Materials

Steel treatment for the future

| Editor: Steffen Donath

In its XTP treatment process, Steeltec applies heat and mechanical force in a highly controlled manner to impart to the steel an extremely homogeneous, fine-grained microstructure.
In its XTP treatment process, Steeltec applies heat and mechanical force in a highly controlled manner to impart to the steel an extremely homogeneous, fine-grained microstructure. (Source: Steeltec)

A new treatment for steel promises improved toughness and greater strength. Steeltec's new XTP treatment aims to bring customers high-performance steel.

An ultrafine steel microstructure and improved material properties without the need for expensive alloying elements or complex additional heat treatment regimes — that is what Steeltec’s Xtreme Performance (XTP) Technology promises. Using this new technology, the bright steel producer Steeltec is able to modify standard steels to produce XTP-treated steels with improved toughness and greater strength — two properties that normally run counter to one another. Steeltec — a company within the Schmolz + Bickenbach Group — has developed a manufacturing technology that is providing its customers with the steels they need to meet the challenges of the future. Steeltec has now tested and demonstrated the effectiveness of its XTP Technology on 28 different steels in seven material groups.

Steels that have undergone Steeltec’s XTP treatment exhibit improved low-temperature toughness. Precipitation-hardened ferrite-pearlite steels can be used at temperatures down to - 60 °C, while bainite steels can cope with temperatures as low as - 100 °C. The low-temperature toughness of unalloyed steels can be improved by up to 30 %. As a result, Steeltec has enhanced the safety performance of steel components in low-temperature applications.

Compared with standard steels, XTP steels also show greater formability, while retaining their ability to undergo numerous different types of processing or machining operations, according to the company. Thanks to XTP Technology, steel fabricators in a wide range of sectors can continue to use their preferred steels, knowing that the properties of these materials have now been optimised to meet the demands of specific manufacturing processes or applications. Steeltec’s customers also benefit from lower production costs as they no longer need to perform additional heat treatment stages or to invest in expensive, high-alloy steels, which can now be replaced by low-alloy XTP steels offering the same performance advantages.

Thermomechanical process creates multifunctional steel

Launched in 2016, XTP Technology is a carefully controlled thermomechanical steel treatment process. By applying heat and mechanical force in a highly controlled manner, Steeltec is able to produce steel with an extremely homogeneous, fine-grained microstructure, the company explains. The result is a multifunctional steel whose properties can be tailored exactly to meet a customer’s specific application requirements. The predictions made at the beginning of the original research project indicated that XTP treatment would significantly improve the dynamic and mechanical properties of standard steels. These predictions have now been confirmed by tests carried out on 28 steels in seven material groups. XTP Technology enables Steeltec to provide companies in a wide range of industries — from the automotive and mechanical engineering sectors to medical engineering — with the high-performance steels they need for their future success.

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