Research and development
Decades of experience with plants and equipment for processing of carbon steel and stainless steel strip.
The ANDRITZ METALS research activities focus both on tailor-made solutions for customers and innovative products and tools to meet the needs of the market.
ANDRITZ METALS runs its own research facilities and pilot plants, where performance tests and analyses of different product characteristics are carried out and processes are developed further, particularly taking the synergies between different process steps, such as annealing, pickling, and rolling of strip, into account.
Another focus is energy saving by using waste energy to drive other processes, for instance waste heat from the annealing furnace is used to evaporate effluents. Environmentally friendly plants are a top priority, and our development goals are directed towards emission-free plant processes.
Recycling processes and process optimizations are the focus of sustainable innovations by ANDRITZ METALS. The business area has developed a new mini secondary copper smelter for recycling of electronic scrap (mainly from computers and cell phones). Only some 15-20% of the electronic scrap collected worldwide is recycled to date in large-scale smelters, with the rest going to landfill or being incinerated. Due to the low investment costs, the new ANDRITZ METALS technology enables more customers to recycle copper alloys and refine the copper scrap, while also recycling non-precious and precious metals.
In order to reduce energy consumption and optimize product quality, ANDRITZ METALS is also working on the development of an automatic control system for continuous annealing furnaces used in the production process for sheet steel. The aim of this project is to achieve fully automatic control of furnace operations. Implementation of the automated mechanism allows precise temperature control, which enhances the properties of the final product and reduces energy losses substantially.
Another project is pursuing the goal of achieving a higher zinc recycling rate from steel scrap and providing zinc-free steel scrap for high-quality applications in the foundry industry. The energy used and the associated CO2 emissions are much lower compared to the established processes. This innovative process technology for dezincing of steel scrap from processing of thin sheet in the automotive industry is based on leaching with sulfuric acid. The dissolved zinc in the form of zinc sulfate can be further processed in zinc smelters and in the chemical industry. The zinc-free steel scrap contains less than 3% residual zinc and is a high-quality raw material for foundry applications. The project has already been tested successfully in collaboration with the Technical University in Clausthal, Germany, and it is planned to implement the process for the first time in 2014 in the form of a demonstration plant at the Volkswagen press shop in Emden, Germany.