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Review of activities 2014/15

Text OCAS team, Wright Communications Editor Katrien Meseure Graphic Design Big Boom Photography Fillip Erkens & Taisia Migov (p. 8-9), Marc Vanderschueren (p. 12), Nele Van Steenberge (p. 14), With the courtesy of the Belgian Welding Institute (p. 16), Xavier Veys (p. 18), With the courtesy of Tosçelik (p. 24), Alexandre Van Sintejan (p. 26), Katrien Meseure (p. 32), Jeroen Van Wittenberghe (p. 42), Jeroen Op de Beeck (p. 46, 62, 72, 123-125), Ansbert De Cleene (p. 50), Reza Hojjati Talemi (p. 54), Roger Hubert (p. 56, 66, 74, 110, 116), With the courtesy of beSteelŽ (p. 76), Johan Verlee (p. 88), With the courtesy of Expanite (p. 94), The VIP Factory (p. 106), Jacques Van den Berghe (p. 123-125), Michel Vermeulen (p. 123-124), Architect OCAS Zelzate building: Samyn and Partners (p.123-125). Responsible Publisher Sven Vandeputte, Managing Director OCAS, Pres. J.F. Kennedylaan 3, 9060 Zelzate - Belgium Disclaimer Although care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in the activity report 2014-2015 is meticulous, correct and complete, OCAS nv cannot give any guarantee, either explicitly or implied, as regards to the accuracy, precision and/or the completeness of the aforementioned information. OCAS nv as well as it directors, management, employees and appointees in the broadest sense possible, therefore assume no responsibility, and shall in no event be held liable, for any direct, indirect, special or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of or in connection with the use of this information, nor for any infringement of third party intellectual property rights which may result from its use. 2



Foreword 7


Introduction............................................................................10 Offshore wind turbines can wear lighter jackets to save costs...12 It takes seamless support to resist sour service........................14 Passing welding pre-qualification with flying colours − and in record time.....................................................................16 Modelling support brings trial without error to the plate mill.......18 Predicting pipe properties.........................................................20 Filling the gap...........................................................................22 Added-value involvement in TANAP project..............................24 Tailoring microstructures to optimise costs for linepipe steels....26 From linepipe to pipeline...........................................................28 Cracking our brains to control HIC and SSC.............................30 Setting the standard for future linepipe grades..........................32 Taking the strain out of spiral-welded pipes..............................34 Simulating the complex welding and brazing processes...........36 Stay cool..................................................................................38 Plug away at modelling electrical steel grades..........................40 Raising numerical modelling up to the sealing...........................42



Introduction............................................................................44 What in the world should we wear?..........................................46 Making the grade… wear-resistant and formable......................48 Upscaling of hard chrome plating technology based on ionic liquid technology..............................................................50 The art of energy absorption.....................................................52 Bending can be fatiguing..........................................................54 Next generation S700MC products: where coil meets plate properties.............................................56 Quenching & tempering the market’s thirst for ultra-highstrength steels..........................................................................58 Intermetallic compounds for intergalactic strength....................60 Magnificent Magnelis®..............................................................62 No need to take off your MASC................................................64 Brushing up surface cleanliness................................................66




Introduction............................................................................68 CARing for tomorrow’s green mobility solutions........................70 The market is Ready-to-Paint®..................................................72 Thin glass coating − a green solution that comes in a variety of colours................................................................74 Extending the high-strength cold-rolled offer.............................76 Co-engineering off the shelf......................................................78 Ultra-high-strength enables environmentally-friendlier applications..............................................................................80


Technical Support & Services and Business Development


Introduction............................................................................82 Fast and reliable support..........................................................84 Making steel corrosion-proof....................................................86 EMTEC − driving the roadmap for engineering projects............88 Benefits of joining forces...........................................................90 Maximising the return for all stakeholders.................................92 Finindus − sustainable investment............................................94 Open to walking new − and more complex − paths with our customers.........................................................96 Accelerating metallurgical discovery using combinatorial principles..................................................................................98 A job well-done......................................................................100 Excellence wiki − from on hand manual, to online guide.........102



Fact Sheet............................................................................117 List of publications 2014/2015............................................118 25 years Ocas......................................................................123

Introduction .........................................................................104 Lab rolling has come a long way.............................................106 Nitriding competence paves the way to tailored properties...............................................................................108 Advanced metallurgical understanding of H2S testing.............110 Corrosion modelling tool facilitates smart metallic coating design....................................................................................112 Fighting embrittlement with heavy hydrogen...........................114




OCAS: 25 years of top competencies in the service of industrial pragmatism This year’s Activity Review celebrates a momentous milestone: the 25th anniversary of OCAS! For a quarter century now, OCAS has been steadily growing − in expertise, scope and societal impact − promoting a ‘Steel-Friendly Flanders’ and anchoring the industrial base of our Region. From electron beam texturing and laser welding, to ultra-high-strength and electrical steels, to ready-topaint coatings and environmentallyfriendly passivation − our expertise has evolved through the years from our original focus on the automotive industry to providing products, applications, innovations and advice to a whole spectrum of metal-based industries worldwide. A touchstone of our progress is

our Management Policy, which summarises our commitments in 4 key areas. As we introduce this Activity Review, we’d like to mention each area in turn to highlight the values and aspirations that are the foundation of OCAS: Health & Safety OCAS’s first priority is to prevent accidents and cases of work-related ill health to the point of attaining sustainable health & safety in the workplace. Over the years − with the diversification of our activities and the intrinsic risks of increasingly highly advanced equipment − this goal has only become more challenging.

So, we’ve approached this key area by calling on the daily attention and involvement of everyone in the organi­ sation. And the fruit of our continuous efforts is our record of 0 accidents in the last 3 years. We’re now in the front-runner position of being able to share good H&S practices with others in our industry. We wish to take this opportunity to warmly thank and congratulate everyone in OCAS for this achievement. Operational Excellence OCAS is committed to pursuing the path of Operational Excellence: continually monitoring our operational and financial activities to deliver high7


Sven Vandeputte, Managing Director quality products in the most efficient way. In this area too, new materials and increasing project complexity over the past 25 years have made efficiency ever more important yet more difficult. How have we addressed this challenge? By continuously monitoring issues and integrating our systems and our culture. Efficiency lies at the heart of operational excellence − and the integration of all of our systems using a state-of-the-art IT framework is our chosen path. A case in point: we’ve instituted multi-shift usage of our critical equipment to minimise downtime, work cost-effectively, and speed progress. Moreover, every achievement in Health & Safety is also a win for Operational Excellence. In a world in which R&D is often associated with sunk cost and overhead, OCAS has proudly developed the reputation of being ‘R&D-efficient’ in the continuous pursuit of Operational


Excellence. Value Creation for all our stakeholders Year after year, OCAS strives to conduct metals R&D at the forefront and to become a ‘top of mind’ institute in metal research. For all our stakeholders: meeting our customers’ needs; promoting structural cooperation with our partners; training and developing our staff to ensure the required competences, today and in the future; and supporting the training of students in Science & Technology. Keys to creating value include listening closely to our customers and prospects, and deepening cooperation into partnership. Over the last two years, our ArcelorMittal customers have rewarded us on customer satisfaction surveys by stating that OCAS even exceeds ‘fully meets expectations’ with regard to timeliness, quality of deliverables, renewal of portfolio, communication and efficiency.

The proof of the pudding: our customers − both ArcelorMittal and the 100 additional metal producing and processing customers that we serve − enjoy profitable return on their investments in OCAS ... and they keep coming back! Continual Improvement The pace of change in the world


Serge Claessens, Chief Technology Officer Safety (OHSAS 18001) management systems. And our policy of conti­ nuous investment − in our people and infrastructure − powers our continuous growth and impact.

is accelerating, which means that products and developments must be delivered ever faster. Fortunately, over the past 25 years, OCAS has proven to be an eminently flexible, adaptive, agile organisation − not only surviving but thriving in a steel industry that has been particularly turbulent in the last few years. We have a strong academic network and contacts with universities worldwide. We’re committed to conti­ nually improving the effectiveness of our Quality (ISO 9001) and Health &

Combining efficiency through optimal organisation and throughput in all our departments with a truly multidisciplinary approach − tackling complex material problems and providing total solutions for our customers − will continue to position OCAS as a differentiating R&D service provider. Celebrating a wonderful milestone At the end of 2015, capping our 25-year history so far, OCAS achieved a positive operational financial result within a strict budgetary framework − a management attention point for the last 4 years. Over this past quarter century − as an entrepreneurial centre of innovation, strategically focused on society’s

needs, and bridging multiple perspectives − OCAS has achieved organic growth and continuous evolution to become an advanced, marketoriented research centre providing steel and metal-based products, services and solutions to metal processing companies worldwide. In all this time, perhaps OCAS’s greatest contribution is its history of delivering much more than a metal product − in the course of a project, OCAS adds value to the processes of our customers’ own plants and reaches forward to facilitate the improvement of our customers’ customers’ endapplications. Today, as we look forward to the next 25 years, OCAS serves the full value chain − from concept to endapplication − in metal-oriented R&D: seizing opportunities, innovating, creating jobs, and making customers more profitable, in Flanders and far beyond.



Energy Martin Liebeherr It’s not surprising that OCAS spends so much energy in energy-related research. ArcelorMittal, the largest steel producer in the world, intends to increase its share in the global energy market, which is very steel intensive and counts for an annual steel consumption of about 100 million tons. The largest steel volumes are used in the conventional, fossil-fuel-based energy sector. Moreover, the production of oil & gas is moving into more remote areas, which generally means into more hostile environments: deeper and more corrosive wells, deeper subsea and/or in arctic regions. This means of course that the requirements for materials and structures used at the production sites and during transport are steadily becoming more challenging. The recently observed decline in the oil price, by the way, will not change these trends. It’s true that the temporary oversupply of oil is causing many investments in the oil & gas industry to be postponed. But, in fact, an important effect of the crisis is that this industry has become much more cost-conscious and is seeking new budget-saving solutions – which must in no way


compromise the high safety standards. Such an economic situation often serves as a major driver for innovation. At the same time, the continuously increasing global demand for energy poses a great threat to our climate. Fortunately, increased attention to the environment and our planet’s limited resources has pushed the energy sector to make more efficient use of fossil fuels. Techniques and materials are under development to capture the CO2 greenhouse gas after combustion and e.g. to transform it in useful chemical compounds for direct use or that can be further processed to higher added value products. Unquestionably, the most environmentally-friendly way to produce electricity is by using renewable energy sources − solar or wind energy, for example − and it is encouraging to see that the share of these alternative energies has been rapidly increasing over the years. The main requirement for the steel structures of solar power plants is corrosion-resistance, for which excellent metallic coating solutions, like Magnelis®, have been developed – in many cases, with OCAS’s participation. In the case of wind power plants, which are much more steel-intensive, there is still a lot of development ongoing. Special electrical steels are needed to optimise the efficiency of the turbines. Today, up to 10 MW turbines are available − but obviously they must operate in areas where the wind velocities are sufficiently high, such as at great height or offshore. Onshore wind towers are growing higher and higher (above 100 m), while offshore wind parks are being located farther from the coast, in water depths often in excess of 30 m.

Offshore jacket structures are constantly subjected to the oscillating agitation of waves, which can cause failure due to fatigue, particularly in the welds. The main challenges in offshore are the durability and cost of the structures − but increasing attention is being paid to the corrosion caused by the saline environment, which requires costly maintenance efforts. As it supplies steel in all kinds of product forms − including coil, plate, tubular, sections and wires − ArcelorMittal has decided to approach the energy market in a coordinated manner involving all of its business units. OCAS is playing a substantial role in this initiative. Over the years, our research lab has built a strong track record in supporting the steel plants in the development of coil, plate and seamless tubular products for energy-related applications − and we’ve been able to contribute to the market introduction of a large number of new highquality products. Since the ‘A’ in our name stands for ‘Application’, we’ve always been concerned about how the steel behaves during subsequent processing or in final service. Our accumulated expertise in forming, welding, coating and corrosion, along with our ability to model and test large structures, serves our customers and end-users by optimising the steel selection and, ultimately, reducing the total cost of ownership. No doubt, energy and cost-effectiveness will continue to cost us a lot of energy. Positive energy, of course!


“OCAS aims to contribute to the accelerated implementation of more cost-effective sub-structures in the offshore wind market.� Philippe Thibaux


1 Energy

Offshore wind turbines can wear lighter jackets to save costs The design of offshore wind turbine jackets is fatigue-driven. Improving the fatigue performance − or proving that the actual performance is better than initially calculated − would result in lighter jackets and, consequently, lower cost. Adding numerical modelling Current fatigue concepts were ori­ ginally developed in the 1970s, with most testing done on components of limited size. Furthermore, component testing is slow, with testing frequencies close to (or even lower than) 1 Hz − which means that it typically takes about 120 testing days to reach 10 million cycles. Therefore, the number of available experiments is limited. On top of that, existing data are old and not specifically representative of the techniques applied in today’s modern jacket construction. Therefore, novel welding methods, quality standards and materials will result in improved fatigue performance

of jacket nodes. Moreover, welds with better fatigue performance will allow the use of thinner sections and lighter foundations in the offshore wind industry. Faster test method OCAS has developed a testing method in which the testing frequency is accele­rated significantly − shortening test duration for a full-scale jacket node. The method has been tested on a prototype node and has received approval from the certification autho­ rities.

fabricators, testing centres and certification bodies are represented. The aim is to demonstrate that welded nodes manufactured today are performing better than what current standards are predicting. Dedicated test rig for fast large-scale testing This project also targets the validation of the developed test method. It will provide the industry the possibility to faster assess the fabrication improvements.

Triggered by this success, OCAS is currently setting up a collaborative R&D project in which offshore windfarm owners, steel producers,


”OCAS was involved from the start-up of the plant all the way to industrialisation and characterisation. A fascinating experience!” Nele Van Steenberge

“We succeeded in industrialising these difficult high-end products − and it wasn’t just beginner’s luck!” Zinedine Zermout


1 Energy

It takes seamless support to resist sour service Increased demand for energy has pushed the oil & gas sector to shift activities to deeper and harsher production environments. These environments often contain hydrogen sulphide (H2S), making them ‘sour service’ environments. In addition, when drilling at great depth, elevated temperature and high pressure require impractically thick and heavy seamless oil country tubular goods (OCTG) products. Deeper wells call for higher strength grades that resist sour service environments. Strength levels of 650-800 MPa and beyond are becoming mandatory. Although not many players are active in this field, these products − known as T95 and C110 − are currently under development at ArcelorMittal. Speed up development Between 2012 and 2014, OCAS performed a large number of lab trials to determine the best metallurgical concepts and define the corresponding process windows for the heat-treatments for different grades and thicknesses. The jump to industrialisation was made in 2014 and 2015. For the industrial trials on couplings (i.e.

heavy wall products), ArcelorMittal Ostrava’s tubular products production mill teamed up with OCAS and the ArcelorMittal R&D Process team based in Maizières-les-Metz to speed up the development of these grades. While the Process team focused on obtaining sufficient data to precisely model the industrial furnace at ArcelorMittal Ostrava, OCAS carried out dedicated lab trials to fine-tune the specific heat-treatment parameters for this particular furnace. The industrial trial following this collaboration was successful, delivering an industrial success in less than one year. Technical assistance appreciated For ArcelorMittal Jubail – a green field project for the production of seamless tubular products – OCAS has provided

technical assistance ever since the startup of the plant located in Saudi Arabia. To help Jubail’s quality department, OCAS carried out sour service characterisation tests. In 2014, OCAS trained the Jubail team so that these tests are now performed at the plant. In addition to covering the testing procedure, the knowledge transfer also included hand­ ling severe safety precautions and the preparation of the samples, which is important for a relevant assessment. As production at Jubail ramps up, OCAS continues to work on the metallurgical concepts for the future production of higher strength grades with sour service resistance. Several industrial trials took place in 2015 − with great success, as all of the targeted sour service grades (T95 and C110) were achieved. The Jubail team truly appreciates OCAS’s R&D effort. To industrialise other products (grades and dimensional range), other industrial trials are scheduled in 2016 and beyond. 15

”In the end, OCAS’s metallurgical expertise solved the issues and I’m confident that we will also be able to support other mills in this way.” Christoph Gerritsen


1 Energy

Passing welding pre-qualification with flying colours − and in record time Structural offshore applications require steel plates that have been pre-qualified according to EN, API and NORSOK standards. The aim of pre-qualification is to show the steel’s tolerance to both high and low heat input welding via testing of the heat-affected zone (HAZ). The most critical test is the crack tip opening displacement (CTOD) fracture toughness test of specific regions of the HAZ at -10°C. Steel concept re-developed The first step was to improve the base material. OCAS re-developed the steel concept by modifying the chemical composition and optimising the rolling schedule. The resulting 40 and 50 mm plates with fine and homogeneous grain size distribution were CTOD tested − yielding splendid results. With good base material performance of the developed concept demonstrated, an API RP2Z pre-qualification

attempt was undertaken for 50 mm thickness (which also qualifies the lower thicknesses). The steel performed very well indeed, meeting all requirements with flying colours. The pre-qualification was witnessed by Lloyd’s Register, who endorsed the testing results. Following API RP2Z, pre-qualification to the other two main offshore standards, EN10225 and NORSOK M-120, was undertaken and meanwhile achieved, so Arcelor-

Mittal Gijón now has a pre-qualified product that can be marketed for offshore applications in most regions of the world. Triple certification In total, samples were welded with a combined length of 15 m, with the number of passes to weld the full 50 mm thickness varying from to around 20 for the highest heat input to nearly 100 for the lowest. Furthermore, 65 full-thickness CTOD samples were tested and evaluated as well as more than 300 Charpy impact samples. Specific cold cracking tests and extensive base material testing was performed to show adherence to all the requirements. Moreover, all was done in record time.


“It works! Using the calculated rolling parameters, a quality product is obtained.� Ulrike Lorenz & Xavier Veys


1 Energy

Modelling support brings trial without error to the plate mill The properties of steel are determined by its microstructure, and the required microstructure is obtained by the process. Based on lab rolling simulations, the metallurgists at OCAS are able to identify the key process parameters − but they realise that upscaling from 10-kg blocks in the lab to 10-ton slabs in the mill entails some constraints that need to be considered before launching into industrial practice. OCAS teamed up with ArcelorMittal R&D Maizières Process to tackle this issue. The team from Maizières had already developed an offline rolling model for plate mills – called PL8 – in-house. By combining lab results from OCAS, regular exchanges with the ArcelorMittal plate mill quality team, and expertise from the Maizières PL8 team, the offline model was advanced to thermomechanical rolling – which is the way to obtain the highest toughness in steel. Strength of the model The offline model is able to design realistic rolling schedules taking into

account mill limitations, like maximum rolling force and torque, along with dimensional control measures concerning broad-sizing, and the width, length and flatness of the final plate product. It’s important that the key process parameters specified by the OCAS metallurgists can be easily introduced into the model, so that the feasibility in the plate mill can be assessed before starting the industrial trial.

if it is too high, the material will not be tough enough. The great advantage of the model is that it can ‘translate’ the core temperature into the surface temperature, which can be measured readily during the process at the plate mill. Valorising the effort When the optimised parameters – generally close to the mill limits – are applied, plates with excellent toughness properties are obtained. OCAS is currently assisting the plate mill with the development of plates with improved toughness and heavier gauge. The first results prove the concept, and far fewer trials are needed to succeed.

In addition, the temperature of the steel plate must be strictly controlled throughout the entire thermomechanical rolling process. The temperature in the core of the material is most critical: 19

Step 4

Step 1

Step 3

Step 2 Step 5

”I’m confident that we will soon be able to accurately predict mechanical properties on pipe from those on coil by further refining our numerical tool.” Steven Cooreman


1 Energy

Predicting pipe properties To serve pipeline customers, ArcelorMittal’s flat carbon steel mills produce hotrolled coils. Pipe manufacturers transform these coils into welded pipes. While the steel mills guarantee properties on coil, the pipe manufacturers must guarantee properties on pipe. As the pipe-making process changes the properties of the steel, both players have a strong interest in predicting pipe properties from coil properties. The first step in a pipe mill is de-coiling and levelling the hot-rolled coil. Then, a spiral pipe is shaped from coil by 3-roll forming, whereby the set angle and coil width determine the final diameter of the pipe. The pipe is spiral welded and finally submitted to a hydro-test. Each of the processing steps − de-coiling, levelling, forming, welding and hydrotesting − has a significant effect on the mechanical properties of the pipe.

Gathering experimental data Over the past several years, OCAS has been optimising a method to determine the mechanical properties on pipe. The method is based on tensile testing of samples flattened by 4-point bending. This approach is much cheaper and less time-consuming than other procedures, such as ring expansion testing and tensile testing of round bar samples. The data obtained

serve to validate numerical models. Predicting properties The OCAS modelling team is developing a numerical tool capable of simulating spiral pipe forming and subsequent mechanical testing. This tool is currently being validated against experimental data − which indicate that it provides quite accurate predictions for the transverse direction, but seems to yield conservative results for the axial direction. Therefore, OCAS is continuing to refine this spiral pipe forming model, where the main challenge lies in describing the material’s rather complex mechanical behaviour.


”Helping the customer with recommendations on filler wire selection is a further step in the high-level technical assistance OCAS can provide in the field of welding.” Özlem Esma Ayas Güngör


1 Energy

Filling the gap A request for technical support from an offshore gas pipeline customer highlighted the importance of the effect of filler wire selection on weld metal toughness. This triggered OCAS to set up a detailed project to further investigate the topic to be able to advise pipe mill customers on filler wire selection. In any pipe welding project, great attention is given to guarantee in-use properties and customer specs. So, it’s also important to select the best filler wire, with the most suitable chemical composition, to prevent the seam weld from becoming the weakest link. Defining the test set-up OCAS conducted the double-sided submerged arc welding (SAW) experiments using a two-wire tandem set-up for both the inside and the outside weld on trial coil samples of linepipe

grades with different compositions and processing parameters. To define the test matrix and select the filler wire combinations, results from literature were reviewed, recommendations by consumable suppliers were taken into account, and in-house experience from previous OCAS welding trials was considered. Welding is much more than joining metals All experiments were conducted with similar welding parameters. Toughness

of each weld was evaluated by means of Charpy V-notch impact and Crack Tip Opening Displacement (CTOD) testing. Results clearly demonstrated the need to select filler wire as a function of the chemical composition of the grade to achieve good CTOD toughness in SAW welding. This detailed test set-up, and our inhouse SAW welding expertise, has provided OCAS with in-depth know­ ledge concerning the selection of the appropriate filler wire. It’s clear that customers’ common practise of purchasing just one type of filler wire should be reconsidered. OCAS has developed a strong asset for future technical assistance projects for pipe welding manufacturers.


�Despite tough competition from China, the significant cost-savings of this project have allowed ArcelorMittal to regain market share for linepipe grades.� Nuria Sånchez


1 Energy

Added-value involvement in TANAP project When it’s completed, the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which runs from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey to Europe, will have consumed more than 1 million tons of steel coil. ArcelorMittal is the only European coil supplier and obtained a contract to deliver – approximately one third of the total volume thanks to its competitive price offer. The TANAP project illustrates the added value OCAS’s involvement can provide: by re-designing the alloying concepts for the linepipe grades, OCAS was able to reduce the production cost of the ArcelorMittal mill in Germany. Win-win-win ArcelorMittal’s customer, a Turkish pipe manufacturer, is highly satisfied with the progress of the project. Not only have they purchased an excellent steel grade at the most competitive price,

they’re also receiving the expert technical support that only a major steel producer like ArcelorMittal can supply through its highly skilled R&D team. So far, OCAS has already provided the manufacturer with technical assistance in updating its quality testing laboratory and procedures for adequate sampling and testing, on-site support during qualification trials, recommendations for selecting welding consumables, and engineering support for failure analysis.

Lean on R&D This success story will soon be transferred to other European ArcelorMittal production sites as soon as their hot strip mill has been upgraded to enable the production of such steel grades at comparable competitive prices. Meanwhile, the ArcelorMittal mill in Germany has been contacted to deliver linepipe grades for other pipeline projects. They will again use the lean concept proposed by OCAS.


”Recovering the grain shape and orientation of the pre-transformed phase has been key in this cost-saving project. Thanks to our in-house developed model, we are confident we can further optimise the costs of linepipe grades without compromising on properties.” Koenraad Theuwissen & Nuria Sánchez


1 Energy

Tailoring microstructures to optimise costs for linepipe steels In the context of reducing the cost of linepipe steel grades produced by ArcelorMittal, OCAS has developed more fundamental understanding of the metallurgical phenomena occurring during thermo-mechanical controlled processing (TMCP) of linepipe steels. TMCP is the most common strategy in hot strip and heavy plate mills to produce high-strength, high-toughness steel with improved weldability. The metallurgist applies art and science to combine deformation path and temperature to ‘condition’ the austenite (the high-temperature phase in carbon steel) and, after completing all phase transformations, to obtain the desired properties in the final product. Powerful tools Over many years, OCAS engineers have dedicated a lot of effort to repro-

ducing each step of the hot-rolling process. They’ve performed experiments on industrial and laboratory material and simulated a variety of processing conditions and process parameters to characterise grain growth, recrystallization, precipitation, strain accumulation and phase transformation during hot rolling and subsequent cooling. In addition, OCAS has investigated the influence of residual elements on the final steel properties. Powerful tools developed in-house − such as austenite reconstruction

based on Electron Back Scattering Diffraction − were used to monitor microstructural evolution during hot rolling. The knowledge built in this project enables steel microstructures to be tailored, via optimised rolling schedules, to reach the high strength and toughness required for linepipe steels. Clear benefits This work is expected to provide ArcelorMittal plants with cost-optimised routes and to accelerate the time-to-market of many industry products. Combined with work on leaner metal­lurgical concepts, this project will contribute to the competitiveness of ArcelorMittal’s products − with clear benefits to both production plants and end-customers.


”Thanks to research projects and interesting exchanges with end-use customers, we’ve expanded our knowledge of pipe making to include pipe laying as well.” Özlem Esma Ayas Güngör


1 Energy

From linepipe to pipeline OCAS has a proven track record in developing metallurgical concepts for steel, including linepipe grades. Plus, in addition to its metallurgical expertise, OCAS has also acquired a high degree of competence in the pipe manufacturing process, especially in the field of welding. Thanks to our multi-wire submerged arc welding facility, OCAS has developed guidelines for the most demanding applications in the energy sector and can offer advanced − and highly appreciated − technical assistance to our customer pipe mills.

with in-use properties, which is very helpful to the end-user during pipe laying in the field. At the same time, OCAS gathers valuable feedback from in-the-field applications, which helps us understand the end-users’ needs and fulfil their specifications.

Pipe-to-pipe welding Furthermore, OCAS has investigated girth weldability on industrially produced pipes from ArcelorMittal’s customers. The collected data cover different welding procedures together

Big with data Meanwhile, through a number of related projects, OCAS has built a database with numerous parameters that range from the chemical composition of the linepipe grades, to rolling

settings, to welding procedures for pipe making, to in-the-field girth welding conditions. Interpretation of the results from smart combinations of different parameters enables OCAS to give expert recommendations − from linepipe grade making all the way to pipeline laying. This way, OCAS helps ensure onpipe and in-the-field performance of linepipe steel grades for utmost safety.


“Our unique combination of having an in-house heavy gauge lab mill, as well as an advanced HIC/SSC test lab, facilitates our product development in the field of sour service grades.” Nuria Sánchez


100 µm

1 Energy

Cracking our brains to control HIC and SSC New linepipe grades must not only be strong and tough, often they also need to resist sour corrosion cracking to ensure the pipeline’s integrity. During the extraction of gas from wells, the gas composition contains more hydrogen sulphide towards the depletion of the well. This causes the pipeline to be more susceptible to cracking phenomena such as hydrogen-induced cracking (HIC) and sulphide-stress cracking (SSC). For many years, oil & gas end-users were primarily concerned with HIC failures. Consequently, some specialised linepipe grade production mills − including ArcelorMittal Fos − have vast experience in producing linepipe steel with HIC guarantee.

− which might seem like an easy assignment, since both are hydrogen cracking phenomena in steel. However, the microstructural parameters that control HIC are different from those that control SSC, due to the superimposed stress.

However, in recent years, end-users, mainly from the Middle East, insist on adding the SSC requirement to the already existing HIC requirement

Looking into the detail OCAS started a research project to first identify why SSC cracks appear by examining the SSC cracks and

identifying the impurities or phases that initiate them. Then, a study was launched to determine where these crack initiators are formed during industrial production and how to optimise the process and composition to prevent them. At the same time, OCAS helped the ArcelorMittal Fos production plant with the set-up of their quality testing lab. Today, we are close to confirming our concept in a concluding industrial trial. If all goes well, the first product with SSC guarantee from the ArcelorMittal Fos mill will soon be available on the market.


”Based on our welding results, we were able to prove that high niobium content is not detrimental to linepipe steel.” Özlem Esma Ayas Güngör


1 Energy

Setting the standard for future linepipe grades Just like all major steel grades for all kinds of applications, European onshore gas pipelines must adhere to strict standards. In contrast to the general part of the international ISO 3183 (2012) standard, Annex M of this standard, which is dedicated to European onshore pipelines, imposes compositional limits for niobium (Nb). Thus, European onshore gas pipeline customers, contractors/ gas companies show reluctance to accept steel pipes with high Nb-contents. Because high niobium alloying provides economic advantages and is also beneficial for the linepipe grade processing window without compromising on toughness, there is a strong interest in relaxing the niobium limit in Annex M of the ISO 3183 (2012) standard. With the scheduled revision of ISO 3183:2012 “Petroleum and natural gas industries, steel pipe transportation systems� in view, OCAS coordinated studies and provided technical results to convince the European pipeline community.

Weldability assessment Girth weldability is the main concern regarding imposing a niobium limit. Girth welding is the pipe-to-pipe welding done in the field during pipe laying operations. So, OCAS teamed up with highly respected partners to investigate the influence of niobium content on girth weldability. The technical results of the weldability assessment of high-niobium-content linepipe steel revealed the suitability of the material for onshore pipe laying and also supported the view that

high Nb content is not problematic in combination with low C content. The results were presented during the International Pipeline Conference (IPC) 2014 in Calgary. All external contacts found the weldability results convincing and had no objection to changing the standard to extend the niobium limit. Convincing proof In addition to the technical results from the experiments coordinated by OCAS, numerous pipeline projects with high niobium steels have been successfully installed around the world (outside of Europe). Meanwhile, an amendment to Annex M of the ISO standard is proposed and recently accepted for extension of niobium limit together with an adjustment to the maximum carbon content.


Step 1: Decoiling and leveling

Step 2: Pipe forming

Step 3: Flattening for tensile testing along TDpipe

�From our results so far, we can already conclude that spiral-welded pipes show excellent potential for use in strain-based design. It looks good!� Steven Cooreman & Jeroen Van Wittenberghe


1 Energy

Taking the strain out of spiral-welded pipes Today’s oil and gas operating companies are more and more interested in using spiral-welded pipes to transport energy resources over long distance. The recent advancements in the metallurgical and the spiral pipe manufacturing process are quite promising for their use in demanding pipeline applications, especially in terms of structural integrity, in both on and offshore scenarios. The spiral seam weld and anisotropic material properties of spiral-welded linepipe sections pose real challenges to pipeline designers when considering installation in permafrost or earth quake sensitive regions. To guarantee the structural integrity, linepipe sections should be able to deform beyond the elastic range without failure. However, the use of such pipes in demanding pipeline applications is generally limited, due to the lack of reliable technical data and conservatism in current standards. On the other hand, there is strong demand to investigate this matter to convince oil and gas operating companies to extend the range of applicability of spiral-welded pipes.

Testing to generate know-how Since 2013, OCAS has been involved in the European RFCS Project: SBD-SPIPE ‘Strain-based design of spiral-welded pipes for demanding pipeline applications’. The general aim of the SBD-SPIPE project is to generate specific know-how concerning the development and possible use of pipes for demanding applications that require good performance under large strains. The project is addressing plastic collapse by external pressure, local plastic instability due to biaxial loading conditions, and failure due to axial tension at weld joints. Both numerical and experimental activities are being carried out. In

particular, small- and full-scale laboratory tests are being performed on spiral pipes (and their girth-welded butt joints), produced from commercially available steel grades, with an outer diameter ranging from 24” to 48” and adequate wall thickness so that the resulting geometry is representative for both onshore and offshore applications. OCAS has carried out experiments to evaluate the effect of initial coil properties and manufacturing process on the pipe strength characteristics. The production process is experimentally simulated in the lab by performing four-point bending tests on coil samples of different grades, accompanied by tensile testing of specimens extracted at various stages of the simulated production process. In addition to participating in this RFCS project, OCAS has been funding a PhD on this topic and has meanwhile gathered a lot of knowledge on strain based design. 35

Coefficients Coefficients

Axis XZ

Axis XZ

Axis XY

Axis XY

k=1 k=1





k=20 k=20




m=1 Coefficients

Axis XZ

Axis XY

k=1 k=1

l=20 l=1


m=1 m=1


�We believe modelling will considerably reduce the number of experimental tests needed. However, we still have k=1 a long way to go before the model reaches thisl=1 level of maturity.� m=20

k=1 k=20 l=1 l=1 m=20 m=1

John Vande Voorde & Patrick Goes



1 Energy

Simulating the complex welding and brazing processes Process modelling is simulating a process using mathematical and physical laws. Process simulation is to be understood as a virtual sequence of the process that aims to determine geometrical, metallurgical and technological process results. The simulations allow faster and more precise handling of a great variety of testing scenarios. However, in applications such as welding and brazing, the very complex process makes it very difficult to find solutions. As OCAS and its customers are keen to predict welding issues − such as residual stresses leading to distortion, or the metallurgy of the heat-affected zone influencing the hardness − OCAS decided to team up with the welding and joining institute of RWTH Aachen University (ISF).

Joining forces In this partnership, OCAS is seeking to further develop ISF’s SimWeld® software model. SimWeld® enables the reliable simulation of the welding process for many geometries and materials with variable para­meters. SimWeld® specifies the welding process via 3 sub-models which are constantly interacting: the model of the arc; the model of the heat trans-

fer inside the material; and the model of the 3D-surface of the molten pool. The aim of the project is to develop a tool to respond to welding requests more efficiently and quickly. Today, a large number of experimental tests is needed to adequately respond to the requests of our customers. In the future, it should be possible to significantly reduce the number of experimental welding tests and still gather enough data to provide technical support for, for example, optimising welding parameters to minimise distortion due to local heat input.


“Considering the diversity of cryogenic applications, it’s easily imaginable that different classes of materials will be needed to cover such a wide scope.” Lieven Bracke


1 Energy

Stay cool Materials used at extremely low temperatures – known as cryogenic circumstances − must tick a lot of demanding boxes. The critical material properties that need to be optimised at such low temperatures are impact and fracture toughness. This is essential, not only for the material itself, but also for the welded constructions made of it. One of the most widespread cryogenic applications is linked to the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), which is cooled down to a temperature of -163°C for transportation and storage. So, cryogenic applications range from small-scale local storage, to fuel tanks on LNG powered trucks, to huge LNG vessels and storage tanks. LNG is considered to be an essential part of the energy supply for today and tomorrow.

Ticking all the boxes Materials currently used to serve in these applications are 9% Ni steels, stainless steels and aluminium alloys. All of these materials have excellent low temperature toughness properties. Their main shortcomings, however, are that they are expensive and have only limited strength.

genic applications. New classes of cryogenic alloys are being studied in a breakthrough research programme that serves as the breeding ground for future product development. The target is to optimise cost while maintaining, or even improving, technical performance − thus serving the needs of the specific applications our customers have in mind.

It is in this context that OCAS is searching for new materials for cryo-


“It’s exciting to be able to work in such close collaboration with the customer on the e-machines of the future!” Lode Vandenbossche & Jan Rens


1 Energy

Plug away at modelling electrical steel grades OCAS combines its expertise in developing advanced electrical steel grades with its numerical tools to accurately characterise the effect of the different production steps on material and machine performance. Customers in both automotive and industrial applications embrace OCAS’s performance-driven technical assistance. Such support to customers aims at better magnetic property description of our electrical steels − not only in their as-delivered state, but also taking into account effects of machine production processes. The activities are always two-fold: based on advanced material characterisation, the numerical modelling tools are refined and further improved.

modelling, the fewer the iterations of prototype-building for new motors and generators.

Today’s numerical models developed by OCAS enable the additional effects of production steps such as punching and stacking, to be characterised more accurately. Providing the customer with this valuable information already during their design phase shortens development time and reduces cost considerably. The better the numerical

So, OCAS works in close cooperation with the end-users to tackle the issues. With an integrated approach, OCAS helps its industrial and automotive customers in making the best choices for their design and processing improvements as well as in selecting the optimal electrical steel grades from the ArcelorMittal product offer.

Performance-driven approach Electrical steel customers are active in very diverse market segments. However, they all strive for higher efficiency e-machines, whether they be generators in power plants, traction machines for railway locomotives, or motors for hybrid or fully electric vehicles.

Correlate properties - microstructure Thanks to OCAS’s proven track record in developing electrical grades, huge amounts of data are generated with regard to magnetic properties and microstructure. Smart analysis of big data enabled us to better correlate magnetic properties with texture and grain size. This gave OCAS an important competitive advantage in aligning developments of non-oriented electrical grades. Currently, the same approach is being used to accelerate our development of grain-oriented electrical steel grades. Software is being developed to enable us to assess large quantities of measurement data and gain insight into the relationship between magnetic behaviour, texture and grain size for this type of steel. Not only will this provide valuable support for the preparation of upcoming industrial trials at ArcelorMittal plants, it will also quantify the way to reach the optimum target.


”Modelling of sealing is more complicated than we expected − there are so many influencing factors. It’s really exciting!” John Vande Voorde & Jeroen Van Wittenberghe


1 Energy

Raising numerical modelling up to the sealing Sealing matters have many different aspects. Thanks to its various skills and advanced equipment, OCAS is in a good position to look at sealing-related problems from all angles. Adding numerical modelling In OCAS’s early days, R&D topics were almost 100% related to the auto­motive market. For more than a decade, OCAS has built up knowledge in the field of surface characterisation on steel sheet, and the evolution of roughness and tribology during automotive manufacturing process steps such as forming and painting. OCAS also invested in state-ofthe-art equipment to study surface aspects such as roughness, waviness, tribology, abrasion and wear. Detailed surface characterisation was made

possible by using electron microscopy. From that solid base, skills were further broadened by adding numerical model­ling to simulate and predict ope­rating conditions. On top of all that, OCAS has a metallurgy and surface team providing in-depth knowledge about steel grades and coatings. Sealing metallic components Over the past years, OCAS has been actively involved in various projects dealing with the sealing of metallic components. This has resulted in the development of experimental test set-ups with the support of our

Engineering team (EMTEC), and the results of the tests have been translated into a numerical model. The influence of lubricants on sealing has been experimentally tested inhouse, providing us with the necessary data to validate the numerical model. In 2016, we are confident that we can raise the level of numerical modelling in the field of sealing to an even higher level. These advances are timely: in the coming years, we expect increasing demand for seals that can withstand ever higher pressure in severe operating conditions.



Durability Tom Waterschoot As a key driver in the current economic environment, durability is important for OCAS and our customers in many ways. Durability encompasses our customers’ continuous quest to improve the performance of their products as well as increase the life span of equipment and constructions. Within the metal works, mechanical engineering and construction segments, improving durability primarily means searching for steels with higher strength, improved fatigue and wear resistance, and guaranteed toughness at low temperatures – combined with essential ‘in-use properties’ such as the ability to cut and process the steel component, fire resistance, weldability and dent resistance. Over the past two years, we paid increased attention to understanding wear and abrasion phenomena, (where relevant) in combination with corrosion sensitivity. Depending on the type of wear − determined by the deformation mechanisms and impact energies − material needs can be very different. The knowledge being built is driving the product


development portfolio vigorously these days: several new types of microstructures are now being explored for their possible use in specific wear applications, such as concrete mixers, slurry pipes or tippers. In parallel, new process technologies are being developed to apply hard chrome coatings in an environmentally-friendly way. For several big volume applications, durability helps satisfy increasingly stringent safety requirements. We’ve paid special attention to the different low-cycle and high-cycle fatigue challenges that are arising for many new high-strength grades in development, and we’ve explored the ability to use new microstructural variants for more energy absorption as well.

In general, customers are more and more eager to use products with a nice surface appearance. Customer expectations have significantly increased even for hot-rolled black products, as they offer many in-use advantages − a clean workshop and less need for post-treatments are two examples. OCAS responds to these rapidly growing requests with product development activities, like the successful market introduction of MASC, and the deep investigation of surface quality improvement potential by brushing.

Durability can also be translated into improved corrosion resistance, for which every environment has its specific requirements. During these past two years as well, Magnelis® – the new metallic coating that out-performs existing metallic coatings in many environments – has experienced very strong growth in sales figures.


�As wear resistance is a material performance rather than an intrinsic mechanical property, testing the materials under conditions that are similar to the enduse application is the way forward.� Haithem Ben Hamouda


2 Durability

What in the world should we wear? Abrasion is a major wear problem encountered in industries − such as excavation, dredging and transport − in which tools come in contact with rock and soil. In fact, almost half of the component failures in mining, marine and construction equipment can be linked to abrasion. Dealing with abrasion requires a profound knowledge of various wear modes and mechanisms − such as load and friction − under a large range of working conditions. Testing wear at lab scale by assessing material loss and linking it to material properties is one method of acquiring this knowledge. However, lab testing metho­dology should be carefully selected to make sure it simulates industrial conditions.

to choose a customised solution for each application from a wear cata­ logue. OCAS is working according to this approach. At the same time, the approach is reinforced by validating the designed solution in the field by studying failed components from corresponding industrial use. In addition to serving material selection for a given application, the acquired know­ ledge enables OCAS to develop new wear-resistant grades.

Validate in the field As the material’s behaviour depends heavily on the working conditions, it is important for the customer to be able

Close interaction between metallurgy & application The material accommodates the abrasion by developing a deformation layer at

sub-surface level. The characteristics of this layer, which depend on the material used, determine its wear resistance. Continuous exchanges between OCAS’s metallurgy and application teams are important in studying these phenomena, and this close interaction is the driving force behind this project. Current OCAS lab testing equipment includes a representative range of stress levels and various abrasion modes. Both sliding and impact conditions can be simulated. Taking our findings on different wear mechanisms into account, we envision designing new wear tests. Also in the plan are studies of the effect that in-use pro­ perties, such as pre-deformation or welding, have on wear performance.


”It’s a tremendous challenge, but the results will be well worth the effort!” Dorien De Knijf


2 Durability

Making the grade … wear-resistant and formable Durable steel grades with improved wear resistance extend the lives of machinery and equipment. The market for green and yellow goods is especially interested in ever more sustainable grades. However, traditional wear-resistant martensitic grades are hard and thus more difficult to shape. In order to improve the sustainability of steel grades and to prepare for future needs in the abrasion market, continual knowledge development is essential. So, OCAS is developing new wear-resistant solutions with improved in-use properties such as bendability.

of highly interesting concepts. Coldrolled concepts with a proven track record in formability inspired the OCAS metallurgy team to study alternative microstructures − resulting in an enhanced combination of wear resistance and formability.

Creative metallurgy The OCAS metallurgy team started screening potential concepts. Know­ ledge acquired from cold-rolled grade developments was translated for use in hot-rolled steel.

Beyond existing knowledge Although the potential is huge, the processing that remains to be done is quite challenging. Lab trials look promis­ing, but still a lot of ‘trial and error’ is needed before industrialisation is feasible. It might furthermore be

The screening resulted in a number

required that production lines will need certain adaptations to be able to make these grades. At the same time, the market trend is definitely towards better wear resistance in combination with easy shaping. At OCAS, we’re striving to bring wear-resistant grades to a higher level.


�As an industrial research centre, we can rely on a strong network of academic partners. And at the same time, thanks to our successful up-scaling to semiindustrial level, our expertise is also recognised by industrial partners. As we can bridge the academic and the industrial worlds, we are confident that we can play an important role in co-developing longer lasting coatings.� Rob van de Coevering & Philippe Verpoort


2 Durability

Upscaling of hard chrome plating technology based on ionic liquid technology Back in 2012, driven by the need for REACH*-compliant alternatives, OCAS initiated a project on hexavalent chromium-free hard chrome plating from ionic liquids. Thanks to OCAS’s research & development efforts since then, this technology has now matured to semi-industrial level. This pioneering work has convinced industrial reference players to team up with OCAS. Linking micro-structure to in-use coatings behaviour Our development efforts on hard chrome not only enhanced OCAS’s knowledge on plating technology in general, it also provided fundamental insights into (fine)tuning of process parameters, microstructure and the final properties of a coating.

By improving the methodology of the bath monitoring, good process control could be achieved. For example, the hardness of the final hard chrome coating is now above 1100 HV, whereas it was around 800 HV at the start.

high alloyed carbon steels. By implementing an extra step in the process, the corrosion resistance of the hard chrome layer could be brought to the level comparable to typical hexavalent chromium applications. OCAS´s semi-industrial plating unit is currently available to support industrial partners in optimising and upscaling of plating processes.

Different surface treatment procedures were optimised to improve the adhesion on substrates varying from low to

*REACH: European regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 51

�High temperature tempering grades are very exciting: the sky is the limit!� Dorien De Knijf


2 Durability

The art of energy absorption Recent accidents with rail transport tank cars in the US have triggered actions to improve safety for this steel application. To reduce the number and the severity of failures on parts submitted to impact, steel grades with increased energy absorption are currently under development. Parts from tank cars, trucks, and trailers are examples of applications that would benefit from steel grades showing improved energy absorption. And in the case of impact or crash, both nature and people would benefit. Bringing new grades into the lab OCAS decided to explore the possibilities of high temperature tempering with regard to its energy absorption capa-

lab to find the best balance between formability, strength and toughness. Another advantage of this concept is its robust process window, which makes upscaling and ramp-up easy.

bility. Although these grades are known from literature, commercially available steel products are not yet available on the market. As high temperature tempering grades combine high toughness with good elongation, they are excellent candidates for bringing improved energy absorption to steel sheet. OCAS has screened potential compositions in its


�The developed methodology will help us better understand the effect of micro-structural features on the low cycle fatigue performance of high-strength steel.� Reza Hojjati Talemi


2 Durability

Bending can be fatiguing The use of high-strength steel in structural components is becoming more and more attractive. For weight-saving reasons, typical applications include teles­ copic cranes, tippers, trucks and trailers. However, in spite of the advantages of high yield strength, the use of these steels faces some important challenges. These steel components are often subjected to bending and fatigue loading conditions. It is well known that, under critical loading conditions, cyclic stress can occur at critical locations on such bent components. The combination of these two aspects − i.e. bending and fatigue − can cause micro-cracks to develop inside the inner surface of the bent area. If the cracks propagate, rupture can result. Furthermore, not all of the cracks

observed could be properly explained using available standard fatigue approaches from literature. So, OCAS launched a detailed study in which low cycle fatigue was studied on several high-strength grades using advanced techniques to separate crack initiation and propagation lifetimes. After bending and fatigue testing, the fracture surface of the broken specimen was analysed. The study also included the effect of surface treatment on fatigue per-

formance as well as the influence of different bending ratios. Modelling stress Finite element modelling was used to simulate the bending process and fatigue loading. Thanks to the numerical results, extra information could be obtained on stress gradients inside the bending area, which cannot be monitor­e d using the experimental set-up. The good correlation with observed experimental data confirms finite element modelling as a convenient method for studying the behaviour of structures subjected to metal processing (such as bending) with regard to their fatigue performance.


“Regular exchanges and good collaboration with the industrial plants have been key to the successful development of all hot-rolled products.� Koenraad Theuwissen


2 Durability

Next generation S700MC products: where coil meets plate properties Thermo-mechanically hot-rolled ultra-high-strength steels from the Amstrong® and Amstrong® Ultra brand provide solutions for reducing the weight of heavy lifting equipment. Market opportunities for heavy gauge ultra-high-strength steels have inspired OCAS to develop new metallurgies that are able to achieve good toughness at low temperatures in both rolling and transverse directions in hot-rolled coils, as specified in standards for plate products.

provides our customers with a costeffective alternative to plate products. This new grade also shows additional features − such as excellent formability, weldability and good surface aspect − and it’s considered to be a real improvement over Amstrong® Ultra 700MC.

Additional features An example is the development of Amstrong® Ultra 700MCL. By showing high strength and good toughness at low temperatures in both rolling and transverse directions, this product

Outlook This new steel solution is now commercially available, and higher strength products with low temperature toughness guarantees in both directions are currently very close to industrial-

isation. Further work will be carried out to explore possible cost optimisation tracks via alternative processing routes, which have shown very promis­ ing results in laboratory conditions on lab scale.


�Using the currently established supply chain, the flexibility of the annealing lines used for Q&T can be leveraged to efficiently produce complex products that, until now, have been out of scope.� Lieven Bracke


2 Durability

Quenching & tempering the market’s thirst for ultra-high-strength steels Inspired by the ever more demanding applications for which our customers use our steels, hot-rolled high-strength steels have been under continuous development for several years at ArcelorMittal. Since the introduction of the Amstrong® brand in 2012, developments have kept on going in the direction of higher strength, without compromising toughness and formability. Amstrong®Ultra 700MC − which is regarded as the workhorse amongst ultra-high-strength grades − can still be produced directly in a hot strip mill using conventional thermo-mechanical processing. However, the higher strength levels that are currently needed require a different metallurgical concept, which is based on an annealing treatment called quenching and tempering (Q&T). This concept has a standing tradition in steel plate production, but only recently has it been

applied to hot strip coil processing. Fundamental studies and optimum use of existing hot strip mill equipment have led to the conception of several Q&T products, but in a limited range of widths and thicknesses. Stretching the dimensional product offer During the past several years, OCAS has developed a set-up for these ultrahigh-strength martensitic Q&T steels, enabling a complete range of material

thickness and width, fully in line with what our customers expect. One face to the customer Initiated by the close collaboration between OCAS and the production plants, the commercial offer for ultrahigh-strength steels is currently being transformed into an integrated offer with one face to the customer for all of ArcelorMittal Europe. In this new approach, multiple business units work together to valorise the synergies within ArcelorMittal − and, ultimately, better serve our customers.


�Although this project is still early stage, we were able to speed up the first developments using the highthroughput methodology that we developed in-house. Never before has OCAS been able to process and select promising grades so quickly!� Laura Moli Sanchez


2 Durability

Intermetallic compounds for intergalactic strength Maraging steels – from ‘martensitic’ and ‘ageing’ − are steel grades that are known for possessing superior strength and toughness without compromising on forming. Ageing refers to the extended heat-treatment process. This special class of ultra-low-carbon, ultra-high-strength steels derive their strength not from carbon but from precipitation of intermetallic compounds. Intermetallic composite grades have very stable properties. Today, they are used for engine components − such as crankshafts and gears, which cycle from hot to cool repeatedly while under substantial load − and for aerospace landing gear. Emerging as influential material Thanks to the specific metallurgical concept of intermetallic compounds, these steel grades have a wide range of interesting properties, even in tough

environments. Because of all the above advantages, OCAS started an explo­ ratory project to develop dedicated intermetallic composites for specific applications.

Rapid screening Faced with characterising 1200 different materials, OCAS succeeded in finding a rapid screening method to narrow down this huge number of potential grades. The elimination method enables the researchers to identify grades with good potential in no time. Only the grades with potential are then further characterised in detail. The first outcome looks highly promising.

This project made use of the OCAS high-throughput rolling and heat-treatment methodology. Over 50 chemical compositions were hot-rolled and subsequently heat-treated using different ageing cycles, producing over 1200 different materials in record time.


”If you need to test samples coated with Magnelis® until red rust appears, you must be very patient indeed!” Beril Corlu


2 Durability

Magnificent Magnelis® Ever since its market introduction, Magnelis® has impressed end-users with its durability. This zinc coating, containing aluminium and magnesium, is being used for an ever-increasing range of applications. Following the successful industrialisation on the ArcelorMittal galvanising lines, OCAS is continuing to provide technical assistance. And as customers start using Magnelis® for more and more applications, OCAS is able to broaden its experience with the coating’s performance under a wide variety of environmental conditions. Soil corrosion resistance In 2014-2015, OCAS received a number of requests concerning the performance of buried Magnelis® applications. Good results are achieved when testing these applications’ resistance to soil corrosion. The corrosion

rate for Magnelis® in contact with different types of soil proves that Magnelis® is a cost-effective and green alternative to batch galvanising. However, attention should be given to soils showing extremely high concentrations of aggressive agents. We’ve also noticed growing interest in using Magnelis® in desert regions of the Middle East and Africa. The coating again shows good resistance to corrosion − even under the abrasive conditions of sand storms. Welding matters To respond to some customers’ con-

cerns about joining and welding Magnelis®, the OCAS team prepared welded samples using different filler and brazing wires. These samples were submitted to cyclic accelerated corrosion testing together with reference samples. The results confirm the excellent performance of Magnelis®. However, just as in any application, care should be taken with the selection of the filler wire to avoid galvanic corrosion. If the weld seam is very wide, re-protecting can become necessary. Finally, comparing complex parts produced from Magnelis ® with batch galvanised parts clearly demonstrates the superior behaviour of Magnelis®, even though the coating is much thinner.


“Compared to standard black surface quality, MASC enables up to 20% higher speed during laser cutting − and the quality of the laser cut edge is excellent.” Eva Diaz Gonzalez

0.5 mm 64

2 Durability

No need to take off your MASC There is a clear, and growing, market interest in high surface quality hot-rolled products. For this reason, OCAS, in close collaboration with the ArcelorMittal Bremen plant, has developed a specific product to meet these needs. MASC − for Micro Adherent SCale − is basically a hot-rolled product with a non-powdering scale that provides customers with a clean hot-rolled steel surface. This is obtained through a final oxide layer, or scale, showing high integrity and good cohesion and adhesion. Moreover, MASC improves the oxide layer’s mechanical proper­ ties, thanks to specially controlled conditions in the hot strip mill. Customers welcome MASC Metal processing companies show a growing interest in structural and highstrength steels with a clean surface, as this makes processing operations like

machining, laser cutting and welding easier and more efficient. In addition, the lower maintenance and the increased lifetime of the tools used in bending and profiling operations deliver significant cost-savings.

Offer extended to thicker gauge The concept for thin gauges has been consolidated during the past year, and it is now being extended to thicker gauges. Because of the significantly increasing interest in this product, OCAS is supporting copy-engineering the concept to multiple ArcelorMittal plants.

This product has been successfully accepted by customers thanks to its competitive advantages in terms of cleaner workshops, less wear on forming and cutting tools, minimized powdering during deformation, higher corrosion resistance, homogeneous surface after shot blasting, and higher laser cutting speeds.


“It has been a challenge to obtain similar surface cleanliness with the same machines and brushes, when the starting materials show a completely different surface quality.� Eva Diaz Gonzalez


2 Durability

Brushing up surface cleanliness Because clean, smooth surface finishes no longer need to be surface-treated prior to further processing, an increasing number of customers are requesting superior surface quality on hot-rolled products. This high surface quality can be achieved by brushing the steel during cut-to-length processing in steel service centre production lines, before shipping the material to the customer. However, because the optimum brushing parameters strongly depend on the material to be processed, the brushing step turns into a real challenge. Adjusting the brushing step Some materials show a rather poor surface quality with a fine and dusty, but easy to remove, scale; other materials have been specifically developed

to show an adherent oxide scale that acts as a barrier, thus protecting the steel. Brushing these completely different surfaces requires completely different conditions. So, in collaboration with a brush supplier, OCAS studied the influence of different brushing parameters on the final surface cleanliness of various steel grades. Valorising this knowledge, the OCAS team provided support to the ArcelorMittal’s steel service centres, which recently implemented brushing machines in their cut-to-length lines.

After carefully introducing modifications to these lines and optimising the brushing parameters, promising results have been obtained on all materials. Recent trials resulted in excellent surface cleanliness − even for the grades that are known for their poor surface quality. Positive customer feedback The use of brushing machines in the cut-to-length lines has additional beneficial effects. Thanks to dust collection, the cleanliness of the line improves as well as the safety of the workplace. Customers are happily surprised by the brushed surface finish of the steel, and their feedback has been positive.



Environment Tom Waterschoot Not so long ago, the steel industry and its products were regarded as out-dated and environmentally-unfriendly. But today, this perception – likely created by the heavy-industry image of steel production – is far from fair. Steel and its material solutions often score significantly better in terms of carbon footprint and life cycle assessment than alternatives in aluminium, plastic or composites. Today’s steel production is subject to all kinds of stringent environmental regulations – including restrictions on CO2 and toxic gas emissions, for example – that are pushing the industry to continuously reinvent itself. Our industry does not view its environmental responsibilities merely as obligations but as strong drivers for material developments and innovations. So, the climate around steel has been changing in recent years, and steel products have become more popular. Speaking of CO2 reductions, a very strong driver for the electrical steel industry these days is the electrification of cars − and a high priority


is extending the driving range in an environmentally-friendly way. In terms of the electromagnetic performance of the electrical steels used, the needs vary significantly from mild hybrid solution to full electrical vehicle. We’ve developed and industrialised a first generation of specific products for the automotive industry, which are now ramping up strongly under the brand name iCARe®. The next generation of products − which perform even better in terms of both torque creation (greater acceleration) and loss reduction (extended driving range) − is being prepared.

The successful introduction of light-weight solutions and products for several applications (such as trailers, crane-booms or storage racks) demonstrated that carbon footprint and total cost of ownership can also be reduced by combining newly developed steel grades with smart designs. As we move further into the 21st century, the pursuit of green products is accelerating – and OCAS is poised to perform a pioneering role.

As a key player in the world’s search for green products, OCAS develops and implements environmentally-friendly steel substrates and surface functionalities. OCAS has developed several ‘Ready-to’ solutions, creating value as well as environmental advantages for the customer. The Ready-to-Paint® surface treatments on cold-rolled steel eliminate the need for degreasing and pre-treatment at the customer site. In the field of enamelling, a breakthrough REACH-compliant environmentally-friendly approach to obtaining enamelled steel is on its way to industrialisation.


”Although the electric vehicles market situation remains complex, there will always be a need for lower losses and higher efficiency. So we keep going strong!” Wahib Saikaly & Clément Philippot


3 Environment

CARing for tomorrow’s green mobility solutions Finding innovative (i) and environmentally-friendly (e) solutions is essential for the CAR of tomorrow. iCARe® is ArcelorMittal’s product offering of advanced electrical steels for the automotive market − helping car manufacturers create environmentally-friendly mobility solutions for a greener world. Within ArcelorMittal Global R&D, OCAS is the dedicated research centre for the development of electrical steels. Electrical steels need diverse optimal properties: high polarisation & permeability for torque, low iron losses for efficiency, mechanical strength for compactness, and thermal conductivity to avoid overheating. However, basic laws of physics force us to compromise, as the properties have conflicting behaviours. For that reason, a whole range of electrical steel grades is being developed: iCARe®Save to reduce iron losses to a maximum extent; iCARe®Torque to achieve a high level of mechanical power output; and iCARe®Speed to allow for compact machines with high power density.

Complex market situation The segment of hybrid and full electric vehicles is a growing, but not yet mature, market. Car manufacturers are still evaluating different options for their future models. Nevertheless, the major requirements are clear, and most steel suppliers are exerting significant efforts to develop new products. To maintain market share, it’s important to be on the market quickly with improved grades along the three major axes: Save, Torque and Speed. At the same time, the steel suppliers must be highly flexible to respond quickly to changing needs. Indeed, Arcelor­Mittal

conducts frequent exchanges with customers − a practice of utmost importance to get valuable, timely feedback. Strong asset At OCAS, we not only have the metallurgical expertise to develop the grades of the future, we are also equipped to perform lab simulations of our concepts. These in-house lab trials provide us with fundamental knowledge before the new concept is brought to industrial scale on the ArcelorMittal Saint-Chély production line. Our facilities for advanced characterisation of electromagnetic properties and nume­ rical modelling of the processing steps performed by the end-user complete our R&D competencies in this field. Our lab simulations strongly facilitate the introduction of new concepts in the industrial production line. And when we develop a grade, customers are keen to test this new development in their prototypes. 71

”Ready-to-Paint® fills the gap in surface treatments in the cold-rolled market.” Nathalie Van den Bossche


3 Environment

The market is Ready-to-Paint® Ready-to-Paint® − the first dry surface treatment available for cold-rolled steel − enables customers to reduce their pre-treatment efforts. Without compromising performance, it avoids oiling, degreasing and the application of a phosphate or passivation layer. Customers producing drums, household appliances or steel furniture are especially eager to switch to this alternative. On top of eliminating the need for pretreatment, Ready-to-Paint® enhances adhesion for painting − an added value much appreciated by the end-users. Although it’s not difficult to convince customers of its potential, the transition to this new product requires some testing, and OCAS has been very active in these acceptance tests. In our well-equipped lab, we can simu­ late the customer’s process offline.

After successful compatibility testing, the customer responds with a rampup in volume by switching orders to this time- and cost-saving cold-rolled solution.

window being pushed by market demand. OCAS has been the driving force behind this project from its very start − so we are ready to take on the challenge to bring Ready-to-Paint® to more customers.

Ready-to-market So far, feedback from the customers has been very positive. As volumes pick-up, we are facing the decision to move production to other production lines in order to enlarge the feasibility


�Recent trials confirm the potential of this robust concept and the lower curing temperature avoids the risk of warping and fish scale formation. OCAS also has the multi-disciplinary expertise to assist the customer in fine-tuning processing parameters such as forming, cleaning, assembling, etc.� Marc Leveaux


3 Environment

Thin glass coating − a green solution that comes in a variety of colours Vitreous enamelling has been acknowledged for centuries as one of the most durable ways to protect metals against abrasion, temperature and corrosion. In recent years, driven by ever-stricter environmental legislation, the enamelling industry has evolved by limiting or avoiding the use of hazardous compounds. Recent changes have significantly reduced the environmental footprint of enamelled steel, but this is not enough. We need to increase the lifetime of manufactured products, improve their recycling ability, and reduce their consumption of raw materials and energy. Peak LCA* performance In order to solve all drawbacks, technical as well as economical, OCAS launched a project on ‘green enamelling’. The goal: to propose a new enamelling process for the enamelled steel of the future, without compromising on performance. Today, OCAS proudly presents its thin glass coating, reconciling the durability of an enamel layer with the formability

of thin steel sheet. This game-changing solution enamels metallic-coated steel at a temperature slightly above 700°C − instead of the traditional 830°C − which limits the risk of fish scale formation and ensures excellent adhesion without the need for heavy metals such as Co, Ni, and Sb. First, a very thin hybrid primer is applied on metallic-coated steel. This pre-primed metallic-coated steel can then be further coated with topcoat enamels. The full system is much thinner and uses thin cold-rolled steel, reducing material consumption. Moreover, the lower curing temperature avoids the risk of warping or other permanent deformation.

Robust concept As the glass-to-metal link functionality is transferred to the substrate, the enamel supplier can fully focus on the aesthetic and surface aspects of the topcoat layer. The enameller needs to apply only one coat after the first vitri­ fication step − a clear advantage. In 2015, OCAS produced architectural panels showcasing the game-changing project. Traditional panels of 1.25 mm were replaced by thinner sheet of 0.80 mm. In addition to a 30% material-savings, the new panels showed superior flatness. This novel green solution opens the door to new architectural applications (as well as others) for enamelled steel in construction and beyond. Results from trials involving customers from various market segments have been highly promising. *LCA: Life Cycle Assessment 75

“Feedback from end-use customers is very valuable in shortening time-to-market for these new uncoated and coated cold-rolled high-strength steels.” Clément Philippot


3 Environment

Extending the high-strength cold-rolled offer End-use customers really appreciated the introduction of the HC500LA ArcelorMittal cold-rolled micro-alloyed high-strength grade taking maximal advantage of the capabilities of the continuous annealing line of ArcelorMittal Gent. The product’s benefits are significant: the grade shows good formability (exhibiting only minor springback), and it’s available in thin gauges fit for light-weight structural parts with a heavy-load-bearing capacity. OCAS’s concept for these cold-rolled high-strength steel grades is robust enough to allow rapid development of even stronger grades. At the same time, market interest is shifting more towards coated grades for applications that require additional corrosion resistance. In particular, there is huge potential in the construction market for grades that could extend the product offer above 500 MPa. Extending the offer The increase in strength, without

significantly compromising on formability, is feasible with the current concept. However the market demand for coated micro-alloyed high-strength steel adds to the challenge of this development. Each galvanising line is different with regard to parameters that influence the microstructure, and thus the inuse properties. That’s why OCAS is currently optimising the metallurgical concept for the different ArcelorMittal galvanising lines. We aim to offer suffi-

cient flexibility to the galvanising plants, combined with a rational offer for the whole ArcelorMittal group. Co-engineering is key In addition to the various galvanising lines, the market also has a clear need to fine-tune the coated grades per application. For example, roofing and cladding profiles demand in-use properties that may differ from what is needed to manufacture seat frames or solar panels. Over the years, OCAS has developed vast experience in co-engineering with customers in numerous industrial market segments. The customer satisfaction we’ve experienced further facilitates the market introduction of the new developments. A real win-win situation! 77

”We’ve learned a lot about the buckling behaviour of racks during this project. Thanks to this study, we can now easily use our model on different geometries.” Steven Cooreman & John Vande Voorde


3 Environment

Co-engineering off the shelf Shelving and racking are used for effective product storage, retrieval and movement. In a logistics market in which everything revolves around rapid order fulfilment, custom-designed solutions provide the flexibility and efficiency needed to support fast inbound and outbound operations. At the same time, the quality and safety of the racks is paramount. OCAS runs a co-engineering programme in which the objective is to assess what gain can be achieved by replacing parts typically in S235 and S355MC grades with higher-strength steel grades, such as S500MC and S700MC. Specifically for shelves and racks, OCAS recently launched a generic engineering project called ‘RACKS’. It was studied if the use of higher-strength steel grades would be beneficial for profiles currently in S235 and S355MC. The knowledge gathered in this project was then applied in a co-engineering project with one of Europe’s major rack manufacturers. This project was focused on the optimisation of a (relatively) large and spacious storage rack. The critical scenario is a fully loaded rack.

The OCAS Applications & Solutions team modelled the geometry of the rack using a non-linear solver, including plasticity, with the FEA (finite element analysis) code Abaqus. First, the FEA model was validated by comparing the predicted failure modes − both buckling and yield − to experimental data provided by the industrial partner. Next, the model was used to optimise steel grade and thickness. High-strength steel grades, up to and including S700MC, were introduced into the model. Importance of failure mode For rather spacious racks − such as the one considered in this study − the main failure mode is buckling of the upright beams. Since this failure mode

is influenced primarily by stiffness, the potential for higher-strength steels is not high. Nevertheless, it was shown that there is room for optimisation, as high-strength steel can increase the load factor in buckling. The thickness of the other beams (cross and bay beams) doesn’t notably alter the load factor in buckling. So, based on their respective failure mode, the thickness of these beams can be reduced significantly. Influence of geometry These conclusions cannot be generalised to all geometries. The more compact the rack and the less slender the upright beams, failure modes other than buckling gain in importance. For such a rack, the potential for reducing weight by using high-strength steels is even larger.


”Weight-saving design − by using ultra-high-strength tempered martensite steel grades, for example − is essential for both environmental and economic sustainability.” Lieven Bracke


3 Environment

Ultra-high-strength enables environmentally-friendlier applications The availability of ultra-high-strength grades enables weight-saving designs, without compromising the structural integrity of the final application. This is highly valuable for the automotive industry, for example, which continually strives to reduce fuel consumption for environmental reasons. The interest in making lighter constructions for non-automotive vehicles is much more diverse, with fuel consumption as only one of the driving forces. Success stories in industry The use of ultra-high-strength material in crane booms is crucial in fulfilling our customers’ needs to reduce the boom’s weight. A stronger and lighter boom enables the construction of

cranes with longer reach and higher allowable lifting weight. Another example is the use of these steels in modern, high-strength trailer chassis. A lighter trailer results in a higher payload for a given total weight or in reduced fuel consumption for a given payload. A third example can be found in the agricultural sector, where larger machines can be used without causing

more damage to the fields as a consequence of excessive weight. Exceptional combinations In recent years, OCAS has developed a first generation of these steels based on hot strip mill processing. The concept is based on quenching the steel to very hard martensite at the end of hot rolling, followed by an annealing step to restore ductility and toughness. This enables an exceptional combination of strength, formability and toughness to be obtained in a cost-effective way. Further developments are progressing towards even higher-strength materials without compromising ductility.



Technical Support & Services and Business Development Nico De Wispelaere & Joachim Antonissen OCAS is constantly developing new competences, techniques and tools that are needed to support our research projects. In view of the importance of this activity, we continuously strive to improve the quality of this service and increase its output. In order to build reliable and well-performing, in-house-designed test equipment, our engineering capabilities have been grouped into a dedicated team (EMTEC). Our in-house-developed database has been upgraded by I-SenS (our IT & facility management team), so that it has become an essential tool in our quality and safety system and is evolving into a labintegrated management system. Our former Quality manual has been


translated into an ‘Excellence wiki’, integrating the ISO9001 Quality standard and the OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety standard. With the framework installed, we are now working towards ISO 17025 accreditation.

OCAS assists its customers in a variety of sectors with a wide spectrum of technical issues. To maximise value creation for our customers, we encourage being involved in an early stage − this enables us to ‘think together’ instead of merely deploying a testing programme.

New research techniques are being developed to enable us to use advanced computational techniques in our product development as well as high-throughput methodologies in metallurgical developments.

With our multi-disciplinary teams, we support customers from product design all the way to the optimisation phase. We look forward to continuing to provide technical support and innovative solutions for our customers’ challenging issues!

Once a new technique or piece of equipment becomes available within our research projects, we try to integrate it in our shorter-term projects, such as Sales offer, Customer technical support, or direct technical support to the plants. We also explore the capabilities of our existing competences and equipment for tests and research of nonferrous alloys.


”There’s no such thing as a typical TS&S request. The only certainty is that the customer needs a solution and needs it fast! So, we’re sometimes called ‘the OCAS emergency room’!” Pieter Vanduynslager


4 Technical Support

Fast and reliable support OCAS’s Technical Support & Services team (TS&S) provides technical support to ArcelorMittal production plants as well as to direct customers. Not only is the team called on for a diverse range of topics, the operating mode can be very different depending on the request. Client Technical Support (CTS) bridges the communication between the Arcelor­Mittal customer and the OCAS R&D centre. In some cases, CTS calls on OCAS for advice; on other occasions, the problem is more complex and needs further analysis in the R&D lab. A broad scope CTS can involve TS&S on various topics: metallic & inorganic coatings, corrosion, adhesion, welding, bending & forming, fatigue failure, and more. A TS&S representative first identifies the most appropriate characterisation

method for the given problem. The next step is to organise this urgent request in such a way that it gets the priority it requires. Issues vary widely: from production at the steel producing plant, to a customer’s processing flow, to selecting the most suitable steel grade for the application. Some problems require additional, more detailed, analysis to determine the root cause. A wide network to rely upon But the TS&S team doesn’t only deal with problems. Their expertise is also

required in co-engineering projects, in which assistance is needed (for example) in selecting the best grade, coating, thickness, or passivation treatment for a certain application. For such co-engineering projects, the TS&S team is supported by the other OCAS departments. Requests for finite element simulations are handled by the Application & Solutions department, whereas corrosion issues are typically treated by the Surface department. Established as a dedicated department in 2010, TS&S today is receiving more requests than ever. Customers are satisfied − they rely on the quality as well as the speed of the TS&S approach … and they keep coming back.


“The Technical Support & Services team has the privilege of being involved in a diverse range of investigations − from routine quality control up to profound characterization and problem solving. In this way, our expertise grows continuously, helping us anticipate problems.” Veerle Van Lierde


1 mm

4 Technical Support

Making steel corrosion-proof The most common way to prevent corrosion in steel applications is by applying a coating − and today’s sophisticated metallic coatings can slow the onset of corrosion dramatically. The most widely used metallic coating is standard hot dip galvanising. This pure zinc coating is used in many applications such as roofing and cladding, profiles and tiles, domestic appliances, racks, etc. Driven by continual improvement and the desire to respond to market needs, researchers have continued to develop steel coatings with improved performance. Galfan® is a successful example of such a development. This hot-dip coating is zinc-based with 5% aluminium. On the market since the 80s, its use is still increasing thanks to its excellent corrosion resistance even at cut edges. Assuring top-quality With 25 years of experience with coated products, OCAS valorises its knowledge by providing technical support to the hot dip coating lines of ArcelorMittal Europe. ArcelorMittal Gent plant has an extended coating offer including Galfan® next to pure zinc coating.

Anticipating potential problems during the galvanising process, and monitoring the performance of the Galfan® material, ensures that the product sent to the end-user is of the highest level of quality. Within this context, OCAS recently carried out a thorough followup of Galfan®’s flexibility for one of its customers using different types of deformation tests.

In-depth product research Pre-painted Galfan® applications are also popular, particularly for colourful roofing and cladding applications. The challenge is to harmonise the paint properties and the Galfan® coating to optimise the coating system for specific use. Over the years, numerous case stu­dies have provided OCAS’s researchers with insights into these coated pro­ ducts. This knowledge is of utmost importance in quickly identifying and resolving possible issues during production. And OCAS’s understanding of the parameters influencing the production process further accelerates our support services’ response time.


”The OCAS Engineering team’s mind-set is to realise projects for both internal and external customers. Even if some ideas at first seem impossible!” Johan Verlee

“Customers value our approach in which we always give top priority to safety.” Diedrik Vereecke


4 Technical Support

EMTEC − driving the roadmap for engineering projects OCAS’s electro-mechanical engineering team (EMTEC) meets its customers’ needs by developing engineering projects in the field of instruments, measurement & control engineering. EMTEC also provides technical support for adaptations. In 2012, OCAS decided to centralise its engineering expertise in the EMTEC team. The competences of the team members cover a wide range of engineering and technical support, such as advanced use of CAD, machining (milling, grinding, wire spark erosion, turning, etc.), welding and joining, automation, safety coordination, and general support regarding H&S issues. So far, they’ve provided technical support in the case of defects, interruptions and broken parts. Today, EMTEC is in charge of the roadmap for engineering projects. EMTEC’s responsibilities The EMTEC team takes full responsibility for all steps in the engineering project. In the pre-study phase, they implement the Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA). After design

review, potential failure modes are listed and a severity and occurrence ranking is assigned. Based on these results, an action plan to reduce the risks is made and improvements are implemented. Then, selection and evaluation of suppliers is started, a time schedule is proposed, necessary utilities are determined, and a transparent total cost overview is delivered. Once the request for quote (RFQ) is approved and the supplier is selected, the engineering phase continues and acceptance tests are prepared. Meanwhile, progress is monitored and on-site contractors are coordinated during manufacturing and build-up. Pre-acceptance test is followed by installation start-up, including safety inspections. Commissioning reports are set up and the acceptance test is scheduled.

Safety first From the very start, health & safety and risk prevention get top priority in all EMTEC projects. The OCAS safety prevention coordinator is closely involved. Whenever a new test set-up is commissioned, EMTEC provides our customer with a safe installation that fully meets expectations with regard to the specs. The EMTEC team also takes pride in delivering a fully documented file, including work instructions, risk analysis, and prevention measures. The work performed by EMTEC covers a wide range of services and set-ups: from an electro-deposition pilot line to air casting units, to revamping a hotdip lab coater, to transforming a rolling stand for heavy plate into bar and wire rod rolling, and so on. Currently, EMTEC is involved in a brand-new installation for large-scale testing of samples − challenging, but exciting! 89

”We believe working in partnership sharpens our view. It’s helpful to have our ideas challenged − because that helps us rank priorities and take the best decisions at important stages of our projects.” Nico De Wispelaere, Marc Vanderschueren and Rob van de Coevering


10 mm

4 Business Development

Benefits of joining forces Reviewing the evolution of our customer portfolio over the past few years, the average size of our sales projects has continuously increased, along with the complexity and scope (multi-disciplinary). OCAS has become a confirmed R&D partner for several large customers − primarily R&D departments of large enterprises and R&D institutes. Often, OCAS is involved in project proposals these customers are submitting within their organisation or for external funding. By joining forces, OCAS strives to make the proposals stronger.

beneficial: our partners can benefit from the results and insights that our project produces, while we can miti­ gate our research cost by receiving partial funding from these partners.

Early involvement In our own projects, we try to involve our partners as early as possible. We offer them the opportunity to have an impact on the project scope and priorities, making the project mutually

In addition, this approach increases the probability that the outcome of our project can be used by our partners, who would at that point become our customers for the developed product or service.

Multi-disciplinary flexibility We accompany key partners to bring them flexible solutions by developing their new products or processes with our multi-disciplinary competence. Adding their needs and perspectives to our own helps us ensure that we are developing the right competences and products at the right time.


annealing sheet and transformation bar rolling high-throughput tailorhot and vacuum melting made alloys cold rolling

”Next to our unique state-of-the-art equipment, OCAS’s greatest asset is its skilled staff of scientists, engineers, researchers and operators from all over the world. The flexibility, resilience, creativity and, above all, professionalism they display in fulfilling our customers’ requests gives us confidence in the future.”

ferro and non-ferro alloys liquid phase

heat treatment

high purity materials


Joachim Antonissen


test set-ups




preenamelling activation interaction with different environments metal interfaces

TMP Surface Engineering 92

TMP Metal Processing Centre

fluid dynamics coating developments


from large scale testing to mini-sampling




advanced characterisation reach compliant alternatives


numerical simulation

design specifications fracture mechanics

material data generation severe operating engineering conditions critical assesment


modelling structural integrity

TMP Metal Structures

4 Business Development

Maximising the return for all stakeholders To continue to provide top-level R&D products and services for its customers and partner base, OCAS needs to continuously finance and expand its capabilities. Especially in material-related research − where it can take a long time, from product development to market introduction, before substantial revenue is created. The pillar of OCAS’s valorisation strategy stems from its Technology Maturation Platforms (TMP). Each TMP has its own clearly defined core competences, which generate income when OCAS performs contract research for its recurring customer base, carries out tests for customers using its unique state-of-the-art testing equipment, offers timesharing of its lab infrastructure in a partnership programme, or licences IP. In addition, OCAS leverages services responding to macroscopic market trends by combining its core competences and cross-selling to

complementary markets. Furthermore, OCAS can count on alternative valorisation from its co-development and partnership projects with industry across its different TMPs. The key to a successful cooperation that maximises ROI for all stakeholders is to work out a win-win scenario from the very beginning of a project.

international recognition in its expert fields. This, together with its highly skilled staff, allows OCAS to attract significant projects. A good business plan calls for a strategic vision to prepare OCAS for Industry 4.0 − and for thriving in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. Therefore, OCAS is exploring possibilities to accelerate and maximise its impact. Together with all stakeholders, OCAS is open to considering additional partnerships expanding common activities in the future.

Preparing for Industry 4.0 Thanks to its 25 years of proven track record in metallurgy & alloy development, joining & assembly, surface functionalisation & corrosion, enamelling, hydrogen interactions, and numerical simulation, OCAS enjoys 93

”When Expanite was looking for new investors in 2014, a clear objective was to find international partners who could bring more to the company than simply financial support. After having Finindus on board for two years, we can confirm that we found exactly what we were looking for. The combination of skills, international outlook and experience − as well as insight into our industry − brings true value to our company.” Thomas Abel Sandholdt (CEO of Expanite, DK)


4 Business Development

Finindus − sustainable investment Backed by ArcelorMittal and the Flemish Region, Finindus invests in early stage and growth companies at the forefront of innovation in materials and industrial processes with a particular focus on the steel and metal value chain. For this sister company of OCAS, sustainability is the common denominator. Current portfolio Borit (BE) manufactures high-precision metal components and assemblies. The company has focused on developing a full offering for fuel cells and electrolysers. Borit differen­ tiates itself through its unique and proprietary hydroforming process − offering quality and accuracy at the productivity of traditional deep-drawing technologies. Borit is ramping up its production capacity to match the increasing demand from its international customer base, which ranges from automotive OEMs to dedicated fuel cell companies.

Expanite (DK) − a spin-out of DTU in Copenhagen − is Finindus’ most recent investment. Expanite offers a gamechanging gas phase surface hardening process for stainless steel as well as titanium. The company has a dual business model: job coating through its own service centers, and a license model offering customers the possibility to embed Expanite’s technology in their own manufacturing process. Expanite has recently extended its geographic reach with a second service center in the US and a third one Germany.

Calyos (BE) has successfully tuned a capillary loop heat pipe technology with a proven track record in outer space to two terrestrial applications: cooling of power electronics (railways, windmills and industrial drives) and cooling of high-performance processors (supercomputers and datacenters). Its products have a high heat transfer capability and operate in a closed loop system requiring no maintenance or energy. Calyos is also in the process of industrialising its manufacturing capabilities.

Powercell Sweden (SE), originally a spin-out of Volvo AB, combines a unique diesel reforming technology with a proprietary fuel cell technology to generate electric power in a highly efficient, clean and silent way. As its fuel cell stack platforms cover a wide power range (1-100 kW), Powercell is also increasingly being solicited for its fuel cell stacks for stationary as well as automotive applications. Powercell was listed on Nasdaq First North at the end of 2014.

Finindus’s hands-on experience, industrial mind-set and co-operation with OCAS and ArcelorMittal make Finindus a valuable partner to its portfolio companies and its co-investors. Finindus screens about 100 relevant technology companies per year, offering a front-row view on innovation in applications and markets of tomorrow and sustainable manufacturing. Finindus can also facilitate the up-scaling of innovative technologies to an industrial scale at the ArcelorMittal Gent plant by providing project financing. These projects aim to deploy new manufacturing technologies, or to reduce the plant’s ecological footprint, by addressing waste streams or improving energy efficiency. The PEM project, which targets the use of more and less noble scrap in the steel manu­ facturing process, is a good example of this.


”The challenging mix of small one-off assignments and larger size projects within our sales activities enables us to better balance workload for our equipment and our team members.” Nico De Wispelaere


50 µm

4 Business Development

Open to walking new − and more complex − paths with our customers Over the past few years, OCAS has witnessed the average size of its sales projects grow steadily. Although, the number of customers ordering one or more studies in a given year has grown only slightly from year to year – reaching about 100 metal producing and metal processing – we notice that our customers’ projects are becoming larger and more complex. Larger sized projects are often studies that are more interesting to us scientifically and make use of the full potential of OCAS’s multi-disciplinary competences. On top of that, customers involved in larger projects more often come back with new requests. Moreover, even if the major part of our sales activities is related to our available competences and techniques, OCAS is also open to walking new paths with our customers. When needed, we can develop new methods − or even design and build specific test set-ups − that allow us and our customers (which are regarded as partners

in these cases) to perform specialised, non-standard R&D activities. Great and small As the scope of our projects grows, certain projects are large enough to be eligible for national or European funding. OCAS is being added to these project proposals as a partner or sub-

contractor, which can strengthen the proposal and thus increase its chances for approval. In addition to being scienti­fically interesting, these projects also have a well-defined, longer-term schedule, making them easier to handle operationally. Of course, we’re also continuing to work on smaller assignments, as they can lead to partnerships and larger projects over the years. However, there is a limit to the number of small − often urgent − assignments that we can handle simultaneously.



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”It’s amazing how this disruptive breakthrough in highthroughput methodology accelerates bridging the gap from knowledge to market in the field of metallurgy” Nele Van Steenberge



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4 Business Development

Accelerating metallurgical discovery using combinatorial principles Metals and alloys have influenced human life so profoundly that without them the modern world could not function successfully. The study of metallurgy is the oldest branch of the physical sciences − over millennia, it has evolved to become a highly sophisticated research field that influences almost all sectors of industry. To maintain this strategic industrial strength, it is imperative that the scientific and industrial communities continue to make new metallurgical discoveries. That’s why the European Union supports the FP7 Accelerated Metallurgy project − called ‘AccMet’ − to significantly accelerate the pace of material discovery and optimisation. In contrast to the traditional, slow trial-and-error approach, AccMet advocates the accelerated discovery and optimisation of higher-performance alloy formulations using combinatorial principles. OCAS involvement in AccMet AccMet’s partners are top European universities and industry. In addition to accelerating the process of preparing

alloys with different chemical compositions, OCAS’s role in AccMet is to contribute with high-throughput rolling and heat-treatment methodology. OCAS developed and validated a metho­dology in which up to 18 different compositions are lab rolled in a single operation. Furthermore, each composition can be heat-treated by submitting it to several ageing or temper parameters. The disruptive methodology was scienti­fically validated by reconstructing a complete Schaeffler diagram based on one rolling trial. Results were highly convincing, confirming the phenomenal time and material savings this new methodology offers.

Success story continues Being able to produce more samples much quicker means that fast screening is needed to identify compositions with potential for further fine-tuning. For this challenge, OCAS teamed up with Flamac, its partner in the Materials Research Cluster Gent. Flamac’s experience in combinatorial set-ups and data-mining facilitated the characterisation of samples produced. Meanwhile, OCAS was able to implement the new methodology for fast screening of alloys with potential for applications of interest at ArcelorMittal. In only six months’ time, 1000 differently heat-treated samples were produced and characterised. OCAS’s approach enables the identification of ‘hot spots’ with regard to alloys and their subsequent rolling and heat-treatment. These hot spots are very valuable as input for breakthrough projects. 99

“The collaboration between owner (OCAS) and developer (I-SenS) is very smooth, thanks to detailed specs collected from daily users of the application. I’m already looking forward to the new web-based version scheduled for 2020.” Roger Hubert


4 Business Development

A job well-done From our inception, OCAS has been convinced of the need to organise data, processes and procedures to support our project management approach. The first in-house developed database was a tool to register and allocate hours to projects. Gradually, the database functionalities were expanded. Following the introduction of internal requests (called ‘jobs’), additional modules were added to the database for project, equipment, quality and human resource management; chemical products used in the labs; and warehouse and sample management. Separate modules and software applications were added one by one − and continuously improved − but always aligned with one coherent database. Evolving into an LIMS In 2009, the decision was taken to integrate all modules in one application. A new version was launched, including all improvements and using more advanced software and hardware possibilities. The new application was called ‘JobManager’ − and the major changes compared to the former

version were: the integration of jobs linked to projects (the ‘tree’), topics related to Health & Safety, and the introduction of the ‘article catalogue’ (to manage ‘stuff’ such as test materials, chemicals, laptops, etc.). Until 2011, the above-mentioned ‘jobs’ and ‘articles’ objects were sufficient to manage our projects. Today, OCAS is ready to transform JobManager into a lab integrated management system (LIMS). What’s up? With this important step, we are integrating content: what needs to be done on which sample. Each sample will be subject to a ‘standard operating procedure’ (SOP), enabling a detailed description of the job in a

straight­forward manner. Each SOP will generate data that is stored for further use. Thanks to our project management approach, OCAS is known in the R&D landscape for its efficiency. With the next update of JobManager, we will link this efficiency to an even higher level of quality assurance, thanks to welldefined SOPs. The reporting module will be improved with monitoring tools and dashboard views. Validation flows will also be integrated. In addition to the benefits of this mo­dular in-house developed application, the major advantage is the fact that it is highly reliable, very close to our needs and easy to customise to its ever-changing environment. Thanks to its modular structure and reliability, other organisations have shown interest in the application − and the first contracts have been signed to licence the use of JobManager.


”Our Excellence wiki is a much leaner system and significantly lightens the administrative burden. I’ve also noticed that our wiki enhances the visibility − and awareness − of quality and safety on the work floor.” Roger Hubert


4 Business Development

Excellence wiki − from on hand manual, to online guide In early 2014, OCAS management believed the time had come to move a step forward towards a higher quality standard. The objective was to adapt our quality system to become accreditation-proof. This would open the door to applying for ISO 17025 accreditation certification in the near future. To reach this objective, the ‘Compliance project’ was launched. The OCAS quality manual was translated into an ‘Excellence wiki’ − which integrated the ISO 9001 quality standard and the OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety standard. First, all former procedures were translated into ‘wiki’ language. In a wiki format, documents are typically split into smaller units of texts comprised of links. The advantages of this ‘wiki” format are multiple: content is easy to update, search engines ensure quick and flexible access to content, and consistency is guaranteed. Changes are logged and documented and formal validation is managed online.

Teamwork and search engines What used to be a manual to have at hand during the audit now became a daily source of information for all collaborators. Thanks to the ‘wiki’ format, reluctance to make changes disappeared completely. Today, our Excellence wiki has proven to be an interactive system, frequently consulted by all. Content is more upto-date than ever before. The integrated external quality and OHSAS audit took place in November 2014. Although it took some time for the auditors to get used to a search engine (rather than navigating via the traditional table of contents), they

appreciated the full transparency of our Excellence wiki, and we passed the audit. Paving the way to accreditation Because the auditors found our ‘Excellence wiki’ to be compliant, OCAS is ‘accreditation-ready’. With the framework installed, we are now working towards ISO 17025 accreditation. In that regard, our JobManager application is a valuable asset. This laboratory management system is designed in such a way that it can handle most of the supplementary functions required by the ISO 17025 standard. For example, sample identification, equipment calibration and operator qualification were easily implemented.



Knowledge Roger Hubert The key question continually asked to R&D by both plants and customers is: “How to?” And they expect a fast, accurate, applicable, sustainable and affordable answer… Research has plenty of tools at its disposal, but these will not provide the answer promptly, unless creative researchers pick up the question, analyse the problem, design an experiment or simulation, validate the method, perform the test, interpret the results and write a comprehensive report. Hence, the importance of continuing to develop new test methods and to maintain − and even extend − our competence in core domains. With these assets, we can achieve better quality and efficiency to satisfy our stakeholders. In recent years, we have definitely improved our knowledge management policy by applying project management principles to knowledge acquisition. We will ensure a stronger future by acquiring new knowledge, formalising reporting and its validation, sharing with colleagues, and protecting further dissemination according to strict rules of confidentiality throughout the company. There are many ways by which we acquire knowledge at OCAS. Behind the


scenes, a myriad of small methodology projects are running to improve the performance of a testing machine, develop a new analytical method, design a new machine, and set up a new simulation to explore new horizons. Some of these projects − such as ‘Bar rolling’ − are presented in the following pages. Knowledge acquisition is also the driving force behind pre-competitive research: larger projects, often supported by PhD theses, are carried out in the framework of the ‘knowledge building’ programme, which also hosts projects in collaboration with third parties, such as ‘AtCorAs’. Sharing knowledge on generic themes proves to have an important leverage effect. The results obtained – which are accessible to all participating members – can be turned into valuable new applications for smart product development and can even lead to patents. Furthermore, from our knowledge building, ideas arise for portfolio renewal.

Major issues of importance to society at large are often tackled in European or regionally funded programmes such as RFCS, FP7 and Horizon 2020. Thanks to our growing expertise and international recognition, OCAS is invited to participate in an increasing number of these funded programmes. The focus of these programmes is on ‘pure research’, whereby interesting phenomena can be studied for which no dedicated application has yet been identified. Still, it’s valuable to be able to test, and possibly exclude, some hypotheses at an early stage. And findings can be used to generate new ideas, which do find their way into applications for daily life. Knowledge is key to fuelling innovation. Knowing “how to” enables OCAS to come up with game-changing solutions to respond to society’s needs.


“The hot rolling of bars is quite different than plate rolling and requires a unique technological approach and good insight into the forming mechanisms of this process. Technicians, scientists and engineers teamed up for this challenge and succeeded in laying the groundwork for promising bar rolling campaigns in the future.” Kris Hertschap

”The integration of hardware with software was facilitated by the strong involvement of the metallurgical team and the workshop. We’ve all learned a lot.” Alexandre Van Sintejan


5 Knowledge

Lab rolling has come a long way In hot bar rolling, an initial rectangular steel billet passes through a series of roll grooves that continuously deform and extend the billet up to its final, usually cylindrical, shape. Rolling of bars is a complex process, affected by dozens of parameters such as material properties, the bar’s temperature, the velocity of deformation and tribology at the interface with the rolls. In 2015, OCAS started a project to set up bar rolling at its lab mill facility. The revamped lab mill that, until recently, was mostly used for plate mill lab simulations underwent a series of modifications. In order to adapt the rolling mill for rolling bar, add-on safety features, control mechanisms and tailormade components with narrow tolerances had to be fitted into the existing mill. Pass design know-how At OCAS’s reversible lab mill, all rolling passes are assembled in one pair of profiled rolls. Precise alignment is of utmost importance and every step

requires a tailor-made guiding tool in front of the rolls. Each groove has an optimised shape, and determining the number of passes is a complex challenge requiring good knowledge of roll pass design. To obtain a homogeneous strain in the product, bars are flipped over between rolling steps. Therefore, special mani­ pulation tables were developed and installed in line with the rolling mill. These tables also enhance operating speed to minimise intermediate cooling of the bar. Safety first The OCAS electro-mechanical engineering team EMTEC integrated the

automation and controlling of the mill flawlessly with the various added safety systems and sensors to optimise performance and operator safety of this semi-automatic system. Horizontally placed light curtains guard the mani­ pulation area outside the mill, while laser beams, placed inside the mill, monitor the movement of the bar during each pass, instantly returning this information to the rolling mill’s control system. A multi-disciplinary approach involving expert teams in the fields of metallurgy and engineering, supported by the workshop, resulted in a successful modification of the lab rolling mill. Thanks to meticulous preparation, analysis of the process and various safety evaluations, first trials went well. The results of the first test campaign were documented and will be analysed and evaluated to produce an action plan to further enhance the lab’s bar rolling capabilities. 107

“The very high N-levels that can be achieved through gaseous nitriding in combination with strong interaction with certain alloying elements result in a highly interesting − and relatively unexplored − metallurgy. For a metallurgist, this is very exciting!” Elke Leunis


20 µm

5 Knowledge

Nitriding competence paves the way to tailored properties Nitriding is a gaseous thermochemical treatment that is widely used to improve the surface properties of parts and components made of forging and tool steel. In conventional steel processing, N-alloying is limited during casting and solidification due to its challenging solu­bility. Nitride precipitates formed in the liquid phase are very large and do not contribute to strengthening. However, if an excess of strong nitrideforming elements (Me) such as Ti, Nb, Al, etc. is present during nitriding as a final treatment, nanometer sized and homogeneously distributed precipitation can be obtained, resulting in a variety of interesting properties. To develop new steel grades making use of this Fe-N metallurgy, it is crucial to understand the mechanisms of nitrogen diffusion and the interactions with other alloying elements.

Understanding the mechanisms The Fe-N binary system shows both differences and similarities with the Fe-C system. Nitriding treatments on pure Fe have been studied experimentally at OCAS to explore the opportunities of this new and complex metallurgy. In addition, the nitriding behaviour of binary Fe-Me systems has been thoroughly screened and studied. If nitride-forming elements (Me) are present, Me-nitrides may precipitate during nitriding or cooling, depending on the alloying level as well as the affinity between Me and N. In-house models have been developed in parallel for nitrogen diffusion and nitride layer formation − allow-

ing OCAS to predict and optimise the nitriding cycles to be applied in order to obtain a specific nitrogen level for a given steel composition. Translating fundamental knowledge The translation of this fundamental knowledge into nitriding cycles on industrial alloys has already proven some interesting tracks, which can be tailored by a specific design of the final nitriding treatment. Part of the knowledge has also been valorised through a cooperation project with a customer that has an interest in a very specific N-metallurgy. Nitriding of stainless steel is more complex, but from this perspective a synergy already exists with the Finindus participation in Expanite.


”To come up with a breakthrough solution, we need to understand the mechanism from A to Z.” Zinedine Zermout

“The fast extraction test set-up and the H2S permeation test will allow precise measurement and analysis.” Krista Van den Bergh


5 Knowledge

Advanced metallurgical understanding of H2S testing The market is interested in steel sour service resistant grades with ever higher strength for applications in environments containing hydrogen sulphide H2S (‘sour gas’). In these environments, hydrogen is very easily introduced into steel, which can lead to its embrittlement. Some metallurgical features are known to contribute to sour resistance − but a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism is still missing. Today, a range of standard methods are commonly used. NACE TM0177 Sulphide Stress Cracking (SSC) is used to qualify materials for sour service. Whereas SSC method A is merely a pass or fail test, SSC method D − which uses double cantilever beam specimens − provides a quantitative sour service resistance assessment. More fundamental knowledge needed OCAS launched a knowledge-building project to review the main specificities of SSC testing linked to hydrogen embrittlement. Hydrogen pick-up

proves to be dependent on specimen size. To acquire in-depth understanding of this behaviour, OCAS is currently developing a model based on the evolution of sub-surface hydrogen content as a function of immersion time and diffusion coefficient of hydrogen. For this purpose, OCAS has installed a test set-up for fast extraction of speci­ mens immersed in H 2S-containing environments. However, the high toxi­ city of H2S adds to the challenges. The test set-up enables our research team to quantify hydrogen pick-up without the risk of losing hydrogen as the

sample is transferred to the measuring device. State-of-the-art safety measures Furthermore, a range of permeation testing devices are gathering data as input for the model. Because of hydrogen sulphide’s toxicity, stringent health and safety precautions have been taken. The H2S permeation test set-up is installed in OCAS’s dedicated sour service testing lab. The new equipment enables OCAS to perform hydrogen permeation testing with H2S-containg environment. The specificity of the installed set-up is that the environment used is identical to the ones used for sulphide stress cracking tests, whereby hydrogen is introduced by solutions containing H 2S. To understand the combined effect of sour conditions and applied stress, permeation under tension will also be carried out. 111

�We now have a much better understanding of the role of the metallic coating and electrolyte composition in the corrosion behaviour of coated steel. This opens perspectives that go beyond standard materials testing in steel product development.� Krista Van den Bergh


100 Âľm

5 Knowledge

Corrosion modelling tool facilitates smart metallic coating design Metallic coating development takes a long time and is expensive because of the long-term corrosion testing in both lab and outdoor conditions. So, simulationassisted engineering could lead to significant acceleration and cost-reduction of the development of new coatings. That is why OCAS and the ArcelorMittal R&D team from Maizières joined the RFCS AtCorAS project on ‘Modelling of atmospheric corrosion of steel protected by aluminium-based alloys, applied by hot dip processing’. The focus of the project was to investigate and understand the mechanisms of atmospheric corrosion. Using the hot dip process simulator, OCAS supplied metallic coatings with various compositions. The Maizières team performed experimental measurements, for the most part using electrochemical techniques. Other partners in the project then used this input to develop the model. Finally, the

model was validated on the basis of the outdoor exposure and accelerated corrosion testing results obtained by OCAS. The model that was developed will enable us to predict the corrosion behaviour of steel protected by Albased alloys. In addition, by allowing us to simulate the impact of metallic coating composition under various conditions, use of the model will reduce experimental testing. Based on the analysis of corrosion products found at different locations at the cut-edge, a map of corrosion products distribution was made. Results from simulations showed a very similar

trend. This has led to a fundamental understanding and quantification of the corrosion processes taking place. Beyond standard materials testing Extensive interactions between experi­ ments and modelling demonstrates how modelling can contribute to the design of new metallic coatings for the protection of steel. The link between corrosion mechanisms and corrosion performance is made by the combination of electro-chemical data, surface and corrosion product characterisation, and modelling. Thanks to the project, we’ve acquired profound knowledge of the effects of the different alloying elements of the hot dip coating on the microstructure. The project also showed the electrochemical reactivity in chloride and chloride-free environments.


�Our striving to create lab conditions that simulate industrial operation as closely as possible has resulted in a robust concept. We already have interesting ideas for using the deuterium-based method in lab simulations of other processing steps.� Laura Moli Sanchez


1 Âľm

5 Knowledge

Fighting embrittlement with heavy hydrogen Hydrogen embrittlement has been widely reported as one of the major causes of steel failure under diverse conditions. Although the detrimental effects of hydrogen in steels are well documented, there is still no full agreement on the hydrogen embrittlement mechanisms that cause these failures. Susceptibility to hydrogen embrittlement increases as the steel strength increases. Nevertheless, for a given hardness or strength, different microstructures can present different susceptibilities to hydrogen embrittlement. Therefore, combatting hydrogen embrittlement necessitates in-depth knowledge of the mechanism. OCAS has a proven track record in hydrogen-related steel research. In 2011, OCAS organised the very first European conference dedicated to hydrogen and steel. Energised by its success, we continued our activities and organised SteelyHydrogen2014 − and currently, we are preparing the 2018 conference.

From our own research and regular exchanges with experts worldwide, our knowledge of the topic has now reached the level that we have a much better understanding of the hydrogenmicrostructure interactions. Our inhouse equipment and models for hydrogen trapping and diffusion have enabled us to optimise the testing method for measuring and analysing hydrogen and its effects in steel. Heavy hydrogen Over the past few years, OCAS has been using deuterium (also known as ‘heavy hydrogen’) as tracer element for its hydrogen research projects. One of the major advantages of using deuterium is the absence of background

noise during measurements. The combination of our metallurgical lab simulation capabilities and the use of deuterium enabled the development of an excellent sample preparation method. We bring added value, as we can exactly simulate the cycles typically used on the industrial lines during the production of high-strength steels. Under the given conditions, we then measure and analyse the behaviour of hydrogen in different steel grades. This allows us to suggest adjustments to the thermal cycles to reduce the hydrogen pick-up during industrial processing. Versatile methodology Being able to work in conditions that are highly comparable to the industrial mills, we can use our methodology to study all steel grades susceptible to hydrogen embrittlement: coated steel, enamelling steel, new generation of high-strength steels, and more. 115


Fact Sheet Evolution of turnover of OCAS (M€)

Evolution of staff (FTE)

22,72 17,66 13,63







21,59 19,62

19,35 16,89























2015 forecast 2016







2015 forecast 2016




Number of trainees 49 42



39 34



35 29 22












2015 forecast 2016


List of publications 2014/2015 Papers published in Scientific Journals


Publication Title




Fretting fatigue failure mechanism of automotive shock absorber valve

Reza Hojjati-Talemi, Ali Zahedi, Patrick De Baets

International Journal Of Fatigue

Vol. 73 (2015) pp. 58-65

Effect of Q&P parameters on microstructure development and mechanical behaviour of Q&P steels

Irene De Diego-Calderón, Dorien De Knijf, Jon M. MolinaAldareguia, Ilchat Sabirov, Cecilia Föjer, Roumen Petrov

Revista De Metalurgia

Vol. Jan-March (2015) pp. 1-12

Effect of hydrogen carbonate and chloride on zinc corrosion investigated by a scanning flow cell system

Claudius A. Laska, Michael Auinger, P. Ulrich Biedermann, Danish Iqbal, Nadine Laska, Joost De Strycker, Karl J.J. Mayrhofer

Electrochimica Acta

Vol. 159 (2015) pp. 198-209

A novel multi-pass dual-indenter scratch test to unravel abrasion damage formation in construction steels

Xiaojun Xu, Sybrand van der Zwaag, Wei Xu


Vol. 322-323 (2015) pp. 51-60

The influence of ultra-fast annealing prior to quenching and partitioning on the microstructure and mechanical properties

Dorien De Knijf, Athina Puype, Cecilia Föjer, Roumen Petrov

Materials Science And Engineering - A - Structural Materials

Vol. 627 (2015) pp. 182-190

Influence of Carbide Morphology and Microstructure on the Kinetics of Superficial Decarburization of C-Mn Steels

Alvarenga, H.D.; Van De Putte, T.; Van Steenberge, N.; Sietsma, J.; Terryn, H.

Metallurgical And Materials Transactions A

Vol. 46 (2015) pp. 123-133

Comparison of Iron Loss Models for Electrical Machines With Different Frequency Domain and Time Domain Methods for Excess Loss Prediction

D. Kowal, P. Sergeant, L. Dupre, L. Vandenbossche

IEEE Transactions On Magnetics

Vol. 51(1) (2015) pp. 1-10

Novel use of a micro-optode in overcoming the negative influence of the amperometric micro-probe on localized corrosion measurements

M.G. Taryba, K. Van den Bergh, J. De Strycker, O. Dolgikh, J. Deconinck, S.V. Lamaka

Corrosion Science

Vol. 95 (2015) pp. 1-5

In situ austenite–martensite interface mobility study during annealing

Dorien De Knijf, Maria J. Santofimia, Hui Shi, Vitaliy Bliznuk, Cecilia Fo¡er

Acta Materialia

Vol. 9 (2015) pp. 161-168

Evaluation of a numerical model for tapered threaded connections subjected to combined loading using enhanced experimental measurement techniques

Timothy Galle, Wim De Waele, Jeroen Van Wittenberghe, Patrick De Baets

Journal of Strain Analysis For Engineering Design

Vol. 50 (2015) pp. 561-570

Effect of the Cr Content and Coiling Temperature on the Properties

Lieven Bracke, Wei Xu

ISIJ International

Vol. 5 (2015) pp. 2206-2211

Effects of specimen geometry and anisotropic material response on the tensile strain capacity of flawed spiral welded pipes

Koen Van Minnebruggen, Stijn Hertelé, Philippe Thibaux, Wim De Waele

Engineering Fracture Mechanics

Vol. 148 (2015) pp. 350-362

Effect of in-situ hydrogen charging on the mechanical properties of advanced high strength steels

Tom Depover, ir.; Diana Pérez Escobar, dr. ir.; Elien Wallaert; Zinedine Zermout, dr.

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

Vol. 39 (2014) pp. 4647-4656

Phase transformations during decomposition of austenite between MS and Mf in low-carbon steels

Elisabete Pinto da Silva, Wei Xu, Cecilia Föjer, Yvan Houbaert, Jilt Sietsma, Roumen H. Petrov

Materials Characterization

Vol. 95 (2014) pp. 85-93

An alternative to the crystallographic reconstruction of austenite in steels

N. Bernier, L. Bracke, L. Malet, S. Godet

Materials Characterization

Vol. 89 (2014) pp. 23-32

Effect of fresh martensite on the stability of retained austenite in quenching and partitioning steel

D. DeKnijf, R. Petrov, C. Föjer

Materials Science And Engineering - A - Structural Materials

Vol. 615 (2014) pp. 107-115

Microstructural Control of Ductile Crack Propagation in TMCP HSLA Pipeline Steels

V. Carretero Olalla, N. Sanchez, P. Thibaux, R. H. Petrov, L.A.I. Kestens

Advanced Materials Research

Vol. 922 (2014) pp. 568-573

Analysis of the strengthening mechanisms in pipeline steels as a function of the hot rolling parameters

Victor Carretero; Vitaliy Bliznuk; Nuria Sanchez; Philippe Thibaux; Leo A. I. Kestens; Roumen H. Petrov

Materials Science And Engineering - A - Structural Materials

Vol. 604 (2014) pp. 46-56

Experimental study on the contact angle formation of solidified iron–chromium droplets onto yttria ceramic substrates for the yttria/ferrous alloy system with variable chromium content

K. Verhiest, S. Mullens, J. Paul,I. De Graeve, N. De Wispelaere, S. Claessens, A. De Bremaecker, K. Verbeken

Ceramics International

Vol. 40 (2014) pp. 2187-2200

Comprehensive study on the sintering behavior of yttria nano-powder in contact with electrolytic iron using the rapid solidification processing technique

K. Verhiest, S. Mullens, J. Paul,I. De Graeve, N. De Wispelaere, S. Claessens, A. DeBremaecker, K. Verbeken

Ceramics International

Vol. 40 (2014) pp. 7679-7692

Corrosion product identification at the cut edge of aluminum-rich metal coated steel

A. Alvarez-Pampliega, K. Van den Bergh, J. De Strycker, T. Segato, M. P. Delplancke-Ogletree and H. Terryn

Materials And Corrosion - Werkstoffe Und Korrosion

Vol. 65, 4 (2014) pp. 383-391

Corrosion Study on Al-rich Metal-Coated Steel by Odd Random Phase Multisine Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy

A. Alvarez-Pampliega T. Hauffman M. Petrova T.Breugelmans T. Muselle K. Van den Bergh J. De Strycker H.Terryn A. Hubin

Electrochimica Acta

Vol. 124 (2014) pp. 165-175

A sessile drop setup for the time-resolved synchrotron study of solid-liquid interactions: Application to intermetallic formation in 55%Al-Zn alloys

N. Bernier, G. B. M. Vaughan, D. De Bruyn, H. Vitoux, M. De Craene, H. Gleyzolle, B. Gorges, J. Scheers and S. Claessens

Applied Physics Letters

Vol. 104 (2014) pp. 171608

Advances in the development of corrosion and creep resistant nano-yttria dispersed ferritic/martensitic alloys using the rapid solidification processing technique

K. Verhiest, S. Mullens, I. De Graeve, N. De Wispelaere, S. Claessens

Ceramics International

Vol. 40 (2014) pp. 14319-14334

Crystallographic Reconstruction Study of the Effects of Finish Rolling Temperature on the Variant Selection During Bainite Transformation in C-Mn High- Strength Steels

N. Bernier, L. Bracke, L. Malet, S. Godet

Metallurgical And Materials Transactions A

Vol. 45 (2014) pp. 5937-5955


Increase of martensite start temperature after small deformation of austenite

B.B. He, W. Xu, M.X. Huang

Materials Science And Engineering - A - Structural Materials

Vol. 609 (2014) pp. 141-146

Combined Martensite and Bainite Formation from Austenite Decomposition in HSLA Steel

Elisabete Pinto da Silva, Wei Xu, Cecilia Föjer, Yvan Houbaert, Jilt Sietsma, Roumen H. Petrov

Advanced Materials Research

Vol. 922 (2014) pp. 682-687

Predicting the Austenite Fraction After Intercritical Annealing in Lean Steels as a Function of the Initial Microstructure

Hao Chen, Xiaojun Xu, Wei Xu, Sybrand van der Zwaag

Metallurgical And Materials Transactions A

Vol. 45 (2014) pp. 4

Orientation dependence of the martensite transformation in a quenched and partitioned steel subjected to uniaxial tension

D. De Knijf, T. Nguyen-Minh, R. H. Petrov, L. A. I. Kestens and John J. Jonas

Journal of Applied Crystallography

Vol. 47 (2014) pp. 1261-1266

Quantitative Investigation of Brittle Out-of-plane Fracture in X70 Pipeline Steel

F Tanckoua, J Crépin, P Thibaux, S Cooreman, AF Gourgues-Lorenzon

Procedia Materials Science

Vol. 3 (2014) pp. 1149-1154

Validating numerically predicted make-up of threaded connections using digital image correlation and infrared monitoring

Timothy Galle, Jan De Pauw, Wim De Waele, Jeroen Van Wittenberghe, Patrick De Baets

Journal of Strain Analysis For Engineering Design

Vol. 49 (2014) pp. 492-500

Papers published in Conference Proceedings


Publication Title




Gaseous nitriding of micro-alloyed steel sheets

Elke Leunis, Laura Moli Sanchez

2015/05/20 - Venice, Italy - IFHTSE 22 Congress / European Conference on Heat Treatment


Towards a more ecological enamelling process

Leveaux Marc

2015/05/24 - Florence, Italy - 23rd International Enamellers Congress


Austenite reconstruction via EBSD measurements: a tool to understand

L. Bracke, L. Moli Sanchez, N. Bernier

2015/09/14 - Antwerp, Belgium - ESOMAT 2015

(2015) pp. 1-6

Integrity of metal structures in offshore environment

Philippe Legros, Jan Wielant, Philippe Thibaux

2015/11/12 - Maarssen, Netherlands - Dag van de oppervlaktetechnologie


The effect of Nb on Low-Carbon Martensitic Steel Properties through Prior Austenite Optimization

L. Bracke, E. Leunis, L. Moli Sanchez, S. G. Jansto

2015/10/04 - Columbus, Ohio, USA - MS&T 2015


Determination of tensile strain capacity of spiral welded pipelines

Koen Van Minnebruggen, Stijn Hertelé, Philippe Thibaux, Rudi Denys, Wim De Waele

2015/06/21 - Kona, USA - ISOPE 2015: The 25th International Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference, 5th Artic Materials Symposium



Reeling pipeline material characterization – testing, material modeling and offshore measurement validation

Erwan Karjadi; Helen Boyd; Harm Demmink; Philippe Thibaux

2015/05/31 - St John, Canada - OMAE 2015 ASME 2015 34th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering 31/05/2015


Efficient fatigue testing of tubular joints

P Thibaux; J Van Wittenberghe; E Van Pottelberg; M Van Poucke; P De Baets; W De Waele

2015/05/31 - St John, Canada - OMAE 2015 ASME 2015 34th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering 31/05/2015


Qualification of s-n curve by experiments: estimation of survival probability for a low number of experiments

Philippe Thibaux; Cristina Tonesi

2015/05/31 - St John, Canada - OMAE 2015 ASME 2015 34th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering 31/05/2015


Impact of mechanical stresses on the magnetic performance of non-oriented electrical steels and its relation to electric machine efficiency

L. Vandenbossche, S. Jacobs, D. Van Hoecke, E. Attrazic

2015/06/14 - Detroit, USA - iTEC - IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference

(2015) pp. 1-6

Motor performance improvement via ArcelorMittal's iCARe electrical steel range for automotive applications

L. Vandenbossche, S. Jacobs, E. Attrazic

2015/05/03 - Goyang (Seoul), Korea, Republic Of - EVS28 - International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition

(2015) pp. 1-6

New environmental friendly hot rolled steel suitable for two sides enamelling intended for the manufacture of silos and tanks

Gousselot Philippe; Lorenz Ulrike

2015/05/24 - Florence, Italy - 23rd International Enamellers Congress

(2015) pp. 23-34

Specific analyses for UV/EB coatings

Philippe LEGROS

2015/11/09 - Murcia, Spain - Electron Beam seminar for the International Packaging Association


Enamelling of steel, towards a more ecological and environmental friendly solution

Marc Leveaux

2015/05/24 - Florence, Italy - 23rd International Enamellers Congress


Advances in Post-necking Flow Curve Identification of Sheet Metal through Standard Tensile Testing

Sam Coppieters, Steven Cooreman, Dimitri Debruyne and Toshihiko Kuwabara

2014/01/06 - Melbourne, Australia - The 9th International Conference and Workshop on Numerical Simulation of 3D Sheet Metal Forming Processes


Girth weldability evaluation of sawh pipes produced from 23.7mm thick, high-nb containing x70 linepipe steel

Ö. E. Güngör, M. Liebeherr, H. Luccioni

2014/09/29 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada - IPC 2014: International Pipeline Conference


Development of x80m line pipe steel for spiral welded pipes with low temperature toughness and excellent weldability

Nuria Sanchez, Özlem E. Güngör, Martin Liebeherr, Nenad Ili

2014/09/29 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada - IPC 2014: International Pipeline Conference


Study of the electrochemical behaviour of aluminized steel

B. Lemmens, Y. Gonzalez Garcia, B. Corlu, J. De Strycker, I. De Graeve and K. Verbeken

2014/04/28 - San Diego, USA - ICMCTF 2014: 41th International Conference on Metallurgic Coatings and Thin Films


Industrialisation of Surface Treatment with Electrodeposition Processed from Ionic Liquids

P. Verpoort

2014/06/25 - Istanbul, Turkey - 2nd Surface Treatment Symposium




Anwendung hochfester Stahlsorten in Konstruktion und Fertigung – Einsatz für Baumaschinen und Landmaschinen

Christoph Gerritsen, John Vande Voorde

2014/07/18 - Zweibrücken, Germany - Einsatz von hoch- und höchstfesten Stählen in der NFZIndustrie - Potentiale/Grenzen/Restiktionen


Effect of Hot Rolling Parameters on Direct Quenched Low Alloy

Lieven Bracke, Wei Xu, Tom Waterschoot

2014/07/06 - Bilbao, Spain - ICOMAT - International Conference on Martensitic Transformations


Performance improvement for transformer core design with key developments in grain-oriented electrical steel

L. Vandenbossche, S. Jacobs, D. Kajfos

2014/06/24 - Berlin, Germany - CWIEME (Coil Winding, Insulation & Electrical Manufacturing) June 24-26, 2014 Berlin


Chromium electrodeposition using deep eutectic solvents: Recent developments and future challenges in commercial scale processing

Andrew Abbott, Eva Diaz Gonzalez

2014/07/06 - Tallinn, Estonia - EUCHEM 2014


Erweiterte Anwendbarkeit von hoch- und höchst-festen Stählen für ermüdungsbeanspruchte, geschweißte Komponenten

Christoph Gerritsen & Sofie Vanrostenberghe

2014/11/11 - Rostock, Germany - 7. Rostocker Schweisstage


Upscaling challenges in electrodeposition of metals from deep eutectic solvents

Eva Diaz Gonzalez

2014/11/11 - Santiago de Compostela, Spain Interfacial and transport properties of ionic liquids


Effect of hot band annealing conditions on the microstructure and magnetic properties of thin gauge low loss fully processed electrical steels

T. Van De Putte, E. Leunis, X. Chassang, S. Jacobs

2014/06/17 - Cardiff, United Kingdom - International conference on Magnetism and Metallurgy WMM'14


Measurement of Mechanical Properties on Line Pipe: Comparison of Different Methodologies

Steven Cooreman, Dennis Van Hoecke, Martin Liebeherr, Philippe Thibaux and Mary Yamaguti Enderlin

2014/09/29 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada - IPC 2014: International Pipeline Conference

(2014) pp. IPC201433520

Determination of CTOD Resistance Curves in SENT Specimens Koen Van Minnebruggen, Matthias Verstraete, With a Tilted Notch Rudi Denys, Philippe Thibaux and Wim De Waele

2014/09/29 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada - IPC 2014: International Pipeline Conference

(2014) pp. IPC 2014-33571

Design validation of field-applied spacers for natural gas transmission pipeline

P. Thibaux, S. Cooreman, F. Cochard and S. Cozzolino

2014/09/02 - Düsseldorf, Germany - FIELD JOINT COATING 2014


Magneto-optical and field-metric evaluation of the punching effect on magnetic properties of electrical steels with varying alloying content and grain size

H. Naumoski, A. Maucher, U. Herr, L. Vandenbossche, S. Jacobs, X. Chassang

2014/09/30 - Nürnberg, Germany - International Electric Drives Production Conference and Exhibition 2014

(2014) pp. 1-9 (paper 11-03)

Optimal make-up torque for trapezoidal threaded connections subjected to combined axial tension and internal pressure loading

Timothy Galle, Wim De Waele, Jeroen van wittenberghe and Patrick De Baets

2014/07/20 - Anaheim, CA, USA - 2014 ASME Pressure Vessels & Piping Conference





OCAS nv Pres. J.F. Kennedylaan 3 9060 Zelzate - Belgium

OCAS is a joint venture between ArcelorMittal and the Flemish Region


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