by Jörg Maffert, Marketing and Technical Support Manager, Dillinger Hüttenwerke AG, Dillingen
The increasingly unstable geopolitical security situation, with war in Europe and terrorist attacks especially in the Sahel in Africa, is making the number of military and civil-military missions rise. The deployment of NATO forces to the eastern flank of the Alliance simultaneously with the European Union’s civil-military engagements outside of Europe increase the demand for ballistic protected vehicles and structures. Highly specific steel solutions are needed for mission-oriented protection of civil and military personnel against a whole range of threats. Rare are the producers of such protection. In Germany, Dillinger’s broad portfolio of grades of security steel can assure maximum safety for example for civil and military vehicles as well as buildings.
Protection of personnel and systems
Whether in conflict prevention, crisis management or military engagements: the operational environment of missions confronts multinational civil-military and armed forces and the systems they use with complex challenges. The precondition for successful mission accomplishment is the uncompromising protection of personnel and systems against every one of a diverse range of threat scenarios. The armed forces rely in this situation on the leading competence of European system suppliers and on the performance of the protective equipment systems developed by them. System designers, however, are repeatedly faced with new challenges, in view of increasing demands generated by ever-changing threat situations.
Dillinger, Europe’s leading producer of heavy plate, domiciled in Dillingen, in Germany’s Saarland, has for decades supplied the security industry with special steels that meet the ultra-demanding standards for the safety and security of civilian vehicles and buildings and started a decade ago supplying armament industries. This new step was accompanied by the development of the extensive range of DIFENDER security steels. The methodical use of ultra-modern artificial intelligence (AI) applications and highly sophisticated production processes thus enabled the company to energetically pursue the development of new products and the refinement of existing ones. Profound knowledge incorporated in metallurgical models and the unique depth of know-how resulting from more than three centuries of organically grown production competence in heavy plates proved to be a guarantee of success. High-strength DIFENDER security steels are now among the safest and most dependable available on the market, and also answer changing market needs and threats. Germany and other NATO members put their trust in the outstanding protective properties of alloyed quenched and tempered (Q+T) steels for example in their armoured military vehicles and buildings. DIFENDER combines special resistance to ballistic attack, exposure to blast and the effects of fragmentation with high hardness, mechanical strength, toughness and low weight. The largest possible plate dimensions are selected, in particular for wheeled and tracked military vehicles to assure optimum design for floor armour to protect against mines.
Top-class workability properties
All DIFENDER security steels are notable for special ballistic resistance properties. In many cases, they can be selected and demonstrably use several tenths of a millimetre thinner than the other relevant products on the market, with no sacrifices in hardness and ballistic-protection performance. This significantly thinner minimum thickness permits weight-optimised design of all-round protected and armoured vehicles, improving mobility in rough and enemy-occupied terrain and reducing fuel consumption. This lower weight per unit of area for protection solutions is combined in DIFENDER with ultra-tight construction tolerances. For this reason, designers and manufacturers are with certainty on the safe side with the workability properties of these security steels: series of tests performed by independent laboratories confirm DIFENDER steels’ excellent property data for cutting, bending and welding operations. These steels permit minimum radii for cold bending that are among the best on the market. And, as far as weldability is concerned, DIFENDER steel is, in fact, the best in its class. This combination of enhanced hardness for improved ballistic protection with best data for the two most important working processes of bending and welding expands the limits of what has up to now been possible for designers.
Security made in Germany
With two qualified production locations, Dillinger also assures a further decisive benefit in safety for strategic purchasers: more capacity and thus greater flexibility mean even more assuredness of supply. The high availability of DIFENDER security steels assures access to top-performance steel solutions of a constant optimum quality by Dillinger, which for more than 330 years has lived out its unique passion for steel.
The company has up to today dedicated itself to a literally “weighty” mission: the production of heavy plate – from the ore up to and including the tailor-made plate and the ready-to-install component. Dillinger’s structural steel, mechanical engineering, offshore, offshore wind, line pipe, earthmoving machinery, mining, pressure-vessel construction and hydropower engineering divisions are the preferred partners for the best practitioners in their industries.