Safely braked with thyssenkrupp Steel

#tkgoesIAA | The major carmakers worldwide play it safe with brake lines made by TI Automotive – Steel figures among the "preferred suppliers"

TI Automotive's premises in the Heidelberg industrial zone look just like any other factory building from the outside. There is nothing to suggest that car parts are manufactured there on which the safety of drivers all over the world depends: TI Automotive produces brake lines there which it supplies to all major carmakers. The company's market share in Europe stands at around 60 percent. Steel in Duisburg supplies a proportion of the primary material for the vehicle parts.

"Our business has a lot to do with experience, reliability and trust,” says Stefan Pscheidl, Purchasing Director at TI Automotive Europe. The company’s customers need to have absolute confidence that the quality is right. "And we have to be able to rely to the full extent on our suppliers." TI Automotive has a special relationship with Steel: we have been providing the automotive supplier with hot and cold strip for over 30 years. "We have developed a dedicated quality steel type especially for this customer," says Barbara Dornbusch, Key Account Manager for cold rollers at thyssenkrupp. Pickled hot strip – 700-718 mm wide and thus particularly narrow – goes out from Duisburg-South to TI Automotive in Liège. A custom-made product. "We have geared ourselves fully to the customer's needs and requirements,” emphasizes Barbara Dornbusch.

Our customers' customers rely on our quality

This among other things means that thyssenkrupp holds sufficient material in stock, thus enabling TI Automotive to considerably downsize its inventories in Liège. "An example of our good partnership,” says Pscheidl. In addition, Liège is just 200 kilometers from Duisburg, and this geographical proximity simplifies the coordination between the two companies. There are long-term contracts between the companies, so the supplier is able to plan capacity utilization optimally while the customer can depend on the reliable supply of steel of a consistently high quality. "The quality of the material is absolutely decisive for us,” says Pscheidl. "thyssenkrupp therefore figures among our preferred suppliers."

At the plant in Liège the surface of the hot strip is smoothed and then coated with nickel and copper. The material subsequently goes to Heidelberg, where the flat slit strip is rolled. The resultant double-walled steel pipes are given thin protective layers of aluminum and polyamide which protect them against corrosion and abrasion. Around 500 kilometers of brake lines are produced in Heidelberg every day – roughly the distance from Hamburg to Frankfurt.

The plant runs round-the-clock production five days a week. On average, ten trucks leave the parent plant in Heidelberg every day and deliver to the company's system facilities located in the direct vicinity of its customers. There, the brake lines are cut, bent and fitted with connections – all the carmaker then has to do is install them. Once installed in the car, they ensure that people all over the world can travel in safety.

Fuel lines for the first Ford

TI Automotive has a long tradition: 1922 saw Harry Bundy found the Bundy Corporation in Detroit, America's Motor City. A few years later, his company helped write automobile history by supplying fuel lines for the first series-production vehicle from Ford in the late 1920s. The first German site was inaugurated in 1957 in Heidelberg, and the Bundy Corporation became TI Group Automotive Systems in the late 1990s.

Besides fluid supply systems, which include the brake lines, the automotive supplier's portfolio also includes powertrain systems, air-conditioning tube and hose assemblies, pump and module systems as well as fuel tank systems.

The IAA Cars 2017 International Motor Show will be taking place from September 14 - 24 in Frankfurt am Main. Visit thyssenkrupp there in Hall 8.0, Stand A 14. The IAA is the world's most comprehensive trade show for the automotive industry. A special feature of the IAA is the huge presence of parts and accessories manufacturers with around 400 exhibitors.