LIFE 4GreenSteel - Excellent Model for High Strength PM Steel parts production by resource and energy efficiency and CO2 and REACH decrease

LIFE16 ENV/IT/000231

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Contact details:

Contact person: Valentina Zampogna
Tel: 0499000189
Fax: 0495089301
Email: valentina.zampogna@tfmgroup.it

Project description:


The production process for high-density steel components for the automotive industry has a considerable impact on the environment and on human health that could be alleviated with more efficient use of raw materials and energy, and reductions in waste chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions. Steel components produced using standard practices also present problems in terms of recyclability, due to the presence of alloying elements such as copper. High-performance steel components, such as gears, are currently produced with machining technology, mainly due to high requirements in terms of mechanical properties and dimensional stability. These requirements could also be theoretically met using Powder Metallurgy (PM) technology, a sustainable manufacturing process recognised as a green technology, through the introduction of an innovative, tailored, compaction stage by means of the Die Wall Lubrication (DWL) technique, which combines high-temperature vacuum sintering and a thermochemical treatment. The DWL process is currently used only in a limited number of applications. It is not currently exploited at an industrial level due to the difficulties of planning, managing and monitoring the productive process.


The aim of the LIFE 4GreenSteel project is to demonstrate the feasibility of replacing the traditional energy-intensive and material-consuming machining of wrought metals with a new and innovative High Density Powder Metallurgy (HDPM) technology for the manufacturing of widely-used high-performance steel components, particularly gears for the automotive market.

Specific technical objectives are to:

  • Develop an effective pressing system, integrating the DWL technique, to produce sintered steel parts that have a density greater than 7.3 g/cc and high dimensional stability;
  • Develop a reliable, case-hardened profile of PM steel via a Low Pressure Carburising (LPC) high-temperature vacuum sintering and thermochemical treatment;
  • Use a chemical composition for steel avoiding harmful alloying elements, such as nickel, or alloying elements that make the recycling process difficult and ineffective, such as copper;
  • Achieve energy and material saving through the innovative HDPM technology, which has a very high coefficient of material use (95%) and therefore minimises energy input; and
  • Reduce by more than 70% the lubricant premixed with metal powder, so eliminating the burning stage, increasing energy efficiency and solving related emission problems.
  • The project actions will contribute to the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, the Directive on Energy end-use efficiency and energy services, and Decision (406/2009/CE) on Energy Efficiency. Furthermore, LIFE 4GreenSteel is relevant to EU policy on sustainable growth and will also provide European enterprises with tools to enhance their competitiveness.

    Expected environmental results: The LIFE 4GreenSteel project expects to achieve the following results:

  • Reduction in use of raw materials by 164 tonnes/year (a 47.4% reduction compared to the machining baseline of 345 tonnes/year);
  • Energy savings of 1.21 GWh/year (a 50% reduction compared to the machining baseline of 2.42 GWh/year);
  • Lowering of fluid lubricant use by 0.86 tonnes/year;
  • Reduction of admixed lubricant by 966 kg/year;
  • CO2 reduction using PM by 1 156 tonnes /year (a 49.3 % reduction compared to the machining baseline of 2 346 tonnes/year);
  • Development of an innovative high-performance steel component plant using HDPM producing from 1 200 to 7 500 pieces/day;
  • Development of at least 300 innovative HDPM steel demonstration components that are able to sustain effective surface treatments;
  • Development of at least 300 PM steel demonstration components without copper and nickel as alloying elements;
  • Elimination of dewaxing/burning admixed powder lubricant cost (€0.1/pc estimated); and
  • Reduction in production cost of high-performance steel components by at least 10%.



Environmental issues addressed:

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator TFM Automotive & Industry S.p.A.
Type of organisation Large enterprise
Description TFM Automotive & Industry S.p.A. is a company producing mechanical and structural components for the automotive and motorbike industry. In the early 2000s, TFM widened the range of its technological products by developing a powder metallurgy (PM) division. Currently TFM, thanks to the combination of machining and powder metallurgy production, can be considered one of Europe’s leading automotive suppliers of high-performance mechanical components.
Partners Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy Sacmi Cooperativa Meccanici Imola S.C., Italy K4Sint S.r.l., Italy


Project reference LIFE16 ENV/IT/000231
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 31-DEC -2020
Total budget 3,251,673.00 €
EU contribution 1,908,703.00 €
Project location Piemonte(Italia) Valle d'Aosta(Italia) Liguria(Italia) Lombardia(Italia) Trentino-Alto Adige(Italia) Veneto(Italia) Friuli-Venezia Giulia(Italia) Emilia-Romagna(Italia) Toscana(Italia) Umbria(Italia) Marche(Italia) Lazio(Italia) Campania(Italia) Abruzzo(Italia) Molise(Italia) Puglia(Italia) Basilicata(Italia) Calabria(Italia) Sicilia(Italia) Sardegna(Italia)


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