CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN ENGINEERING STEEL

Some questions to Boris Šorn and Ralf Schneider from Deutsche Edelstahlwerke

What are current developments in engineering steel? Some questions to our steel experts from Deutsche Edelstahlwerke Boris Šorn, Head of Sales for Engineering Steel, and Ralf Schneider, Key Account Manager for Engineering Steel for the Automotive Industry, who give an insight into the market.

Which industries are most important to Deutsche Edelstahlwerke for engineering steel?

Boris Šorn:
The automotive industry undoubtedly comes first. Whether as a steel supplier directly to OEMs or to the supplier industry. We also work with the major players on the market in the area of rolling bearing steel. Not to forget mechanical engineering, of course.

What are currently the biggest challenges in the field of engineering steel?

Boris Šorn:
The topic of lightweight construction undoubtedly plays a major role. Also the further development of e-Drive solutions.

Which requirements must engineering steel meet today?

Boris Šorn:
In lightweight construction, too, the requirement is to produce high-strength components that can withstand extreme loads, for example in the drive train or in the engine. However, the requirements of our customers today are not limited to new product solutions alone, but also to optimized processes in the further processing of our steels.

What would be examples here?

Ralf Schneider:
One product solution would be the new Bainidur1300 bainitic steel, specially developed for forgings, which allows a large process window to produce a bainitic structure of consistent quality.

Boris Šorn:
When we talk about optimized processes, we at Deutsche Edelstahlwerke have developed the DEW RC+T process, for example. Tempered steels from this process save the customer's energy costs in further processing, as they achieve the desired result only with quenching and cooling, without any additional annealing process.

What other innovations are you currently working on?

Ralf Schneider:
One topic would be an aluminium-alloyed steel Aludur. Here we can achieve considerable weight savings with a lower specific weight of 6.9 compared to 7.85 with conventional steel and still achieve a higher strength than with aluminium.

But we are also intensively involved in additive production and 3-D printing. The approach is to use conventional steel materials in prototype construction or for spare parts, for which a classical melt with several tons is not worthwhile. Here we are also talking to some important players.

On what basis do you decide on new developments?

Boris Šorn:
The demands on engineering steel are very high. The products must be able to do a lot, achieve high performance, but under the premise of cost-effective solutions. Here we work always in close collaboration with our customers for further developments. The processes are long-term. Materials must be absolutely reliable over a long period of stress. The platform solutions in the automotive industry, i.e. the fact that many models share the same platform, means quantities in millions. And no component must fail here.

What are the challenges facing the automotive industry? With what time horizon do you see changes?

Boris Šorn:
It is always difficult to make time predictions. The topic of e-Drive will become extremely important, but there will be no immediate changeover, solutions will run in parallel.

Ralf Schneider:
As a steel manufacturer, we are involved in important components of a complete vehicle, not only in conventional drive systems. And even there, the highest quality solutions play a major role.

 

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