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Company News, 2005-09-07, 12:36 PM

ThyssenKrupp Stahl: from material supplier to system partner

At IAA in Frankfurt from September 15 to 25, 2005, ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG, Duisburg, will be presenting its capabilities as a competent development partner to automotive OEMs. The center of attraction will be the body-in-white of the new R-Class from DaimlerChrysler; ThyssenKrupp Stahl was involved in its development from the initial idea to the start of production. At the last Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003, the company presented the NSB NewSteelBody, its own concept for a lightweight steel body-in-white. In recent years, ThyssenKrupp Stahl has made targeted investments in its Auto Division to build up its own know-how and infrastructure for automotive development and production technology.

"To strengthen the position of our material in automotive construction, we must make the step from simple material supplier to system partner," said Dr. Ulrich Jaroni, member of the ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG Executive Board responsible for the Auto Division. In the area of ad-vanced high-strength steels in particular, he continued, high-tech, consulting-intensive products had been developed. Providing expert support to customers in development and production fa-cilitated faster and broader market acceptance of these advanced materials. Even better use could also be made of the lightweighting potential of the new steels if component design was optimized in line with material properties, he said. Steel producers were called upon to develop their own concepts to stimulate new developments.

At IAA, for example, ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG will be displaying its own concept for a steel auto hood which already complies with the tighter regulations of Phase 2 of the EU directive on pedes-trian protection, which comes into force from 2010. This concept will be realized in the future in collaboration with a German auto manufacturer. The company will also be exhibiting a production part demonstrating that 50 percent of the paint system currently used for exposed automotive panels can be applied directly to the strip by steelmakers using the coil coating process. This will allow automotive manufacturers and suppliers to save on investments and running costs for their own equipment.

ThyssenKrupp Stahl subsidiary ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks has taken a unique tailored strip line into production. ThyssenKrupp Tailored Strips comprise two slit steel strips of differing grade, thickness or coating. It is also possible to combine carbon and stainless steel. The strips are joined by laser welding. The line operated by ThyssenKrupp Tailored Blanks is the first capa-ble of producing welds several hundred meters long, allowing the tailored strips to be wound to coils of up to 15 metric tons for delivery. Applications for tailored strips include seat rails, seat backrests and wheel rims. These tailored products save weight because they can be adapted from the outset to the actual stresses in the finished part.

In the first nine months of the current fiscal year (October 2004 to June 2005), ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG and its subsidiaries achieved sales of just under seven billion euros, twelve percent higher than in the prior-year period. Earnings for the first three quarters of the current fiscal year were 785 million euros, compared with 476 million euros for the first nine months of fiscal 2003/2004. Crude steel production was unchanged from the prior year at around 10.5 million metric tons. In fiscal 2003/2004, ThyssenKrupp Stahl AG and its subsidiaries generated sales of around 2.6 billion euros with automotive customers, almost a third of their total sales.

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