Steel Industry Urged to Embrace Innovation, and Quickly
“There is a revolution underway in advanced materials -- a race to discover and commercialize materials that are lighter, stronger, more energy-efficient, or more versatile,” he said. “Make no mistake: We need to create the next generation of solutions to ensure steel remains the material of choice in a variety of applications.”
Longhi’s comments came during his keynote speech at AISTech’s annual President’s Award Breakfast, held 17 May. AISTech 2016 took place last week in Pittsburgh, Pa., USA.
During his speech, Longhi said steelmakers are likely to see competition from so-called smart materials and smart coatings, those that have advanced attributes, such as the ability to clean themselves, repair themselves, retain memory or are enormously strong relative to their size.
But at the same time, advances are being made in a variety of areas, including robotics, automation, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Those advances, he said, are creating tremendous opportunities for manufacturers. Therefore, it is imperative that steelmakers embrace disruptive new technologies to create modern products.
“Up until now, the pace of change in our industry has been slow at times. However, that trend must reverse. We must fully embrace disruption all around us so we can continue to be disruptors ourselves,” he said.
He called upon fellow steelmakers to incorporate innovation not into products and processes, but into its relationships with customers, suppliers and employees.
“The steel industry cannot accept the status quo. I’m sure none of the industries we compete against are sitting around waiting to see what we do next,” he said. “Their sole focus is on meeting the needs of the markets they already serve, as well as the one they want to begin serving.”