Narrow strip from the Sauerland
Girondor, a small company based in the French town of Chalon-sur-Saône, is a specialist in the niche market of barrel hoop production. Steel hoops for various barrel sizes are manufactured on three production lines and supplied to barrel makers around the world. The starting material comes from Finnentrop in the Sauerland region of Germany, where thyssenkrupp Steel operates a continuous galvanizing line for hot-rolled narrow strip.
For this, the steel is first cut to size and pre-treated. Several strips are then guided through the galvanizing line in parallel. “This process ensures the material is also galvanized along the edges. That differentiates it from conventional hot-dip coated slit strip and is a particular advantage when outstanding all-round corrosion protection is called for,” says Burkhard Wappler, Key Account Manager in the Industry business unit. Long-lasting protection against rust is one of the most important requirements for the storage and transportation of the heavy barrels, which is why the zinc coating for barrel hoops is twice as thick as conventional coatings.
A barrel hoop has to shine
The second quality characteristic is appearance: Barrel hoops should display an even metallic shine. That’s why the narrow strip is chemically passivated after cooling. This post-treatment protects the material against moisture and preserves its typical metallic appearance. To ensure the surface remains perfectly even during further processing into hoops, hot-dip galvanized narrow strip from thyssenkrupp Steel also has good forming properties.
“A key criterion for this product is an even, high-quality surface,” says Benoit Boubée, Manager Vineyard Products at Wieland France. The company is a long-standing business partner of thyssenkrupp Steel and supplies French barrel hoop manufacturers like Girondor with the required starting materials on a flexible basis. “Thanks to our close and long-standing cooperation with thyssenkrupp Steel and our combined expertise, we can guarantee that the materials our customers order will meet their high requirements.”
Crafts meet steelmaker
Girondor processes several thousand tons of steel per year, making it one of the biggest suppliers to the niche cooperage market. But compared with thyssenkrupp Steel’s industrial customers, the amount of hot-dip galvanized narrow strip the company processes is relatively small. “In addition, demand depends on the quantity and quality of the annual grape harvest,” says Gilles Biré, responsible for Industrial Products at thyssenkrupp Steel France. “For us alone it would be difficult to meet the need for small batches on a flexible basis. But together with our cooperation partner Wieland France it’s no problem.”
A manufacturer of a wide range of metal goods, Wieland France combines orders from French wine barrel specialists and keeps corresponding volumes of starting materials in stock. In turn thyssenkrupp Steel holds material for Wieland France in stock so as to be able to respond to fluctuating demand at short notice and with fast delivery times.