Ovako promotes machinable steels to distribution sector

Ovako is promoting its steel treatment technology for improved machinability as an example of an opportunity for distributors to participate in the value-added chain from an early stage.

The philosophy of the Swedish engineering steels producer was delivered by vice executive president and head of group marketing, Göran Nyström, at the recent EUROMETAL World Steel Summit in Düsseldorf, attended by Kallanish. Ovako continues to sell 85% of its production to end-users, “… but we would like to change that,” Nyström told the audience of mainly distributor and service centre managers.

Ovako faces the difficulty of having to service a wide range of customers with very different requirements for the special steels produced by the company.  Such a delivery challenge for a mill “… brings opportunities for you distributors [… to act] as a buffer,” he said.

Nyström highlighted the role of Ovako’s M-Steel (M for ‘machinable’) as an example of [… potential] closer cooperation with distributors. The basis for the M-Steel concept is that non-metallic inclusions in steel are modified and controlled with calcium treatment. These inclusions are modified in a way to maximise machinability and to improve transverse fatigue strength. In this way, a protective layer is formed on the cutting tool during machining that very significantly reduces the wear on the tool and increases tool life.

The M-Steel concept allows 30% faster throughput for machined components, and can extend cutting tool life by 50%. “Tool suppliers are not keen to promote us, it takes half of their market,” Nyström quipped, and closed with the remark that “… we need distribution services to bring this innovation outside the Nordic region.”