ThyssenKrupp Titanium has started operation of an electron beam furnace in Essen. The new unit – Europe’s most advanced titanium melting facility – was officially inaugurated by Dr. Wolfgang Reiniger, mayor of the City of Essen, Jürgen Fechter, Chairman of the Executive Board of ThyssenKrupp Stainless, and Dr. Markus Holz, Chairman of the Management Board of ThyssenKrupp Titanium, at a recent cermony. This innovative furnace significantly increases ThyssenKrupp Titanium’s melting capacities for titanium ingots. Over 30 million euros has recently been invested in various measures to expand production at the Essen site, including the installation of an additional vacuum arc furnace at the end of 2006. “This will enable us to participate actively in the growth of the titanium market and will position us strongly in the attractive aerospace and plant engineering segments, where customers above all value reliable supplies from within Europe,” said Fechter at the production start-up.
These expansion projects at ThyssenKrupp Titanium are intended to meet rising global demand for titanium products and guarantee customers security of supply. Due to its low weight, outstanding corrosion resistance and high strength, titanium is in great demand. Its main uses are in the aerospace industry, including in the new Airbus A 380 and Boeing Dreamliner super jumbos. It is also used in the chemical plant construction sector, heat exchangers for power plants, seawater desalination plants, shipbuilding, offshore equipment and medical engineering.
The electron beam furnace, housed in a dedicated new shop in Essen, represents the state-of-the-art in melting technology. “The electron beam furnace is able to process in various mixture ratios titanium sponge and titanium scrap, which is widely available in Europe,” explained Dr. Holz at the ceremony. “That makes us independent of raw material imports from outside Europe, where the supply situation is uncertain, and boosts the recycling rate of this valuable material. The furnace is also capable of directly producing slabs – the ideal format for processing into the flat products that account for the greater part of ThyssenKrupp Titanium’s product portfolio,” the Managing Director of ThyssenKrupp Titanium continued. With a melting rate of up to 1,200 kilograms of titanium per hour, the new furnace can produce up to two slabs per day. Instead of the standard 7.5 metric tons, the slabs can now weigh up to 15 tons. “By implementing this new technology, ThyssenKrupp Titanium will strengthen its position as Europe’s only producer of titanium and will secure jobs at the Essen site,” emphasized Dr. Holz. The construction of the electron beam furnace created 25 new jobs in Essen.