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NLMK Group R&D Center

> 4 500 m²

a laboratory area in which unique equipment is installed

> 50 employees

qualified high-class experts

> 1000 test

categories  

NLMK Group R&D Center is a modern science facility that can be referred to like facilities to be as good as the first-rate world research institutes.

R&D Center involves the units engaged in the following activities: classic metallurgy, chemical analysis, special analysis and fine structural researches, heat treatment, mechanical property testing, coating and characterization, welding and stamping, metallurgical process simulation. 


Global presence 

The main laboratory base for conducting research is located at the Lipetsk site of NLMK (Lipetsk, Russia), the competence center for computer modeling and development of premium coatings is located in La Louvier (Belgium). The R&D project office is located in Lipetsk and Moscow.

Belgium, La Louvière
— Coating process laboratory
Moscow
— Head office
— Project Office
Lipetsk
— Project Office
— Physical simulation laboratory
— Microstructure analysis laboratory
— Welding practice laboratory
— Material stamping and forming laboratory

History of development

R&D Center was established in 2019 but its science advancement history goes back to the early days of foundation of Novolopetsk Steel – a lead site of NLML Group. 

Nowadays, the R&D Center personnel employ physical material analysis and test techniques including transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, spectral analysis, and metallographic analysis methods. A wide variety of equipment is used for macro-, micro-, and nano-level testing. 

One of the basic R&D Center tasks is to create new types of high-performance products and to reduce ecological load factors within the areas in which NLMK Group operates.

Center work

Equipment

There are more than 40 units of the state-of-the-art high-precision equipment from the best world brands used by the company’s R&D Center.


Any in-depth studies can be conducted in the shortest possible time for developing new break-through items and technologies. Scores of prototypes can be created in the R&D Center laboratories with hundreds of steel heat and deformation treatment techniques tested.  

We say with pride that there is a creative crew of scientists and high-rate R&D Center equipment. A Talos F200i transmission electron microscope installed at the microstructure testing laboratory was the first one in the Russian Federation and in the CIS member states. Continuous annealing processes are simulated using a CAS unit (Japan) to be an exclusive one in the Russian Federation. A unique NLMK-developed complete cycle to simulate melting, hot and cold rolling, heat treatment, microstructure and properties characterization processes is a very basis for creating new materials capable to meet the most complicated customer’s requirements.  

Scientists

The research team consists of Russian and foreign scientists, as well as talented post-graduates and students

from Russia, Poland, Belgium, Italy, Spain and India possessing practical material development skills and steel production qualifications. 

Cooperation

R&D Center collaborates and works together with other leading facilities and research institutes in Russia and overseas in order to create new technologies and products.

NLMK Group is a vertically integrated metallurgical company in Russia and it is one of the most effective steel producers in the world. 

NLMK Group metal products find their market in various industries ranged from construction and mechanical engineering to power engineering and offshore wind engineering. 

There are NLMK business assets in Russia, Europe and in the USA. The company has the annual steel output exceeding 17 million tons. 

NLMK Group Corporate website

Design approach R&D

Stages of work

01
Idea

Every project, every new product is born out of an idea. Any project life cycle for creating a new product is based on computer simulation, prototyping, advanced tooling and sample testing techniques applicable prior to full-scale industrial equipment experiments.

The major R&D team task is to test new ideas and to transform them into finished NLMK Group products. This is done to reduce project implementation expenditure, to speed up development and adoption of solutions, as well as to reduce innovation activity risks.

Innovative company activity ideas come to the R&D Center idea bank through the main two-path route:

Customer inquiry for new product types / market trend analysis

Proper ideas and developments arising in the course of scientific and research activities

02
Initiation

For making any idea grow into a real product, both technical and business evaluation is required. For this reason, it is necessary to measure the maturity level of a technology, to test its implementability using existing equipment, to specify need for investment, to estimate economical effect, to plan a budget, to look for required competences, to involve associates, and to define speed of implementation. All ideas are to be tested and checked for compliance with the company strategy. On evaluating, every idea gains particular scores with all the projects classified to the common rating scale. The ideas gaining more scores are evaluated by the company experts to be thereafter taken for development — research activities are initiated.

03
Analytics and competitive environment analysis

The current R&D process analytics command accepts a primary task to collect and analyze data about the expected product and technology, as well as to identify key technological and applied-research trends. Specialists accumulate ideas, study subject patents and scientific publications, draw up so-called patent- and process-based landscapes, and consider for availability of proper technologies against similar competitive ones. Every technology can be followed by any ideas with reference to relevant source of information found in any particular stage. On analyzing articles, patents, grants, vacancies, press releases and other information, a common ground is finalized thus aiding to find lines of development to which our competitors and partners can give their preference.

04
Computer simulation

The R&D Center team can develop and improve any production process using computer simulation tools effectively, rapidly, and safely. Today, computer models make it possible to raise efficiency on different production levels, to develop optimal material properties and even new steel grades.

05
Physical simulation

The R&D Center specialists can reproduce any process throughout all lab-based technological phases — i.e. throughput an entire chemically graded steel production cycle — using a physically simulated process. The physical simulation laboratory team is engaged in practicing production of experimentally casted, hot- and cold-rolled and annealed steel samples measured for final steel mechanical characteristics.

06
Microstructure analysis

Physically simulated samples are studied by the microstructure analysis laboratory team. The team is specialized in testing physically simulated results and finalized the matter of compliance with customer demands.

07
Commercialization

Pilot production is initiated on existing equipment after laboratory approval.

08
New product

On gaining engineered product target values, the process concerned is checked for meeting specific requirements and then a new technology is commissioned for linear production. Thereafter, the project is considered terminated.
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