German conglomerate thyssenkrupp’s steel division plans to construct a walking beam furnace at its hot strip mill No 2 in Duisburg, improving the quality of its premium steel sheets.
The construction of the furnace, which is expected to become operational by 2022, is part of the steelmaker’s strategy to revamp its Beeckerwerth plant in Duisburg. The installation of the furnace will help improve the quality of steel produced at the facility as well as its operational flexibility, thyssenkrupp said in a media statement on August 5.
The 50-foot-long furnace will use unique lifting and lowering mechanisms, which will enhance the quality of sheets by preventing any damage to heavy slab surfaces that weigh over 30mt.
The announcement is the first initiative of thyssenkrupp’s strategy to turn its steel business around. The steelmaker has been weighing many options, including a sale of its steel assets to shore up its business, according to recent reports.
However, under its current long-term strategy, the German company plans to optimize its production network as well as its product portfolio to create more profitable steel grades.
Hinting at similar initiatives over the next few months, Dr. Arnd Köfler, chief technology officer of thyssenkrupp Steel said that the company was looking to strengthen the competitiveness of its products and meet demand from its automotive customers while securing thyssenkrupp’s “technological leadership in the next generation of high-end steel.”
The amount of investment in constructing the blast furnace was undisclosed. However, the company indicated that the project costs would range in the “mid-double-digit millions” and the first orders for the furnace will be placed soon.
Automotive manufacturers, who make exterior car shells out of premium sheets, are key customers for thyssenkrupp’s product.