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Digital Transformation in European Steel Industry: State of Art and Future Scenario

(Status: 30.09.2019)


The current technological transformation in the European industry is driven by seven drivers of changes (as listed in ESSA project):
1. Advanced manufacturing (Industry 4.0)
2. Advanced materials development
3. Complex and global supply chains
4. Market competition and over-capacity
5. Life cycle design, pollution prevention and product recyclability
6. Decarbonisation and energy efficiency
7. Evolution of customer requirements. ESSA thus constitutes an industry driven European technologies for low-carbon production.
However, digitalization can be considered the main driver that directly impacts on the advanced manufacturing and transversally affects all the others. As consequence, it can be said that the technological transformation in the European Industry is driven by digitalization, aiming mainly to increase the production efficiency and sustainability in order to reduce the industrial environmental impact. That is particularly true for the energy-consuming industry, like the steel industry. The digital transformation of the steel production mainly concerns the application of the related technologies on the steel production processes, where the ongoing technological developments are focused on two fields: 1) advanced tools for the optimization of the whole production chain and 2) specific technologies for low-carbon production.
Starting with some necessary definitions, next paragraphs describe the current state of this technological transformation with an analysis of the main developments funded by EU Research Pro-grams achieved in the above fields. In addition, the analysis of the Best Available Techniques (BAT) document provides information, mainly based on the application of digitalization systems, in particular in the Energy management, Water and Wastewater management and in some production processes. The application of BAT aims at achieving continuous improvements in the steel sector, in particular regarding quality, costs, energy consumption and environmental perfor-mance. In this context, digital technologies help to reach these objectives, adapting and integrating them with the traditional ones and with the new process. For this reason, the analysis of this document can be a good starting point to understand the innovative and emerging techniques for the steel production processes.
The effects of digitalization on the steel industry workforce as well as the future economic devel-opments are also described in the following paragraphs.
Concerning the methodology, this deliverable has been prepared following an integrated research approach. It foresees to collect all the necessary information through desk research (European funded projects and literature) and a survey addressed to steel companies. To this aim, an explor-ative questionnaire has been launched to gather specific information directly from steel industry.

The current version of the deliverable is based exclusively on the desk research, waiting for a significant sample of answers from the questionnaire addressed to European steel companies. This survey was launched at the beginning of June 2019, and made online available ( Data collected from the survey will be statis-tically analysed in order to integrate the content of this deliverable with data from the field.



Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills

Towards an EU strategy addressing the skills needs of the steel sector : European vision on steel-related skills of today and tomorrow - Study

The EU Sector Skills Alliances aims at tackling skills gaps in key sectors of the European economy. Within this framework, Erasmus+ ESSA Project and Steel Sector Careers Project have been selected to address the key challenges facing the European steelmaking industry and are considered "strictly connected" by the EC.

In the last weeks, the EC has been published the Steel Sector Careers Interim study, now published on the EU Publication Office’s website:

Interim Study Steel Sector Careers





D7-2-Flyer-ESSA-Project-2Social2.pdf  (English version)

New version with links to Twitter and LinkedIn ESSA pages




Skills for Smart Industrial Specialisation and Digital Transformation, Interim Report - European Commission, November 2018


On how artificial intelligence, robotics and automation are transforming jobs and the economy in Europe

A report by Michel Servoz, European Commission, May 2019



Report from the High-Level Strategy Group on Industrial Technologies

Conference Document, European Commission, February 2018


Co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union
Agreement Number: 2018-3059/001-001
Project Number: 600886-EPP-1-2018-1-DE-EPPKA2-SSA-B
Last updated on: 20/01/2020 8:50pm