ThyssenKrupp VDM looks back on a long and eventful history. In 1930, a number of medium-sized family enterprises, including Carl Berg of Werdohl-Eveking founded in 1853, Basse & Selve based in Altena and founded in 1869, and C. Heckmann AG of Duisburg combined under the management of Metallgesellschaft to form Vereinigte Deutsche Metallwerke AG. The new enterprise was a manufacturer of non-ferrous metals with a large portfolio of semi-finished products and alloys. Initially the focus was on copper and brass, but later aluminium, stainless steel and nickel alloys also became increasingly important. The company's headquarters were in Frankfurt am Main for many years. Production sites included Altena and Werdohl, Duisburg, Cologne, Nürnberg and Frankfurt. Today, VDM – now ThyssenKrupp VDM GmbH – is headquartered in Werdohl and is an internationally leading producer and distributor of nickel alloys, titanium and zirconium.
Since the end of the seventies and the onset of business globalization, ThyssenKrupp VDM has successfully focused on the development of nickel alloys.
Metallgesellschaft had always had its own very successful metal laboratory for materials research and product development. For VDM, developing its own nickel alloys and concentrating on melting and casting as its core competence provided the opportunity to grow into a successful global player and a leading specialized supplier on the world market. Its nickel alloys have properties such as high resistance to heat and corrosion in a wide range of environments in the chemical industry, modern process equipment, power generation, offshore engineering and other sectors. This development took place during the eighties, hand in hand with the setting up and expansion of sales companies, for example in Asia. VDM had already been represented in the United States, from the early seventies. In 1988/89, the then Krupp Stahl AG took over first one third of VDM and later the company as a whole. Krupp Stahl had thus acquired an internationally established company whose high-performance alloys were successfully used around the globe.
The take-over of Precision Rolled Products (PRP) with production sites in Florham Park, New Jersey, and Reno, Nevada, enabled ThyssenKrupp VDM to access the most important aerospace market – the United States of America. Today's ThyssenKrupp VDM USA specializes in melting and processing long products in high-alloy materials for non-rotating parts used in aerospace applications. It also serves the market segments plant construction and oilfield equipment. The company's specialist know-how lies in vacuum and remelting technology and the wide range of shaping and machining processes for the starting material. It holds approvals from the leading engine manufacturers.
The next logical step was the further development of the VIM (vacuum induction melting) technology at the Unna location. Stationary gas turbines, rotating parts for flying turbines, high-permeability nickel-iron alloys, the stabilization of inclusion- and segregation-free nickel alloys are all interesting application fields with uncompromising quality demands, just like the automotive industry, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) and electrical engineering.
As of 1 October 2009, ThyssenKrupp VDM took over the activities of ThyssenKrupp Titanium. The history of titanium production at Thyssen and Krupp started with dedicated companies at both groups together with Klöckner Schmiedewerke (forging mills), all of which were merged into Deutsche Titan in 1988. In 1999, Deutsche Titan was assigned to the Italian Titania S.p.A. as a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Acciai Speciali Terni.
In 2007, the companies were renamed and the activities of the resultant ThyssenKrupp Titanium were merged in October 2009 with those of ThyssenKrupp VDM.