Waelzholz invests in China
China represents a fast-growing market in many industries. Just having a presence here is no longer enough to take advantage of the local opportunities – a company needs to have a strategy. For Waelzholz, the aim today is to fully exploit the existing market potential using its comprehensive materials expertise. The current project to expand the Waelzholz New Material facility in Taicang by 10,000 square meters (107,639 sq ft) of production space in a new two-hall building will therefore result in a number of advantages – the new production lines will not only double production capacity, but will also help the company achieve its goal of being able to offer a broad range of products locally.
Jürgen Jentsch, CTO of Waelzholz New Material and project manager, explains: “In Taicang we already have a four-high rolling mill as well as bell annealing furnaces and slitting lines. We are now adding production lines to perfectly complement the existing machinery. The new purchases include an additional four-high rolling mill, a slitting line, and an oscillator. And in addition to the eight existing annealing furnace bases in the facility’s main hall, we will be adding another eight.”
An investment focused on the future
“Our investment is clearly focused on the opportunities in the Asian market,” explains Jentsch. “We see tremendous local potential in many sectors such as the industrial, energy, and, of course, automotive industry. We can stand out here thanks to our expertise and special products. And that’s precisely what we want to achieve with the new lines: an incredibly broad product range, high standards of quality, and the ability to respond to customer needs in a flexible and rapid manner thanks to our local presence. In other words, exactly what matters to our customers.” In doing so, Waelzholz is combining its materials expertise and process knowledge with the advantages of local sourcing and short distances.
And when it comes to standards of quality, instead of a conventional flatness measuring device, the new rolling mill features a built-in flatness control system that allows the strip to be optimally adjusted during the rolling process. According to Jentsch: “In the end, each new investment also means updating our lines to the most state-of-the-art technology available. This is how we continuously enhance our processes.”
The expansion measures at the Chinese location are currently in full swing. The bell annealing furnaces that have been added to the main hall are already fully operational, and the remaining lines are scheduled to be brought into operation by mid-2020. By expanding its capacities in China, the Waelzholz Group is consistently pursuing its strategy of international expansion.
Taicang site expansion – facts and figures
Waelzholz New Material’s production capacity in Taicang will increase to 120,000 tons of steel strip annually after the new lines are completed.
The site will then have around 220 employees.
All of Waelzholz’s standard cold rolled steel strip grades will be manufactured on site, including easily formable, high-strength, wear-resistant, anisotropic or isotropic, phosphate-coated, precisely dimensioned, magnetizable, etc., with final widths of up to 650 millimeters (26 inches) and final thicknesses of 0.5 (0.02 inches) to 10 millimeters (0,39 inches) possible.
Waelzholz purchased a 13,000 square meters (139,931 sq ft) property for the new building. The entire factory premises now cover 33,000 square meters (355,209 sq ft).
The new hall has a production area of 10,000 sqm (107,639 sq ft), with adjacent buildings for the metalworking shop, electrical supply, and emulsion preparation.