Aluminium and Steel, a Die-cast Match

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Mr. Forcella: LucchiniRS is a company dedicated to the production of steel products focused on the railways business and also in forging and casting steel materials.
For this reason LucchiniRS is organized into two divisions: one is Railways (wheels-axles-tyres-wheelsets), and the second is forging and casting products. The Company follows these different markets using its integrated production facilities, starting from steel to the finished and assembled product. We are an international qualified and certified company, able to approach and serve the primary, complex markets. For example, Lucchini RS is the railway leader in high-speed wheels and axles.

At Lucchini RS in Lovere (Italy) and Lucchini Mamé Forge (Italy) we make the materials manufactured for Tool Steel’s business, for plastic moulds, hot-work and die casting applications.

Using its internal R&D laboratories, Lucchini RS is actually one of the manufacturers able to produce very specialized steel products and these steel products are used in different kinds of moulding businesses. Our tool steels find wide usage in aluminium die-casting, and we are interested in further exploring the domain.

The Lovere steel mill produces special high-grade steel using and EAF (electric arc furnace), a LF (Ladle Furnace), Tank Degassing VD-VOD, and pits for bottom pouring for ingots with a max weight of 60 tons. The ingots are forged at two Italian sites (Lucchini RS Lovere and Lucchini Mamé Forge) using open die presses of 3200/4200/6000 ton and later the pieces undergo heat treatment and final machining.

The products are dedicated to different market segments: oil & gas, petrochemicals, power generation, high tech engineering, shipbuilding & cement works, and, as already mentioned, plastic moulds, hot-work and die casting applications.

Q: Which are the emerging markets Lucchini RS is interested in?

Mr. Forcella: We have 2 big steel groups: one dedicated to plastic applications and another for ferrous and non-ferrous casting activities. Using our special steel tools, aluminium castings can be produced for a large range of applications. We have an answer for practically any requirement for any tool.

Lucchini RS is capable of customizing its products to meet different global specifications, particularly for the EU, China and the US market. Today we are in the position to collect the topmost requirements in the world.
We distribute tool steels through our company service distributors, which are spread across the world. We have distributors based in Europe, India, Turkey, China, and other countries. We are open to receiving all the requirements coming from any emerging market for any specific application or for distribution in that region.

Q: Tell us something about the recent advancements made by your Research and Development department.

Mr. Forcella: We have been promoting Research and Development since 1990. Our R&D department studies metallurgical laboratories’ different kinds of graded steel that we are able to propose to our customers. We have some agreements and joint ventures with Universities and some specialised companies. We promote testing together in order to combine the characteristics of our research with their years’ of experience in producing different products or materials, so that we are better able to serve our customers.

Q: Do you collaborate with any specific university?

Mr. Forcella: We have joined hands with some of the top technical universities in Italy and Germany. We have a technology-based collaboration with a premiere institute in Zurich for the Railways division. Some of our experts are also associated with these institutes as faculty members. In addition, we are co-operating with the main Chinese Centre for Rolling stock Research. In co-operation with Universities and external technicians, Lucchini RS publishes a yearly LRS-Techno book distributed to customers, students and those passionately fond of steel materials.

Q: Is there any particular area of application where you expect strong growth for your products?

Mr. Forcella: In aluminium, die-casting is the area where we intend to further optimise the characteristics of the products with their performance.

Q: Is there any particular geographical area you think holds prospects for Lucchini’s business?

Mr. Forcella: Currently, we are primarily operating in the European market with focus on Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Poland, and Turkey. We are already selling our products in China. In India, we have our distributors and service centre. Currently, they are mainly dedicated to the plastic mould activities; but, we’ve already started with die-casting.

Q: How do you understand that aluminium sector can be a driving force the market globally?

Mr. Forcella: Expectations are very high, mainly because our company has the expertise to make the best steel tools for this application.

Q: Do you think that aluminium casting products will slowly replace steel in various automotive, aerospace, and railway applications?

Mr. Forcella: Aluminium is substituting a lot of steel components. And this is the reason why the market is growing so fast. The challenge for us would be to approach this market wisely, not only by offering what we are already manufacturing but also by innovating with new solutions. We need the technical assistance of specialised companies so that together we can develop superior products; because, the market is changing every day. And to cater to this fast changing market we need to improve our expertise properly. We have to adapt our solutions to those requirements to serve our markets in a better way.

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