ThyssenKrupp to build new chromium coating line

ThyssenKrupp has approved the investment funds to build a new coating line for packaging steel at its Andernach site in Germany. The company’s investment is quoted as “in the low three-digit million Euro range”. The line will incorporate a new process, which will replace the existing production method due to the EU-wide ban on hexavalent chromium compounds in production processes. Chromium chemicals are used to apply chromium metal finishes and form a niche application for chromium in comparison to the larger steel alloy industry, specifically stainless steel.

Hexavalent chromium is produced during the electroplating process and is recognised as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under REACH for its carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. Most chrome electroplating technologies produce air emissions that contain hexavalent chromium and, as a result of growing awareness and improving health and safety during processing, metal finishing operations have had to install waste treatment systems that raise production costs. In recent months, the price of chromium chemicals has diverged from the general chromium ore and metal price trends, with chemicals still following a general uptick, while other products have returned to the lower levels seen over the last decade. Roskill expects the prices of chrome chemicals and chrome metal to rebalance to its long-term price ratio over the second half of 2019. (Roskill Information Services, July 26, 2019).