In the middle of the 18th century, iron ore deposits were discovered in the region around Charleroi and, in 1763, a coal fired blast furnace was set up in Thy-le-Château, 20 km away from the main site. The coal to feed the furnace came from the woodlands in the surrounding area and mechanical energy was harnessed from the river Thyria. In this way, Forges et Fonderies de Thy Ie Château was created.
After 1845, the forges were acquired by the company Eugène Riche & Cie, the operator of the railway connecting Charleroi to Vireux, and during this period two coke fired blast furnaces, five reheating furnaces and a rolling mill were built with an annual production capacity of 10,000 t of rails and merchant iron.
During the second half of the 19th century, the iron making process of “puddling” was replaced by the Bessemer process and later on by the Thomas process, which was developed to refine cast iron from high-phosphorus ores.
Finally, in 1878, the Thomas process achieved one of its first industrial successes in Thy-le-Château. The presence of coal fields in the region and navigable waterways for transporting raw materials facilitated the construction of a coking plant in Marcinelle, where two coke fired blast furnaces also started operating between 1863 and 1872.
In 1888, Forges et Fonderies de Thy-le-Château was merged with Usines du Midi de Marcinelle, and Hauts Fourneaux – Forges et Aciéries de Thy-le-Château et Marcinelle was created. By the end of the century, all the plants were concentrated in Marcinelle.
The availability of coal and navigable waterways facilitated the industrial success of Forges et Fonderies de Thy-Ie-Château.
The company was seriously damaged during the two World Wars, but was rebuilt each time.
In 1962, the company was renamed Thy-Marcinelle and, in 1966, it merged with Aciéries et Minières de la Sambre and changed its name to Thy Marcinelle et Monceau (TMM).
In 1980, TMM was acquired by HainautSambre, which merged with Cockerill in 1981 and together became known as Cockerill-Sambre.
Almost 2 million tonnes of steel were produced each year by the integral cycle plant in Marcinelle, 65% of which was further processed into coils while the rest was used to produce long products.
Long products were rolled in the cutting-edge no. 3 rolling mill which was inaugurated in 1971: a multi-strand, versatile plant consisting of 27 stands and equipped to produce reinforcing bars, rolled merchant steel and wire rod.
The two strands were able to operate in parallel or in series as required and were very flexible: it was possible to switch from one strand to the other without interrupting the production schedule and tool change times were very short. Breakdowns could be dealt without stopping the plant. In 1988, Cockerill-Sambre decided to discontinue the production of long products and to focus on sheets.
Riva Group proposed that it should re-acquire rolling mill no. 3, which was physically separated from the rest of the plant by the river Sambre, and decided to build a new steel works to feed the rolling mill, which represented an investment of almost 4 billion Belgian francs.
Rather than being dismantled, the plant was revamped and 200 jobs were saved.
By the end of the century, all the plants were concentrated in Marcinelle.
The factory in Thy-Marcinelle mainly produces low carbon steel wire rod with a diameter of a maximum of 16 mm, improved-adherence cold rolled wire-rod in coils and limited quantities of concrete reinforcing bars.
The semi-products feeding the rolling mill are mainly produced on site, while a small quantity originating from the integrated cycle is purchased. Steel is rolled exclusively to order with a high schedule turnover to reduce stocks.
Concrete reinforcing rods are certified in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden. The products supply the European, North and South American, African, Middle Eastern, Chinese and Oceanian markets.
Our clients are producers of welded meshes, drawn wire, electrodes (coated electrodes and welding wire), steel wool, cold rolled products and other products derived from drawn wire.
The factory in Thy-Marcinelle mainly produces low carbon steel wire rod.
The plant is equipped with a scrap yard and scrap metal can be delivered by rail, road or water. The new steelworks is equipped with a brand-new electric arc furnace in dog-house, a ladle furnace, a continuous casting plant, a gas cleaning and dedusting plant and a closed-cycle water treatment plant for recycling water from the steelworks and the rolling mill.
The rolling mill is equipped to roll bars and wire rod coils.
A powerful furnace and the roughing mill are followed by two separate strands, a finishing mill, a cooling bed for bars, a cutting-to-length machine and an automatic binding machine.
The end-products are stored in three storage halls and are loaded from there onto barges, trains and trucks.
The factory also includes a laboratory for mechanical and metallographic tests where appropriate tests are conducted on end-products. The steelworks is also equipped with a spark spectrometer to carry out analytic controls during production.