voestalpine https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/ corporate blog der voestalpine Fri, 19 Oct 2018 12:05:43 +0000 pt-PT hourly 1 “Check the energy prices? Certainly!” https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/check-the-energy-prices-certainly/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/check-the-energy-prices-certainly/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 07:23:51 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=87693 Hannes Pesendorfer is a price expert. At work at voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH in Linz, he tracks the constant ups and downs in energy prices on behalf of voestalpine.


Actually Hannes Pesendorfer isn’t really a trader. A graduate of electrical engineering and process automation, he has always been drawn to technology.

Engineer in purchasing

“That’s why after studying at the Graz University of Technology I went to VAI, today’s Primetals,” says Pesendorfer, describing the start of his career. “My move to key account sales at Energie AG then gave me a foretaste of what I’m currently doing.” The keen engineer, as demonstrated by the model helicopters he builds in his free time, came to voestalpine 15 years ago. Here, together with colleagues at the power plant, he was part of a technical development of a special kind: shifting voestalpine from the strongly regulated into the liberalized energy market.

"Liberalization of the electricity market in 1999 truly brought more excitement into the business."
Hannes Pesendorfer

Today he is responsible for energy purchases (electricity and natural gas) at voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH. His team considers the power situation at the production facilities and organizes the energy flow between the markets and voestalpine accordingly. He also coordinates internal energy flows within the Group’s clusters and networks.


Buyers for technology

The energy procurement team grew from one to currently four employees as a result of increasing attention being paid to energy within the Group. They all work closely with colleagues at the power plants and participants in the energy pools. The trade in electricity and natural gas is an exciting, time-consuming business, and one which Pesendorfer is delighted to be part of: “Energy procurement is constantly changing, always offering something new.”

"Regulations, laws, and not least our negotiating partners, permanently face us with new challenges. That's an aspect of my career which I value highly."
Hannes Pesendorfer

Pesendorfer also checks energy providers in his spare time, always on the lookout for the best deal.



https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/check-the-energy-prices-certainly/feed/ 0
Hydrogen-energy source for the future? https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/hydrogen-energy-source-for-the-future/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/hydrogen-energy-source-for-the-future/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 08:22:02 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=87595 Hydrogen is a gas with a long history in the steel industry, as a component of coking gas, for example. Now research is being undertaken into its potential as a reducing agent in steel production, and as an energy source for the future.


Hydrogen (H2) is a colorless and odorless, very light and non-toxic gas, and the most abundant chemical element in the universe. On earth it only appears in molecular form, in water and in all organic compounds. Hydrogen has a high chemical affinity to oxygen–higher than to iron. Consequently, hydrogen could be used as a reducing agent in place of carbon, one of the topics being examined in the H2FUTURE and SuSteel (Sustainable Steel) projects. voestalpine and other European steel manufacturers are already actively considering ways of using hydrogen in steel production.

Many and varied uses

Each year around 750 billion m³ (70 million tons) of hydrogen is produced. It is used as a raw or basic material in various industries (fertilizer, chemicals and food industry, refineries, semiconductor development), as an energy source and storage medium, and as a fuel for aerospace and automotive fuel cells. Hydrogen’s first industrial application was as a lifting gas in balloons and airships. However, as H2-air mixtures are highly flammable, this led to repeated accidents: the Hindenburg catastrophe in the 1930s remains firmly anchored in the public consciousness. But due to its lower energy density, hydrogen is in fact significantly less critical than natural gas.

Energy source of the future

An increasing number of scientists are working intensively with hydrogen, seeing in this element an energy source for the future, one which can make the world less dependent on fossil fuels. Hydrogen really could be used to store electricity generated from volatile renewables, releasing it again as required. Today, however, up to 96% of hydrogen is produced by breaking down natural gas using the so-called reforming process. This is a very CO2-intensive process. 4% is created as a result of the chloralkali process which generates large quantities of lye. New and sustainable hydrogen electrolysis processes, such as the proton exchange membrane technology which allows hydrogen to be produced in an almost climate-neutral manner, are turning hydrogen into the hope for the future. The H2FUTURE project is now examining whether this technology can also be used on an industrial scale.


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/hydrogen-energy-source-for-the-future/feed/ 0
Ecology and economics go hand-in-hand https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/ecology-and-economics-go-hand-in-hand/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/ecology-and-economics-go-hand-in-hand/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 09:18:49 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=87511 Thanks in part to the contribution made by David Binder, voestalpine has become one of the most environmentally-friendly technology and capital goods groups. The qualified chemical laboratory technician has been head of the emissions measuring group in the testing and analysis unit (TSP) in Linz since 2018.


“When I was young I wanted to be a wildlife conservationist in Africa”, admits David Binder. But luckily for the climate, and for voestalpine, he followed a different path. It happened like this: David Binder came to the notice of the TSP team during his internship, while a pupil of a technical high school specializing in chemical engineering. Which makes this step all the more logical. “Back then, measuring emissions and immissions didn’t enjoy the priority within the Group that it does today. However, that all changed with my entry into the company when we started to establish a separate department.”

Proud of accurate measurement results

Today the testing and analysis department is an accredited testing laboratory and an inspection center for air pollution controls, as well as a link between the company and the authorities. Together with his 5-person team, at prescribed intervals David Binder controls around 280 emitting sources within the Group, including workplace measurements, at the voestalpine sites in Traisen, Donawitz, and Linz. All relevant air pollutants are measured, including everything from dust and particulate matter, exhaust gases, metals and heavy metals, to halogens and dioxins. As is so often the case, this again demonstrates that ecology and economics can go hand-in-hand.

"At the beginning, the plant managers were always a little skeptical when we turned up, until it turned out that our measurement results could be used to optimize resource use, and so reduce costs."
David Binder

David Binder is as proud of his contribution to changing such attitudes as he is of the accuracy of his measurement results.

Measurement processes becoming ever more precise

What particularly fascinates this father of two and an enthusiastic climber about his task is the rapid speed of development. This takes the form of the constantly increasing demands made of the measurement methods. “They’re becoming increasingly precise, while at the same time the threshold limits are falling. This is a major challenge for new and pilot facilities in particular.” The trend is towards continuous measurements using equipment which supplies information on a permanent basis. Consequently, these days David Binder and his team are required to conduct many comparative measurements. These serve to verify whether the measurement devices are supplying proper data and evaluating them correctly.

Customers demand emissions measurements

For David Binder this rapid development is an indicator of the future of operational environmental protection. “Today already customers are asking us for emissions measurements and data when they order a product from us. That means that the topic of emissions and emissions measurements is not only acknowledged as integral to operational responsibility, but is also included in a company’s catalogue of quality criteria.”


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/ecology-and-economics-go-hand-in-hand/feed/ 0
voestalpine Digitalization Awards honors best of 120 submitted projects https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/voestalpine-digitalization-awards-honors-best-of-120-submitted-projects/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/voestalpine-digitalization-awards-honors-best-of-120-submitted-projects/#respond Wed, 10 Oct 2018 10:00:52 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=87393 Around 160 digitalization experts working in a variety of specialisms met in Linz on October 3 for the second corporate Digitalization Day. The program included talks, workshops, and the awards ceremony for the first ever voestalpine Digitalization Awards.


Digitalization Award 2018The Group is intensively occupied with digitalization. That became clear to everyone who took part in the second voestalpine Digitalization Day on October 3. Digitalization experts from more than 40 different Group companies had come to Linz to discuss a range of different topics and specific projects.

8 workshops

In contrast to the first Digitalization Day a year ago, this year’s program featured fewer talks from external experts. Instead participants were offered a choice of eight one-hour workshops on subjects including sensor technologies, data analytics, digital products, and smart logistics.
The introductory talk was given by Prof. Horst Bischof of the Graz University of Technology who talked about the disruptions and changes resulting from digitalization.

10 live pitches

This year heralded the first ever Digitalization Awards following a competition run over the summer months. More than 120 projects had been submitted in the three categories

  • Value Chain & Processes,
  • Products & Services,
  • and Culture & Organization,

to win an internal Group award. After preselection, representatives from the best three projects in each category were invited to present their projects to the jury in the form of a short 5-minute presentation. The winners were those who impressed the jury most during their live pitches, and received their awards during the evening event held at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz.

4 winners

The Value Chain & Processes category was won by a purchasing team project which applied artificial intelligence methods to correctly assign orders to the correct goods categories. voestalpine Nortrak was the winner in the Products & Services category with its newly introduced webshop for turnouts, while the Culture & Organization award went to voestalpine Metsec for the organizational development required after successfully introducing building information modelling, or BIM. There was also a special award which went to the team at the Digital Competence Center in Kapfenberg.

Digital dynamism

“It’s incredible how much is now going on within the voestalpine Group in terms of digitalization,” says Head of Research, Franz Androsch, summing up. “That was clear both from the discussions held during our workshops, and the number of projects submitted for the awards.” Androsch heads the voestalpine digitalization coordination team which drives the corporate digitalization strategy and is responsible for selecting the topics for the Digitalization Day.



https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/voestalpine-digitalization-awards-honors-best-of-120-submitted-projects/feed/ 0
Thousands of contracts for our energy https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/energy/thousands-of-contracts-for-our-energy/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/energy/thousands-of-contracts-for-our-energy/#respond Tue, 09 Oct 2018 12:41:00 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/general-en/thousands-of-contracts-for-our-energy/ The quantity of electricity voestalpine purchases for its Austrian sites every year would be sufficient to power 340,000 households. The purchasing team are known for their market understanding and speed.


voestalpine Energieein- und zukauf

Power Plant in Linz

The voestalpine site in Linz covers more than 80% of its electricity requirements by generating its own power. Even so, every year additional power has to be externally sourced, in quantities sufficient to cover the needs of 125,000 Austrian households.

Unusual electricity purchasing

At voestalpine the practice of purchasing electricity is naturally different from that in private households. “We purchase in 15-minute cycles,” explains Hannes Pesendorfer, Head of Energy Purchasing at voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH. “The prices change every quarter of an hour, fluctuating by up to €150 per megawatt hour.” For that reason there is close cooperation with the Group’s own power plants in determining current consumption levels.

"We react sensitively both to changes in our own energy situation and developments in the energy spot markets. Each year in Linz around 18,000 contracts are made with energy providers and consumers in order to optimize purchasing, and include everything from long-term purchase agreements through to short-term intraday trades."
Hannes Pesendorfer

Quick and courageous action can bring huge advantages, for example, when so-called “negative prices” are paid for electricity.

Free electricity?


A colorful landscape of prices for the electricity buyers at voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH: every day the electricity prices change every 15 minutes in the spot market.

When the voestalpine energy buyers purchase electricity it can sometimes cost nothing. Indeed, when megawatt hours are sold, they even get paid. What initially sounds contradictory soon becomes clear after looking at the relationships between power networks spanning national borders. These networks are fed by conventional power plants, but also with electricity generated from so-called renewable sources (wind power and photovoltaics). When the weather is right, supply can suddenly exceed demand and the grid risks becoming unstable. Rather than powering down time and cost-intensive generation capacities during such situations, it is cheaper for network operators to pay for large quantities of power to be drawn from the grid over the short term. Energy-intensive companies such as voestalpine can benefit from these developments if the purchasing professionals keep a close eye on the market and act quickly.

"You have to react incredibly quickly in the power market."
Wolfgang Sparlinek, energy buyer at voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH

Joint presence in the market

An energy buyer’s workspace is similar to that of a stock trader, the monitors filled with current price, supply and consumption information. The employees not only consider the situation at the site in Linz. Wherever possible, voestalpine draws on its market experience as a bulk purchaser, utilizing opportunities to exploit optimum purchasing prices, and to provide important information to the Group companies. This cooperation benefits everyone. There is a special structure in Austria, with voestalpine creating its own natural gas balancing group. This negates the need for intermediaries, and provides all sites with flexible and market-focused access to the electricity markets.

Cooperation across national borders

voestalpine generally tries to establish electricity and natural gas pools across divisional borders in each country in which it operates. Where this has already been achieved, for example, in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands, it has been shown that procuring larger quantities brings significant advantages. 
In the USA, too, efforts are made to unify sites within a joint pool. Natural gas and electricity purchases for the direct reduction plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, are also managed by the buyers in Linz.

"We organize energy procurement for Texas from our base in Linz. Natural gas from the USA, currently at a third of the standard price paid here."
Hannes Pesendorfer

More on environment at voestalpine: www.voestalpine.com/environment


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/energy/thousands-of-contracts-for-our-energy/feed/ 0
China as a growth market: 5 years of network #china https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/china-as-a-growth-market-5-years-of-network-china/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/china-as-a-growth-market-5-years-of-network-china/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 08:04:02 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/general-en/china-as-a-growth-market-5-years-of-network-china/ Since 2013 both market-related and internal synergies for the growing Chinese market have been structured and bundled across division and company borders as part of the so-called “network #China”. The third network #China management conference in Suzhou provided the ideal framework for presenting the current status of the projects, as well as to look towards the future.


Visits to voestalpine Profilform (China) Co., Ltd. and voestalpine Böhler Welding (China) Co., Ltd. marked the start of the conference in which around 70 CEOs from China and Europe, divisional board members, and the Group’s Management Board took part.

The opening speech given by Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG, focused on the topics of corporate strategy, digitalization, and the significance of China for the Group as a whole. Marshall Chen of Fiducia Consulting and Charlie Zhang (Vice President Industrial Development) of NIO were guests at the event. The former offered insights into “Made in China 2025”, and highlighted the automotive and mechanical engineering segments. Mr Zhang offered a glimpse into the future of e-mobility and its associated lifestyles. This was followed by internal examples and views of digitalization within the voestalpine Group, before the Management Board members responsible for sales outlined their expectations for the Chinese market and the local companies.

Update from the region

As well as this key information from the divisions and the Group, a natural focus was also the local contributions from the project teams from within the network organization. Following a brief introduction of the new structure by network coordinator René Killinger, the project coaches Kevin Hu for Market/Marketing/Branding, Neil Smith for Production/Quality, David Xu for Environment/Health/Safety, as well as Qiping Zhao for Sourcing/Procurement each presented the individual projects, together with a project leader, the successes achieved so far, the current status, and future activities.


Part of the voestalpine family

In a highly emotional presentation, Sara Li from voestalpine Automotive Components Shenyang Co., Ltd., and Myu Miao from ASSAB Tooling (Dong Guan) Co., Ltd., both of whom are participants on the group’s internal training program for Young Professionals, introduced themselves, and clearly demonstrating their pride in being voestalpine employees. Both answered questions about the training program itself, and offered their personal assessment on economic development in China.

In the Management Board panel which followed, China’s great importance as a strategic region for the Group was highlighted.


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/career/china-as-a-growth-market-5-years-of-network-china/feed/ 0
Energy supply at voestalpine https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/energy/energy-supply-at-voestalpine/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/energy/energy-supply-at-voestalpine/#respond Fri, 28 Sep 2018 07:31:40 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=86795 Coal, gas, and electricity—voestalpine strategically plans its energy requirements.


Just like ores, coal, and additives, energy is a basic raw material which the voestalpine Group sources for hundreds of sites worldwide. They include the four major consumers in Linz, Donawitz, Kapfenberg, and Corpus Christi, as well as many other production locations. Total energy consumption across the voestalpine Group amounted to over 37 TWh in 2016.

Strategically planning energy

It should be simple to calculate the quantities needed: demand minus in-house production (e.g., electricity generated from process gases in the blast and LD furnaces) = quantity to purchase.
However, the requirements vary constantly, as do the market conditions for purchasing.“For that reason, it is particularly important that we ensure our energy supplies on a very long-term basis,” explains René Matscheko, coordinator of the Energy Committee and CEO of the voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH. “At a strategic level, scenarios are regularly modeled which offer us a highly flexible solution at all times when it comes to energy purchases, irrespective of our foreseeable level of demand and the specific external conditions.”

Energieversorgung der voestalpine

Group-wide energy procurement

The energy flows extend far beyond the borders of the voestalpine divisions. Every effort is made to use energy as efficiently as possible. This involves not only forward planning but also close collaboration between consumers and the employees responsible for energy purchasing.

  • For example, the in-house gas balancing group forms a flexible supply network of consumers within the Group so that gas can be supplied without the involvement of intermediaries.
  • A shared energy pool, including electricity consumers at the German voestalpine sites, amongst others, negotiates better energy prices and allows fluctuations in demand to be rapidly balanced.
"We generate more than 80% of the power we need from our process gases. The highest levels of efficiency, supply reliability, and dynamic participation in the energy markets are factors in our success."
Ralf Martinelli, Head of Technical Service and Energy, voestalpine Stahl GmbH

Employees with energy

Just as in daily operations, the voestalpine employees involved in strategic planning understand the market conditions in detail, and know how to turn them to the company’s advantage.

"Today, as in the future, it is our employee know-how which guarantees highly efficient energy use"
René Matscheko

More on environment at voestalpine: www.voestalpine.com/environment


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/energy/energy-supply-at-voestalpine/feed/ 0
InnoTrans 2018—voestalpine at the leading international trade fair for transport technology https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/general-en/innotrans-2018-voestalpine-at-the-leading-international-trade-fair-for-transport-technology/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/general-en/innotrans-2018-voestalpine-at-the-leading-international-trade-fair-for-transport-technology/#respond Thu, 27 Sep 2018 07:57:08 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=86532 InnoTrans 2018 impressively demonstrated its status as the world’s most important trade fair for transport technology. Nowhere else is it possible to acquire such a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the industry. It was again a success for voestalpine: for the first time the railway infrastructure competencies were bundled together under the joint Railway Systems brand. A great start to the new era as a global full-service provider!


A record number of exhibitors and trade visitors, more business deals, and over 400 innovations presented, 155 of which were world firsts. All in all, 160,000 visitors from more than 110 countries streamed through the exhibition grounds in Berlin between September 18 and 21, to view the products and services offered by over 3,000 companies and organizations from 61 countries.

This year, too, the biennial trade fair was a fixed date in the Metal Engineering Division’s schedule, as it is every year in which it is held. 2018 was probably one of the more significant InnoTrans appearances as it marked the official launch of the new voestalpine Railway Systems brand to the world public. For the first time voestalpine presented itself as the leading system provider for railway infrastructure, as the only global producer offering everything from rails to turnouts, through to signaling technology, all from a single source.

"Our ‘Performance on Track’ slogan, together with our logo, express our determination to optimize the performance of our customers’ rail infrastructure and to offer them the lowest possible life-cycle costs."
Franz Kainersdorfer, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Metal Engineering Division

Huge response and a new stand concept

InnoTrans 2018

Customer feedback about the complete system branding was extremely positive, and the quality of talks with customers was particularly good.

In the truest sense of the word, voestalpine built on the new corporate stand, with 1000 m² spread over two levels, explains Thomas Stocker, CEO of voestalpine Weichensysteme GmbH: “For our set-up at this year’s InnoTrans we used the largest possible version of the Group’s modular exhibition stand.” And that was a good idea, because the level of visitor interest was huge: “We’ve never had such a strong Tuesday and Wednesday before. We were literally overrun.”

It also helped that for the first time the so-called ‘village concept’ for the new exhibition stand included a first floor, where meeting rooms and communication areas provided a relaxed atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of activity on the ground floor of the hall. “And the employees are still reporting many, very good, and above all in-depth discussions with customers, frequently technical in nature, and not just with passing visitors. The feedback about the complete system branding was exceptionally positive.”

"What makes InnoTrans special is the high quality of the visitors, including specialists, managing directors, and decision-makers, and that together we can advise these people from early to late in terms of complete system solutions."
Dieter Fritz, CEO of voestalpine VAE GmbH

Digitalization in focus

The trade fair really was bursting at the seams. For more than 200 companies, being on the waiting list for stand space had to suffice, explains Stocker: “The railway industry clearly continues to boom. Much is happening, and a lot of very new companies are pushing into the digital systems and measurement technologies sector in particular.” In addition to innovative turnout drives, the major topic of this year’s InnoTrans was very clearly digitalization. Here voestalpine came to the fore thanks to its portfolio of intelligent diagnostic and monitoring systems being part of its focus on digitalization, both in addition to and under the umbrella of the bundled competencies of voestalpine Railway Systems.

"“We are also presenting our interactive LCC tool here. A world debut which we use as a decision-making aid for our customers when deciding on the rail grades that they can or should select in order to minimize their life-cycle costs, for stretches of track, railway lines, and complete networks.”"
Frederick Kübler, CEO, voestalpine Schienen GmbH

A third focus was certainly the presentation of the comprehensive portfolio of services which complement the innovative products. And last but not least, the stand offered visitors the chance to discover new products such as an acoustic monitoring system for axle bearings and the new point frogs from voestalpine BWG GmbH. The Steel Division also used InnoTrans as a stage for the world premiere of the pioneering lightweight freight wagon TransANT.

All in all, the voestalpine companies can look back on a very successful InnoTrans, and are positive that voestalpine will be able to further expand its position as the global leader in railway infrastructure systems under the new Railway Systems brand.


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/general-en/innotrans-2018-voestalpine-at-the-leading-international-trade-fair-for-transport-technology/feed/ 0
“Presidency of the Council”: EU meets voestalpine https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/presidency-of-the-council-eu-meets-voestalpine/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/presidency-of-the-council-eu-meets-voestalpine/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 08:23:03 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=86352 On July 1, 2018, Austria took over the presidency of the European Council for six months; this is the third time after 1998 and 2006. The office entails a number of political activities such as meetings at the ministerial level and related events. Hence voestalpine is not just a host in this respect, but is also intensely active in substantive terms with respect to environmental and energy policies.


voestalpine hosted the Energy Ministers

The informal meeting of EU energy ministers was held on September 18 at the Design Center in Linz, Austria. A day earlier, voestalpine will host a conference for high-ranking officials entitled “Charge for Change: Innovative Technologies for Energy-Intensive Industries.” Representatives of the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, and renowned European companies are expected to attend alongside the ministers and undersecretaries. The conference, which is being organized by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, took place in voestalpine’s Stahlwelt. During both days, the focus was on “hydrogen,” and the H2FUTURE joint venture were both presented and inspected on site.

Among others, the Council of Energy Ministers is being prepared by the Permanent Representatives of the EU member states—i.e. ambassadors accredited in Brussels, Belgium—who are tasked with setting and coordinating the agenda for Council meetings. About 90 of these “Committees of Permanent Representatives” (COREPERs), their representatives as well as high-ranking staff of the EU Commission and the General Secretariat of the EU Council visited voestalpine in July. The diplomats traveled on to Vienna after attending a presentation by our CEO, Wolfgang Eder, and a subsequent discussion especially on issues related to energy and climate policies as well as trade policies vis-à-vis the United States.

But: What does the presidency of the EU Council actually entail?

Every six months, another EU member state takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Austria took over the Council Presidency on July 1, 2018, from Bulgaria. As a result, Austria presides over the different Councils of Ministers such as those related to the environment, energy, agriculture, or economics and finance. The most important agendas of the EU are generally coordinated by the General Affairs Council, which comprises the EU ministers. This is why the respective minister of the current presiding country is frequently referred to as the “Council President.” (In Austria’s case, this is Gernot Blümel, the Minister of the Chancellery responsible for matters related to the EU.) Romania will take over the council presidency from Austria on January 1, 2019.

However, the Council President should not be confused with the “actual” President of the European Council (which comprises the heads of state and government), who is elected by this body; the Polish politician, Donald Tusk, has held this office since 2014. This permanent position was created in 2009 pursuant to the Treaty of Lisbon, with the effect of substantially diluting the actual power of the rotating six-month EU presidency. Until then, the presiding country also chaired the meetings of the heads of state and government.

What are the actual responsibilities of the Council President?

Nonetheless, the Council Presidency entails more than merely symbolic functions. The president participates in setting the agenda for and preparing Council meetings; chairs the council meetings of specific ministers; and, last but not least, leads the negotiations in the so-called trilogues with both the European Parliament and the European Commission that serve to enact planned legislation. As far as voestalpine is concerned, most recently such trilogues on energy and climate policies in particular (e.g. emissions trading reforms or the “winter package” regarding the energy union) as well as on trade policies were important in view of bringing about compromises between the different negotiating parties.


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/presidency-of-the-council-eu-meets-voestalpine/feed/ 0
voestalpine a partner in the pioneering SPIRIT research project https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/voestalpine-a-partner-in-the-pioneering-spirit-research-project/ https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/voestalpine-a-partner-in-the-pioneering-spirit-research-project/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 07:51:00 +0000 https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/?p=87183 Research company PROFACTOR has landed the three-year EU research project SPIRIT. Working with eight partners from science and industry including voestalpine Böhler Aerospace, FACC, and Fiat Research, the project will develop a new generation of inspection robots.


Funded within the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 program, the SPIRIT project has set itself the goal of developing a robot which can be used by industry for a whole range of different inspection tasks—none of which requiring programming. The development is focused on making the specific inspection tasks independent so that relatively little effort is needed to adapt an inspection robot for each task.

voestalpine as a project partner

The project partners already include numerous notable enterprises from science and industry, amongst them voestalpine Böhler Aerospace. This leading international supplier of highly stress-resistant forged parts for the aerospace industry, including aerostructures and parts for engines and landing gear, has set itself the goal of developing a test cell for automatically inspecting forged parts for surface cracks. In order to do so, a testing facility will be built in Deuchendorf in which the technology can be thoroughly tested.

Automation brings flexibility and cost savings

The project has a clear aim: to eliminate the need for time-consuming and expensive programming and allow tasks for the machine to be configured simply. PROFACTOR already enjoys extensive experience in industrial image processing for quality control purposes, as well as in robotics. Over the past years the company has focused on applying robotics in inspections. The SPIRIT project is designed to create a robot which can be equipped with a variety of inspection systems such as

• cameras for surface inspections,

• thermal imaging cameras for crack detection,

• X-ray sensors, and

• 3D sensors for completeness checks.

"We develop the software which allows the robot to apply automatic path planning for its various inspection tasks."
Christian Eitzinger, Head of Machine Vision at PROFACTOR

The system is simply fed with the CAD data of the workcell (to avoid collisions) and the CAD model of the component, and automatically calculates the robot’s inspection path depending upon the sensors being used and the inspection task specified. With the aid of reactive path planning, the system should also be able to make any necessary optimizations in real time. This happens where there are discrepancies between the CAD model and the actual components, as the result of distortions, for example.

As well as the research project’s current industry partners, in future the system is designed to benefit small and medium-sized enterprises who are unable to afford automation due to small batch sizes and often expensive robot programming.

More information: www.spirit-h2020.eu


https://www.voestalpine.com/blog/pt/innovation-en/voestalpine-a-partner-in-the-pioneering-spirit-research-project/feed/ 0