Fundición Nodular, S.A. is currently increasing its investment in R&D in order to face today' situation in the world steel market and get over it growing stronger.

The aim is to improve the quality and performance of the rolls we are manufacturing nowadays, as well as to consolidate the research and development of new materials which will be the future for rolling mill rolls. Moreover, Fundicion Nodular, S.A. is carrying out some other research projects aimed to improve our production process, such as the development of insert tools made of new nanostructured materials which are used in the machining of rolls, the optimization of heat treatment furnaces, etc…

Fundición Nodular S.A. is successful in the fulfilment of all the above thanks not only to the qualified human team of our Technology department and our own laboratory, but to the agreements we have signed with strategic partners such as Research Centres, Universities and Engineering Consultants that are being very helpful in the development of new products and processes as well as in the consolidation of the existing ones thanks to the synergies generated with these alliances.

For instance, Fundición Nodular, S.A. is, at this moment in time, developing a new generation of High Speed Steel Rolls which enable the reduction of the friction coefficient during rolling and therefore electricity consumption. The results of this research were presented in the latest edition of Rolling Congress held in Brazil last November, and are reflected in the article “Development of a new alloy of high speed steel rolls with optimum wear. OW-HSS (Optimum Wear – HSS)”.

Another project which is being developed is a new type of high speed steel for roughing stands whose microstructure is dominated by fine secondary carbides evenly distributed, resulting in a low friction coefficient and high wear resistance. In addition, alloying elements dissolved in the matrix provide excellent mechanical properties in hot conditions, which mean a good resistance to thermal cracking. In parallel to the metallurgical study of this new alloy a new centrifugal casting system has been developed known as HARP (Hydro Dynamically Aided Refining Process).

The article “Defects presented by the new roll generations such as HSS, MHSS, semi-HSS in relation with the natural hydrodynamic of the vertical centrifugal casting” presented at the International Congress China Rolls 2008, gathers further information on that system.

In order to achieve the set goals, Fundición Nodular, S.A. uses modern digital simulation tools (Ansys, EDEM, Magmasoft, ThermoCalc, etc), physical models as a water model to simulate a centrifugal casting process, as well as a pilot plant which has one part consisting of two induction furnaces of 30 and 100Kg respectively and another with a vertical spin-caster machine to cast scale prototypes with maximum weight of 50Kg.

All that is complemented with modern equipment and techniques, both optical and electronic microscopy, X-ray diffraction, dilatometers, etc…

The strategic alliances that Fundición Nodular, S.A. has established with its partners, as well as the use of the latest techniques and research equipment, allow us to remain among the elite of the roll manufacturers for rolling mills.

Finally, as culmination of this process, last June 2009 Fundición Nodular, S.A obtained the certification of its R&D Management system according to UNE EN 166002 Standard, with a view to better planning, monitoring and control all the R&D developed activities.