SKF and voestalpine reach milestone to decarbonize bearing production

11 July 2024

SKF and voestalpine Wire Technology, a subsidiary of the leading steel and technology group voestalpine, have successfully produced the first prototype bearing made from steel that contains hydrogen direct reduced iron (H-DRI). This represents a breakthrough in the efforts to decarbonize bearing production as H-DRI is a low emission alternative to conventional iron ore-based steelmaking and one of the important methods to make steel sustainable in the future.

SKF and voestalpine have been working together since 2022 to explore the possibilities of using H-DRI steel for bearing applications. By using H-DRI steel, SKF and voestalpine Wire Technology aim to meet the demand for green steel and thereby contribute to the global efforts to combat climate change.

The Spherical roller bearing prototype was handed over to voestalpine Wire Technology at SKF's factory in Steyr, Austria. Spherical roller bearings can be used in many different applications and industries, such as marine, pulp and paper production, mining and construction.

"Steel is a critical raw material in bearings, and to achieve the change and speed needed in decarbonizing bearing production, the whole industry must come together. Our collaboration with voestalpine is a tangible example of how we are working together and transforming ideas into actions towards a more circular industrial development. This technology is fundamental for the steel industry to be able to decarbonize with confidence," says Annika Ölme, CTO and Senior Vice President, Technology Development, at SKF.

For voestalpine Wire Technology the partnership with SKF marks a milestone in the development of eco-friendly steel production technologies. By successfully integrating green steel solutions into the bearing production process, voestalpine Wire Technology is demonstrating its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions. This innovation, developed in collaboration with SKF, represents a significant step forward in the company's efforts to make the steel industry more sustainable.

SKF is also increasing its use of steel production processes with low CO2 emissions (such as scrap based Electric Arc Furnace production) from its suppliers. In 2021, SKF became a member of the SteelZero and the ResponsibleSteel initiatives, joining other like-minded businesses in showing a clear commitment to decarbonizing the steel industry by 2050 and advocating for the changes needed to make that happen.