Steel strip for measuring, heating, controlling, and monitoring—the voestalpine Group’s Steel Division has developed a revolutionary cold rolled steel strip for a wide variety of digital, “smart” applications.
This so-called tailor-made functional steel features conductor tracks for the specific sensor technology, integrated into a special high-quality coating layer. This coating allows the sensors to be used in a variety of applications, such as surfaces which are heated, on supermarket shelves to register load weights, or integrated into tank walls to provide information on the filling level.
“Digital production is already standard practice at voestalpine in Linz. Tailor-made functional steel is a novel technology and the first of its kind in the world, which we have developed for our customers to use in smart applications.
Whole range of different digital functionalities
Our innovative steel strip enables a whole range of different digital functionalities, which means we are offering our customers significant added value,” says Hubert Zajicek, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Steel Division.
As a consequence of years of consistently digitalizing the production processes, steel production in Linz is amongst the most efficient in the industry. This progress is gradual and ongoing, applying big data, artificial intelligence, and deep learning in order to drive focused digitalization.
Digital processes as standard practice
One example is the use of self-learning analytical methods to predict and rapidly detect quality defects. Fully digital processes are now also standard practice in planning and plant maintenance: The programs and functions needed in both production planning and control as well as plant maintenance are available to the plant technicians irrespective of their location. This allows many maintenance activities to be carried out immediately, shortening downtimes.
The training center in Linz is also placing a special focus on the use of digital technologies and tools to ensure that tomorrow’s skilled employees are optimally prepared for their digital working lives. Apprentices receive intensive training, for example, in the use of tablets during repair procedures. Using virtual reality glasses is also a standard part of apprentice training.