Metal processing industry in Kosovo

MachinesIndustrySouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 3/2012

Kosovo has a long history of metal processing and the sector has undergone major changes over the past twenty years. Generally, the larger previously socially-owned enterprises have almost all disappeared and have been replaced with new and smaller companies that use the existing base of skills in a more western style of production. A number of larger privatized companies are re-establishing themselves in export markets. The sector exports a range of metal products, mainly galvanized steel strip and steel forgings, to 15 European countries.
Kosovo has some 80 companies involved in metal processing with a combined turnover in the region of 80 - 90 million euro with total employment of approximately 2,500 people. However, two large companies account for about И50 million of turnover and 700 of total employment. Only nine companies in the sector employ more than 50 people. Approximately 20 companies are engaged in exporting, mainly to neighbouring Balkan countries but also to EU markets, including the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Greece, Italy and Austria.

Kosovo has a wide variety of sub-sectors within which companies are active
Articles of Base Metals and Metals Reprocessing - This segment includes the companies with the largest turnover, much greater than the other sub-sectors put together. Companies in this sub-sector have significant plant and processes for producing large volumes of output. Products include coated steel, steel forgings and reinforcing mesh for concrete structures and roads.
Metal Products for the Construction Industry - Companies in this sub-sector in Kosovo typically are producing bridges, portal frames, canopies, roof trusses, stairways and gantries. Such items are produced from steel plate, profile cut using plasma or oxy-acetylene, folded or rolled using heavy machinery. Computer Aided Design techniques are employed by companies in the sub-sector

Architectural Steelwork and Sheet Metal Products - Companies in this sub-sector in Kosovo are producing wrought iron components and assemblies to customer order. Examples are railings, balustrades, decorative staircases and patio furniture. These companies all have the capability to produce the components as well as the finished assemblies. Design techniques are simple and the manufacturing processes are basic rolling, bending, forming and welding with MIG hand welding machines.

Heating and Ventilation Equipment - Kosovar companies in this sub-sector are producing ductwork, stoves, heaters and radiators. Manufacturing processes employed include sheet metalworking, assembly and finishing. Products are one-off items or volume production for domestic, commercial or industrial applications.

Tooling and Machined Parts Kosovo has two ’dedicated’ tool making companies but there are other companies with in-house tool making facilities. Companies in the sub-sector have the capability and the skills to make tools for metal, wood and plastic.

Metal Coatings - Coating processes employed by companies in this sub-sector in Kosovo include hot dip and electromechanical zinc plating or galvanizing, powder coating, wet painting and vitreous enameling.

Manufactured Products - Companies in this segment manufacture a varied range of individual metal products in volume. Manufacturing processes include the use of machine tools, specially built machines, assembly lines and finishing processes.

Good Investment Opportunities in Metal Processing
The sector offers opportunities for foreign investors to invest in European standards of production but at prices nearer to those of the Far East and with the convenience of much shorter distances to the EU and to central and eastern European countries. Companies in each of the sub-sectors outlined above have expressed interest in collaboration with foreign companies for joint ventures, subcontract manufacture or manufacture-under-licence arrangements.

Their low cost of labour and low overheads means they have the potential to be competitive partners for foreign partners locating in Kosovo. Kosovo imports some 180 million euro of base metals and articles of base metals. As a consequence, opportunities doubtless exist for the local manufacture of metal products to substitute imports.

Kosova Steel Group
Kosova Steel Group (Former Zastava - Ramiz Sadiku) established in 1964, was one of the biggest automotive parts producer on the south east Europe. Today company has an advanced production program for producing auto parts, mechanical detail-parts, various metallic forms within cold plastic deformation technology. All technological processes used for finalizing production are represented in the factory:

Pressing Shop: Press Shop within three press lines, unique on the region of Balkan, consisting more than 100 different presses: eccentric and hydraulic presses with press forces from 1,600 kN up to 30,000 kN, metal thickness up to 12mm and longwise 10 m. The wide range of presses enables the costumer to turn to Kosova Steel for all its press requirements. Either for the quick outsourcing press capacity; series production of pressed parts or spare part production.

Tool Shop: Within surface of 40m x 160m organized the sector for maintaining of tools and devices. This sector dispose all needed machines for making of tools, classic and progressive ones, with planes, scraps, drills, treatment centre, erosion with wire, grousing with B electrode, with machines and digital tools programmed for treatment and measuring, for thermal treatment and device for investigating the quality of mechanical and thermal treatment.
Iron sheets and pipes plastic deformation technology: Supplied with cutting pipes machines programmed and numeric machines for twisting of pipes, hydraulic machines for different deformations of pipes and other devices which complete the technology of production.
Cutting - Cutting technology CNC by flame- acetylen gas,cutting dimensions: from 0.5mm up 200mm thickness.

Kosova Steel Group have a big stock warehouse  for steel raw materials taking in consideration that is equipped with direct railway connection and loading/unloading capabilities and huge covered storing place. The company has started ambitions programme to become leader industry in metalworking not only for Kosova but for whole region. Till now company has established rapports with new clients as Cardi Industrie Rimorchi Verona -Italy, OBB factory for van Austria and Sfoggia -Italy, equipments for agriculture.

Ferronikel (UK)
The Kosovo mining smelting Nickel plant Ferronikeli, bought by the British Alferon, has started operating in 2006. Ferronikeli ore mining and metallurgical complex was set up in 1984 to produce ferronickel for exports. It produced and exported 6,800 tonnes a year of nickel, in ferronickel ingots, before the 1990s but since 1998 it has been idle.

Ferronikeli has three open pit mines: the Dushkaja mine with estimated reserves of 6.2 million tones; the Suka mine - 0.8 million tonnes and the Gllavica with 6.8 million tones.

All the mines in the complex were covered early this year with exploration and exploitation licence by the Ministry of Energy and Mining of Kosovo.

Source: The Investment Promotion Agency of Kosovo (IPAK)