150 years ago, BÖHLER began manufacturing world-class products in the Ybbs valley. Today, two voestalpine companies continue this tradition in the same location.
voestalpine BÖHLER Profil and voestalpine Precision Strip continue the long line of product successes in the Ybbs valley. It is hard to believe what their products can do. They take to the skies as aircraft components, are the basis for house construction in North America, create attractive packaging, and accurately separate everything—be it frozen fish, steel beams, or marble slabs. Of course, the product range of the voestalpine companies in the Ybbs valley has changed over the decades along with the market and its requirements. But one thing has remained the same: the passion for quality and market leadership.
High profile for 150 years.
In 1872, when the Böhler brothers took over the Bruckbach ironworks, it was already known for its profile production. Today, 150 years later, Managing Director Jörg Wagner points out that together with its customers, the company has developed more than 5,000 different profiles.
"voestalpine BÖHLER Profil offers an unmatched range of hot-rolled sections, from steel alloys to nickel-based alloys, open-rolled or off the automated continuous rolling line. We thus offer solutions for the most diverse customer segments, from the particle board industry to the paper and sawmill industries, from the machinery industry to the aerospace industry."
Unlike most other profile producers on the market, this voestalpine company in the Ybbs valley can offer its customers tailor-made profiles as of a minimum order quantity of 500 kg. “That is the advantage of our flexible, open rolling mill,” praises the Managing Director.
Of matches and engines.
Special rails and landing flap guide rails for aircraft and blade profiles for Airbus engines are truly contemporary products. However, some of the voestalpine BÖHLER Profil product specialties can be found in the company catalog from 1890: e.g., matchstick planer knives made from the “Siegfried” Böhler steel brand and machine knives made from “Böhler KL”—the beginning of a line of industrial cutting tools in which the voestalpine company is now the world market leader. Two employees say these knives are their favorite product.
Our favorite product:
Helmut M. and Josef K. on industrial knives that provide homes in America.
Helmut M.: The knives for making OSB (rough particle board) are my absolute favorite product. They shred tree trunks into chips that are glued and pressed into boards for house construction.
Josef K.: And they don’t produce just any old chips. Our new knives not only precisely chip the required thickness, they also take into account the desired length.
HM: I have followed the development of the continuous rolling line for these industrial knives from the very beginning. At first, there were some doubts as to whether they could be produced on a line. Previously, we had supplied them as semi-finished products, which was too costly.
JK: We then worked together with our North American customer to continually develop the new reversible knives. This allowed us to quickly solve technical issues. Now we offer considerable advantages to end customers in the OSB industry.
HM: Exactly. They use less glue for the boards because our knives produce practically no glue-absorbing fine material. And the reversible knives reduce machine downtime.
JK: Our customer covers a large part of the North American market with knives from Bruckbach. There is no “purchase regret” here.
HM: It is no wonder that we enjoy meeting up with colleagues “across the big pond.”You could say the long-term partnership has “carved us together.” It is fun when an idea really takes off.
Precision strip steel from Böhlerwerk
It is almost impossible not to come across the results of the work of Precision Strip steel rules. Many millions of meters of strip steel leave the two production facilities every year. Marketing Manager Axel M. knows what this means for the consumer: “In purely statistical terms, every third to fifth package that lands on the market worldwide has been shaped with voestalpine Precision Strip products: die-cut, cut, folded.”
"Our company has been supplying steel rules for the printing and packaging industry for 40 years. With their hardened, precise edges, they ensure exact separations, perforations, and fold lines. Such quality and the commitment of our employees make us the world market leader in this field, too."
The strip steel from the Ybbs valley delivers the goods in the most unusual manufacturing situations: when stretching film for chip packaging as well as when punching out leather templates for the shoe industry—with extra-hardened cutting edges to increase the service life of the punching blades.
Decades of excellence
Everyone has one at home or at work: a band saw, jigsaw, saber saw, hand saw, or machine saw. Almost every second metal saw blade worldwide is made of bimetal strip from voestalpine Precision Strip. The company has been demonstrating its expertise in this field for 50 years—as the world market leader, of course. Maybe not metal saws, but precision strip steel from the Ybbs valley is also used as a 28-meter-long saw band to cut enormous tree trunks.
The pocketknives produced by Austria’s neighbor to the west are a lot handier and offer a wide variety of tools. Outdoor fans who have these knives can always carry a piece of strip steel from voestalpine Precision Strip in their pockets. “When requirements go beyond the standard, customers demand BÖHLER,” understates Axel M. Yet the company name does not mention the founding fathers. “However,” says Michels, “our products are quickly associated with the BÖHLER quality thanks their ‘bohlerstrip’ brand name.” And customers remember it—after all, we are talking about a multiple world market leader.
A market leader’s secret.
Customers in more than 30 industrial segments worldwide order from voestalpine Precision Strip’s eight unique main product groups. The Böhlerwerk team claims to be the global No. 1 in bimetal strip, creasing and cutting rules, saw strip steel for wood-cutting band saws and special applications.
"In our segment, we are regularly in the Champions League. And we don’t just play, we fight to win year after year."
Managing Director Richard L. reveals the secret behind this success: “First, our success is based on our company culture that enables top performance while enjoying the work. And second, customer focus is not just a slogan for us; we deliver top-quality products on time with an ‘all-inclusive package’.”
My favorite product:
Erwin Z., Production Manager, Cold Rolling Mill 1 at Böhlerwerk, on cold-rolled sections.
“Hot-rolled sections are undoubtedly voestalpine BÖHLER Profil’s specialty. But at Böhlerwerk, we also offer special rolled shapes; customers who rely on the advantages of cold-rolled sections are keen to use our services. In contrast to our colleagues downstream of Ybbs, in cold rolling we exploit the advantages of flat strip with profile geometry. These flat profiles are rolled in conical form, e.g., for knife steel, which saves the knife manufacturer several machining steps. Cold-rolled profiles are also used for tools such as planer knives and for components for the Swiss watch industry. The exciting thing about these profiles is their complexity, which you do not notice. Each product has to be developed as a separate project. The flow behavior of the metal strip is always changing and can still surprise me despite my many years of experience.”