To ensure that the voestalpine Group remains one step ahead and can continue to offer convincing and innovative product solutions and processes in the future, it is vital to continually invest in research and development. With a record R&D budget of EUR 159 million for the current business year 2017/18, the voestalpine Group remains Austria’s top R&D company.
Research and development is essential for the company’s success—it is solely due to the research work of currently 742 voestalpine employees in 70 companies in more than 20 countries that the company is able to research, test, and launch new product solutions. The company relies on a “know-how network” that extends beyond company-wide research projects within the Group to cooperation with around 80 external scientific partners and also includes long-term development partnerships with key customers. Some 3089 patents have been registered for voestalpine technologies and products.
For the current business year 2017/18, a record R&D budget of EUR 159 million was approved. This represents an increase of 13% over the previous year, which according to the ranking again makes voestalpine Austria’s most research-intensive company. In the past business year 2016/17, a total of EUR 140 million was invested in the Group’s R&D activities.
In the following video statements, CEO Wolfgang Eder and Franz Androsch, Head of Group R&D, talk about what research and development means to voestalpine:
Research focus on mobility and energy
The primary focus of research work is on the future markets of mobility (BY 2016/17: 49% of total revenue) and energy (BY 2016/17: 13% of total revenue). The mobility sector mainly consists of the automotive, railway, and aerospace industries. Other focal points of research and development lie in continued development of production processes in the direction of smart factories, ongoing development of machining processes, and the development of new processes such as metal additive manufacturing—3D printing of metal parts using steel and nickel-based alloy powders.
The voestalpine Group is considered a benchmark for energy efficiency and environmental compatibility. Key aspects of all developments are therefore sustainability, environmental compatibility, energy and resource efficiency, carbon reduction, and zero waste. In addition, energy consumption and steel production has been reduced by 50% in the last 30 years and by 20% in the last 15 years.
Innovation highlights in the voestalpine Group include
- phs-ultraform® and phs-directform®: processes for indirect and direct (in a single process step) hot forming for manufacturing press-hardened, high-strength, corrosion resistant car body parts
- High-strength steels with excellent forming properties
- Lightweight components made of steel, hybrid materials, and other light metals
- Wear-resistance-optimized rails and high-speed turnouts, including diagnostic systems
- High-performance materials for aerospace applications
- Gas-resistant tubes and gas-tight tube connections
- Heavy plates for pipelines that have to meet the highest requirements and withstand temperatures down to minus 60°C and extreme conditions
Infographic: All current facts and figures on research and development (BY 2016/17)