Voestalpine restarts small blast furnace in Linz

Voestalpine will in early September restart the small blast furnace in Linz which has been idle since March, following the abrupt slump in customer demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The gradual revival of demand is most pronounced in the automotive, electrical, and processing industries, and has led to an increased need for high-quality steel grades, making this step possible, the company states. The first signs of recovery are also evident in the mechanical engineering and energy segments, for which the site in Linz also produces high-quality steel products, Kallanish understands.

Together with the two other blast furnaces at the site, the restart of the small blast furnace brings steel production back up to almost normal levels, after capacity was throttled back following Covid-19. Together they have an annual pig iron production capacity of around 5 million tonnes. Another two blast furnaces at the site in Donawitz have a capacity for up to 1.5m t/year of pig iron.

Voestalpine says the economic recovery is impacting the group differently according to region and market segment. The railway systems and high bay warehousing technology sectors are performing well, while in contrast the aerospace and oil & natural gas industries have been particularly hard hit by the impact of the pandemic.

The production of seamless tube for the oil & gas industry has been facing a competitive disadvantage due to protectionist tariffs since 2018.