January/February 2018

They say time flies when you’re enjoying yourself and I guess that’s true. This time last year Steel Times International was about to embark upon the inaugural Future Steel Forum, a conference that discussed, in-depth, Industry 4.0 and its benefits for steel producers. 

If you’re not familiar with the term “Industry 4.0” one might ask where have you been? Smart manufacturing, as it is known in the USA, is on everybody’s lips at the moment, and I’m pleased to say that our Future Steel Forum is leading the way in terms of offering a ‘steel specific’ event focused entirely on digitalisation, although there are many Industry 4.0 purists who would probably argue that the term ‘digitalisation’ is not Industry 4.0. Let’s not argue about that here, but if you want to know more about definitions and terminology, come to Warsaw where I guarantee you will be enlightened. 

If I was to make any parallels between the Future Steel Forum 2018 and the world of rock music, you would be forgiven for thinking that I had taken leave of my senses, but there is one similarity. When rock bands head back to the studio after a number one album, they then embark upon ‘the difficult second album’, which effectively is what we are doing with our conference. 

When we closed the doors on the 2017 event, I found myself in an excellent restaurant called Kaiser, a short walk from the Sheraton, and sat there with a large glass of Merlot pondering the future. Well, now ‘next year’ is ‘this year’ and we have an interesting programme of speakers in place and ready to ‘go live’ on the Future Steel Forum website – keep an eye on www.futuresteelforum.com for more details. 

The Future Steel Forum is a European event and from 2019 onwards we will be looking at other European venues.This year, however, we are staying put in Poland, mainly because the venue (the Sheraton Hotel, Warsaw) was fantastic and received glowing reports from last year’s delegates, and also because Warsaw proved to be an excellent city in which to hold a European Industry 4.0 conference.

So, we’re back and I think we’ve cracked ‘that difficult second album’ – although I would say that, wouldn’t I? Whether the event is considered a rip-roaring success depends on you. I hope I’ll see you there.

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January/February 2018 highlights

2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, Editor, Steel Times International

4 News – astounding facts and figures, industry news and diary dates

6 Innovations – the latest new products

12 USA Update – Is Section 232 the 'silver bullet'?

14 Latin America Update – Peruvian steel is looking good

17 The Mexican Steel Industry – a GBR Report

18 A vote of confidence in Mexico

22 Macroeconomic determinants

25 Mexican automotive: Key drivers

28 Distribution and services: Service centres must up their game

Direct Reduced Iron

31 Low CO2 ironmaking in the new hydrogen economy

37 Metal granulation and steelmaking at TATA Steel's new steel plant in Kalinganagar, Odisha, India

Testing & Analysis

45 Improved technology for mill roll inspection

51 Continuous online measurement

57 Perspectives – CONDAT are really optimistic, says Franck Dufresne

60 History – early rolling in the USA