October 2019


It’s a case of where to start with this month’s leader. Do I talk about the middle class bohemians, otherwise known as Extinction Rebellion, bringing London (and other cities) to a standstill as I write this, or do I bring up US President Donald Trump and his recent tweets threatening Turkey with economic obliteration should President Erdogan invade Northern Eastern Syria? Then again, there’s always Brexit, which, seems to ratchet up the anger as we edge closer to 31 October.

It all adds up to a phrase I hear often at steel conferences around the world: ‘geopolitical strife’. I’m sure it will be mentioned at the forthcoming World Steel Association General Assembly in Monterrey this month which – at the time of writing – is yet to take place. I’ll be there, of course, so you’ll be getting a full report on what goes down.

What annoys me about Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion is they assume that nothing is being done about the environment. One thing I do know is that the steel industry is at the cutting edge of efforts to ensure the production process is as climate-friendly as possible; there’s always a story about the latest on Hlsarna or the Hybrit initiative or the circular economy, but I’m guessing that Tabitha from Totnes – jangling bangles, floral skirt – has no idea of the work undertaken by steelmakers to reduce the toll of steel production on the environment.

As for Donald Trump and the situation in Turkey, well, it’s all sounding a bit worrying and I’m sure it will only have a negative effect on the Turkish steel industry should things ‘kick off’ as I suspect they will. I always expect the worst and often get it: a no-deal Brexit, the Turkish economy ‘obliterated’ by even more tariffs from Washington and, of course, the aforementioned middle class bohemians banging tambourines and lying in the road until the police carry them away.

But what about those 25% steel tariffs introduced by Trump last year? Things aren’t that rosy in the US steel industry at present. Oversupply, lower demand and falling prices anybody? Creating obstacles for foreign suppliers of cheaper products in order to protect your domestic steelmakers is not necessarily a good idea in a globalised economy where the likely result will be a simple case of shooting yourself in the foot (see page 6).

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October 2019 highlights

2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, editor, Steel Times International

4 News round-up and Facts & Figures

6 USA Update

9 Steel markets – steel's role in future mobility

12 Automotive – the impact of AHSS on car making

14 Conference report: Brazilian Steel Institute Conference


20 Low coke-rate operation at Kobe Steel

39 Laser contouring of steelmaking vessels


24 Process data-based lifetime assessment of coke oven batteries

28 Safer coke making

32 Rolling – Advanced cold rolling by Fives

42 Perspectives: Bernd Sachweh of ABB in Metals

44 History by Dr. Tim Smith