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Company News, 2003-04-09, 02:00 AM

ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks GmbH expands production - 100 new jobs in Duisburg

ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks GmbH, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Stahl, is expanding its German production locations for laser-welded automotive tailored blanks, creating around 100 new jobs in Duisburg.

The company`s Duisburg-Bruckhausen plant was equipped with an additional automatic laser welder earlier this month, and the Duisburg-Hüttenheim facility is also undergoing large-scale expansion. "As a first step, we are adding to the existing shop in Hüttenheim by building a new shop equipped with a two-meter press and two automatic laser welding lines," said Rudolf Helldobler, Managing Director of ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks, at the laying of the foundation stone on April 9, 2003. Start of production in Hüttenheim is planned for fall of this year. The 16,000 square meter shop also has space to accommodate a further three lines for future growth. The Duisburg-based company is investing some 59 million euros in this location.

ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks GmbH currently operates four production plants in Germany and two further facilities in Italy and Mexico. The company also has joint ventures in China, the USA, Brazil and Spain. ThyssenKrupp is world market and technology leader for linear and non-linear tailored blanks, supplying more than 34 million units last fiscal year.

Current forecasts predict that global demand for tailored blanks will continue to grow in the next few years: Between 2002 and 2005, the number of tailored blanks fitted in vehicles will rise from 80 to 120 million.

Tailored blanks are made from individual sheet metal blanks of different grade, thickness and finish which are joined by laser welding. Auto manufacturers then form these blanks into components such as doors, liftgates, floor panels and side beams. Used for weight and function-optimized auto body components, tailored blanks not only offer high weight-reduction potential, they also increase safety, reduce parts count, optimize component tolerances and lower costs. These innovative steel products allow weight savings of between 20% and 40%.

ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG pioneered the development of tailored blanks: In 1983, Thyssen developed the first ever tailored blank exclusively for AUDI by laser welding two smaller, fully galvanized blanks together to form a large-size floor panel. Building on this initial success, the company then succeeded in joining blanks of different size, grade and finish. The breakthrough for tailored blanks came in the late 1980s, when VW decided to use them in the production of its Golf III model. Mass production started in the 1990s, and nowadays up to 25% of the bodies-in-white of modern cars are made from tailored blanks. The development of tailored products is by no means finished: Thyssen Engineered Blanks with non-linear seams and Tailored Tubes for hydroformed automotive components are further steps down the path embarked upon by ThyssenKrupp Stahl.

Contact:
Thyssenkrupp Steel AG
Erwin Schneider
Tel.: +49 203 52 - 2 56 90
Fax: +49 203 52 - 2 57 07
e-mail: erwin.schneider@tks.thyssenkrupp.com

Dietmar Stamm
Tel.: +49 203 52 - 2 62 67
Fax: +49 203 52 - 2 57 07
e-mail: dietmar.stamm@tks.thyssenkrupp.com

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