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Frequently asked questions about our research and development activities

Frequently asked questions

Do you own any research facilities?

We have 11 research centres across the world with 1,300 full-time researchers. These centres are in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg, Spain, and the US.

What are your research interests?

Our research activities are focused in seven key areas: automotive, packaging, construction, energy and other industry markets, long products, plates, and process R&D. We aim to:

  • develop products that create value for customers and expand the use of ArcelorMittal’s steels worldwide;
  • improve ArcelorMittal’s competitiveness by developing new industrial processes – and optimising existing ones – to reduce cost and improve quality;
  • contribute to sustainable development by reducing the environmental impact of products and processes;
  • continuously upgrade ArcelorMittal’s scientific knowledge and attract technical talent.
What is your annual investment in research?

In 2012, the research and development team spent US$ 285m in three main business fields: research into products and steel solutions; process research; and technical assistance to the plants.

How do your research projects support other parts of the business?

Our R&D is highly business-oriented, with a focus on products that enhance customer value and expand the use of ArcelorMittal’s steels worldwide, and industrial processes that improve business efficiency. For each project, we work closely with other functions of the company to understand customer and business needs and deliver satisfactory results. The overarching aim of our research is to realise ArcelorMittal’s innovation and technological ambitions.

Do you offer research support to your customers?

For example, our R&D engineers work with carmakers throughout the lifecycle of their products to develop automotive steel products and solutions that are stronger yet lighter than existing materials.

Do you work with other research centres and universities?

ArcelorMittal has a wide network of scientific and academic partners that help us meet the ever-growing demand of worldwide customers, continuously upgrade ArcelorMittal’s scientific knowledge and attract technical talent. At present, we have around 50 official partnerships, and enlist the support of new entities on a case-by-case basis.

We have long-term partner universities in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and the US. We also have partner laboratories integrated in universities in Belgium, Canada, France, Spain and the US. Our partner centres, which can be private or public but are not integrated in a university, are located in Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain.

Our R&D team is a part of several thematic international scientific networks, which help us to collaborate with external experts in important fields, such as steel construction, steel forming and physical metallurgy.

Also, some of our researchers regularly present lectures at technical colleges and engineering schools.

Steelmaking is a carbon-intensive industry. Do you address this issue in your research?

We are putting our industry-leading research and development (R&D) expertise behind the drive for more sustainable construction and manufacturing. As a result, all our new products are now developed with energy and resource efficiency in mind. There is also a dedicated team to evaluate our processes and products using life cycle assessment methodology. This analyses carbon emissions at every stage in the life of a piece of steel from mining and processing to use, recycling and eventual disposal. We also have a growing presence in green energy by making specific steels for wind turbines, construction and fuel-efficient cars.

For industry-wide initiatives, we are one of the leading players in the EU-sponsored Ultra-Low CO2 Steelmaking project, or ULCOS. We’re working with 48 other companies across Europe to reduce the carbon produced by steelmaking by 30-70% by the year 2050.

What are your significant achievements in research?

A research focus for us has been to develop steel products for lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles, without compromising their safety. Over two years of research, we successfully developed S-in motion, a range of 60 steel solutions for 43 parts of the basic C-segment vehicle, known as the compact car in North America or the small family car in Europe. The carbon emissions from the optimised S-in motion car are reduced by 19% during production and by 13% on the road.

Another research focus for us is steel for greener buildings. The development of Histar® jumbo beams is a major accomplishment in this area. By substituting common steel with high-strength Histar® steel, the weight of steel columns and beams is reduced by about 30%, and consequently costs are lower. The lighter structures enable savings in greenhouse gases, with 30% reduction in carbon emissions during construction.

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