SSAB Special Steels

Global steel supplier and service partner in Quenched & Tempered Steels (Q&T) and Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS)

Fast facts

SSAB Special Steels’ wide product portfolio includes a number of unique steel grades. Hardox – our global brand of wear steels – has the highest awareness of all brands in the steel market. Through close collaboration, we help our customers to utilize our products in the best possible way to create new, innovative steel solutions and applications.

Employees, approximately: 3,900

Revenue in 2021: 23,510 million SEK

Head of SSAB Special Steels: Johnny Sjöström, EVP

Steel shipments in 2021: 1.5 million tonnes

550 Hardox Wearparts members

Present in more than 115 countries

Market position

SSAB Special Steels is the global leader in high-strength steels and is represented in markets in Europe, the Americas, APAC, the Middle East and Africa. About 50% of sales are in Europe and 20% in North America. SSAB defines the special steel market as hot-rolled products with a yield strength of 690 MPa and above. The total market is estimated to be around 5 million tonnes and, since demand grows structurally, it therefore outperforms demand growth for standard steel.

Market drivers

Requirements and demand for improved material and energy efficiency, as well as for productivity, are important drivers leading to the growing use of high-strength steels, which provide advantages in the form of stronger, lighter and more durable steel solutions. The penetration of high-strength steels is increasing in all markets, as customers upgrade their steel usage from standard to high-strength steels. In emerging markets, including Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia, where the use of high-strength steels is still relatively low, the market potential for high-strength steels is even higher than in mature markets like Europe and North America.

Market position

Strengths

  • Unique and highly advanced premium products with high quality
  • Unique go-to market model with a global network serving 115 countries
  • Close customer collaboration and joint projects with customers result in highly paced development and increased competitiveness
  • Strategy of being able to supply high-strength fossil-free steels in 2026

Strategy

Strategic targets

SSAB Special Steels aims to further strengthen its leading position in high-strength steels as well as in related value-added services. SSAB is the largest producer of high-strength steels with an estimated global market share of 25% and with almost 3 times more volumes sold than our closest competitor. Since 2000, SSAB Special Steel´s shipments have increased by an average of around 8% a year, outperforming the general steel market. Structural growth is generated by the needs of manufacturers and end-users for higher productivity and better sustainability performance in machinery and equipment. Upgrading components to more advanced steel enables weight reduction and extended service life.

Development of new products and applications often takes place in close cooperation with customers. As early as possible in the development of a new product – be it a tipper, a chute or a crane – SSAB’s engineers work together with the customer in developing solutions that best utilize the properties of each steel grade. We not only sell to service centers and large OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) but our unique global sales network enables us to reach also small and mid-size customers in all corners of the world. This network includes own stock locations, local sales force as well as technical support.

To further develop the channels to the market, SSAB Special Steels is expanding the Hardox Wearparts network as well as SSAB Services. Hardox Wearparts is a network of mainly independent companies offering wear parts and just-in-time repair services to end-users in the local aftermarket in the mining, quarrying, recycling and construction sectors. SSAB Services focuses on providing products and services to machine builders and the after-market business. This strategy allows SSAB to maintain a high service level in smaller and fragmented markets, and also to gain exposure to end-users’ operating expenditures, which has a stabilizing effect on sales over the business cycle. This has proven to be a successful strategy, not only to increase the sales volume, but also to drive further upgrading to harder and stronger steels in line with our vision. This ability is continuously developed to further improve our position for the future.

Growing the volume of high-strength steels is key in the overall objective of the SSAB Group to improve the product mix. During the year, the responsibility for the Mobile plant in the US was transferred to SSAB Special Steels as a step to accelerate growth in high-strength steels. By 2026, when the steel mill in Oxelösund has been converted to an electric arc furnace (EAF) and the production of sponge iron using HYBRIT technology has started, SSAB Special Steels will be able to offer fossil-free high-strength steel products. There are currently several initiatives ongoing with customers to explore the benefits for both parties as well as for end-users to go for fossil-free steel, once available.

  • Grow shipments to 1.6 (1.5) million tonnes during 2023
  • Grow SSAB Services sales organically to SEK 3.0 billion
Customers and end users

Customers and end-users

SSAB Special Steels’ main end customer segments include manufacturers of heavy transport, construction machinery and material handling including mining and recycling. SSAB Special Steels works in close collaboration with large OEMs, as well as with smaller and mid-sized customers through a global organization. Examples of customer applications include booms and chassis for mobile cranes, tipper bodies for trailers, and buckets for construction and mining machinery. We share a goal with our customers to make lighter, stronger end-products with better lifting capacity, higher payloads, longer service life and lower fuel consumption and emissions.

Main customer segments and applications:

  • Heavy transport, incl. trailers, trucks, railway transport, agriculture and forestry
  • Construction machinery, incl. lifting (dumpers, loaders and cranes)
  • Material handling, incl. mining and recycling (crushers, buckets and conveyors

High-strength structural steels:

  • Mobile cranes (booms, chassis and support legs)
  • Truck-mounted cranes
  • Aerial work platforms
  • Chassis for trailers and trucks
  • Agricultural machinery
  • Offshore (selected components such as jack-up rigs)

Wear steels:

  • Dumper bodies for both off-road and on-road use
  • Buckets 
  • Containers
  • Stationary mining equipment such as crushers
  • Recycling equipment
  • Wear parts to several segments and applications 

Protection steels:

  • Vehicles for safe transportation of people and valuables
  • Protection for buildings and counters
     

Tool steels:

  • Molds
  • Tool holders
  • Axles

Products and services

SSAB Special Steels has the widest product portfolio on the market, combined with deep knowledge of steel properties and performance. SSAB Special Steels is responsible for all SSAB’s Q&T and hot-rolled AHSS with yield strengths of 690 MPa and above. These products can further be divided into structural high-strength steels, wear steels, protection steels and tool steels. SSAB Special Steels’ product portfolio includes a number of brands and product lines, each of which has its own unique characteristics and target applications, and comes in a range of grades and dimensions:

  • Hardox® is the leading brand of wear steels. It offers a unique combination of hardness and toughness, which in turn enable lighter, more durable structures for higher payload and longer service life
  • Strenx® is SSAB’s high-strength structural steel product brand. Its high strength combined with good impact toughness and forming properties enable strong, light structures for higher payload
  • Raex™ is a distributor brand for wear steel designed to meet standard demands on the market
  • Toolox® is a pre-hardened tool steel with very good machinability and is available as plate and bars
  • Armox® and Ramor are protection plate with properties designed especially for the protection of life and property

SSAB Services

SSAB Services, a business unit within SSAB Special Steels, focuses on providing products and services to machine builders and the after-market business. It aims to develop the Hardox® Wearparts network and to facilitate the usage of high-strength steels by further promoting the SSAB Shape concept. SSAB’s technical support is a key element in our service offering and has a strong local presence worldwide.

  • Hardox® Wearparts is a network of companies for the production of wear parts and just-in-time repair services to end-users in the local aftermarket in the mining, quarrying, recycling and construction sectors. The network is represented across more than 80 countries and consists of approximately 540 companies 

  • SSAB Shape combines premium steel products with engineering and processing services offered through our own Shape Centers and a worldwide network of processing partners. The service includes customized product development and engineering, extensive design support and prefabrication services, as well as reliable, tailor-made logistics and stock services
    By providing technical support to customers at an early stage in the product development process, our technical experts contribute knowledge as to how the qualities of high-strength steels can be utilized to create new, innovative solutions and applications 

Competitors

ArcelorMittal, Dillinger, Voestalpine, Nucor, Nippon, ThyssenKrupp, NLMK Clabeq.