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July 6, 2019

voestalpine opens Austrian R&D center to develop new steel products

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voestalpine announced that the company has invested more than 18 million euros in a new pioneering high-tech steel research center in Austria.

"At its unique pilot facility in Leoben-Donawitz, Austria, voestalpine is now conducting research into the production of new high-performance steels which are subsequently processed into special rails, quality rod wire, and extremely high-resistant OCTG by the Group’s companies in Syria," a press release said. It noted that the creation of Technikum Metallurgie (TechMet), a metallurgy technical center, represents the largest such research investment at the site to date.

"Today, voestalpine generates two-thirds of Group revenue from processing steel into sophisticated components and system solutions for the global automotive, railway infrastructure, and aerospace industries," said company CEO Wolfgang Eder. "The TechMet research facility offers us entirely new opportunities to develop pioneering steel grades which are needed to ensure the high quality of our final products."

Franz Kainersdorfer, who heads the company’s Metal Engineering Division, said that the unique plant configuration is a major advance. "We have built a complete steel plant in miniature that allows us to directly transfer the results of work in the research plant to (our) major facilities."

Product development at TechMet follows a reduced carbon footprint, the release said. Electricity generated from renewables provides the power to melt the pre-materials, and this reduces CO2 emissions at the site by at least 2,800 tons each year. The core components—apart from the furnaces also a continuous caster—were supplied by a Styrian plant manufacturer based in Bruck an der Mur. The research center, 2,800 sq m, is located in a former foundry building, almost 100 years old, at the site in Leoben-Donawitz which has now been comprehensively renovated.

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