voestalpine reports that it has commissioned SMS Group, Düsseldorf, Germany, to supply the main melting units for its new special steel plant in Kapfenberg, Austria. Construction of the plant, which voestalpine states will be ‘the world’s most advanced special steel plant’, began with an official groundbreaking ceremony in April 2018.
The contract covers the provision of the plant’s electric arc furnace, converter and secondary metallurgical systems. SMS Group will be responsible for the engineering, process technology, and start-up of the fully automated melting system, which will begin production in 2021. Key partners for the subsequent process systems, such as the entire casting area, and for the construction of the hall are expected to be commissioned in the next few months.
voestalpine is set to invest up to €350 million in the new special steel plant, intended to replace the existing voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl GmbH & Co KG plant in Kapfenberg. Once operational, the plant will reportedly produce around 205,000 tons of high-performance steels annually for the international automotive, aviation, oil and gas industries.
Franz Rotter, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the High Performance Metals Division, stated, “Awarding the contract for the supply of the main melting units, which represent around one third of the total investment volume, lays the technological basis for the new special steel plant. The SMS Group will contribute its comprehensive know-how to this project, both in the metallurgical systems and in the areas of digitalisation and automation.”
In addition to the electric arc furnace, in which ultra-pure scrap and alloys are melted into liquid special steels at temperatures of up to 9,000°C, the SMS Group will also supply after-treatment systems. All systems will be powered by electricity from renewable sources.
voestalpine stated that it expects the technology at the new plant to set new standards worldwide in terms of digitalisation, with a sensor and electronic system enabling the entire production process to be managed from a central control station. voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl and SMS Group will set up their own training centre for employees in Kapfenberg, where all production areas will be simulated virtually.