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Barrel hoops of corrosion-resistant steel - a liaison of wood and steel

Wine barrel

At Girondor they know all about fine barrique wines. The French company manufactures barrel hoops – the sturdy steel bands that hold together traditionally made oak barrels. The starting materials for this centuries-old craft are supplied by thyssenkrupp Steel through a distribution partnership with metal goods specialists Wieland France.

There are around ten kilograms of steel in a traditional wine barrel, or to be more accurate in the barrel hoops that hold the heavy oak staves together and give the barrel its distinctive shape. Barrel making today is still carried out in the traditional way: The barrel maker or cooper first arranges the seasoned wooden staves to form an open-bottom cone. A fire is lit in the middle to make the staves pliable and release the typical toasted aromas of the barrel. As the staves bend they are gradually pressed together by a steel rope – a hot and arduous job.

Narrow strip from the Sauerland

Narrow strip from Finnentrop
The narrow strip galvanizing line is the second-biggest line at thyssenkrupp’s Finnentrop site.

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

Wine barrel
Some 100 customers around the world buy barrel hoops made in Burgundy by Girondor.

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.”

“A key criterion for this product is an even, high-quality surface.”

Benoit Boubée, Manager Vineyard Products at Wieland France

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.

Applications for hot-dip galvanized narrow strip

Corrosion-resistant narrow strip is also widely used in the construction industry, where its top 3 uses are:

  • 1. Guide rails for garage doors
  • 2. Grounding straps
  • 3. Guttering brackets

General inquiry

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Contact

thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse 100

47166 Duisburg, Germany

+49 (0)203 52-0

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