Research and development

The sixth annual voestalpine Synergy Platform—a Group-wide conference for voestalpine employees from the research, development and innovation division that took place just a few weeks ago—examined the general topic “From Concept to Innovation.” In addition to presentations about the latest developments and projects from the Group’s innovation management, both in-house and external experts also took the opportunity to use the conference as a platform for discussion. Ultimately, this form of knowledge-transfer and the steady work on innovations, as well as the consistent accumulation of know-how engendered by this event, solidified and reinforced the Group’s position as technology and quality leader.

Increasing investments in in-house research are facilitating the development of innovative products in an array of segments, such as the lightweight construction of automobiles, railway infrastructure, the energy sector, and environmental technology. The development of the “alform welding system”—a welding system for high tensile-strength steel—was recently unveiled to the general public as a project involving the entire Group. The system has already been successfully deployed for a range of customers in the mechanical engineering sector.

In the materials sector, the company is intensively advancing the development of multi-phase steels. AHSS HD steel (advanced high-strength steel/high ductility), used in automotive engineering, is able to achieve much greater strength over conventional steels, thanks to the markedly improved forming properties, even in cold forming processes. It is intended for use both in the phs-ultraform process (the future-oriented project in the area of hot stamped steel) and in the future, in strength-relevant zones on doors and hatches, especially in visible exterior skin panels and sidewalls.

Through the continuing development of the production process for the EASI materials system (EASI = Energy Absorption, Safety, and Integrity) under the Metal Forming Division, the Group was able to bolster the crash performance properties of synthetic components used in automotive construction. EASI II components will no longer be manufactured in the press process on a polypropylene basis; rather, polyamides, which exhibit a higher level of temperature resistance, will be applied in the injection molding process. In a cross-comparison, these components displayed substantially improved performance in terms of energy absorption.

Another current focus of innovation in the Metal Forming Division is being placed on the development of renewable energy sources. Above all, the bundling of the corresponding R&D expertise from the former Profilform and Automotive Divisions is making a powerful contribution to a new focal point of innovation: “Photovoltaics and Solar Thermal Energy.”

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