The voestalpine Group is expanding from traditional steel manufacturer to innovator, with the opening of a new research and development facility in Düsseldorf. The voestalpine Additive Manufacturing Center will centralize all the Group’s research activities in this field, harnessing the manufacturing process for particularly complex and lightweight metal components for use in aviation and aerospace, the automotive industry, tool manufacturing and more. The Special Steel Division of the voestalpine Group has founded the research company in order to leverage its potential in the long term.
“As a result of the intensive research and development work undertaken in the past 15 years, voestalpine has developed from a traditional steel manufacturer to become a global leading technology and capital goods group. We want to consistently strengthen this position, and continue to remain at the forefront of developments in new production processes such as additive manufacturing.” – Wolfgang Eder, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG.
With a record research budget of EUR 150 million for the current business year 2016/17—an increase of 13 percent over the previous year—voestalpine is Austria’s most research-intensive company.
Looking to the future
The next step for the company is to develop more cooperative partnerships and expansion into North America and China. In future the raw material required for the process will be supplied by the Group companies Böhler Edelstahl GmbH & Co KG, Austria, and Uddeholms AB, Sweden. Both subsidiaries have many years of experience in powder metallurgy as a pre-material for highly durable steels. In order to gain further expertise in the manufacturing of powders specifically for metal printing, two powder atomization facilities for steel and nickel-based alloys will start operations during the business year 2016/17, one at Uddeholm AB in Hagfors, Sweden, and the second at BÖHLER Edelstahl in Kapfenberg, Austria.
“The new development and test center will continue to research and develop both metal powders and the design and production of metal components using 3D printing. It therefore represents a significant expansion to our existing material production and processing value chain for the most sophisticated industries.” – Franz Rotter, Member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG and Head of the Special Steel Division.
It is great to see companies from all different sectors embracing additive manufacturing and funneling so much funding into research and development. The wider adoption of 3D printing will mean better and faster innovations across the board.
About voestalpine in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is one of the key locations of the Special Steel Division in Germany. In addition to the voestalpine Additive Manufacturing Center, such Group’s subsidiaries as voestalpine Edelstahl Deutschland GmbH, voestalpine Edelstahl Wärmebehandlung GmbH, Böhler-Uddeholm Deutschland GmbH, eifeler Werkzeuge GmbH, and eifeler-Vacotec GmbH are also located here. In Düsseldorf the division has access not only to its 3D printing center of excellence and its own eifeler coating plants, but also to Europe’s largest steel logistics department and one of Germany’s largest heat treatment furnaces. During the business year 2015/16 the Special Steel Division with its nearly 750 employees generated total revenue of over EUR 310 million at its site in Düsseldorf.
Featured image: voestalpine