Research and development (R&D) is a core element of voestalpine’s sustainable business strategy. The Group’s R&D activities focuse on solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, mobility, cost reduction, and raw materials efficiency.
Innovations are necessary for a technology-driven company such as voestalpine in order to develop new products and production processes that will enable it to differentiate itself from the competition and survive on the market long-term. Innovations ensure the survival of our company.
By maintaining and expanding voestalpine’s technology leadership and utilizing synergy opportunities and cost savings, R&D makes an essential contribution to the sustainable success of the company. R&D maintains open communication both within the unit and vis-à-vis internal and external customers. Customers, suppliers, universities, cooperative research facilities, and–for certain projects–even competitors are integrated into the voestalpine R&D network.
R&D activities contribute to sustainability by optimizing or developing products and processes that conserve resources. Cost savings can be achieved by way of decreased use of primary energy and raw materials or substituting residual or recycled materials for raw materials and even going as far as a zero waste process. Another focal point is research activities aimed at increasing energy and raw materials efficiency and an even greater decrease in emissions.
voestalpine views its ecological responsibility as not being limited to production processes but as a holistic approach as offered by the life cycle assessment model, namely, of assessing the impact of products over their entire life cycle–from raw materials to production and, finally, recycling. By developing new steel grades and improving existing ones on an ongoing basis, the voestalpine Group is striving to achieve a sustainable increase in energy efficiency and greater longevity of the finished products.
Customer priorities with regard to R&D activities are lightweight automobile construction, where further development of materials enables substantially lower carbon emissions due to the significant reduction in weight; construction of rails and turnouts that offer increased longevity and safety; and the energy sector, where products developed by voestalpine improve the effectiveness of conventional facilities and contribute to the expansion of alternative energies.
The voestalpine Group currently has around 150 R&D cooperation projects in 21 countries. The company works with 36 universities, 35 university research facilities, ten competence centers, and twelve Christian Doppler Laboratories.
Scientists profit from these partnerships as they enable them to distinguish themselves in their specialist areas, and voestalpine profits from them as well, as expertise from fundamental research is useful for industrial applications.