The old Von Roll site in Gerlafingen is the only carbon steel producer in Switzerland (the only other steel mill is Swiss Steel, producing speciality steels). Images now at Stahlseite.
The steel mill in Gerlafingen was founded in 1818 by Ludwig von Roll & Cie one of the oldest industrial enterprises in Switzerland. The company changed it’s 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 it’s steel making branch to it’s competitor the Von Moss AG to form the new Swiss Steel company.
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 it’s 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.