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Ovako turns to new technologies

to produce stronger steel for mining equipment

by William Gleason, Senior Editor

Ovako’s steel mill    The mining industry supports many other                 customers to achieve exceptional performance
in Hofors, Sweden         industries down the line, whether by jobs in        while driving down costs.
produces steel for    the communities in which it operates or through
a number of com-      other businesses that supply goods and services             “We are convinced that our hybrid steel
ponents including     directly to the mining industry.                        is a groundbreaking innovation for the steel
                                                                              industry,” said Marcus Hedblom, president and
  drilling parts for      Ovako is a steel company that might not be          chief executive officer at Ovako. “By using a
   Swedish neigh-     familiar to many in the mining industry, but it is      new alloying philosophy, we have created a
 bors Atlas Copco     an important supplier for some of the industry          steel that has three times the yield and tensile
                      major players. And it is a company that is very         strength of conventional steel at temperatures
      and Sandvik.    happy with the recent uptick that the industry is       up to 500 °C (932 °F). These properties are
                      experiencing. With headquarters in Stockholm,           ideal for a wide variety of highly-stressed
                      Sweden and three steel mills in the Nordic mining       applications such as engine components,
                      cluster that includes mining industry powerhouses       bearings and tools for various purposes.”
                      Atlas Copco, Sandvik and Robit, Ovako has a
                      history of mining with origins dating back 300              Because Hybrid Steel develops its
                      years.                                                  full properties through heat treatment at
                                                                              temperatures that cause a very low distortion,
                          “We have been involved with drilling tools          manufacturers will be able to adopt new, more
                      for many years,” Bjorn Olsson, Ovako mining             efficient processes that eliminate a number
                      specialists, told Mining Engineering during a           of stages. For example, a component might be
                      tour of the company’s steel mills in Hofors and         machined to its final dimensions in a softer
                      Hallefors, Sweden. Until 1977, Ovako owned and      condition and then heat-treated to achieve its
                      operated its own iron ore mine in Hofors. It was a  full strength, a route that could offer a significant
                      mine that had been in operation since the 1300s.    reduction in manufacturing cost and complexity.
                      Since the closure of the mine, Ovako has remain         Hybrid Steel takes its name from the
                      involved with mining by developing the right steel  simultaneous hardening by both carbides and
                      for drilling and rock-breaking tools and recently   intermetallic precipitations.
                      announced that it has developed a new, innovative       “In this hybrid steel, you combine both
                      steel family that challenges traditional steel      mechanisms and, indeed, the properties are very
                      categorizations. Ovako is calling this new product  good, and in particular the material maintains
                      Hybrid Steel.                                       them at elevated temperatures,” said John Ågren,
                                                                          professor in physical metallurgy at Royal Institute
                          The new hybrid steel brings together            of Technology, Stockholm.
                      properties of other steels – tool, maraging and         The development of Hybrid Steel has been
                      stainless – and combines them with the production   carried out at Ovako’s research and development
                      economy of engineering steel. This enables          facilities in Hofors. Prototype test programs
                                                                          are underway with a number of component
2 september 2017     Mınıng engıneerıng	                                  manufacturers.
                                                                              For the mining industry, Ovako produces
                                                                          clean steel from scrap collected mostly from
                                                                          Europe and its steel can be found in all parts of
                                                                          Top Hammer and DTH and Rotary Drilling tools
                                                                          as drill bits, down-the-hole-hammers, piston rods
                                                                          and other cutting tools on numerous types of
                                                                          equipment around the world.
                                                                              Olsson said the focus of Ovako is to create
                                                                          steels with exceptional fatigue strength and wear
                                                                          resistance. It also prides itself on the possibility
                                                                          to offer further processed parts instead just
                                                                          supplying plain hot rolled bars and tubes. All to
                                                                          the customers specifications. There is very little
                                                                          machining or cutting that needs to be done by the
                                                                          customer after receiving its product from Ovako.
                                                                              “Our customers in the mining sector rely on

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