With the right steel the only limit is your imagination
Today’s forestry machine operators can command a premium for products with a low environmental footprint. According to consulting firm McKinsey, consumers in Europe and the US will pay at least five percent more for green buildings, furniture and packaging. Meanwhile, the industry is under pressure to report and improve its performance as environmental legislation becomes tighter.
There are currently over 100 different definitions of circular economy and the Ellen MacArthur foundation provides one of them. In 2005, Ellen MacArthur set the fastest time for a solo sailor to circle the world. Five years later, she set up the foundation in her name to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.
Safety first is Ovako’s philosophy for every aspect of our operations. In recent years this has led to a strong improvement in our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) that are now well below the industry average. In fact, we have reduced injuries with sick leave by 95% over the last seven years explains Phetra Ericsson EVP HR, Communication & EHS Ovako Group.
research and insights
Designers of critical components are on a constant quest for materials that are lighter, stronger and capable of handling ever greater and more complex loads. They especially value high mechanical strength. Yet it is metal fatigue that causes the majority of premature failures in service. To combat this, Ovako has focused on developing clean steels in which the small inclusions that give rise to fatigue failure are closely controlled. Patrik Ölund, Head of Group R&D at Ovako explains how this is done.
Research and insights
Traditionally, steels were classified into four categories: tool steel, stainless steel, engineering steel and maraging steels. That mold was broken in 2017 with the launch of our Hybrid Steel – a new family of grades with an innovative alloying philosophy. The result is that the key properties of each category are available in one high-performance steel.
“Industry is facing a challenge from growing lead times for remelted steel”, says – Stefan Czeczor, Dip -ing. Manager Technical Customer Support. Stefan continues “in some cases, suppliers are quoting lead times of two years, with a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of 20 tonnes or more and with no flexibility to vary order quantity or dimensions.”
The carbon footprint of a material is just one aspect of a product’s environmental impact. How it is transported also influences the carbon footprint – and the impact can be surprising. Ted Lundström, our Head of Global Logistics, explains why.
Björn Olsson, Group Application Specialist and segment manager for rock tools, explains how the Steel Navigator is a platform that helps customers maximise value and highlights future developments.
Ovako wants to create a sustainable IT organization for the future by strengthening the team with additional expertise.
Research and Insights
When our electrolyzer ramps up to start full-scale production after the summer break, it will enable us to cut our CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. As one of the largest electrolyzers in Europe, the plant has a capacity of 8 tonnes of hydrogen per day and a power rating of 20 megawatts.
On January 9, Nicklas Magnusson joined Ovako as Process Development Manager - Climate & Environment. He will now report to Katarina Kangert, Ovako's Head of Sustainability and EHS.
Ovako employees in the Nordic region can get the opportunity to travel to Japan for up to three weeks, or possibly longer for R&D projects.
With more than a thousand world records under its belt, Eleiko has long been the barbell of choice among weightlifters worldwide. How did a small, family-owned Swedish company that specialized in waffle irons become the world’s most highly regarded barbell? And what role has Ovako’s steel played in this success story?
As we are celebrating the International Women´s Day worldwide we would like to highlight some of the women in our company who is changing the steel industry to something more modern and relevant.
For Tinsley Bridge Ltd., a leading manufacturer of steel torsion and suspension bars for the automotive industry, its product goals have always been optimum strength and light weight – a challenging combination.
Since the 1st of January 2022 we counterbalance all our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emission and became carbon neutral. We will gradually decrease the offset mechanism as we continue to invest in new technology and improve our processes.
In the competitive world of car racing, teams are always looking for ways to reduce the weight of their cars without sacrificing reliability. To this end, Mats Karlsson, owner and founder of a workshop specialized in designing transmission components for racing cars, has been producing components that are 40% lighter and with twice the lifespan compared to products manufactured from standard steel.
We are very pleased that Ovako has been awarded the Career Company Award 2023 (Karriärföretagen) and Sweden's most attractive employer. The Career Company award is presented to employers who offer unique career and development opportunities for students, Young Professionals but also Senior Professionals.
Julia Hermansson has been a controller at Ovako Hällefors since 2017. Her role as a controller includes preparing and following up business plans, budgets and financial statements to analyze and evaluate operational performance. When the opportunity arose for a job that turned out to be a good fit with where she was in her life and education, she jumped at the chance to apply - a decision she has never regretted!
Sebastian Smed started his personal journey at Ovako as a summer temp in 2010 - but Sebastian is actually the fourth generation in an unbroken line of the Smed family to work at Ovako in Hällefors. Ever since that summer, he has continued progressing within the company and in addition to his role as a process operator at the rolling mill, Sebastian is also a safety and union representative for IF Metall
Exhibitions and digital events
A series of trade shows for the engineering contracting industry has prompted us at Ovako to reflect on the value of meeting face to face. We joined the Alihankinta Subcontractor, Tampere in September, MSV International Engineering Fair in Brno in October and Wire in Dusseldorf in June and are currently planning for the Elmia Subcontractor fair in Sweden on 15 – 17 November.
We have merged our sales units covering Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltics to create a new unit serving customers in our home market of the Nordic and Baltic countries. The new team includes around 15 people in direct sales, as well as a further 40 at Ovako Metals in Tampere, Finland, which provides stock services for our own steel products, as well as stainless steel, copper and brass.
French industrial manufacturer BSA Groupe has boosted its efficiency by switching to Ovako’s SP-Bar as a raw material for peeled bar. BSA processes steel products and other alloys for manufacturers in the automotive, pharmaceutical, construction, aerospace, nuclear and defense industries.
Machinability of steel can have a big impact on the bottom line. By optimizing machine operations, a manufacturer can extend tool life, increase output and minimize waste.
RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
Thomas Björk, PhD, Group Technical Specialist, Ovako Sweden AB, outlines a recent research program that shows both recycled steel and ore-based steel are equally good as raw materials for automotive crankshafts.
In the high-stress and elevated temperature applications found in mechanical power transmission systems and engines, the choice of material for critical components makes a huge difference to performance, reliability and lifetime.
Wrecking bars are invaluable tools for prying apart objects and pulling out nails. Yet, despite its sturdy appearance, a poor-quality bar made from inferior material can snap unexpectedly under pressure, putting workers at risk. That’s why Hultafors, the Swedish hand tool maker, uses high-strength Ovako boron steel for its best quality wrecking bars. The benefit is not only in increased safety, it also enables Hultafors to produce wrecking bars with claws that are thin for great access but still really strong.
RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS
Aristotle said, “nature abhors a vacuum”. But our customers are loving the impact of vacuum treatment on the high-quality steel produced by our Smedjebacken mill in Sweden. This follows a €11 million investment in a Vacuum Tank Degassing (VTD) facility that started operation in the summer of 2020. It is the final piece of the jigsaw that enables Ovako to supply customers who need high-performance, reliable and cost-effective steel for demanding applications, especially in the automotive industry.
We have overcome travel restrictions during the pandemic by working digitally to achieve the annual quality management certifications for our mills. Maintaining certifications is essential for us to continue supplying our customers. Therefore, we have turned to web conferencing and video calls in place of the usual in-person approach.
RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS
In the tough environments of the mining, construction and agricultural industries, wear is a fact of life. However, with clever design and specification of wear resistant WR-Steel, engineers can design machines to withstand challenging conditions for longer. As a result, operators will get more life from their machines, reduce repair and maintenance spend, and avoid downtime.
Abrasive wear shortens the life of equipment in agriculture, construction, mining and other industries. When a machine experiences excessive wear, it has to come out of service and go for repair or be replaced completely.
Our Material Data Sheets (MDS) module is an important extension to Ovako’s digital Steel Navigator. With just a few clicks of a mouse it enables you to search a database of hundreds of steel grades to compare options and select the best steel for your specific application.
We have developed a unique online tool, called the Piston Rod Predictor, to compare the resistance of different steel grades to buckling in piston rod applications. The emphasis is on buckling because it is the key design consideration for hydraulic cylinders, especially in single-action, push-only applications.
RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS
Together with Linde Gas AB, Ovako have completed the world’s first successful full-scale trial in a production environment of using hydrogen to heat steel before rolling. The use of hydrogen in combustion would have a great positive effect on the environment since the only emission generated is water vapor.
Ovako has developed Hybrid Steel to merge the unique properties of tool steel, maraging steel and stainless steel into one high-performance steel grade that also offers the production economy of conventional engineering steels.
Steve Ooi is an Ovako Group R&D technical specialist based in England, at the University of Cambridge’s prestigious Maxwell Centre. We asked him to tell us about his background and to answer some questions about the particular benefits of Hybrid Steel.
Jan-Erik Andersson, Senior Group Technical Specialist, Ovako R&D answers our questions about the new Hybrid Steel family.
Sustainably-sourced steel can help OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) deliver climate-smart products and reduce their overall carbon footprint – and in turn attract environmentally conscious customers and respond to tightening legislation.
RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS
To make our steel strong, Ovako takes precise control of three key factors: 1. How the steel is cooled from its molten state 2. Its microstructure – the very small scale structure seen under a microscope 3. Its chemical composition – both the carbon content and other alloying elements