Solid customer relationships and innovative products

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AMAG’s research strategy aims to enhance competitiveness through developing customer-specific solutions to problems, as well as dedicated special products, thereby making important contributions to its growth strategy.

A high level of specialisation, state-of-the-art production technologies and farreaching digitalisation play an important role in this context. R&D activities also include optimisation of material properties and efficient materials deployment. AMAG focusses here on collaborating with key customers from technologically challenging sectors with high Innovation potential (e.g. automotive, aviation).

Innovation

AMAG's innovation and R&D activities are the driving force behind greater competitiveness and the development of customer-specific solutions as part of its strategy of profitable growth. Many of the product innovations directly or indirectly address current and global social and ecological topics such as fossil resource shortage, recycling, climate change and mobility. AMAG focuses especially on solutions enabling closed loop concepts with customers, reducing environmental impact (e.g. lightweight design components) and offering new and improved application potential.

Research partnerships range from basic research and conventional contract research to specific product development. AMAG supports Bachelor’s and Master’s degree projects and dissertations, partners with the Christian Doppler Laboratory and participates in several COMET centres of excellence (Materials Center Leoben, Pro2Future, AC²T). Last but not least, an endowed professorship at the University of Leoben is being financed and work is ongoing in several working groups throughout Europe in the materials development area. Such measures serve to develop both expertise and personnel.
Further partnerships exist with the University of Leoben, the technical universities of Vienna and Graz, ETH Zürich, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Johannes Kepler University Linz, LKR Light Metals Centre of Excellence in Ranshofen, the FELMI-ZFE Institute for Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalytics – Austrian Centre for Electron Microscopy, Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg, COMET centres Pro²Future and Materials Center Leoben, and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf.

Central measures in the innovation area are:

 

  • Collaboration with institutes in projects lasting several years and expansion of the scientific network
  • Continuous promotion of dissertation candidates to tie them to the Group for the long term
  • Developing specialty products and efficient production processes
  • Tapping new applications for AMAG products
  • Driving digitalisation (automation, simulation, data exchange, statistical analyses within the framework of Big Data, tracking)
  • Certification to further international standards
  • Extending the value chain (e.g. mechanical processing)
  • Science and technology advisory board: Implementation of recommendations
  • AMAG Innovation Award for 2020
  • New research centre opened on schedule

In the 2020 financial year, the AMAG Group’s research and development expenditures amounted to EUR 14.6 million (2019: EUR 15.5 million), of which EUR 14.1 million was in Ranshofen (2019: EUR 15.2 million). A total of 148 employees (December 31 reporting date/individuals) were involved in R&D and innovation assignments in 2020 (2019: 155 employees).

Customer relationship & consistent customer orientation

Customer expectations are crucial to AMAG’s product development, service and quality assurance.

Accordingly, AMAG has set itself the goal of further deepening its understanding of customer requirements and customer relations. The company thereby aims to improve its processes and Performance and to prove compelling to customers through excellent service. AMAG’s customers are active in various industries, such as the transport industry with a focus on the aviation and automotive sectors, the construction and mechanical engineering industry, the sporting goods and electronics industry and the packaging industry, as well as renewable energy generation. Sustainable long-standing customer relationships create a trusting basis for collaboration and the expansion of business relationships.

AMAG works closely with customers on new product development. Such ongoing development work and the long-term nature of the partnerships concerned thereby form the basis for the company’s sustainable growth.

One frequently declared objective of customers is for products with the smallest possible CO2 footprintor energy investment. As recycling delivers energy savings of up to 95 % by comparison with primaryaluminium, it also holds great potential for reducing CO2. Commanding more than 30 years' experienceof recycling and materials know-how, AMAG is capable of delivering the highest possible percentageof scrap for comparable performance, thereby helping its customers to achieve optimumresults. Thanks to the existing technological process chain and expertise, ranging from samples andscrap preparation to the highly technical melting of contaminated scrap, AMAG produces high-qualityproducts with a high recycling content.

AMAG’s special strength lies in its employees’ creative potential and commitment. The continuous improvement process (CIP) gives them the opportunity to play an active role in shaping working processes. If the employees’ suggested improvements are implemented successfully, they receive bonuses based on the proposals’ net benefit. This actively promotes a culture of change and constant improvement.

 

A total of 10,272 suggestions for improvements were submitted in 2020. The implementation rate stood at 76 %.

 

When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, all CIP meetings and workshops had to be heavily curtailed from March 2020, which led to a noticeable decline in the suggestions for improvements. The resumption of CIP meetings and workshops subject to the specified safety measures in the CIP centre was not able to wholly make up for the collapse in suggestions.

Since the 2017 reporting year, we have published a summarized non-financial statement in our management report, thereby fulfilling our reporting obligation in accordance with the Sustainability and Diversity Improvement Act (NaDiVeG). It summarizes the essential information for AMAG on the five required aspects of environmental issues, employee issues, social issues, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery.

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