Kapfenberg factory – the most modern stainless steel in the world will be flowing here soon

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It is a historic investment: in the summer Voestalpine is slowly building up the new stainless steel factory in Kapfenberg. The “Krone” was allowed to gain the first insights.

It is not often that a new steel factory is put into operation in Europe. In Kapfenberg, however, the time has come: in the summer, the new stainless steel factory of Voestalpine is to be commissioned and new standards set.

“The clear goal is to expand our technology leadership in specialty steels,” said Franz Rotter, head of the High Performance Metals Division, during a tour that gave the first-ever look inside the heart of the new plant.

400 million euros invested
The group spends a lot of money on its great ambitions: about 400 million euros was invested in the new building, which will be completed after four years. All functions have been checked since the beginning of the year and the digital control and mechanical processes have been optimized via a modern command center. This process is called cold commissioning in technical jargon.

Technology takes precedence
“We will gradually start warm commissioning from the summer,” says Rotter. The hot steel then flows into the new factory. Once the plant is fully operational, 205,000 tons of special steel will leave Kapfenberg annually – 15,000 tons more than before at the old plant.

However, an increase in steel production was not the primary intention of the new building. It is mainly about technology. A modern electric arc furnace at the heart, less energy consumption, optimized processes – the new factory plays all the parts.

Kapfenberg steel goes all over the world
The special steels from Kapfenberg end up for further processing in the aerospace and automotive industries, but also in Swiss watches. Special powders are also produced for processing in the “3D printers” at other Voestalpine locations.

The old stainless steel factory will remain in operation for the time being, because various certifications still have to be carried out in the new factory. It won’t be closed for about half a year.

Kapfenberg not only wants to set new standards in the field of technology, but something is also happening in the field of training: from 2023 a new apprenticeship campus will be built to attract young talent and train them to become specialists.

Source: Krone

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