May-June 2019

There’s nothing like a lack of time to focus the mind when there’s a leader article to write, and here I am embarking upon the task in hand. I’ve not long returned from the USA, Pittsburgh to be precise, where I experienced first hand the weapons-grade positivity flowing through the veins of the American steel industry at AISTech 2019. It was good to sit in front of the big hitters of North American steelmaking, and hear them use words and phrases like change, intense, fabulous, brutal and record-breaking when asked to describe how 2018 had been for their businesses; and there was no let-up. Other words and phrases thrown around included ‘accelerate’ and ‘billion dollar investment’, even ‘sexier steel’ courtesy of US Steel’s Scott Burkiso.

If the truth be known I felt like a character in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Michael Valentine Smith, a human raised by Martians. I won’t bore you with the details, but remember that I come from Brexit Land, it’s not a discount furniture warehouse, but a strange theme park on the other side of the Atlantic where everybody is bickering and shuffling around in dirty-looking clothes and nobody seems capable of making a decision about anything. In Brexit Land you can catch life-threatening sepsis from visiting your dentist or die from MRSA if you have the misfortune of visiting a hospital, possibly because you’ve been stabbed in the street by a maladjusted teenager. It’s a grim place where career politicians with Aryan Nation haircuts have unworthy political ambitions and stand a fair chance of running the country although, talking of words, perhaps that ‘o’ in ‘country’ is superfluous these days.

When I did return to Brexit Land, I did so via the Big Apple because my riverfront hotel in Pittsburgh ‘stole’ my passport. It’s a long story and the only negative element of my trip and you can read all about it on page 31. When I arrived home, tired and jet-lagged, it wasn’t long before there was some bad news to deal with: British Steel had gone to the wall and at the time of going to press has entered compulsory liquidation, threatening at least 5,000 jobs. Par for the course in my neck of the woods, where the political classes have messed things up ‘good and proper’. 

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May-June 2019 highlights

Leader – By Matthew Moggridge, editor, Steel Times International.


6 Innovations – The latest contracts and new products from international plant builders and suppliers.


31 A cautionary tale – Nobody is immune from incompetence.


34 News round-up – The latest news and diary dates.


45 USA update – Not everyone is happy with tariffs.


48 Latin America update – Chinese investment in Latin America (part 2).


German steel industry

51 The steel industry in Germany and Europe.        

55 Disruptor or disrupted?



59 Can we find a market for green steel?



64 Steel innovations from Severstal.


69 Steel mills logistics – Logistics 4.0 solutions for steel mills.


Electric steelmaking

76 US EAFs on a roll.


Testing and analysis

81 Lasers and infra-red cameras.



91 Digital transformation for steel.


Process control

95 Computerised heating control system.



99 Dramatic digital opportunities.


Continuous galvanising lines

104 The revamping of a skin pass mill.



112 Primetals Technologies – Understanding customer needs.


114 Pesmel  – A globally active logistics business.



116 PLUTO - Pipe Line Under The Ocean.