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We make steel a premium product

Almost 70 years ago, voestalpine developed the breakthrough technology Linz-Donawitz converter process, which enabled the large-scale and rapid conversion of pig iron into crude steel. This technology is still used and about 70% of the worldwide steel production is made by this technology.

More than 140 years of technical experience combined with the most modern equipment make us a steel manufacturer with premium quality. The high level of product quality across all stages of the value chain is the result of continuous improvement of all production processes.

The compact LD plant offers a plant structure with

  • intelligent technology
  • efficient use of energy
  • optimized material flow
  • low maintenance needs and
  • minimized environmental impact.

It offers valuable opportunities to optimize product quality.

The configuration of our production line "Sintering plant - Blast furnace - Hot metal desulphurisation plant - LD crucible - Secondary metallurgy - Continuous casting plant" enables us to generate concrete market requirements.

Securing the future with state-of-the-art environmental protection equipment

We always have the environment in mind. Every part of the long production chain meets the strict requirements of the legislator. State-of-the-art equipped environmental protection facilities guarantee compliance with the limit values and ensure trouble-free production. We protect our environment sustainably by reusing recycled materials.

Frequently asked questions about the steel production process

  • In nature, iron occurs as ore. In mining, the ore is extracted from the rock and processed. To make iron from the ore, it is reduced and melted in a blast furnace with coke at over 1300°C. The resulting pig iron contains more than 2% carbon and cannot be used for products in this form. It is only through the LD process that the pig iron is converted into steel by blowing it with pure oxygen.

  • There are different ways in which steel can be produced. From the primary raw material, ore, liquid pig iron is produced in the sintering plant and then in the blast furnace, which is then converted into steel in the steelworks using the LD process. Steel is highly recyclable and can be turned into new products in several cycles using an electric arc furnace in which scrap is melted down with electricity.

    New technologies deal with the direct reduction of ores to a directly reduced material (DRI or HBI). In this process iron ore pellets are reduced in a shaft furnace using natural gas. The advantage of this technology is the saving of approx. 40% CO2 compared to the classical blast furnace route. A further reduction in CO2 emissions can be achieved by using green hydrogen.

  • In the European rail network, as well as in the railways where raw materials are transported with the highest axle loads, such as in South Africa, Brazil or Australia. Further in German premium vehicles are approx. 130kg of wire products.  Tubes for oil and gas exploration are used in the UAS mainly for shale gas exploration as well for axle tubes in trucks.

  • In many technical applications steel is used as an ecological construction material. For example, the per capita consumption of steel per inhabitant in Germany is 180 kg.

  • Steel is produced from iron ore, which is found in the earth's crust at a rate of approx. 5%, as the primary raw material. However, steel can be recycled many times.

  • Steel is warmed so that the final structural microstructure and properties can be adjusted.

  • Steel gets its properties from its atomic lattice structure or from its microstructure, which is strongly influenced by alloying elements such as carbon, manganese, silicon, chrome, nickel, molybdenum. In combination with heat treatment processes, the requirements are specifically adjusted.

  • Approximately 1,675 billion tonnes of steel are produced worldwide. Approximately 650 million tonnes of scrap is used for this purpose. The share of steel from the classic blast furnace route is about 75%, the share of steel from the electric furnace route is about 25%.

  • In the classic converter steelworks, about 23% scrap and 77% pig iron are processed, depending on the composition of the pig iron. The scrap metal serves as cooling. Electric Arc Furnaces operates with up to 100% scrap, depending on the steel grade requirements.

  • VASD produces high-quality steel grades in the range of unalloyed and low-alloy steels. Approximately 450 steel grades are produced per year for various applications. These include, for example, steel grades for railway infrastructure, rolling bearing steels for bearings, cold heading grades for cold forging parts, spring steels, steels for welding additives, chain steels, rope wires and cord steels, tube steels for oil and gas exploration, and case hardening and tempering steels for bars.

  • At the beginning of the BOF (LD) process, the converter vessel is charged with scrap by means of a scrap slide. Approximately 15 to 20 tons of steel scrap are required per melt. This serves as a cooling factor to adjust the heat balance in the LD converter. From the desulphurisation plant, 55 tonnes of molten pig iron are charged into the LD converter. A special dedusting system extracts the emissions produced. These exhaust gases are used to produce electricity for the Donawitz site. The special feature of the Linz-Donawitz process is the targeted blowing of pure oxygen.

    This technology allows to reduce the carbon content of the iron to a very low level. High quality crude steel is produced from pig iron in a short time and with low energy consumption. The pure oxygen is blown onto the bath via a lance at supersonic speed. The temperature and analysis determination are carried out by our employees on site and in the laboratory and the required post-blowing time is determined. Once the correct phosphorus content and tapping temperature have been reached, the LD converter swings into tapping position. The liquid crude steel is filled into a steel casting ladle. During tapping, alloying elements are added to the steel to adjust the chemical composition.

  • The metallurgical processes in the blast furnace take place in several zones. The blast furnace is continuously charged with the raw materials coke and ore. Hot gas is blown from bottom to top in countercurrent. Direct reduction takes place at temperatures of 1200 to 1800 degrees Celsius. The iron oxides give off their oxygen atoms to the carbon and are reduced to liquid iron. Every two hours the pig iron and the slag that forms is discharged from the blast furnace. Samples of the pig iron are taken and analysed in the laboratory for further processing in the LD steelworks.

  • New technologies in which carbon is replaced as a reducing agent by natural gas (direct reduction e.g. in Texas -40% CO2) or by green hydrogen. This technology is currently still in the research stage. With an Electric Arc Furnace scrap can be used as a secondary raw material. Depending on the electricity mix used, CO2 emissions are much lower compared to the classic blast furnace route.

  • VASD produces high-quality steel grades in the field of unalloyed and low-alloy steels. Approximately 450 steel grades are produced per year for different applications. These include, for example, steel grades in the field of railway infrastructure, rolling bearing strength for bearings, cold-dipping grades for solid moulded parts, spring steels, welding-added steels, chain steels, wire wires and cord steels, tube steels for oil and gas exploration, and use and tempering steels for rods.