July-August 2017

I was roaming through Europe last month, and by that I mean I’ve been to three different countries in the space of three weeks, departing twice from Gatwick and once from Heathrow and visiting Poland, Sweden and Austria before landing back in the UK on a sunny Thursday evening at the end of June.

All three trips were informative in different ways and while I’m not one for blowing my own trumpet, I must say that the first of my three journeys – to Warsaw in Poland – was to the Sheraton Hotel and the inaugural Future Steel Forum, Steel Times International’s first (and highly successful) foray into the world of Industry 4.0 and steel manufacturing.

Avid readers will know that the Future Steel Forum has been high on my agenda for some time and it all came together last month when delegates and speakers met to discuss an increasingly important aspect of the steel manufacturing process, that of digitalisation, ‘smart’ production, however you wish to describe it.

It was good to hear that delegates enjoyed the conference and that they felt an event on the subject of Industry 4.0 was long overdue – especially an event focused on steel. All the more reason to announce that there will be a Future Steel Forum 2018, in Warsaw, at the Sheraton Hotel, in Poland. I’m looking for papers now so if you have something to say about Industry 4.0 and steelmaking, get in touch. 

Hi-tech steelmaking is becoming increasingly popular; everybody’s talking about it and some of the world’s biggest and most progressive steelmakers are rolling up their sleeves and getting on with its development. In South Korea, POSCO and Hyundai are hoping that new technologies can help increase yield rate and reduce defects.

POSCO, in conjunction with the SungKyunKwan University’s department of systems management engineering, has developed automatic coating weight control technology based on artificial intelligence  (AI) with a view to maintaining an optimal and constant coating weight to automotive steel sheets. Similarly, Hyundai has employed AI, developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, with a view to achieving maximum solidity and, of course, price competitiveness.

There’s a lot to discuss so let me know if you want to be part of the conversation.

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July-August 2017 highlights

2 Leader – Future Steel Forum 2018 – be involved

4 News – Events, contracts, diary dates, news in brief

6 Innovations – New products, new contracts

12 USA Update – The uncertainties of the US steel industry

14 Latin America Update – Brazil's pig iron exports

16 The Hour Before Dawn – Innovation, a two-sided coin

18 Iron Ore – Iron ore explanation tumbles

20 EuroCoke 2017 – Maintaining your maintenance

27 AISTech 2017 – Trump, China and US steel

34 Continuous Casting – Continuous scrap feeding

38 Technology – Opportunities for 3D printing

42 Technology – Streamlining operations in steel processing

46 Perspectives: Friedrich Kocks' managing director Günther Schnell

48 History – Making parts for the first iron bridge