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  • Reaching new heights

Partnership between ArcelorMittal and PALFINGER extends to new continents and grades

International crane maker PALFINGER has further intensified its cooperation with ArcelorMittal. The relationship between the two companies began in 2014 and has been growing each year. By 2021, the volume of high strength steel (HSS) used by PALFINGER is expected to increase substantially. Driving the rise in demand is ArcelorMittal’s dimensional feasibility, willingness to explore new innovations, and our ability to match PALFINGER’s increasingly global footprint.

Over the past decade, ArcelorMittal’s range of Amstrong® and Amstrong® Ultra high strength steels has continued to grow. Equipment manufacturers have been actively exploring the increased strength and lightweighting potential of these steels. PALFINGER, for example, is now able to create cranes with up to 13 boom sections which can lift material 38 metres. This is a dramatic improvement on the four to five boom sections per crane which was the average in 2006.

ArcelorMittal’s wider coils allow PALFINGER to create longer booms

Better dimensional feasibility leads to higher cranes

One of the key advantages of ArcelorMittal’s HSS offer is the dimensional feasibility of the Amstrong® Ultra range. “ArcelorMittal can deliver quality coils and sheets with a larger width – up to 2000 mm – than other steelmakers,” notes Wolfgang Bachl, head of raw material purchasing at PALFINGER. “Wider coils allow PALFINGER to produce longer booms which increase the reach and payload of our cranes. With the introduction of advanced grades such as 1100 and 1300, we will be able to produce even longer booms with more reach.”

PALFINGER also utilise HSS steel plates to stabilise their cranes as Wolfgang Bachl explains: “ArcelorMittal already supplies us with Amstrong® 460 and Amstrong® Ultra 700 and 960 for this application. We’re looking to new developments with Amstrong® Ultra 1100 to make improvements in this area.”

ArcelorMittal and PALFINGER have worked closely on the development of the Amstrong® Ultra range for many years. “There is good collaboration between the technical teams from ArcelorMittal and PALFINGER,” notes Wolfgang Bachl. “We organise technical workshops together, and we are exploring the possibilities of innovative new grades which are still on the drawing board such as Amstrong® Ultra 1300 and 1500.”

Amstrong® Ultra 1300 offers manufacturers even higher strength than existing Amstrong® Ultra grades, but it doesn’t provide the full design freedom they need explains Wolfgang Bachl: “Steelmakers think in terms of two dimensions – typically rolling and transverse. But our knuckle-boom cranes must operate in three dimensions. We can address these issues through clever design, but we are also working with ArcelorMittal to improve the stiffness, weldability, formability, and toughness of these grades so they are an even closer fit with our needs. Steel has a great role to play in our innovation, and ArcelorMittal is one of the most innovative steelmakers we work with.”

Global cooperation

ArcelorMittal is also one of the only steelmakers that can match PALFINGER’s global footprint. Recently the crane maker started producing cranes in Brazil, and ArcelorMittal is supplying the plant with HSS grades such as Amstrong® Ultra 700. “It’s very important to have a local supplier of HSS in Brazil,” says Wolfgang Bachl. “If not, we would have to ship steel from Europe which would significantly increase our costs. And thanks to ArcelorMittal’s team, we have excellent quality in Brazil.”

“Technical support is provided locally in Brazil,” notes Jan De Moor, product manager for high strength and wear-resistant steels at ArcelorMittal. “However, our experts in South America can also request additional support and technical data from our mills in Europe.”

The cooperation between the two companies is set to continue as PALFINGER expands its global production Wolfgang Bachl notes: “It’s not so easy to follow PALFINGER, but ArcelorMittal already supplies our facilities in Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, and Slovenia. Within the next two years we also expect to be using ArcelorMittal steel to manufacture our cranes in Russia.”

PALFINGER employs around 11,000 people in its global network

ArcelorMittal supplies PALFINGER with a range of high strength steels from the Amstrong® and Amstrong® Ultra ranges

Steel has a great role to play in our innovation, and ArcelorMittal is one of the most innovative steelmakers we work with.

All images are © PALFINGER