The current focus of the Research & Development sector at voestalpine is on accelerating the process of synergistically combining the expertise that is internationally available within the Group in order to develop new process and product solutions that are tailored to specific customer needs and requirements. The long-term objective is to develop innovative complete solutions in the individual sectors with the goal of generating optimum customer benefit while reducing life cycle costs, and to achieve the best performance possible along all the value chains.
One of the measures taken in this respect was a cross-divisional project that critically examined the chain from tool steel to tool user. As the Group has all of the expertise necessary, for example, production of tool steel, heat treatment, and coating, and also not only manufactures tools but uses them as well, an intensive collaborative process resulted in significantly improved productivity and, at the same time, considerable cost savings.
A completely different research project was recently put into actual practice under the name “Möllerradar” (batch radar). With the help of this measuring equipment, topography and temperature distribution on the batch surface are mapped at a blast furnace at the Linz site during production in real time. This enables optimized process management, which in turn results in decreased consumption of reducing agents in the blast furnace process.
The topic of this year’s eighth annual R&D Synergy Platform, which took place in early October 2014 in Kapfenberg, Styria, was “Tools/dies and tool/die materials,” in other words, tools and forming tools and the materials necessary for the process. The conference provided the roughly 100 attendees from various Group companies with an excellent overview into this technically very sophisticated niche segment through lectures by experts from all the divisions as well as additional input and fresh aspects from lectures by external speakers.