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voestalpine opens world’s most advanced special steel plant in Kapfenberg

Press Kit zip | 45 MB

18 October 2023 | 

With today’s official opening of the state-of-the-art special steel plant in Kapfenberg, voestalpine marks a technological milestone in the production of pioneering high-performance materials for the international automotive, energy, and aerospace industries. The new plant, the world’s most advanced in terms of digitalization and sustainability, is also the first of its type to be constructed in Europe in four decades. The region is reaping significant economic benefits from investment in this major project.

Once fully operational, the new plant has the capacity to annually produce 205,000 tons of special steels for highly sophisticated customer segments.

Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO of voestalpine AG

Today’s opening of the special steel plant in Kapfenberg is a historic moment, and a decisive technological step for the voestalpine Group. It will allow us to further enhance our competitiveness in the global market. At the same time, this major investment will help to maintain prosperity and jobs in the region over the long term.

Herbert Eibensteiner, CEO of voestalpine AG

The new construction secures around 3,500 jobs at voestalpine’s Styrian sites in Kapfenberg and Mürzzuschlag (voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl, voestalpine Böhler Aerospace, and voestalpine Böhler Bleche); the new plant itself will have a workforce of around 150 employees.

Franz Rotter, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the High Performance Metals Division

Having employees with such comprehensive expertise at the site was the key reason for choosing Kapfenberg as the location for the new special steel plant. I would like to thank in particular all those employees whose dedication over the past months and years have made today’s opening of this once-in-a-century project possible. The commitment they demonstrate on a daily basis will help to further expand our leading position in tool steels and special steels.

Franz Rotter, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the High Performance Metals Division

High degree of digitalization requires excellent training

The new plant meets the most advanced Industry 4.0 standards: Around 8,000 process data are continuously acquired, implemented, and evaluated in parallel. All the melting processes are directed from a central control station. The employees are given the necessary training in robotics, sensors, and data analysis at the company’s own Digitalization Competence Center. The training of tomorrow’s generation of skilled workers at the modern training center in Kapfenberg focuses on the digital workplace. A new campus for 60 apprentices will be built at the site to ensure future apprentice training. Construction works began in summer 2023, and completion is scheduled for fall 2025.

Sustainability benchmark

Another highlight of the new special steel plant lies in its environmentally friendly and sustainable steel production: Heat will be released from the smelters to the district heating system; cooling takes place via a closed loop; and the plant operates extremely efficiently. At the heart of the plant is the electric arc furnace, which will be operated using only green electricity.

Significant economic impact

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new special steel plant, which replaces the old steel plant, was held in 2018. Test operations and the process of certifying the product range are currently underway at the new plant. Until the certification process is complete, the new special steel plant will operate in test mode, in parallel with the old plant. It will become fully operational during the business year 2023/24. The investment volume amounts to around EUR 467 million. As already reported, the difficult business environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as difficulties in the delivery of key equipment caused by suppliers, resulted in an increase of the originally planned investment of EUR 350 million. As a September 2023 Industrial Science Institute (IWI) study shows, the six-year investment period triggered significant economic effects both nationally and regionally. Construction of the new plant generated value of around EUR 350 million, up to EUR 230 million of which in Styria. In addition to the 3,500 jobs at voestalpine’s Styrian sites in Kapfenberg and Mürzzuschlag, during the construction phase the investment also secured around 2,500 jobs in Styria, and more than 4,200 in Austria as a whole.

High Performance Metals Division

The voestalpine Group’s High Performance Metals Division focuses on producing and processing high-performance materials and customer-specific services such as heat treatment, high-tech surface treatments, and additive manufacturing processes—increasingly using digital technologies. Thanks to its unique sales and service network, the division offers its customers material availability and processing as well as local points of contact at about 140 sites around the world. The High Performance Metals Division is the global market leader for tool steel and a leading provider of high-speed steels, valve steels as well as other products made of special steels, powder materials, nickel-based alloys, titanium, and components, some of which are produced using additive manufacturing technologies. The Division has set itself the goal of making sustainability integral to every aspect of its work. Its most important customer segments are the automotive supplier industry, oil and gas exploration, the mechanical engineering industry as well as the consumer goods and aerospace industries. In the business year 2022/23, the division reported revenue of around EUR 3.8 billion, of which about 50% was generated outside Europe, and an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 562 million; it had around 13,700 employees worldwide.

The voestalpine Group

voestalpine is a globally leading steel and technology group with a unique combination of materials 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 premium products and system solutions, voestalpine is a leading partner to the automotive and consumer goods industries, as well as to the aerospace and oil & natural gas industries. The company is also the global market leader in railway systems, tool steel, and special sections. voestalpine is committed to the global climate goals and has a clear plan for decarbonizing steel production with its greentec steel program. In the business year 2022/23, the Group generated revenue of EUR 18.2 billion, with an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 2.5 billion; it has around 51,200 employees worldwide.