Production in VMZINC plants

The Company has production plants in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and Slovakia.

A four stage production process:

Zinc is a naturally occurring metal which is found in large quantities in the form of ore in the earth's crust. All operations, from the transformation of the ore to the production of rolled zinc and finished products, are carried out within the Umicore Group to which the VMZINC brand belongs.

The Smelting Unit transforms the ore into zinc oxide in a process called "roasting", and into a zinc sulphate solution from the calcinated zinc in a process called "leaching". The solution obtained supplies the electrolysis hall where 99,995% pure zinc is obtained. After the electrolytic process, the zinc is rolled in two VMZINC rolling mills in France, one at Auby in northern France and the other at Viviez in south west France.


A four stage production process:

 


  1. Alloying

    The first stage consists of melting the pure metal deposited on the cathodes during the electrolysis process and adding a controlled amount of copper and titanium in a series of induction furnaces to produce a liquid alloy.

  2. Casting

    The liquid metal is then transferred to a continuous casting machine for solidification into a continuous slab, about twelve millimetres thick and approximately a metre wide. The controlled cooling process within the machine produces a fine, homogeneous grain structure.

  3. Rolling

    Three to five rolling operations are performed to reduce the slab to the required thickness. Throughout this process, temperature, rolling speed and reduction rate are closely monitored and adjusted to obtain the required mechanical and dimensional characteristics.

  4. Slitting into sheets and coils

    One of the final steps involves slitting the rolled zinc into sheets or coils of the requisite weight, width and thickness on specialised finishing lines.

 

Transforming

The sheets and coils produced by the above process are used by roofers in their workshops and on building sites. They are also used in the production of VMZINC transformed products (profiled sheets for roofing and cladding systems, finishing and waterproofing accessories, rainwater systems) or for formation by partner companies.