Facts & figures
Expenditure on research and development in the business year 2018/19 amounted to EUR 171 million. The budget for the current BY 2019/20 reaches the record level of EUR 184 million. The research ratio (proportion of R&D expenditures in relation to revenue) lies at 1.26%, and at 3% when measured against value creation.
The key to voestalpine’s global success is innovation. The current record research budget of EUR 184 million clearly indicates that research, development, and innovation enjoy the highest priority in the voestalpine Group. The Group consistently invests in this key area because it is clear to everyone that securing our future as an international player in the most demanding product segments can only be achieved through specialization, paired with technological and quality leadership.
R&D at voestalpine is organized decentrally, with around 700 employees working in this field at more than 70 sites around the world. In addition to each company’s own R&D activities, great emphasis is placed on combining and networking existing competencies within the Group. voestalpine takes an open innovation approach, involving external partners in research and development projects where they are required for a project’s success. voestalpine aspires to create strategic, long-term partnerships based on trust and technological equality which create value for both partners. Around 100 national and international partners, including university institutes, universities of applied science, research institutes, competence centers, and Christian Doppler Laboratories, constitute the voestalpine scientific R&D network. Development partnerships with selected customers supplement the R&D networks and allow customer requirements to be addressed directly.
Key areas of innovation
One R&D focus lies in combining materials expertise with existing processing expertise in steel and other metallic materials within the Group in order to develop innovative system solutions for customers.
Product development is focused on industries with the most sophisticated technological requirements, such as mobility and energy.
For example, innovations for the mobility segment include ultra high-strength steels with enhanced formability, hybrid components for lightweight automotive construction, high efficiency electrical steel, and the modular battery housing for electromobility. Wear and rolling contact fatigue-resistant rail steels and life-cycle-optimized turnouts including drive and diagnostics systems, developed both for high-speed and heavy-haul applications, are innovations for the railway system.
Parallel to developments in modern high-tech steel, work is also going into advancing tool steels in order to guarantee their performance. The extremely hard and wear-resistant tool coatings ensure tools enjoy a long service life.
Sour-gas-resistant seamless tubes and gas-tight connections for application in oil & gas exploration, linepipe plates for pipelines operating under extreme conditions, materials for power plants with high output efficiency, and mounting systems for PV facilities are all being developed for the energy industry.
voestalpine strives to provide the materials & processing system that its customers require. For that reason, processing technologies such as hot forming for phs steels, light alloy forming, and material-specific welding and joining processes are all constantly being developed and enhanced.
In process development one focus lies in optimizing existing steel production technologies in order to make them more energy- and resource-efficient, as well as using digital approaches and artificial intelligence to create smart factory systems. Another focus lies in research into entirely new technologies such as the use of hydrogen in steel manufacturing.
State-of-the-art additive manufacturing technology, i.e., 3D printing in metal, is being developed entirely in house and includes everything from powder manufacture, the design, and the final component.
Additional information about innovation activities.