The Swedish steel industry is among the world leaders in respect of qualified special steel. But the industry in Bergslagen is challenged by manufacturers in low-wage countries, that are approaching the Swedish quality level. Now a collaborative project has been developed with a new cooling method that may be necessary to strengthen the Swedish steel industry's position and lift the region.
A research group at the University of Gavle and the University of Linkoping have developed a new cooling method that enables new material properties of steel and also reduces energy consumption and production time. This exciting method is based on a cooling technology that has been established through industrial applications, but has never before been used on steel in the production.
The Swedish Steel Producers' Association, Jernkontoret, is the project owner of this accomplishment, with the purpose of identifying new application opportunities for the technology. The aim is also to build a pilot plant and structure where businesses and academics work together for the region to become a leader in exploiting the technology. Patrick Olsson, project manager for one of the initiatives around technology explains: "Our preliminary study has shown that the technology has much greater potential than we first thought".
In Bergslagen region there are numerous technology- and innovation clusters with entrepreneurs who can contribute to and strengthen the knowledge base, which has now been created around the technique. The steel industry, which today is one of Sweden's largest export industries, has for several years been under pressure from both competition and environmental perspectives, particularly because of their high energy consumption. This contributes to a high demand for innovative solutions for energy efficiency, which in turn can contribute to increased competitiveness. A next step in the development is of course to introduce the application possibilities of the steel cluster in the Bergslagen, says Patrick Olsson: "Then there is a good chance that the local innovation cluster in collaboration with business and politics can approach a global market with the technology."
Patrick Olsson, 0703 141 355, Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org