Ongoing investments in research and development are necessary for voestalpine, the technology group, to remain One Step Ahead and make a convincing case for its capacities through innovations in the industry as well as through new product solutions and processes. voestalpine’s record research budget of EUR 184 million for the current business year 2019/20 makes the company one of Austria’s most research intensive entities.
Research and development are essential to a company’s success. voestalpine can research, test, and bring new product solutions to market solely through the activities of its more than 700 research employees at 76 R&D locations worldwide. In keeping with the concept of a “know-how network,” besides cross-company research projects the Group also banks on collaboration projects with about 100 external, scientific partners worldwide as well as on long-term development alliances with key customers. More than 3,300 patents have already been registered for voestalpine technologies and products.
A record research budget of EUR 184 million was adopted for the current business year 2019/20—an increase of 7.5% year over year. In the business year 2018/19, the company spent EUR 171 million on research and development.
"Innovation is the key to voestalpine’s global success. The current record research budget of EUR 184 million clearly shows that the voestalpine Group gives highest priority to research, development, and innovation. The Group invests consistently in this key area, because one thing is clear: We can secure our future as an international player in sophisticated product segments solely by enhancing our specialization in tandem with our technology and quality leadership."
Mobility and energy drive our research
The company’s research activities focus primarily on mobility and energy—two cutting-edge markets. The following thus draw most of the attention:
- Ultra-high tensile steels with improved forming properties;
- Lightweight construction and safety;
- Trailblazing railway technology
- High performance materials for aviation and aerospace; as well as
- High-tech tubing concepts for the oil and natural gas industry.
But our research also focuses on forward-looking areas such as:
- Digitalization: Digital linking and optimization of production processes across the entire value chain; digital products & services; internal & external collaboration projects as well as training & continuing education.
- Metal additive manufacturing: 3D printing of complex metal components using additive manufacturing.
- Sustainable solutions for cutting-edge steel production.
The voestalpine Group is considered the gold standard for both energy efficiency and environmental compatibility. Hence issues of sustainability; environmental compatibility; energy and resource efficiency; CO2 reductions; and zero waste are at the forefront of our work.
Here some of the highlights of the voestalpine Group’s innovations:
- Press-hardened lightweight parts (phs): process used for indirect and direct (in a single process step) hot forming in the production of press-hardened, ultra-high tensile, and corrosion-resistant autobody parts (phs-ultraform® and phs-directform®);
- Ultra-high tensile steels with improved ductility: advanced high-strength steels with high ductility (AHSS-HD) = multiphase steels with both highest strengths and improved ductility for use in autobody parts relevant to safety;
- Electrical steel strip and electrical steel stacks: isovac® (non-grain-oriented electrical steel strip) as a high-tech pre-material for compacore® (inline-bonded electrical steel stacks for efficient, next-generation electric engines);
- Lightweight components made of steel, hybrid materials, and other light metals;
- Rail tracks and high-speed turnouts optimized for wear resistance, including diagnostic systems;
- High-performance materials for aviation and aerospace;
- Tool steels and coatings for tools highly resistant to wear and tear;
- Sour-gas-resistant pipes and gas-tight pipe joints; and
- Heavy plate for pipelines that must hold up under the most stringent requirements, temperatures up to minus 60°C, and the most difficult operating conditions.
For more information on research & development at voestalpine
Our path to a green future
We are upping the pace of emissions reduction. greentec steel from voestalpine is Austria’s largest climate protection program. Starting in 2027, this program will reduce Austria’s annual CO2 emissions by almost 5%. 2024 marks the start of the partial shift from the blast furnace to the electric arc furnace (EAF) route—once unresolved funding issues in Austria are clarified.