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Company News, 2005-07-14, 04:14 PM

Federal Minister Edelgard Bulmahn visits Dortmund site of ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG

Edelgard Bulmahn, Federal Minister for Education and Research, today visited the Dortmund site of ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG. The minister toured the DOC surface engineering center where she learned about current development projects. She was particularly impressed by a new anti-fingerprint coating for the domestic appliance industry. As part of her innovation tour to mark Einstein Year, Ms. Bulmahn also inspected hot dip coating line 8 on the site of the former Westfalenhütte steel mill and paid a visit to the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft research organization, which as a cooperation partner has a project group working at the DOC center.

ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG has developed its Dortmund site into a center of excellence for carbon steel cold-rolled and coated flat products. Among other things, coated steel offers improved corrosion protection, optimized processing properties, increased scratch and wear resistance and wider design possibilities. In many cases customers using coated coil can dispense with entire painting processes which until just a few years ago they had to carry out themselves on cost-intensive machinery. There has been a disproportionate rise in demand for coated steel in the past few years, with in some cases double-digit growth rates.

The DOC is considered to be one of the most innovative surface engineering centers in the world. At its heart is a pilot coating line which allows researchers to test their ideas not just in the laboratory but under realistic production conditions. The line features several separately operable stations which allow new surface technologies to be tested in continuous operation. For example, as well as a PVD module for applying metallic coatings by vacuum deposition, the line has a ChemCoater for applying UV-curable paints. With these features, the pilot facility at the DOC is the most versatile and innovative of its kind in the world.

The production facilities at the Dortmund site are likewise state-of-the-art. Built in 1972 and modernized several times at a cost of more than 58 million euros, cold rolling mill 3 is designed to allow the processing of advanced high-strength steels. These steels are used, for example, in weight-optimized vehicle bodies. The mill has a capacity of 2.4 million metric tons per year. To protect the strip produced on cold rolling mill 3 against corrosion, a zinc coating is applied on the neighboring hot dip coating line 8. Built in 2002 at a cost of 128 million euros, the line has an annual capacity of 450,000 metric tons. Over 40 percent of production meets the auto industry's extremely high surface quality requirements for outer paneling. This is a record achievement unmatched by any other hot dip coating line in the world. Because ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG was also innovative when it came to designing the plant complex, hot dip coating line 8 won the European Steel Design Award in 2003. The jury praised not only the technically optimized architectural design but also the colored façade which gives the building, like all ThyssenKrupp Stahl's new buildings, an attractive appearance contrasting with conventional industrial buildings.

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