Lightweight yet tough, ideal for machining and recyclable - steel is the material of the future. The continuous development of the steel industry provides the foundation for new concepts in mobility, energy and infrastructure. Voestalpine, at its unique pilot plant in Leoben-Donavitz, Austria, is currently researching the production of new high-performance steels that are subsequently processed into special rails, quality wire rod and extremely high-strength OCTG pipes by the Styrian group companies.
More than € 18 million has been invested by Voestalpine in Technikum Metallurgie (TechMet), a metallurgical technical center, which is a complete but miniature metallurgical plant. This is the largest research investment in this venture to date. This will further expand Voestalpine's global technology leadership in sophisticated steel solutions.
In the automotive industry, new and ultra-high-strength steels help reduce vehicle weight while enhancing vehicle safety. In rail transport, high-tech, high-stress steels can nearly double the service life of rails and switches. Along with increasing the availability of the path, reducing the amount of materials also has a positive impact on lifecycle assessment.
"Today, Voestalpine generates two-thirds of its revenue from steel conversion into complex components and system solutions for the automotive, railroad and aerospace industries. TechMet Research Center offers us completely new opportunities to develop innovative steel grades that are necessary to ensure the high quality of our end products ", commented Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of Voestalpine AG.
The existing Voestalpine plant in Leoben-Donavitz is designed for a minimum production of 68 tonnes, while TechMet, with smaller production units of up to five tonnes, develops even lighter, cleaner and higher strength steels.
“The new research plant provides an ideal testing environment where we can quickly adapt our steel to our customers' needs and changing market conditions. At the same time, the unique plant configuration - we built a complete steel plant in miniature - allows us to directly transfer the results of the research plant to the main sites, ”said Franz Keinersdorfer, Member of the Board of voestalpine AG and Head of Metalworking.
The 2800 m² research center is located in a former, almost 100-year-old foundry building on the site in Leoben-Donavitz, which is currently completely renovated.