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German automotive industry benefits from new slitter for advanced and ultra high-strength steels

June 27, 2014

Europe's second largest steel producer, Tata Steel, has further strengthened its commitment to the automotive industry with the unveiling of its new slitting line to process advanced and ultra high-strength steels. The opening demonstrates Tata Steel's support for German and other European car manufacturers and its commitment to present and future innovation.

The slitter and associated expansion at the steel producer's Ruhr-based Steel Service Center in Gelsenkirchen, Germany was officially inaugurated today after an investment of €9.5 million. As well as raising the service centre's capacity, the new line will also expand its processing capabilities.

The new slitting line - the centre's second - is specially geared up to process advanced and ultra high-strength steels, which are used to manufacture demanding automotive applications used in chassis, suspension, wheels and seats. They include advanced high strength steels with unique forming capabilities for chassis and cold rolled advanced high strength steels for light-weight seat components.

The new slitter, which led to the creation of 30 new jobs, will be able to process steel coil in thicknesses of 0.4-4mm and widths of up to 1,650mm, with a maximum yield strength of 1,400N/mm2.

Tata Steel has also further strengthened its dedicated account management team for the automotive sector, increasing the number of staff looking after customers at its Düsseldorf office. This will allow the steel producer to better serve customers and provide suppliers to the automotive industry in Germany with on-the-ground, specialist expertise and industry knowledge at close hand.

Attending the inauguration, Henrik Adam, Chief Commercial Officer of Tata Steel, said: "This investment helps cement our position as a key long-term supplier for German customers in the automotive sector as we continue to find ways to help them succeed in their market.

"Our customers have asked for our presence in the German market and with this investment we have answered their request, tailoring our capabilities to further meet their needs and offering local access to our company."

Jochen Höfges, Managing Director of Service Center Gelsenkirchen GmbH, said: "In addition to the new slitter line, Gelsenkirchen Service Center will continue to support its customers with an individual, tailored and timely service, backed by specialist experts offering technical and customer service support for the automotive industry.

"Gelsenkirchen is ideally placed to offer an excellent service. The site has a private harbour which receives almost daily shipments of steel coil as well as excellent logistics with easy access to the motorway network.

"By strengthening our processing capabilities and expanding our sales force, we can continue to meet our customers' increasingly complex product and service requirements in this specialized, demanding and innovative market."

By investing in facilities like Gelsenkirchen and increasing the level of customer support, Tata Steel's aim is to achieve a lasting improvement in its ability to serve customers in the automotive market in Germany.

Jens Lauber, Tata Steel's Managing Director for Distribution Europe, said: "In order to be able to offer a more targeted response to end-customer markets, in recent months we have strategically realigned our sales activities in Germany and elsewhere in continental Europe. The realignment gives our customers local access to our wide portfolio of products and services."