A century on, the best symbol was a warm welcome onsite for 27 new apprentices. Grevenbroich Plant Manager Christoph Budde of Rolled Products greeted them as "Centennial Apprentices," accompanied by City Mayor Klaus Krützen and High Purity Managing Director Berthold Lukat. Together they held an oversized car license plate to mark the centennial: GV-AL 100.
The aluminum smelter Erftwerk went into operation on December 12, 1917 – and was in service until September 2, 1980, when its last furnaces were shut down for good. While the industrial site in Grevenbroich had been booming so much that it offered good options for the “Erftworkers” to keep a job, many switched to the rolling mill next door or changed to the Rheinwerk smelter in Neuss.
Today, Hydro Aluminum Rolled Products, with a workforce of around 2,000, is the largest employer by far. In the halls of the previous smelter, new production also arose:
- Real Alloy Germany GmbH (first VAW IMCO, recently Aleris) is a long-standing recycling plant with about 170 employees in production, and a reputable supplier of recycled aluminum.
- The Tokai Erft-Carbon GmbH (started as VAW Erft-Carbon) with around 180 employees manufactures large-format graphite electrodes for use in the electric steel industry, taking the former Erftwerk anode operations into a new era.
- Hydro Aluminum High-purity is, with over 60 employees at this location, a leading global provider of refined, high-purity aluminum.