Our R&D organization is made up of highly skilled competence centers forming a global network covering Hydro’s markets, products and production processes.
This broad reach allows us to provide a local presence and personal service to customers, operations and external R&D partners worldwide.
The highly experienced people in our R&D teams create a performance culture that is based on results and value creation, with an emphasis on reliability and customer service.
Our activities are strongly focused on core products and production processes, but we also cover broader topics, such as understanding the societal, technological and environmental requirements for sustainable development.
Our main R&D centers are in Årdal (primary aluminium technology) and Sunndal (alloys and casting) in Norway and Bonn in Germany (Rolled Products). The new joint venture Sapa has its own research centers.
The main focus areas of our competence center are:
Development and optimization of equipment and processes for a cost-effective and consistent quality production of casthouse products
Alloy development to improve the processability of casthouse products and to improve the end product properties
Optimized use of process- and post-consumer scrap in the recycling of aluminium
Casthouse and customer support, including training courses and seminars to secure performance improvement and customer satisfaction
Value chain R&D on Extrusion Ingot, Sheet Ingot and Foundry Alloys
Main R&D center for Recycling
We have extensive experience in developing equipment and processes for melt treatment and for DC casting of extrusion ingots, sheet ingots and foundry alloys.
Our materials expertise covers the materials response through the value chain; from the production of casthouse products to downstream processing, finished goods production and end product properties. Essential in the development and optimization of casthouse equipment and processes is the well-equipped production scale Reference Casting Center, handling 20 ton batches. Important tools are also custom-made mathematical models for DC casting and for melt purification.
We develop alloys for optimum process performance and end product properties. Knowledge of the metallurgical effects of each of the thermal and thermo mechanical processing steps makes it possible to tailor-make alloys that satisfy both demands of high productivity and the required functional properties.
A leading edge in alloy development is secured by:
More than 30 years of R&D in the field of metallurgy and materials technology
Well-equipped laboratories (casting equipment, metallographic lab, materials testing, physical process simulation and processing equipment
Custom made models for calculation of microstructure and mechanical properties
Large networks with international universities and institutes
The competence center recycling activities are focused on:
Characterization, sorting and upgrading of scrap
Optimized use of available scrap (development of modelling tools)
Energy consumption and emissions
Environment and sustainability
Melt treatment and refining
Scrap market information and modelling
Economic aspects of sourcing, logistics and blending
As scrap becomes an ever more important metal source, the need for Hydro Aluminium to investigate technologies and processes for scrap handling and logistics grows as well.
Casthouse operations (remelting, melt treatment, casting) and alloy development are key issues in the recycling of aluminium. The recycling activities benefit from the high level of competence established within the Competence Center in these areas.
Our competence center offers technical support programs for casthouses and their customers. These activities are important both for performance improvement in the casthouses and in the downstream processing. Customized training programs are offered in fields such as:
Process parameters and their effects on operations and product quality
A comprehensive international network of universities and institutes ensures high quality of scientific work and recruitment of well-qualified staff members.
ContactsHans Erik Vatne
With more than 40 years of experience, the Primary Metal Technology group (PMT) serves as the competence center for primary aluminium. Our technologists work to improve the anode quality through optimum utilisation of raw materials and process optimisation, and the efficiency of the aluminium reduction processes through process optimisation and technology development.
Today, we are in the forefront of the development of both aluminium reduction and carbon technology, and our environmental technology, designed for aluminium electrolysis cells, is considered to be among the best of the world.
We focus on continually strengthening our competence in process modelling and control. This, combined with our laboratory facilities, our test centers, equipped with full-scale aluminium reduction cells, and field activities in all Hydro smelters, enables us to play a vital role in creating Hydro's position as a leading-edge innovator.
We work in close cooperation with leading international institutions and universities to support the activities of Hydro's plants and to provide our customers with the best possible service.
The Primary Metal Technology group for Aluminum Metal is located at the Hydro smelters in Årdal, Norway, and Neuss, Germany, and the Research Park in Porsgrunn, Norway.
Many products from one versatile process
We focus on the development of advanced rolled products for sheet and foil, which are predominantly used in the automotive, building, engineering, packaging, printing, and heat transfer industries.
We achieve results by relying on broad expertise in wrought aluminium materials and surfaces, applications, manufacturing processes, and downstream processing.
Our work is ably supported by numerous state-of-the-art labs and semi-scale production facilities, utilizing the most advanced methods, such as computational modeling and simulation. The ultimate goal is to precisely serve our rolling plants and their final customers.
We seek continuous improvement in our core competencies by relying on a powerful network of internal experts as well as renowned scientific partners in many countries. The Rolling competence center is based at two of Hydro's aluminium R&D centers - Bonn, Germany and Karmøy, Norway.
Materials and Product Development
Aluminium and its alloys offer a variety of unique properties in rolled products:
- Well ductile but stable
- Multi-functional surface treatable
- Corrosion resistant
We are highly experienced in optimizing material properties. Beyond that, we feel constantly challenged to innovate and make wider use of functionally advanced, thinner, lighter, or stronger aluminium in final products. Striving for new applications is supported by our skilled FE modeling capabilities.
Our well-equipped technical lab facilities enable us to conduct material and product developments along the full process chain. By semi-scale thin strip casting or DC rolling ingot casting, followed by hot rolling, cold rolling and annealing, we are able to produce sheet materials ready for first application tests. For material characterization and further development, there are a number of highly experienced laboratories at Bonn and Karmøy:
- Metallography and electron optics
- Mechanical testing
- Etching, surface conversion and finishing
- Sheet metal forming
- Joining and brazing
- Corrosion testing
Manufacturing and downstream processes, from thin strip casting or hot rolling via strip surface finishing, to sheet forming at our customers’ location - we have built up extensive know-how in support of our customers. Close project collaboration with field operations enables us to constantly grow our expertise.
Specific processing parameters for strip casting, hot and cold rolling, cladding, heat treatment and strip processing; optimization of coolants and lubricants, characterization of chemical process agents; and consultancy in joining and sheet forming. Our R&D results contribute to best practice processing at optimum cost, for best quality products.
Especially hot rolling is a key process for our products, with the material's inner structure and strength formed during this operation greatly determining final product properties and performance in their applications.
We are consistently focusing on achieving customized sheet properties for advanced applications, by developing suitable thermo-mechanical process parameters to control the desired microstructure and texture.