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

Responsibility for the coordination of research, development and technology of the individual companies lies with the Corporate Technology department, whose management reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer. The department is responsible for the development and implementation of the R&D strategy, cooperation with (non-)university research institutes, the new and further development of products and processes, application-oriented materials development and the IP strategy for the screening, safeguarding and exploitation of intellectual property. The operating companies also have their own technology areas. The focus in the casthouse is on recycling, metallurgy, metal analysis and casting technologies. In the rolling mill, focus areas include sector-specific materials and product development, process optimisation and materials inspection.

This accredited testing centre with departments consisting of metallography/physics, surface technology, chemical analysis, environmental measurement, and materials inspection, delivers not only the test results, but also the data necessary for assessing R&D test results.

Research partnerships range from basic research and conventional contract research to specific product development. AMAG supports bachelor, master and dissertation projects, is a partner in the Christian Doppler Laboratory and participates in several COMET expertise centres (Materials Center Leoben, Pro2Future, AC²T). Last but not least, an endowed professorship at the University of Leoben is being financed and work is being done 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 Zurich, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Johannes Kepler University Linz, LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum, the FELMI-ZFE Institute for Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalytics – Austrian Centre for Electron Microscopy, Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg, the COMET centres Pro²Future and Materials Center Leoben, and the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf.

Central measures in the innovation area are:

  • Partnerships with institutes in multi-year projects and expansion of the scientific network
  • Continuous development of dissertation candidates to foster long-term relationships
  • Developing special products and efficient production processes
  • Tapping new applications for AMAG products
  • Driving digitalisation forward (automation, simulation, data exchange, statistical analyses within the framework of Big Data, tracking)
  • Qualification of new plants and processes
  • Certification according to further international standards
  • Extending the value chain (e.g. mechanical processing)
  • Science and technology advisory board: Implementation of recommendations

The activities in the digitalisation area were further intensified in order to strengthen customer, supplier and employee relationships through the "digital partner experience".

The strategic thrust in the digitalisation area has been summarised in a Digitalisation Compass. It comprises the three goals of "operational excellence", "product leadership" and "proximity to part- ners" with eight defined action areas. With sustainability functioning as the overall guiding concept, all digitalisation activities must deliver economic, ecological and social benefits.

In particular, the expansion of the data infrastructure ("predictive management" action area) with the help of Big Data solutions contributes to the efficient storage, preparation and processing of large volumes of data in the production area. This allows process limits to be better set and negative influ- ences to be counteracted in a targeted manner, leading to more stable processes and lower product tolerance fluctuations. Further Information: AluReport 03/2019

AMAG digitalisation compass

In the 2019 financial year, the AMAG Group’s research and development expenditures amounted to EUR 15.5 million, of which EUR 15.2 million was spent in Ranshofen (2018: EUR 15.1 million). In 2019, a total of 155 employees (as of the December 31 reporting date/individuals) were engaged in R&D and innovation activities. This corresponds to an increase of 10 % compared to the previous year (2018: 141 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.

The integrated Ranshofen site with its rolling mill and casthouse, combined with a primary metal base secured through the interest held in the Alouette smelter in Canada, enables AMAG to respond quickly and flexibly to customer needs.

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 14,629 proposals for improvements were submitted in 2019, of which around 77 % were implemented. A major focus in 2019 was placed on the theme of proposal quality, and a Guideline for ideas management was created.

Focus workshops were held on the topics of quality and energy saving as well as energy efficiency. Other CIP topics in 2019 included waste elimination, the further development of CIP Standards, occupational safety and resource efficiency.

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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