Other R&D Contributions to Sustainability

      The development of a circular economy is an important environmental goal not just for the European Union. In fact, it is integral to voestalpine’s Sustainability Strategy. Steel as a material is fully recyclable, because all products made with it can be reused as scrap at the end of their useful lives—completely and any number of times. Furthermore, there are innumerable areas where products made of steel support our customers in their efforts to achieve sustainability.

      For example, voestalpine’s high and ultra-high tensile steels enable lightweight construction of autobodies. High-performance materials such as titanium alloys are used in lighter components for the aerospace industry. The lower weight of vehicles and airplanes leads to lower specific emissions and greater cruising ranges.

      High quality tool steels are continually refined, giving tools substantially longer useful lives, generating much lower production waste, and boosting efficiency in the use of resources.

      The leova®UNUM steel trellis post was developed especially for viniculture on steep slopes. Leova delivers the best cost/benefit ratio over its entire useful life compared with alternatives made of wood or cement and is fully recyclable at the end of its useful life. voestalpine has also developed lighter and thus resource-efficient steel base plates for components used to mount photovoltaic installations.

      Tailormade functional steel (TFS) refers to digital products that combine steel as a raw material with particular functionalities. The resulting range of applications frequently makes material contributions to customers’ sustainability when used. Components where conductive paths and the desired sensor technology are integrated into a special varnish are but one example of TFS’s wide range of applications. TFS can be used to heat surfaces, display shelving load weights, or measure tank fill levels.

      Digital monitoring is becoming ever more important in connection with efforts to increase both utilization and safety in rail traffic. Systems for monitoring and diagnosing rolling stock, fixed assets, and environmental conditions make it possible to identify changes in due time, enable prospective maintenance, and thus ensure a high level of safety and availability in railway traffic. voestalpine’s PHOENIXMDS monitoring system analyzes data that have been collected by different sensors and compiles important insights that help to further minimize train standing times, delays, and downtimes.

      Additive manufacturing makes it possible to manufacture complex geometries without any loss of materials. For example, the process is used for highly complex tempering and lightweight construction solutions, in toolmaking for the automotive and consumer goods industries as well as for applications in medical technology. voestalpine’s seven additive manufacturing centers produce high-end custom products using fifteen 3D printers. The Group’s own plants in Kapfenberg, Austria, and Hagfors, Sweden, manufacture the highest-quality metallic powder that is used as the pre-material. voestalpine also provides component construction and component simulation upon customer request and/or in collaboration with customers.