The focus of this year’s voestalpine research conference, now in its 11th year, was the future-oriented mobility sector, with the voestalpine wing at the Red Bull Ring offering the perfect setting.
On June 21, 2017 the characteristic acoustics of racing cars in training provided the backdrop to the presentations at the 11th voestalpine synergy platform, the Group’s in-house research conference. Over 120 scientists and developers from all the divisions as well as external experts discussed the future of mobility and the role which voestalpine will play. The Group already generates 49% of its revenue in the three mobility segments Automotive, Railways, and Aerospace. It is intended to increase this share to 50% by 2020.
"Mobility is the most important core segment at voestalpine, incorporating the automotive industry and railway infrastructure as well as aerospace, the fastest-growing segment. The global demand for more mobility is one of the greatest challenges we face."
Mobility and the future
At the event external experts outlined the details of this challenge, focusing on the topic of tomorrow’s cars. Reflecting on automotive trends, professor Horst Bischof from the Graz University of Technology explained the opportunities as well as limits of autonomous driving. Robert Fischer, Management Board member at AVL List GmbH, offered an optimistic forecast for the future of more efficient combustion engines in the age of e-mobility.
The key question of the future of steel in tomorrow’s vehicles was answered by Ingo Olschewski of the fka, an Aachen-based specialist in automotive engineering research: “There is a clear future for steel in automobiles. A recent study which we undertook on behalf of WorldAutoSteel shows an obvious trend in favor of this material, even into the next decades.”
Mobility and research
The future-oriented mobility sector is a key driver of innovation at voestalpine. This was demonstrated by the examples given of activities within the Group which covered all the mobility segments.
"It's the participants and their input that make this synergy platform so valuable! "
Heinz Ossberger, responsible for R&D at voestalpine VAE, showed how closely current production strategies are linked with future developments. Increasing digitalization in the railway sector, for example, is opening up opportunities for completely new business models.
Solutions in lightweight construction are being sought both in the automotive and aerospace industries. Eric Klemp, from the voestalpine Additive Manufacturing Center in Düsseldorf, outlined the prospects for additive manufacturing (3D printing with metal) in the production of aircraft components. voestalpine is on the right path when it comes to lightweight design in automotive construction, stressed Karl Radlmayr who is responsible for R&D in the Metal Forming Division.
“Mobility” is an emotional and moving subject, as demonstrated by the significant level of international interest in the voestalpine synergy platform 2017, as well as the many discussions conducted at the event.