Austrian steelmaker voestalpine AG has opened a new plant in the Metal Forming Division of its plant in Shenyang, China. The plant will produce ultra-high strength body-in-white parts for premium automotive customers and represents an investment of around EUR 25 million.

Phase one development will result in employment for 70 staff and further expansion phases have been planned.

The voestalpine Group currently generates around 32% of its revenue in the automotive industry, which is regarded globally as a long-term growth sector.

For several years the company has expanded its capacity in the automotive sector outside of Europe. In addition to the plant in China, significant investment is being made in phases two and three at the production site for ultra-high-strength body-in-white parts in Cartersville, USA, which opened last year.

Wolfgang Eder, chairman of the management board of voestalpine AG said, “With the new international sites, particularly in the automotive sector, we are following our premium customers into the growth markets, thereby continually expanding our global presence. The technologies we have developed to produce ultra-high strength automotive components are in increasing demand worldwide.”

Voestalpine’s most recent Chinese site – owned by the voestalpine Stamptec Group (part of the company’s Metal Forming Division) – occupies almost 10,000 m2 in Northeast China.

Built-in future expansion capability at the plant will enable additional production areas of over 15,000 m2 to be made available at any time going forward. The plant currently employs a staff of 70, and this should grow to over 500 employees as the site is continually extended.

At the heart of the Shenyang plant is the award-winning phs-ultraform® technology developed by the Group.

According to voestalpine AG, phs-ultraform® stands for press-hardened steel components made of hot-dip galvanised steel strip, combining lightweight design, corrosion protection, and increased automotive safety to an extent hitherto unknown.

Peter Schwab, also a member of the management board of voestalpine AG, said that China was an important future market for the company’s Metal Forming Division. “That’s why we are not simply investing in a further plant, but also making it the first Asian site equipped with our unique hot forming technology,” he said.

Including joint ventures, the voestalpine Group recently generated over EUR 300 million revenue at 26 sites employing more than 2,200 employees, including joint ventures.