The Group is with voestalpine High Performance Metals (Australia) Pty ltd., formerly Bohler Uddeholm Australia, also well positioned down under. As a leading special steel supplier and supplier of additive manufacturing solutions, it is demonstrating its presence on the continent at nine branches.
Australia – both a country and a continent. Its strategic development offers good business prospects for voestalpine High Performance Metals (Australia). In its World Range Outlook 2019 for Australia, Worldsteel association forecasts that investment projects to develop and mine iron ore and other mineral resources from 2020 onwards will further boost economic development.
Concentration on mining segment
The increasing economic development and manufacturing activities in China or India, for example, increases the interest in Australian resources. For the Australian distribution organization of the High Performance Metals Division, the mining sector is therefore customer number one.
"It's not just about 'classics' such as iron ore or coal, but also about raw materials for future technologies, such as lithium. Modern conveying and transport technology as well as ore-processing/concentration plants are very popular in view of these new challenges in the mining areas. Our customers demand innovative materials solutions–we offer them."
In the past five years, total sales volumes of tool, engineering and high speed steels increased by more than 50%. In the financial year 2018/19, voestalpine High Performance Metals (Australia) supplied approx. 26,000 tonnes of steels (compared to 17,000 tonnes in 2013/14), including:
- 450 t high speed steel;
- 1,000 t of tool steel and
- 24,000 t of engineering steel.
Digitization of logistics
Since 1st June, 2019, the voestalpine company has put its new warehouse in Orchard Hills, 50 km west of Sydney, into full operation. Here with CNC-controlled or high-speed saws also requests for very small quantities, e.g. for spare parts, can be met with precise cuts.
Parallel to the optimization of the new warehouse, work is ongoing on the complete digitization of the order and handling systems. “This,” says Managing Director Matko Bozanic, “will enable us to become even more efficient and realize the benefits of the new delivery logistics more effectively for our customers.” Deliveries in the mining sector are already covered by a 24-hour delivery service. The close proximity to the customer and its immediate delivery are covered by nine nationally distributed branches. 155 employees ensure that even in the country with an area of approx. 7.7 million square kilometers all deliveries reach the customer on time.
Advantage with Additive Manufacturing
voestalpine High Performance Metals (Australia) not only takes leading position in the supply of high-quality steel grades down under. The new Orchard Hill headquarters will also become the Group’s hub for Additive Manufacturing on the continent. Matko Bozanic builds on the benefits of 3D printing with metals:
"We will use additive manufacturing to design and produce parts that are more stable, lighter and longer lasting than those produced using traditional manufacturing processes, especially to our mining customers. AM also means lowering development and lead times. For this, our own department has been created with a dedicated manager to focus in developing AM solutions."
To stay in the forefront of developing and leveraging new technologies, a technology and innovation roadmap has been designed for the next five years. To drive those projects, the function of an innovation manager has been established. He is responsible for the promotion of and the enforcement of further automation and digitization, e.g. applications of Artificial Intelligence etc.
Sustainable energy and junior staff for the future
Like many sister companies on other continents, voestalpine High Performance Metals (Australia) relies on the use of sustainable energy sources. The Perth branch already has a photovoltaic (PV) system on factory roofs with a capacity of 80 kW. In the near future, the Melbourne and Brisbane sites will also be equipped with PV systems.
The company also directs a look into the future towards future employees. Australia does not have the dual training system of apprenticeship and vocational school that is common in German-speaking countries. “By leveraging and communicating our good image and development programs for young people, we are starting early to recruit talents for our Australian locations,” said MD Bozanic.