Voestalpine intensifies its work on sustainable and digital research projects

by David Fleschen

Voestalpine is successfully expanding its position as technology and innovation leader and has budgeted around EUR 196 million for research and development (R&D) in the current business year. The steel and technology group appreciates that R&D projects positively contribute to sustainability. Research priorities include digitalizing the production processes, developing innovative products, and converting to climate-neutral steel production.

Worldwide, the voestalpine Group has over 740 employees working in R&D in more than 80 companies. In the past few years, this intensive research and development work has enabled the company to establish itself as one of the leading technology suppliers to the automotive, railroad infrastructure, aerospace, energy, toolmaking, and consumer goods industries.

Voestalpine cooperates with around 100 scientific partners in Austria and abroad, including renowned universities, technical colleges, research institutes, and competence centers. The Group also cultivates strong development partnerships with key customers.

Greentec steel is the voestalpine Group’s ambitious phased plan for green steel production. The first step will be reducing CO2 emissions by one third starting in 2027. Part of the existing blast furnace route will be replaced by a hybrid electric steel route. Research will focus on materials technology to ensure that high-quality steel is produced in the future—even with a different raw material mix.

The Group is also heavily researching digital simulation methods and processes that will prepare and support the transformation of steel production. For example, a Group project is assessing the potential for recycling byproducts into the production process and developing technologies for a circular economy to ensure climate-neutral steel production in the future.

On the product side, the steel and technology group is hard at work on developing new digital and smart technologies such as “intelligent” cold-rolled steel strip. For tailormade functional steel, conductor tracks for the required sensors are integrated into a special high-quality coating layer. Intelligent sensors also ensure continuous monitoring in smart turnout systems. The development focus is to make sure the system detects and reports impending failures early on.

Source and Photo: Voestalpine

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