Production processes for the future

Innovative materials always require suitable processes which enable the implementation of sophisticated product ideas in the first place. For this reason, Waelzholz has always been committed to intensively advancing the development of its production processes. This also particularly applies to the complex lines used to produce materials for products necessary for the energy revolution. Or where extensive testing is already being carried out today for the era of large-scale production with green hydrogen.

Innovation is one of our strengths. We develop grades with special, customized properties that give our customers the freedom to implement their ideas. In this context, our sophisticated and high-precision production processes allow us to manufacture these products with very special properties at scale and within the narrowest tolerance windows with high repeat accuracy.

Our stainless precision steel strip used for bipolar plates in fuel cells is a prime example. The challenge when it comes to these high-precision fuel cell components is that the special material must be ultra-thin (75 to 100 µm) and offer the maximum level of formability to enable complex manufacturing processes at the customer’s site. A virtually irreconcilable contradiction? Not for Waelzholz, because we have a special production routing on a Sendzimir mill to achieve the special properties of these stainless precision steel strip grades. This is where a fundamental advantage of Waelzholz’s size becomes apparent – thanks to our extensive range of machinery, we are able to achieve a high degree of specialization across our production lines. Each individual station in our manufacturing processes is optimized for specific materials, and the sum of the manufacturing steps results in exceptional performance.

Our production processes – already ready for green hydrogen today

The hydrogen era is coming. According to current estimates, the only way to fully decarbonize the steel industry is through the use of green hydrogen – and this also applies to us. Due to the enormous quantities of H2 that we will require for hydrogen-based production, it is essential that our facilities are connected to a hydrogen infrastructure – one that has yet to be established in the respective regions by policymakers and energy providers.

The production of high-quality steel strip follows a complex production routing defined down to the smallest detail, which may consist of several passes of cold rolling and heat treatment with different parameters. Even the smallest changes in these parameters can have undesirable effects on the properties of the material being produced. Looking ahead to the future, we already started equipping one of our production lines with H2-ready burners back in 2020. Since then, we have tested it extensively and successfully. Today, we would be technologically capable of replacing natural gas with hydrogen in the production of our grades while maintaining the same high level of quality. Let the hydrogen era come!

Future steel materials Sustainable material concepts for the products of the future

As a development partner, Waelzholz offers highly specialized steel materials for cutting-edge and sustainable products in the fields of mobility, energy, and industry. We support our customers from the initial idea to the market-ready innovation and master the challenges of the transformation together. / more