Metals and Metalworking

The variety of the usage of metal is reflected in the products offered by the domestic metals sector. From casting and rolled products made of steel or aluminum to metal constructions, tools, and rails through to sheet for the automotive industry.

Metals, above all steel or aluminum are one of the basis materials of today´s industrial society. Austria looks back on a long tradition in the metal manufacturing and processing; besides, the sector is globally acknowledged as a reliable partner in the field of metal goods.

The roots of this traditional sector in our country can be traced back to the “Eisenerzer” (iron ore) Alpines – iron ore has been mined at this place since the 11th century. Situated at the North Styrian Ore Mountain, also known as the “Steirischer Brotlaib” (Styrian loaf) in the vernacular, there can be found the world´s largest deposit of spathic iron ore as well as the largest open-face mine of Middle Europe. Both the experience in the field of mining and Austria´s historically grown metal business constitute the cornerstone for one of the country´s most important sectors with respect to economics to this very day.

The sector “metals and metal processing” is a sub-sector of the “machinery and metal goods industry”, thus the statistics collected here flow into this sector. The metal industry is renowned as a highly productive and creative sector whose innovative strength makes up a considerable part of Austria´s international success. In its function as a driving force of the economy, the sector enhances the value creation and employment, and thus the entire business location Austria.

The wide array of applications of the material metal is also reflected in the broad range of products offered by the domestic metal sector. From casting and rolled products made of steel or aluminum to metal constructions, tools, and rails through to sheet for the automotive industry – metal goods meeting the highest quality standard represent the trademark of the domestic metal industry.

Holding the position as innovation leader in the global metal processing industry, Austria takes as well a leading role when it comes to the integration of new processes such as COREX (melting reduction plants) and the “LD process“ (Linz-Donawitz-Process). An analysis of the current performance and structure statistics of Austria shows that the highest density of companies in the fields of metal manufacturing and processing, as well as metal goods manufacturing can be found in Upper Austria that boasts a number of nearly 880 companies followed by Lower Austria and Styria. The industrial structure of the state Upper Austria and the long tradition of the Upper Austrian metallurgy make the state „ob der Enns“ as well the export master in the field of metals.

Flying high despite increasing commodity prices 

The domestic metal workers develop and manufacture for the world market. Maintaining an export share of more than 70 percent, they represent one of the main pillars of the Austrian foreign trade. Despite the economic crisis and rising commodity prices (especially the rapid increase in scrap prices), the companies of the metal sector achieve remarkable successes all over the world. High flexibility and quality awareness plus production processes according to state-of-the-art technology enable the Austrian metal companies to set international benchmarks.

A particularly high demand is placed on special casting products such as rollers, pressure pipes, or light-weight aluminum components and sheets for the automotive industry, which are successfully distributed on the world market by the approx. 50 industrial casting houses in Austria. With an export share of 5.5 percent in the entire Austrian foreign trade and a trade balance exceeding EUR 650 million in the segment „metal products“ in the first half year of 2011, the metal workers are still the flagship of the Austrian economy. An increase in the export figures compared to the previous year was registered by all trade blocks. The European Union turns out to be the most important buyer of Austrian metal goods. But also the small neighboring country Switzerland as well as the giant from overseas, the USA, are recognized as important partners in the foreign trade as is shown by the increasing import volume for quality products made in Austria (cf. Statistik Austria; Österreichischer Außenhandel; 1. HJ. 2011; Sept. 2011)

The traditional sector with its distinctive innovative strength and top products stands for export orientation and highest quality standards. Ongoing research and development activities imply even more reliability, efficiency improvement, and high quality as usual, so that this sector will surely remain a guarantee for the popularity of Austrian metal products.

Editorial department: Mag. Sandra Hollersbacher