voestalpine launches expanded production for blanks

Additional production capacities for laser welded blanks manufactured at voestalpine’s Linz site are now operative, the company says.

Thanks to “… an excellent order situation”, the company decided to invest €16 million ($18m) in further expansion that has been recently completed. In a 32,000 square metre production area, it will now be possible to produce up to 30 million blanks a year on 14 welding and three punching lines, the company says. Annual revenue is expected to increase from the previous figure of €150 million to €200m, Kallanish notes.

The start of the new facilities marks the 20th anniversary of blanks production in Linz. The order from a German premium automobile manufacturer for the production of laser-welded inner door panels was the start of blank production in Linz 20 years ago. Since then, almost 190 million blanks have left the plants of Automotive Components Linz—formerly voestalpine Europlatinen GmbH, the company says.

Important milestones were the installation of the world’s fastest laser-welding system in 2015 and the construction of a second plant in 2016. voestalpine claims that this has made Linz the leading production site for laser-welded automotive blanks.

The steelmaker commenced production of the first hot-forming blanks using so-called phs technology in 2006. This allowed voestalpine to set completely new standards in terms of weight reduction, corrosion protection, and crash performance for high-strength body parts, the company maintains.