Steel: innovation and sustainability

According to the latest estimates of the siderweb Reasarch Center, total expenditures in research and development in the steel industry make up for approximately 0.7% of revenues, net of what is budgeted in the income statement.

The figure is low compared to those of other sectors such as electronics (8.9%), automotive (3.2%), or machinery and mechanical equipment (2.8%). There is room for growth, considering that 99% of investments in the steel industry in 2017 were destined to tangible assets. These are the results that emerge from the siderweb study “Bilanci d’Accciaio 2018”, which analyzed a sample of 144 companies. But what does innovation translate into? Thanks to innovation, the steel industry is working to reduce consumption, emissions and noise and is pushing for using different inputs. In one word, it is working towards sustainability. In the last 50 years, huge investments in technology and research at global level have been destined to ultra-resistant and ultra-light steel production, hence reducing the weight of some types of products up to 40%, according to data from the World Steel Association. In addition, the steel industry has also drastically reduced its energy consumption: to produce a ton of steel, today we need 60% GJ than in 1960. Greater efficiency has also been achieved in how raw materials are used, with more flexible and compact production chains that limit consumption.