According to Eurostat, voestalpine AG is the most research-intensive company in Austria. Indeed, the Group’s R&D budget for the business year 2013/2014 totals EUR 137 million. One focus of current research activities is the Group’s involvement in various competence centers, which act as interfaces between science, business, and industry; in their work, the researchers focus on fundamental issues regarding materials and efficiency development.
For example, voestalpine is participating in ten different competence centers and projects that focus on a variety of subject matters under the Austrian research program known as “COMET.” The core projects involve the fields of metallurgy, materials development, and mechatronics. In addition, there are other important collaborative efforts in steel processing, materials testing, development of surface engineering, and future-oriented IT solutions.
The core competency and focus of the “MPPE Material, Process and Product Engineering” research center, located at Leoben University of Mining and Metallurgy—and partner with voestalpine on a number of projects—are the integration and optimization of materials selection, manufacturing processes, and component geometry. It deals with achieving the highest functionality, minimal weight, greatest process reliability, and the lowest possible cost.
CEST GmbH, the Austrian competence center for electro-chemical surface technology, recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. As one of the co-owners for years now, voestalpine is firmly anchored in the broad-based research program. Together with the experts at various universities, the answers to the latest issues in surface engineering—for example, the replacement of Cr(VI)—were found in the course of more than 20 projects.
One of the first projects approved under the newly initiated Austrian “Frontrunner Strategy” (frontrunner here refers to companies who are technology leaders), was a project of the voestalpine Group, which dealt with the topic of sustainable production of intelligent materials.
Under “HORIZON 2020,” the new EU Framework Program for Innovation and Research, the Group is participating in “SPIRE,” a public-private partnership. “SPIRE” stands for “Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency” and is an initiative of energy-intensive industries whose common goal is to develop new, cross-sector energy- and resource-efficient solutions.