Invented in 1912, standard austenitic 4301 continues to enjoy a stellar reputation as a solid, all-around grade. Changing market forces, however, have spurred development of a cost-efficient, low-nickel austenitic for use in the home appliance segment, and that is the topic of a presentation by Gabriele Brückner at the Outokumpu Experience.
“When nickel prices spiked in 2007, our customers asked us to develop a grade with less nickel,” Brückner says. 4310 Copper offered an alternative, but only when nickel price is high.
The challenge, then, is development of a chromium nickel austenitic that creates opportunities at any nickel price.
Meeting the challenge
Outokumpu’s enhanced 4310 is the answer to that challenge. With a nickel-reduced base, the grade’s formability, corrosion resistance and production costs are mostly comparable to those of the 4301 grade. The fact that it is listed in the European Standard is an added advantage.
The grade’s first industrial melt was a success and early customer trials are generating positive feedback.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting our customers,” she says, “and hearing about their needs in the next years. It is very exciting to discuss what we can do to help them as we create the future together.”