The Brazilian steel producer Gerdau launched a new company, called Gerdau Graphene, focused on the development and commercialization of products with the application of graphene.
The Company, which will operate independently from the steel business divisions, is already born with the objective of being a reference company in the commercialization of products with application of graphene on a scale in Brazil and with a focus on reaching global markets.
The material has benefits of mechanical properties, such as reduced weight and friction, greater efficiency in lubrication, greater thermal and electrical conductivity, among others.
The new business unit was born positioned as a relevant developer of graphene in the Americas. With its main office in São Paulo and a branch in the United States, the Company expects to offer more technology to the sectors of civil construction, industrial and automotive lubricants, rubber, thermoplastics, paints, and sensors, in Brazil and in North American countries.
The new company is part of the portfolio of companies of Gerdau Next, the new business division of Gerdau launched in the second half of 2020, which aims to undertake in new segments, in addition to steel, with a relevant share in Gerdau’s revenues.
“Gerdau Graphene enters the market in a unique way due to its commitment to making the production of the material commercially viable and on a large scale. We are reaching the market with the differential of being part of a solid group with strong international credibility, but with the embedded philosophy of Open Innovation, in collaboration with multiple ecosystems ”, explains Alexandre de Toledo Corrêa, general manager Gerdau Graphene.
According to the director, the differentiated value proposition is to supply the market with additives, boosters, and solutions with graphene that is plug-and-play for customers’ industrial processes. That is, commercialize both the product and the service and know-how in graphene and, for this, they have strategic alliances with global and national partners. “Finally, we have Gerdau and its steel mills as its first customer, which allows the creation and testing of new products and solutions with speed and intimacy of application,” added Corrêa.
“The launch of Gerdau Graphene is another strategic step for Gerdau Next, diversifying the Group’s businesses to complement the steel chain and our customers. We have been working with graphene in Manchester, England, since 2019. Graphene is the strongest material ever found, one of the best conductors out there, with countless potential applications. With strategic partnerships already established in this new business, we are confident that Gerdau Graphene will be a relevant player in the Americas ”, says Juliano Prado, Gerdau’s vice president.
In this first stage, Gerdau Graphene will focus on the civil construction, industrial and automotive lubricants, rubber, thermoplastics, paints, batteries, and sensors markets in the Americas.
Gerdau has been researching graphene for four years. In 2019, Gerdau entered into a partnership with the Graphene Engineering Innovation Center (GEIC) at the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom, to develop research involving graphene. At the time, the company joined the select global group of companies with exclusive seats at the institution for the development of research, which is one of the global references on the subject.
To start a business unit with strategic positioning and capillarity, Gerdau Graphene was born with strategic partnerships with major graphene developers. And, more specifically in the Brazilian market, it has strategic partnerships in the automotive sector with Baterias Moura and SKF do Brasil to develop applications in energy storage, rubber artifacts, composites, and paints.
About graphene and its applications
Graphene is a nanomaterial composed only of carbon, in which the atoms bond to form hexagonal structures. In other words, it refers to one of the crystalline forms of carbon, as well as diamond and graphite. Because of its unique characteristics, it has become the largest electrical conductor, one of the best thermal conductors, and one of the toughest and toughest materials today. Its optical properties allow almost 98% of the incident light to pass through, in addition to being extremely flexible and waterproof.
For Alexandre de Toledo Corrêa, general manager of Gerdau Graphene, graphene applications go beyond anticorrosive coatings and polymeric composites for the automotive and civil construction, chemical, plastic, and rubber markets. “Developing a business unit based on graphene due to the multiple applications and innumerable opportunities for innovation is in line with Gerdau’s DNA, which is constantly reinventing itself. Graphene, because it has a less physical dimension, allows us a visionary and additional business dimension. Gerdau Graphene starts its operation as a consolidating hub for the entire chain and research existing in Brazil and in the world to accelerate and facilitate its application in our customers’ processes and products ”, adds the executive.
Corrêa also states that the new company will propose solutions and applications for Gerdau’s current customers and suppliers, generating synergy between future graphene operations and the existing sales, purchasing, and technical application channels. “By supporting ourselves throughout the Gerdau structure, we will guarantee efficiency, excellence, and speed, in this initial stage, in deliveries with the partnerships we are entering into”, comments Corrêa.
About Gerdau Graphene
Gerdau Graphene is a company launched by Gerdau, through Gerdau Next, the new business arm of the company. In 2021, Gerdau Graphene starts to act as a company focused on the production, development, and commercialization of products with the application of graphene in Brazil and in the American continent, generating more value for its products and customers from the benefit of mechanical properties of the nanomaterial . To learn more, visit http://www2.gerdau.com.br/graphene
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