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Company News, 2005-10-20, 06:23 PM

75 years of ThyssenKrupp VDM

ThyssenKrupp VDM GmbH is celebrating its 75th anniversary with a two-day Energy and Environment Symposium on October 20 and 21. The guest speakers include Christa Thoben, Minister for Economy, SMEs and Energy in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Prof. Dr. Dieter Ameling, President of the German Steel Federation (Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl). In further presentations during the event, customers of ThyssenKrupp VDM GmbH will describe the requirements they place on modern high-performance alloys, and employees of the company will present ThyssenKrupp VDM products for energy and environmental applications.

ThyssenKrupp VDM GmbH was founded in 1930 as Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke, an amalgamation of medium-size enterprises under the management of Metallgesellschaft in Frankfurt. Founder members of VDM included the companies Carl Berg, founded in 1853 in Werdohl-Eveking, and Basse und Selve, established in 1869 in Altena. For more than 40 years, VDM manufactured semi-finished products of nonferrous materials such as copper, aluminum and brass before concentrating on the production of nickel-base alloys and special stainless steels at the end of the 1970s. This proved to be a successful strategic decision: today the company is world market leader in these materials, which have properties such as high heat and corrosion resistance and are used in the chemical, energy and offshore sectors among others.

On the way to this leading position, the company repeatedly set standards with the development of innovative materials. For example, the alloy Nicrofer 5923 hMo, patented by ThyssenKrupp VDM, offers the highest performance of all the so-called C alloys. These nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloys are used, for example, in the construction of flue gas desulfurization plants. Nicrofer 3127 hMo is a particularly versatile alloy used, for example, in the paper and pulp industry, sulfuric acid regeneration, salt extraction, and oil and gas production. The latest development from ThyssenKrupp VDM is Crofer 22 APU, a material specially designed for use in solid oxide fuel cells.

VDM joined the present ThyssenKrupp Group in 1989, when it was acquired from Metallgesellschaft by the then Krupp Stahl AG. Today, ThyssenKrupp VDM is part of the Stainless segment in the ThyssenKrupp Group. The nickel-base alloys and special stainless steels produced by ThyssenKrupp VDM round off the top end of the segment?s portfolio of stainless, acid- and heat-resistant materials. The company has 1,700 employees and achieved sales of 581 million euros in fiscal 2003/2004.

Werdohl and Altena continue to be the central locations of ThyssenKrupp VDM. Werdohl is home to both the company?s head office and its strip production operations, while the Altena plant turns out hot-rolled plate, bar stock and open-die forgings. A further facility in Bärenstein produces wire. The alloys are melted at the company´s Unna plant. ThyssenKrupp VDM also has production sites in the USA at its subsidiary Precision Rolled Products (PRP). PRP specializes in materials and semi-finished products for non-rotating parts in aircraft construction and operates a vacuum melting furnace and further remelting units to meet the particular requirements of the aerospace industry for material purity and homogeneity.

Aerospace applications account for around 25 percent of the world market for nickel and cobalt alloys. To further strengthen its position in this segment, in 2003 ThyssenKrupp VDM began operation of an additional vacuum melting furnace at its Unna plant. The company also has two remelting units in Unna to further refine the material from the vacuum furnace. In addition to aerospace, ThyssenKrupp VDM sees potential for growth in the oil and gas production sector. New perspectives are also opening up in the automotive industry, where VDM materials are being used increasingly for catalytic converter foils and metal fleece for particulate filters.

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