Even in the economically challenging market environment of the past business year 2020/21, voestalpine maintained its consistently high level of research spending with a budget of EUR 153 million.
Only companies permanently conducting research and development in order to stay ahead will succeed in the face of global competition over the long term. Seen in this light, our research activities are an important investment in our Group's future viability.
Herbert Eibensteiner, Chairman of the Management Board of voestalpine AG
Sustainability at the focus of research
Smart technologies create potential for novel applications
voestalpine product innovations make a significant contribution to sustainability in general. They include rails with extremely wear-resistant surfaces which are successfully operating worldwide. The Group has developed ultra-high strength steels with excellent formability for lightweight automotive construction, one benefit of which is to reduce fuel consumption. Another example is additive manufacturing, a resource-efficient and innovative technology which is ideal for producing complex geometries with no material losses. It is used in areas such as highly-complex temperature control and lightweight construction solutions, in toolmaking for the automotive and consumer goods industries, and for applications in medical technology.
Resource efficiency and emissions in steel production itself are also being continually optimized. Over the past three decades voestalpine has succeeded in reducing its CO2 emissions by around 20 percent. Only a radical technological transformation will allow us to significantly reduce CO2 emissions further. For that reason, the voestalpine Group is conducting intensive research into the gradual decarbonization of steel production using green hydrogen, in projects such as H2FUTURE at the site in Linz, and SuSteel in Leoben-Donawitz.
Product development activities are focused on creating innovative and digital system solutions aimed at high-turnover and technologically sophisticated industries such as mobility. They include fully digital monitoring and diagnostics systems for railway infrastructure which evaluate data recorded by sensors to minimize train dwell times, delays, and downtime. Other smart voestalpine products include 'intelligent' cold-rolled steel strip which can be heated, or function as a heating element, by means of conductor tracks for sensor technology integrated in a special coating layer, and a digital vineyard post which uses integrated sensors to measure the microclimate, warn of frost, and provide information about precipitation and plant diseases.
Digital products give steel a wider range of functions, opening up broad new areas of application. They can also offer huge added value to our customers.
Franz Androsch, Head of Research at the voestalpine Group
The voestalpine Group
In its business segments, voestalpine is a globally leading steel and technology group with a unique combination of materials and processing expertise. voestalpine, which operates globally, has around 500 Group companies and locations in more than 50 countries on all five continents. It has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1995. With its top-quality products and system solutions, it is a leading partner to the automotive and consumer goods industries as well as the aerospace and oil & gas industries; it is also the world market leader in railway systems, tool steel, and special sections. voestalpine is fully committed to the global climate goals, and its greentec steel program represents a clear plan for decarbonizing the production of steel. In the business year 2020/21, the Group generated revenue of EUR 11.3 billion, with an operating result (EBITDA) of EUR 1.1 billion; it had about 48,700 employees worldwide.