SANDVIK: History of Stainless Steels
Previously, I have written about some of the energy applications Sandvik is involved in, but the overall objective for our work at strategic research is to continue the materials evolution. This, to a large extent, can be achieved by continuing to develop new problem-solving alloys.
Developing new alloys
It is perhaps not entirely clear to everyone, but out of a group of stainless steel companies collectively producing close to 40 million tons of stainless steel each year, only a handful develop new alloys and materials. Most produce a relatively small program of materials and adding a new alloy to their program involves waiting for a patent to expire and then making a “generic” version of another company’s development. Sandvik then, is unusual in its ambitions, and unique in terms of its product portfolio.
In order to continue the materials evolution, it is very important to remember where we are coming from. It is also quite fun to look back at some earlier stainless steel developments.