RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT & LABS
INNOVATION IS OUR PHILOSOPHY
Special steel is the material of the future. But completely new types of materials—even purer, harder, tougher, and stronger will play an important role in our high-technology world of tomorrow. Some of them have already successfully taken hold in the market. Others are currently being developed and tested in our labs.
Innovation is a tradition at BÖHLER and has always been a core part of the company's strategy. More than 300 patents at home and abroad are proof of the performance of our research and development department.
The specialist laboratory facility located at our UK Head Office and warehouse facility in Oldbury, allows the rapid testing of samples to our customer specifications. For example, chemical analysis, tensile, charpy and micro examination can be done onsite.
The UK Lab is supported directly by our Mill on following:
Our modern chemistry labs provide the production facilities with important information for process control, product certification, and environmental monitoring.
To determine the composition of metal and non-metal materials such as steel, nonferrous alloys, raw materials, and ancillary products from special steel production, we use inorganic chemical analysis methods.
Process analysis and solids analysis
Tasks: Analysis of solid samples with the goal of shorter response times with maximum precision and accuracy.
Methods: X-ray and spark spectrometry, as well as combustion analysis and melt extraction.
Tasks: Trace analysis for process samples and identification of the main and secondary components for difficult matrices, provision of certified calibration samples and reference materials for solids analysis, specialized raw-material and waste analyses, and analysis of environmentally relevant samples.
Methods: Classical wet-chemistry analysis methods combined with cutting-edge optical spectrometry, mass spectrometry, and chromatography.
Tasks: Corrosion testing of steels and alloys.
Methods: Various methods conforming to international standards and specific regulations for testing resistance to general erosive corrosion, intercrystalline corrosion, stress fracture corrosion, pitting corrosion - including electrochemical test methods.
Mechanical and technological materials testing
Tasks: Determining mechanical parameters.
Methods: Performing tensile, hot-tensile, notched-bar impact, and stress rupture testing, as well as hardness testing per Brinell, Rockwell, and Vickers on steel and nonferrous alloys in compliance with international standards and regulations.
Tasks: Determining microstructure parameters of samples and components—including sample preparation, etching, and photo documentation—according to inspection standards and customer specifications.
Methods: Determining structure, grain size, and purity level, decarburization, etc.
Tasks: Heat treatment of samples and components according to the requirements of our customers.
Methods: Heating in lab furnaces monitored by the system, in both air and vacuum, supplementary salt baths and sub-zero treatments for residual austenite transformation. Water and oil are available as quenching media.
Metallurgical & physical lab
Tasks: Performing hot-forming simulations, differential thermal analyses and dilatometric testing, heat-treatment and forming simulations, creating TTT and TTA charts, sub-zero simulations, determining linear expansion coefficients, and investigating recrystallization and precipitation processes.
Methods: Material and damage analyses of microstructure samples and fractures, as well as qualitative analysis of non-metallic inclusions using scanning electron microscopy, measuring physical properties of materials such as testing magnetically soft materials, stress and strain analyses using strain gages, and X-ray diffraction analyses (residual austenite, phase analysis).
"In order to provide our customers with the best possible solutions at all times, we continuously develop and optimize our products and processes."
The basis for this are our highly qualified researchers and a global network of expertise. It includes numerous cooperative efforts with national and international universities, technical colleges, and research centres, as well as close development partnerships with key customers from a wide range of business segments.
Our research and development program is concentrated primarily on expanding our core competencies in tool steels, high-speed steels, and highly technical specialty materials. Product and process development are at its core, targeted to meet market expectations and changing customer needs in an economical manner.
Efficient implementation of this program is supported by the application and development of computer-aided material and alloy development simulations, mathematical simulation of production and processing steps, and physical simulation of material behaviours during production and in components.