-welded automotive blanks. With the production of the first hot-forming blanks (phs technology) in 2006, the company set completely new standards in terms of weight reduction, corrosion protection, and crash performance for high-strength body parts.

Very early on, voestalpine Automotive Components Linz recognized the market potential and key trends in lightweight construction. It also demonstrated a great deal of courage and future orientation in the development of the latest technologies. Thanks to our employees’ innovative power, we will continue this success story in the future.

Peter Schwab Peter Schwab, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Metal Forming Division

High-tech blanks from Linz are in demand worldwide

In addition to employee commitment, flexible reaction to changing market and customer requirements was a decisive factor in the company’s success. While initially large automotive parts such as side panels, doors, and flaps were in demand, today most of the high-strength blanks are further processed into smaller, weight-saving components such as side members and cross members, A/B/C pillars, inner door panel components, and floor components.

The strong growth in the lightweight construction sector also secures the future of the Linz automotive location. Thanks to the excellent order situation, EUR 16 million has been invested in a further expansion stage that was recently completed. In a 32,000 square meter production area, it will be possible to produce up to 30 million blanks a year on 14 welding and three punching lines. Revenue is expected to increase to EUR 200 million per year.

Metal Forming Division

The Metal Forming Division of the voestalpine Group achieved a total sales volume of EUR 2.7 billion and an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 325 million in the business year 2017/18. The division has a workforce of around 12,000 employees 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 strip steel products and ready-to-install system components made of pressed, stamped and roll-formed parts. Its combination of material expertise and processing competence, which is unparalleled throughout the industry, and its global presence make the division the preferred partner to customers looking for innovation 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 as well as to the aerospace and oil & gas industries worldwide. voestalpine is also the world market leader in turnout technology, special rails, tool steel, and special sections. In the business year 2017/18, the Group generated revenue of around EUR 13 billion, with an operating result (EBITDA) of almost EUR 2 billion; it has around 51,600 employees worldwide.