steel mill in Gerlafingen was founded in 1818 by Ludwig von Roll & Cie one
of the oldest industrial enterprises in Switzerland.
The company changed itís name in 1823 and was now called Ludwig von
Roll'sche Eisenwerke, a name they kept until the early 1960ies.
The first Swiss rolling mill was installed in Gerlafingen in 1836 the
second followed ten years later. Iron was produced from local ore deposits
in a blast furnace in nearby Choindez.
Most raw materials for the rolling mill in Gerlafingen came from abroad
though. After this supply become increasingly difficult during the first
world war an open hearth melt shop was installed in 1918 and closed down
in 1921. Steel was produced from now on in electric arc furnaces only. The
top charging system for EAFs, now a worldwide standard, was invented here
in the 1920ies.
From 1962 on the company called itself Von Roll AG.
After years of financial trouble the Von Roll AG sold itís steel making
branch to itís competitor the Von Moss AG to form the new Swiss Steel
Swiss Steel was taken over by Schmolz & Bickenbach from Germany in 2003.
S&B sold the Gerlafingen works to the Italian Beltrame group in 2006 to
focus itís activities on speciality steel making.
Stahl Gerlafingen today runs a 70 ton electric arc furnace with a scrap
preheating shaft, a continuous caster and two rolling mills (rod and
wire). Main products are reinforced and structural steels.