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Capital market-relevant press releases, 2001-12-06, 01:00 AM

Major investment in Dortmund - ThyssenKrupp Stahl inaugurates hot dip galvanizing line 8

The hot dip galvanizing line (HDG) 8 - a euros128 million high-tech investment - went into operation at the Dortmund Westfalenhütte steel mill on October 29, creating over 100 new jobs in the process. Following a two-year construction period, ThyssenKrupp Stahl officially inaugurated the line on December 6. "The commissioning of HDG 8 strengthens our capabilities in the strategically important coated sheet sector", explained TKS chief executive Dr. Karl-Ulrich Köhler at the inauguration. "At the same time we are responding to rising market demand for hot dip galvanized grades. HDG 8 represents a further investment in the future of our advanced material steel."

HDG 8 has an annual capacity of 450,000 metric tons, bringing TKS`s total hot dip galvanized sheet capacity to around 3.8 million tons per year. The line specializes in automotive inner and outer skin parts but will also provide materials for the construction and appliance industries.

In the entry zone to the line, the ends of the cold rolled coils are joined together by laser welding - the first time this process has been used in a hot dip galvanizing facility. From there the material passes to a ten-story annealing furnace, where it is heated to 850°C before galvanizing. A chemcoater in the exit zone ensures environmentally friendly application of the temporary corrosion protection. "The 352 meter long shop houses state-of-the art technology", said Köhler. Innovative equipment such as online roughness measuring by the skin-pass rolls, fully automated inspection and groundbreaking process control technology guarantee the very highest quality. "That applies not only to the process design but also to the quality of the products." Automotive products need to display first-class surface finishes and mechanical properties which allow them to meet tough forming requirements. "We satisfy these requirements: The high level of automation ensures consistent product quality and extremely close size tolerances". HDG 8 will produce strip in widths from 750 to 1,650 millimeters and gauges between 0.3 and 1.5 millimeters in a continuous process; materials range from standard to highly demanding deep-drawing grades as well as high-strength and ultrahigh-strength multiphase steels.

The new facility, which will be ramped up to full capacity by October 2002, has been installed in the direct vicinity of the cold strip mill and the electrolytic coating line. This optimizes production synergies, as feedstock is supplied from the on-site cold rolling mill, which has been upgraded through appropriate investment.

The line, which currently employs 103 skilled workers from other operations in Dortmund which have been shut down, also stands out for its color scheme. ThyssenKrupp Stahl commissioned industrial designer Friedrich Ernst von Garnier, who was already responsible for the attractive appearance of the Dortmunder OberflächenCentrum surface engineering facility, to create a colorful and harmonious look for HDG 8. "We believe that the use of corporate colors not only promotes the company`s public image but will also have a direct influence on the motivation of our employees and the quality of our products", said Köhler. "At all events we have provided the city of Dortmund with a new architectural highlight."

Dortmund, December 6, 2001

Dietmar Stamm
Thyssen Krupp Stahl AG
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Str 100
47166 Düsseldorf
Phone: + 49 203 52 26267
Fax: + 49 203 52 25707

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