EU steel companies bemoan shortage of spare parts

Mills in some European countries are having issues with carrying out repair and maintenance on production lines due to a shortage of required spare parts.

“The availability of our production units is impaired because we have problems receiving the spare parts we need. They were pledged to be delivered, in early April, but now will come only sometime in May,” Kallanish learns from a mill manager. This means that at least one production line at the electric arc furnace-based mill is confined to run at 80% of scheduled output, he adds.

This development adds to the existing shortage of input materials – particularly of Russian and Ukrainian origin – and of truck drivers for haulage.

“We do not understand the cause for it, but the technical suppliers are not as fast as they used to be,” the manager says. Of course, the parts need to be tailor-made and manufacturing them takes time, but that does not explain the over-proportionate delays, he says.

He even links the situation with the Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai, where the port is crammed with vessels that cannot be charged, and the problem filters through to the railway line from China to Europe. “Even for a washing machine you have to wait for months at the moment,” he observes.

The problem was addressed already last year by German machine tool builders’ association VDW. It observed that new machines can only be delivered with delays due to missing parts, especially electronic components, thereby affecting supply of machines to steel companies, mainly processors.

Christian Koehl Germany