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Technology

Technology and R&D

Technology and R&D

 

Viohalco’s portfolio includes dedicated research, development and innovation (‘R&D&I’) companies and centres within its subsidiaries. These centres support sustainable growth through the development of innovative and high value-added products, efficient solutions for the optimization of industrial and business processes and the research into the environmental performance of their manufacturing plants.

At the forefront of technological developments, Viohalco companies promote on-going R&D&I, develop innovative solutions, and maintain strategic partnerships with scientific bodies, international research centres, and other pioneering companies around the world. 

Viohalco companies invest in cutting edge factory lines and constantly upgrade existing lines to remain competitive in the global market. Experienced engineers enhance the performance, effectiveness and capabilities of the lines beyond manufacturers’ expectations.

Through on-going research and industrial processes technology optimization, Viohalco companies’ engineers strengthen their product portfolios with innovative solutions. 

Guided by the needs of customers, the companies select and apply engineering skills and new technology to their manufacturing processes. 

Viohalco’s dedicated research, development, and innovation (‘R&D&I’) companies and in-house production plant R&D&I departments focus on: 

• developing new and high value added products

• providing efficient solutions to optimize business and industrial processes

• improving the efficiency and environmental performance of plants

• developing innovative applications for industry, energy, and environment (including pioneering solutions in the fields of ERP, CRM, BI, traceability and others).

 

Viohalco companies cooperate with scientific entities and prominent international research centres, including:

• Manchester University, UK

• IEHK, Institut für Eisenhüttenkunde, RWTH Aachen, Germany

• Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

• University of Ghent, Belgium

• European Pipeline Research Group (EPRG) 

• TWI – The Welding Institute, UK

• Institut für Korrosionsschutz in Dresden, Germany

• SINTEF Energy Research, Norway

• NTUA - National Technical University of Athens, Greece

• University of Ioannina, Greece

• University of Patras, Greece

• University of Thessaly, Greece

• Technical University of Crete, Greece

• Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

• Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

• Piraeus University of Applied Sciences, Greece

• Technological Education Institute of Central Macedonia, Greece

• Technological Educational Institute of Thessaly, Greece

• NCSR Demokritos, Greece

 

Viohalco companies also participate in various European industrial research programs and associations:

• European Aluminium Association (EAA)

• European Copper Institute (ECI)

• International Wrought Copper Council, (IWCC)

• CEN/TC 133/EC Copper and Copper Alloys-Editing committee 

• CEN/TC 133/WG1 Unwrought copper products

• CEN/TC 133/WG3 Copper tubes (installation and industrial)   

• European Coil Coating Association (ECCA)

• European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA)

• European Steel Association  (EUROFER) 

• European association representing metallurgical slag producers and processors (EUROSLAG)

• European Welding Association (EWA)

• Industrial by-Products Research and Development Association (EVIPAR)

• Federation of recycling and energy recovery industries and enterprises (SEPAN)

 

To gain new expertise in emerging technologies and keep up to date with best practice, Viohalco companies maintain long-term partnerships with global leaders, such as:

• United Aluminium Company of Japan (UACJ Corp.)

• Mitsubishi

• Daido Steel Co

• Viscas Corporation

• Automatic Wire Machines Spa 

• GMH Gruppe Georgsmarienhuette

 

Demonstrating commitment to innovation, the Viohalco companies’ technology and R&D centres have a strong track record of success, producing solutions that allow the companies to manufacture and market specialised and competitive products. 

The segment’s activities are supported by three companies:

1) Elkeme Hellenic Research Centre for Metals S.A.

2) Teka Systems S.A.

3) Praksys S.A. 

 

The R&D&I work of the Viohalco companies’ technology departments is as follows:

 
Elval Technology Centre: develops customised alloys, highly resistant special products with non-skid properties, extra flat sheets with top-quality lacquer-coatings, products made of 100% recycled aluminium and deep drawing and extrusion products. 
 
Symetal Technology Department: develops technologies that introduce and ensure innovative surface design and enhanced mechanical characteristics. These technologies allow high aluminium foil affinity control for laminates and coatings, as well as flawless forming. Symetal also focuses on the development of battery foil, which is used in the automotive rechargeable batteries industry. Symetal Battery Foil (SBF) resides at the core of Li-ion batteries, as one of its core electrodes. The technical and quality requirements for such a product are extremely high. At the same time, the reduction of rolled aluminium thickness to as low as 11 microns, allows next generation batteries to achieve a significant increase in the amount of energy stored. SBF special alloying and innovative production process is the result of extensive testing with established European rechargeable battery cells manufacturers.
 

Elval Colour R&D department: in collaboration with architects and material suppliers the department develops colours through identification and experimentation to create new pigments, innovative surfaces and designs. The department also digitizes colour measurement for quality control; develops coating technologies in cooperation with equipment and coating suppliers to investigate coating processes that are more environmentally and consumer-friendly, consume less energy and contain lower or no VOCs; develops polymer compounds for faster productivity and higher fire-resistance, and explores material recyclability and material functionality. It also develops in-house and in-joint R&D projects, and new methods for the identification and analysis of material long-term performance. Elval Colour participates in numerous ongoing projects with universities relating to material performance evaluation methods, market research, and the long-term impact of coating materials on the environment. It also participates in European Technical Committees for standards’ publications and updates.  

Halcor Tube Heat Transfer laboratory (located within Halcor’s Oinofyta plant): is where Talos® Inner-Groove Tubes (IGT) and Talos® ACR tubes are manufactured in line with international standards and customer specifications. IGT seamless copper tubes feature internal grooves which significantly enhance the amount of heat transfer. Typical applications of IGT copper tubes include fin-and-tube condensers and evaporator coils for air-conditioning, refrigeration, chiller, and heat-pump applications. Halcor's production technology for Talos® IGT copper tubes enables the manufacture of advanced innergroove designs in a complete range of sizes, from 16mm outside diameter down to the latest microgroove™ tubes with an outside diameter of 5mm or less. Halcor is one of the few manufacturers in the world with this capability. 
 

Sofia Med Product and Process Development Department (Technology Department): The main responsibilities of the department include developing new products, establishing the methods for producing the highest quality material at the lowest possible cost, maintaining the highest level of quality, providing excellent customer service and successfully homologating new customers.

A team of highly skilled engineers uses advanced software tools and modern testing facilities to conduct applied research focusing on product development, innovation, redesign/optimization of existing products. Additionally, it provides technical support to three industrial units, two in Greece and one in Romania. These efforts further empower Hellenic Cables' broader strategy for more sustainable products with less environmental impact. At the same time, it enhances internationally the technological profile of Hellenic Cables through the uninterruptible participation of the R&D department's engineers in technical committees of the cable industry (CIGRE, IEC) as well as through the continuous publication of innovative ideas in scientific journals with high impact factor and peer-reviewed conferences.
Beyond the R&D personnel, Hellenic Cables has several state-of-the-art testing laboratories in its factories. Particularly, at the Oinofyta compounding plant, there is the testing polymer laboratory. The main focus of the laboratory is the development of new recipes for non-conductive cable components, chemical analysis and identification of raw materials, with emphasis on quality control and thorough analysis of polymers for underground high and extra-high voltage cables as well as submarine cables. The laboratory is also involved in the research and development of new plastic and elastomer compounds. In addition, the cable production plants have also testing laboratories with a full range of testing equipment, capable of carrying out complete mechanical and electrical tests of products in accordance with international standards.
 
Etem Centre: develops, simulates and homologates heat treatable aluminium alloys and relative customized extrusion, and heat treatment processes, press lines and tooling for application to automotive end use parts. Together with Global Automotive OEM and Tier1 it co-develops and homologates tailored product solutions for specific performance requirements (namely crash behaviour, weight reduction, formability, corrosion resistance, post joining process requirements). The Centre designs, develops, simulates, and homologates product-specific processes, customized machinery, tooling and quality controls across processes and in laboratories, to meet specific quality, safety, volumes and cost requirements. Through R&D efforts and collaborations, Etem has become a Tier 2 and Tier 1 supplier to the automotive industry, certified to produce aluminium profiles and parts for crash relevant systems.
 
Corinth Pipeworks R&D Centre: optimises a large array of pipe manufacturing and coating processes by (a) continuous internal trial productions and (b) modelling of specific processes, aiming to develop products for extreme applications (e.g. sour service, offshore, high strain applications such as reeling); improves working range to achieve enhanced product uniformity and broaden each mill’s production range; develops advanced destructive, corrosive and non-destructive specialised testing techniques providing state-of-the-art solutions.