Customer-driven innovation

Gränges conducts world-class strategic research and innovation in close collaboration with our customers, based on extensive knowledge of metallurgy and understanding of the manufacturing process. Development of new, innovative products and material technologies are drivers of Gränges’ future growth.

Gränges’ innovation process is embedded in the Group’s strategy and business model. The innovation efforts are based on external trends, customer and consumer insight, new technology and business models with sustainability integrated into the process.

We develop innovative materials and solutions, enabling customers to increase their productivity and energy efficiency, improve safety and leverage opportunities linked to digitalization and automation. Over the years, we have developed a large number of products with improved end-characteristics, increased stability and enhanced sustainability. Developing products that can increase customers’ sustainability performance and reduce their environmental footprint is a top priority at Gränges. The biggest opportunities for improving products’ sustainability performance is in the early stages of the product development process, when the product characteristics are decided. Learn more >

Gränges’ innovation efforts are supported by our R&I centres around the world and by a well-developed innovation culture. Cooperation with external parties, customers and suppliers constitutes a growing part of innovation and is also a resource-efficient way of working. Our innovation involves the development of new products and services, further development and improvement of existing offerings and solutions, as well as expansion of offerings along the value chain. Sustainability is also an important element of our innovation process. Sustainability-driven innovation may involve continuous efficiency enhancements, reduced resource consumption along the value chain, as well as developing more sustainable product offerings. A strong presence in emerging markets, such as the electric vehicles market, provides greater insight into trends and consumer needs. This knowledge and insight are used to develop new products, services, solutions and business models adapted to the conditions in these markets. Our focus on technology, manufacturing processes, and material properties contribute to creating smaller, lighter and more designable solutions that increase economic efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Gränges’ R&I centres

Finspång
Global, and regional for Europe. Focus on materials and solutions for brazed heat exchangers and new technologies.

Shanghai
Regional for Asia. Focus on solutions for electric vehicles and related new applications.

Huntingdon
Regional for Americas. Focus on continuous cast materials and solutions for HVAC, packaging and other niche market segments.

Gränges’ R&I organization engages around 60 highly educated employees worldwide, including metallurgists, chemists, metallographers, physicists, mechanical engineers, and technicians.

Research and innovation

Gränges Research & Innovation is our competence centre for the complete metallurgy of brazed aluminium. This includes the entire process from melting in slab production, to the final use of brazed heat exchangers worldwide. 

The development of new products often takes place in teams with our business development units. The work is managed cross-functionally within Gränges, with external customers and, in selected key areas, with leading universities and research institutes. If critical skills are lacking to run an efficient development process, the possibility of external cooperation and, in some cases, the acquisition of skills, such as from smaller start-up companies, will be considered. The objective is to strengthen our leading position in advanced aluminium materials, to develop new innovative aluminium products, new material technologies and to enter new customer segments. A part of Gränges’ R&I organization is focusing solely on new material technologies.

The strategic research is conducted globally, while the customer-driven development is carried out locally in close cooperation with the production plants and customers. This organization enables quicker decision making and a faster product development process, as we can test and verify new products directly in production. New alloys and alloy combinations are initially tested through pilot casting, rolling and computer simulations at the R&I centres, before full-scale production takes place. This process facilitates planning of effective high precision production processes. Development of new, innovative products and material technologies are drivers of Gränges’ future growth.

R&I History

Gränges R&I is present in Finspång in Sweden, in Shanghai in China and in Huntingdon in the US. Our R&I work for rolled aluminium started in 1924 at Finspong Metal Works, two years after our aluminium production started. Production of braze clad aluminium strip started in 1972 and we made our first R&I report into corrosion of the brazed product in 1974. Our production in Shanghai started in 1999 and we started an inspection laboratory at the site at the same time, transferring knowledge and knowhow. By 2006 this had developed so well that we established an R&I unit in Shanghai and during 2019 we also opened a new centre at our facility in Huntingdon in the US. Today, about 60 researchers and technicians work at the three units.

Key competence areas

Because of the high complexity of the complete process, the expertise and know-how of Gränges R&I play an important role for customers as well as for Gränges' internal product development, quality and production.

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