The transitioning era with advanced technological evolution is covering almost every industry out there which can be revolutionised. The steel industry is no exception to escaping from the casting shadow of the Industry 4.0 era galore. The economic activities involving the new generation of products and processes in the steel industry are close to primitive science. The steel industry is classified & identified within the scale-intensive sectors. One can highlight the presence of production engineering departments and R&D expenses, both internal and from suppliers, as main sources of innovation and technical progress which is comprehensive. If we consider the study by Castellacci, which presents an extensive methodology more appropriate to the discussion of recent interaction between industry and services.
It’s an imperative aspect, that the advances in the knowledge of how innovations develop in the steel industry emphasize its mature industry character. In which technological ruptures are rare and incremental process innovations are relevant to the modernisation of the technological base. Let’s consider, the last three radical innovations in the sector (the development of the basic oxygen steel shop, continuous casting and the greater diffusion of electric steel shop) date back to the 1950s and 1960s which are certainly a long time ago. It can be debatable, that the steel industry is mature, and innovations developed by steel mills and from operational practice (in products, in production organisation and, to a lesser extent, in processes) are a fundamental feature of technological progress in this activity. Perhaps, steel equipment suppliers represent the focal element in the development of process technologies, whereas steel mills are primarily committed to product innovations.
There is less opportunity for innovation, resulting from the exploration of some technological trajectories that have been dominant for several decades. The major technological innovations of the steel process were developed in initiatives way back that combined the efforts and capabilities of steel mills, equipment producers and public research institutes. Historically, steel companies have dedicated an increasing share of R&D spending to new products, relegating efforts to develop process technologies for engineering companies and equipment manufacturers for better operations. The higher appropriability is derived from product innovations rather than from steel processes and these conditions tend to induce a shyer technological strategy from steel enterprises, sadly reflected in the low intensity of R&D spending in the steel industry, compared to other technologically more dynamic industrial sectors, hence reinforcing the conditions of technological maturity of the industry under keen analysis.
The novelty is the change in the perception of the importance of the 14.0 concepts by the steel mills. In particular, the understanding that the data are significantly valuable and that these could be better utilised to improve the production processes. Collecting and analysing the data became quite easier with the development of these technologies, allowing a better understanding of the process there.
Industry 4.0 has become the technological evolutionary theme of the moment, whether in developed economies or emerging countries, although still little treated in the academic sphere. However, these innovations are diffusing more rapidly in high-tech industries contrary to labour-extensive industries, as expected, they are also being implemented in more mature sectors (such as steel), but at a more cautious pace. This is exponentially explained by the fact that the steel industry is already much automated and has already collected, stored and analysed data from its production processes for many years. Kalika Steel is attentive and vigilant to any and every transforming technology in the steel industry. But for time being, supporting ambitious projects with superior steel remains constant agenda!