voestalpine invests up to EUR 350 million in the world’s most advanced special steel plant in Kapfenberg

3 October 2017

After more than two years of planning, today the final location decision was taken during the Supervisory Board meeting of voestalpine AG: the most advanced special steel plant in the world, representing an investment of EUR 330 to 350 million and designed to supply the most demanding customer segments, will be erected in Kapfenberg, Austria, where it will replace the existing plant from 2021. Securing around 3,000 jobs in Styria, this major investment by the High Performance Metals Division of the voestalpine Group marks a technological milestone in the manufacture of pioneering high-performance steels for the international aerospace, automotive, and oil & gas industries.

Work will begin on structural preparations right next to the current works premises for the EUR 330 to 350 million investment before the end of this year. The groundbreaking ceremony will be held in 2018, and after three years of construction the high-tech plant is scheduled to commence operations in 2021, replacing the current Böhler special steel plant in Kapfenberg.

Another important factor in deciding to locate in Kapfenberg was the outstanding metallurgical research environment, as well as the available infrastructure, and proximity to important customers.

Fully digitalized production processes

With the high-tech plant it will be possible to fully automate the production of tool steels and special steels for the most sophisticated applications. They are the starting materials for processing into extremely high-load-bearing and weight-saving aircraft parts, robust tools for the automotive industry, equipment for the demanding conditions of oil and gas exploration, and for manufacturing components using 3D printing.

Environmental benchmark—100 percent renewable energy

The new plant will also be the global benchmark for environmental and energy efficiency. Closed cooling water circuits and efficient heat recovery and de-dusting systems help to conserve resources and minimize emissions. At the core of the plant is an electric arc furnace, operated using electricity generated from 100 percent renewable sources, which melts down ultra-pure scrap and alloys into liquid materials. The production capacity is around 205,000 tons of high-performance steels a year.

High Performance Metals Division

The voestalpine AG’s High Performance Metals Division is focused on producing and processing high-performance materials and customer-specific services including heat treatment, high-tech surface treatments, and additive manufacturing processes. Due to its unique sales and service network at about 160 sites around the world the division offers its customers material availability and processing as well as local points of contact. The division is the global market leader for tool steel and a leading provider of high-speed steel, valve steel, and other products made of special steels, as well as powder materials, nickel-based alloys, and titanium. The most important customer segments are the automotive, oil and natural gas exploration, and mechanical engineering industries as well as the consumer goods and aerospace industries. In the business year 2016/17, the division reported revenue of around EUR 2.7 billion, of which about 50% was generated outside Europe, and an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 395 million; it has around 13,700 employees worldwide.