On August 5, 2009, stainless steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Nirosta can look back on 50 years of production at its Dillenburg site. The plant - then owned by Siegen-based "Stahlwerke Südwestfalen AG" - started operations in 1959.
Gerhard Beermann was mayor of Dillenburg at the time and gave his support to the construction of the plant for two main reasons: firstly the anticipated "significant increase" in trade tax revenue and secondly the creation of attractive jobs. 120 employees were originally taken on in Dillenburg. The start-up of the stainless steel plant also attracted attention from beyond the town's boundaries: The official opening ceremony on August 5, 1959 was attended by the entire cabinet of the state of Hesse, led by the then State Premier Dr. Georg August Zinn, and prompted newspapers to report on "A great day in the history of Dillenburg".
In 1975 Krupp acquired a majority shareholding in Stahlwerke Südwestfalen AG, and the Dillenburg site is today part of ThyssenKrupp Nirosta GmbH, which was established in 2002. "The Dillenburg plant of ThyssenKrupp Nirosta with an annual cold-rolled capacity of around 285,000 metric tons, 760 employees and 56 apprentices in fiscal 2007/08 is a key part of the local economy in the Lahn-Dill district to this day," says Dr. Jörg Beindorf, Chairman of the Management Board of ThyssenKrupp Nirosta. "Our products and services, many of which are produced in Dillenburg, make ThyssenKrupp Nirosta one of the world's leading suppliers of stainless flat-rolled products. Our quality sets standards. Our innovations are driven by our employees, who help maintain our lead over our competitors."
Extensive investments have been made at the Dillenburg site in recent years: In 1999 the new bright annealing line went into operation. The foundation stone for the new warehouse and dispatch center was laid in 2004. A state-of-the-art acid regeneration plant was installed three years ago to reduce the volume of waste water. Today, the Dillenburg cold rolling mill mainly produces thin austenitic stainless steel, processing raw coils produced at the Krefeld and Bochum mills.
Extremely thin, almost perfectly flat strip with uniform surfaces is a specialty of the Dillenburg facility. Its production is made possible by a special stretcher-leveler. On request ThyssenKrupp Nirosta in Dillenburg can also supply strip and sheet with special patterned finishes. The stainless steel strips are given their designs by means of an additional cold rolling operation after bright annealing in which the top work roll is replaced by a patterned roll.
Stretcher-leveled cold-rolled strip from Dillenburg is ideal for facades and other large surfaces in interior and exterior architecture. The plant's cold-rolled materials adorn many internationally renowned architectural projects such as the new Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, the Edificio Fórum in Barcelona and the Burj Tower in Dubai, which on completion will be the world's tallest building. But anyone with an interest in architecture who would like to see the facade panels used on the Burj Tower does not have to travel all the way to the United Arab Emirates. A trip to Dillenburg can provide the same insights, where the same material has been used to clad the entrance building to the plant.