Turnover jump instead of crisis year for SAG

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Salzburger Aluminium Group can look back on a positive business year.

A significant jump in turnover was achieved in 2021 – despite difficult conditions caused by the pandemic, supply chain problems, the semiconductor crisis and the resulting production stoppages at OEMs. Group sales rose by more than 35 % to EUR207m, the Ebit margin to 7 %. This is because the demand for SAG fuel tanks for trucks is unbroken and more and more OEMs – especially in the field of e-mobility – are relying on customized aluminium castings which are manufactured in Lend using the perfected rheocasting process.

New product lines with great market potential

There is also great market potential in SAG cryogenic tank technology. Behind this is the technically complex development of special storage solutions for liquid hydrogen, which will enter the prototype phase this year and will be offered as a series product from 2027. In addition, SAG is becoming increasingly involved in the area of ‘green mobility’: for example, lightweight components for cargo e-bikes are being developed and sold at SAG Netherlands and special axles for skateboards made of rheocasting aluminium are being developed and sold in Sweden.

“Thanks to high flexibility and strong innovative power of our entire team, we have used the last two years to develop new ideas,” says CEO Karin Exner-Wöhrer. “We have invested in digitalization and technical equipment at our sites. We have sharpened the focus on sustainable processes and products. And we entered the market with completely new product lines in the field of green mobility. We have pushed ahead with R&D projects. The truck market is still our main market and will remain so for still a long time – also thanks to the cryo tank systems for LNG and hydrogen that we are developing. But at the same time, we are seeing a rapid increase in demand for our customized lightweight components from many other industries, such as rail, aviation or telecoms. You could say that we are increasingly establishing ourselves as a solution provider for all industries where weight reduction is an important advantage in overall performance. So 2022 is also dedicated to further product development and diversification.”

CO2 reduction through SAG rheocasting components

With rheocasting technology, SAG has created the possibility to mass-produce highly stressable and weldable aluminium parts ‘near netshape’ (i.e. free of post-processing). The special casting process perfected by SAG gives the parts steel-like properties, but they weigh around 60 % less than steel solutions. This is an advantage that leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and an increase in the range of e-vehicles, for example, and is appreciated by more and more OEMs in vehicle construction.

First cryo tank system for liquid hydrogen for trucks

The storage of hydrogen – especially in liquid form – poses a number of technical challenges. A particular one is the extremely low temperature of minus 250 °C at which liquid hydrogen must be stored. This and also the requirements for the size and weight of the tank system require technical excellence on the part of the SAG engineers. After several test phases, the development of the SAG cryo tank system has already reached the point where prototyping will start this year and test operations will then commence. Based on the results obtained, the LH2 cryo tank made by SAG will go into series production from 2027.

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