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Application Technology: 50 Years of Research and Development at thyssenkrupp Steel

Our Application Technology Center has been helping customers with innovative solutions to get the most out of their steel for 50 years.

Photos: thyssenkrupp Steel photograph

The name says it all: as thyssenkrupp Steel’s innovation lab,the Application Technology Center aims to do more than simply research, develop, and manufacture new steel materials and technologies – it also strives to ensure that the company’s customers get the most out of these developments.

This is achieved through analysis, design, experimentation, simulation, forming, joining, revision, correction, and industrialization. “As the technological backbone of everything our customers do, we can never stop questioning ourselves,” explains Dr. Lutz Keßler, Head of Application Technology.

Potential applications of steel

In keeping with this principle, employees in the Application Technology Center use their decades of processing experience to keep revising and improving the company’s products to incorporate the latest technological possibilities and ensure that they meet the standards required of the materials.

“Our expertise smooths the way for our customers, helping them with the practical use of our material in a way offered by no other steel manufacturer.” This process includes both in-depth, individual consulting and a holistic approach to the technological and financial concept – for customers in any industry.

Automotive application example: innovation drivers

Large-scale concept studies focusing on the topic of mobility always find their way into the spotlight. It doesn’t matter if it’s the NSB® NewSteelBody report published at the start of millennium, which was superseded by the InCar® Group-wide innovation package years later, or InCar®plus, which then followed one car generation later.

Crucially, none of these concepts is limited to a specific manufacturer, and the sample applications, proposed solutions, and processing recommendations they contain for innovative steel goods always offer scope for customization and scaling. One example of this is the selectrify® initiative, the company’s latest automotive electromobility concept.

We can never stop questioning ourselves.

Dr. Lutz Keßler, Head of Application Technology, thyssenkrupp Steel

“The automotive industry’s influence on technological development is unrivalled by any other sector,” Keßler explains. “Thanks to our technological expertise and consulting skills, we have acted as a development partner to this sector for years: We worked with Porsche on the first fully galvanized car body back in 1975, and were one of the first companies to switch to press hardening for our structural components.”

How will we use steel in the future?

“Never stand still and never stop thinking about tomorrow – or even the day after!”
That’s the Application Technology motto. You can’t change everything overnight – especially not with production cycles that run for several years at a time. thyssenkrupp Steel’s service as a provider of high-quality flat steel gives its customers new ideas and works with them closely to develop these concepts.

Over the last 50 years, the company has continued to actively evolve in terms of its own processes and products. The automotive industry is often the driving force behind innovations. But both the energy and the construction and packing sectors have also proven influential, be it in the areas of technology, design, or sustainability.

Our expertise helps our customers with the practical use of our material in a way offered by no other steel manufacturer.

Dr. Lutz Keßler, Head of Application Technology, thyssenkrupp Steel

As the decades have passed, the company has grown to become a technological expert that both produces and coats steel, working to order, and always showing its customers the best way to use and work the high-tech, flexible material.

Processes are also decisive when it comes to using steel

To this end, each of the Group’s business units has its own on-site Research and Development department. thyssenkrupp’s steel experts can adjust entire process chains, such as the production process used for hot forming at automotive pressing plants.

thyssenkrupp Steel’s Application Technology Center has helped a huge range of customers in a variety of industries and locations across Germany, from Duisburg and Dortmund to Gelsenkirchen, Bochum, Hohenlimburg, and Andernach.

The company has long since grown beyond its role as a producer of materials, and now also acts as a provider of solutions and services for its customers’ process and product development structures – right up to the series production stage.

Keep moving, keep questioning yourself, and keep evolving – that is the key to long term success. The best way to prepare for the future is to shape it yourself.

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