40 years of the combined wire rod / bar mill at Saarstahl’s Neunkirchen site
18 June 2012
On 12 June 1972, the combined wire rod / bar mill went into operation – A party for employees marked the occasion of the anniversary. In December 1969, the presiding supervisory board of the Neunkircher Eisenwerk AG, formerly Gebrüder Stumm, took the decision to approve an investment of 97 million Deutschmarks in building a combined wire rod and bar mill. After a construction period of only two and a half years, at exactly 12.58 p.m. on 12 June 1972, the first so-called billets - a semi-finished steel product - came off the new line. Continuous modernisation has also meant that, up to the present day, “’Line 31’ has stood for great flexibility and product quality “Made in Neunkirchen”.
The mill was built to meet increasing customer demands and with the objective of ensuring that the manufacturing site remained competitive. At the same time, the new equipment and automated processes facilitated the employees’ task and ensured a high degree of work safety.
Diversity of the facilitye
“The particular strength of the combined wire rod and bar mill is that it is extremely versatile. It can produce bar steel as well as wire rod; currently approx. 55 per cent wire and 45 per cent bar steel are being produced” explained Frank Brauer, Plant Manager in Neunkirchen and head of the rolling mills and further processing at Saarstahl AG. “Furthermore, the rolling mill is also used for different section shapes i.e., besides the conventional round dimensions, hexagonal, four-sided and flat dimensions are rolled as well as various special contours.”
Ellen Neumann, Chairwoman of the works’ council at the Neunkirchen plant who has been employed there since 1974, took a brief look back over the years, not all of which have been easy. “The combined wire rod and bar mill is,” in her opinion, “the most flexible line and therefore of great importance for the company. The Neunkirchen location with its two lines - one must not forget line 32 which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year - has been making a considerable contribution within the Saarstahl group right up to the present day.”
The plant management and works council issued invitations for a big party for employees and their families last week. More than 800 guests took up the invitation and thereby underlined their special affinity with their Neunkirchen plant.
From Johann Wolfgang Goethe to the present day
For decades, wire rod and bar has been rolled in the combined wire rod and bar mill – a long time and yet only a short moment in the history of the Neunkirchen plant which was already time-honoured when Johann Wolfgang Goethe paid a visit there in 1770. As early as the 16th century, iron was melted and shaped here. There is evidence reaching back to 1593. With a 419 year history, Neunkirchen is older than the other Saarstahl locations and is a plant with one of the longest traditions, worldwide. It has proved its ability to adapt to change over this period of time, From a small iron melting plant, of which there were many at that time, it grew during the 19th century into one of the most renowned large companies worldwide. In 1982, the company entered into a new period of its history. When the Saarlandish manufacturer of long products merged under central management, Neunkirchen, after Völklingen and Burbach, became the third production site in the Saarstahl group.
Today, with its two rolling mills and highly qualified workforce, the Neunkirchen plant of Saarstahl AG is one of the top addresses for bar steel and coil material as basic, quality steel and high grade steel.