An integrated factory : Adolf-Emil-Hütte.
In 1907, the company Gelsenkirchener Bergwerks AG decided to construct a new factory. The brother Adolf and Emil Kirdorf could not acquire the terrain necessary for their project at the commune Lorraine Russange in France. As a result,they turned to the municipality Esch-sur-Alzette, where Léon Metz accorded them the parcelle of Clair-Chêne. Situated between Esch-sur-Alzette and Belvaux, the factory Adolf-Emil, constructed from 1909 to 1912, was integrated in every step of the iron production, from the preparation of ore to the final product. In addition to that, the factory disposed of a blast furnace and of steelwork. It ranged over a terrain of 222 ha. Six blast furnaces with a daily output of 200 tones at a time, a gigantic compressor, a Thomas steelwork with two mixers (800 tones) and four convertors (18 tones), even so a core lamination of six streams allow production of a wide diversity of intermediate products sold outside (ingot and bar) to finished products leaving the mill (beams, U-irons, irons sections, piling, Hardware, oversized). In 1913, 3131 workers (65% foreigners) produced 400 000 tones of cost iron, 360 000 tones of iron steel and 297 000 tones of rolled steel.
A modern factory: ARBED Esch/Belval
The factory was upgraded in the 1960s. Three new blast furnaces replaced the six original elements. The blast furnace A, with a capacity of daily production of 2300 tons built in 1965. The blast furnaces B ( 3000t) and C (4000t) followed in 1969 and 1979. The new steel work LD-AC (Linz-Donawitz-ARBED- research centre) with its two converters of 125 tones were built in 1967. In 1973, shortly before the crises, this integrated factory persists of 6875 workers and 1006 employees and had its strongest production: 1 782 000 tones of steel and 1 513 000 tones of iron.
From blast furnace to electric oven
The steel crises in des 1990s forced the ARBED group to make technical restrictions. The blast furnaces were shut down one after the other; the last symbolic opening was on July 31 1997 at blast furnace B. After this point the steel production was made in the electric ovens, supplied, with discarded metal. In May 1997 an electric oven, made by Mannesmann Demag Hüttentechnik (MDH) and with an inside diameter of 7,6 meters an d a capacity of 155 tones, is activated. IN September 1996 the new masticator built by SMS/Paul Würth is also activated, its production is declined since then in three dimensions: bars, skelps and iron girders.
Belval, a monument – but above all an area of the future
On the east side of the factory the production continuous, the west side however decreases to a industrial fellow. Then the western area grows suddenly to an urban zone. One of the three blast furnaces is sold to China, while the other two (A and B) are being preserved. A proposal from the Sites and Monuments Board led to the inclusion of the two Belval blast furnaces on the Additional list of National Sites and Monuments as of 18 July 2000. Since 4 July 2014, the blast furnace A is open for the public and can be visited, you can either book a guided visit or discover the high oven on your own. You can climb up the stairs along the blast furnace up to a platform from which you will enjoy a stunning view over Belval and a large part of the most southern region of Luxembourg.
But Belval is not only a national monument, right now it is one of the biggest and most ambitious urban development areas in Europe. On approximately 120 hectares research, studies, work, leisure, commerce, living and culture are settling down to create a fascinating melting pot. Agora and Fonds Belval did the lead management by following the concept of Jo Coenen Architects from Maastricht.
The « Cité des Sciences » is the main projet whose first phase did cost about 950 million euros. 20 new buildings were constructed on the former blast furnace terrace – University of Luxembourg and several research centers settled also down.
Do not miss the the exhibition « Cité des Sciences » and the visit of the blast furnace !