Voestalpine Profits from Upswing in China Prompting Expands
Austrian steel maker Voestalpine said that its 40 sites and 3,000 employees in China have benefited as China has managed the coronavirus-induced 2020 economic crisis faster than any other country and is already back on a path to growth. Growing demand in the premium segment of the automotive industry in particular is ensuring good capacity utilization, and voestalpine is responding quickly by expanding capacity. New high-tech products for railway infrastructure as well as welding consumables are also increasingly filling the order books. Furthermore, the steel and technology Group recently continued the rollout of its pioneering 3D-printing process with metal powder by opening two new Chinese sites. China has been a voestalpine growth market for many years. Key customer segments include the automotive, railway infrastructure, household goods, and energy industries, in which the company generated revenue of EUR 557 million in the business year 2019/20.
Premium automotive parts in demand - Positive demand in the premium automotive segment is currently leading to a high level of capacity utilization in voestalpine Chinese automotive plants. The subsidiaries in the voestalpine Automotive Components Group are producing ultra-high strength body parts at the Shenyang and Tianjin sites, near their German automotive customers. The voestalpine lightweight construction innovation phs-ultraform is also playing a key role. Investment into expanding production, to allow additional orders to be processed, is already planned for the current business year 2021/22.
Intelligent rail monitoring for the Chinese metro - voestalpine Railway Systems operates two joint ventures in China’s turnout technology sector, and is one of the top 3 suppliers for the national high-speed rail network. The first local production facility for turnout monitoring systems was established in 2020 and has now finished processing its first major order for the metropolis of Kunming with its millions of inhabitants: Line 4 of the metro, 43 kilometres in length and with 29 stations is being equipped with a state-of-the-art axle counting system. This offers fully digital monitoring of the individual track sections, and issues track vacancy reports to ensure safe rail operations. The Chinese government is also planning to build a total of more than 100 new tramway and metro systems in future, in cities with a population of over one million. Voestalpine intends to leverage its local presence and on going digital innovations to secure numerous important future project contracts.
Two new 3D-printing centers - At the end of last year, voestalpine also continued the rollout of its pioneering 3D-printing process with metal powder in China. In addition to the five voestalpine additive manufacturing centers in Düsseldorf, Taiwan, Singapore, Toronto, and Houston, the innovative technology is now also being used at two new sites, in Shanghai and Dongguan. Both competence centers will focus on tool making, primarily for the automotive and consumer goods industries, as well as for medical technology applications.
Excellent level of orders for voestalpine welding technology - There are signs of growth in ultra-high strength welding wires which are used in steel construction, and welding filler materials for use in sectors including the automotive and oil & gas industries. Voestalpine Böhler Welding, a specialist in this field, produces in China to European quality standards, and, following massive public investment in new infrastructure projects, its order books are full. Despite the economic crisis, in 2020 the company profited from the excellent level of orders in the construction industry. A further production line at the site in Suzhou is currently in the run-up phase.