It seems like only yesterday that I put the finishing touches to the first ever Future Steel Forum, back in January 2017, ahead of the inaugural conference five months later in Warsaw, Poland. The reality, of course, is that three years have since passed and so have three very successful Future Steel Forum events – two in Poland and one earlier this year in Budapest.

In so many ways the Future Steel Forum was well ahead of the curve, offering the steel industry a high-tech steel conference focused 100% on the subject of Industry 4.0 and its relevance to the steelmaking process. As I write this, the development process has started for the 2020 event and you will probably find an ad somewhere in this issue inviting potential speakers to submit an abstract for next year’s programme. In fact, if you’re interested in speaking, the final deadline for abstract submissions is Monday 16 December 2019 – not that long to go when you consider that this is the November/December 2019 edition of Steel Times International and the deadline will have passed by the time I sit down to pen my next leader article.

If you are a steelmaker and think you have a story to tell our 2020 attendees, then do get in touch as our growing community of high-tech steel industry executives (our delegates) would love to hear about the challenges you face and share with you their experiences of artificial intelligence, cyber security and other facets of digital manufacturing.

If you’re a plant builder, the best way to find yourself on the 2020 programme is to involve a steelmaker, either as a co-presenter or, if persuading them to speak is a bridge too far, why not consider a case study based on an Industry 4.0 project your company has undertaken in the primary steel industry?

The Future Steel Forum programme has a wide remit, thanks to that word ‘future’. It means we can look at how digitalisation is smoothing the way for the ‘green steel revolution’.

There’s nothing like being a trendsetter, of course. Since we launched the Future Steel Forum in 2017, it has spawned other metals events on both sides of the Atlantic and in Latin America.

For further details, contact me direct or go to and see how you can shape (and be a part of) the future today. Do get in touch.