Saturday, December 15, 2012

Steel Revolution

Hills, Arrium & BlueScope CEO's have their say.

But first, the Steel Revolution story.

The Innovation Challenge winner could change steel-making forever.

This is the heading from the Australian today -  Dr. Veena Sahajwalla has won The Australian Innovation Challenge for 2012. And the best part it involves the steel manufacturing industry. Arrium (old One Steel) was also involved in this win. Here is part of the text from the article in todays Australian:
USING recycled rubber to revolutionise steel-making earned Sydney engineer Veena Sahajwalla the $30,000 top prize at The Australian Innovation Challenge awards in Sydney last night.
The technology - which was developed at the University of NSW - has already prevented more than 1.4 million tyres from becoming landfill, with the rubber, along with recycled plastic containers, partly replacing coke in generating power for the production of steel.
Dr Sahajwalla, who studied in India before completing a PhD at the University of Michigan, said the principles underlying her polymer injection technology to create an environmentally friendly steel industry could also be applied to other industries. The technology could cut power consumption by millions of kilowatt hours a year.
"In the process of making steel you need an input of carbon which traditionally comes from coal-based resources," she said. "What we've shown is that you don't need to rely on the conventional materials, which has changed the paradigm of energy creation."
Editor-in-chief of The Australian Chris Mitchell said the competition had attracted hundreds of diverse and inspiring entries that highlighted often-uncelebrated work.
"If last year we were surprised by the enthusiastic response from the science community and entrants across the country, this year we are gratified our inaugural event was not a flash in the pan but the start of something meaningful," he said.
The innovation challenge had helped inventors to raise their profile to hopefully gain investment.
The challenge is run by The Australian in association with Shell, with the support of the federal Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
Ann Pickard, country chairwoman of Shell Australia, said large business had a duty to support research and development, which helped to eventually drive innovation in many industries.
"We, industry, academia and government all have a responsibility to harvest talent. Not just our finalists and winners, but beyond," she said. "The power of collaboration will define how successful we will be in addressing the challenges of the future."
UNSW's industry partner, Arrium, is using Dr Sahajwalla's technology in Australia, and has sub-licensed it to a plant in Thailand and is in talks with other overseas steel-makers.
The news that the steel manufacturing industry has this sort of new development and is being supported by Arrium is very good for the future of the industry.

The second half of this article is simply highlighting the three CEO's that answered 4 questions put up by the Australian today:

CEO's call for action in manufacturing.

This is from John Durie's Chief Executive Survey 2012. The three relevant CEOs from the steel and rollforming industry were asked these 4 questions:
  1. What will be the three key themes in your sector next year?
  2. What would you like and expect from Canberra?
  3. What are your three top priorities?
  4. What were your three key challenges and achievements?
Lets look at the answers of each CEO.

BlueScopes Paul O'Malley:
  1. Continue global growth in building products with prudent investments, encourage domestic demand, ensure successful anti-dumping actions.
  2. Improvement in policy settings to allow productivity gains.
  3. Safe working environment, return to profitability, accelerate growth and leverage of global building solutions portfolio.
  4. Australian dollar, weak demand, $100 million dumping damage, Nippon Steel joint venture, sound balance sheet, company restructure.
Arriums Geoff Plummer:
  1. Benefit of cost and operational improvements, increased scale and improved port capacity.
  2. Recognition of  increasing and cumulative cost of government polices on business, clear and accountable policies from the opposition, and acknowledgement from the RBA that it has overestimated inflation risk.
  3. Execute plan growing mining and consumables business, continue to strengthen balance sheet, ensure smooth transition to new boss.
  4. Ensure mine expansion on time and budget, steel turnaround, name change.
Hills Ted Pretty:
  1. Consolidation, agility and productivity.
  2. Less focus on surplus and more on funding employment generating infrastructure, less regulation and more labour market reform.
  3. Cash and better working capital management, business transformation, innovation.
  4. Discerning what the new normal is, hiring good new talent and setting agenda for change.
Comment on what you think of this new arc recycling furnace prize winner, plus the answers from the 3 CEOs and even maybe how the MDs of Stratco, CEO of Fletchers, MD of Metroll , MD of Apex, MD of Revolution, MD of Steeline Group etc may have answered.

The only comment I can put in at this moment is the lack of comment of the downturn of the construction industry currently in Australia. Also question 4 answers were interesting.


  1. fielders have shut down mildura and mt gambier today. your thoughts?

    1. teddy did say ???????

      bye fielders

  2. A fielders fire sale coming

  3. How can Hill and Fielders still keep paying all the fat cats after closing down half the business and putting off innocent loyal workers at Christmas ?

    1. Did the new Fielders CEO Chris Stathie make the decision to close more sites or was it Hills MD Ted Pretty?

    2. No-one knows and no-one cares KC, fat cats are fat cats and they don't give a rat's arse about their loyal workers.

    3. A bigger question is - Why does Fielders now need a CEO at all? How many branches have they got left now?

      Teds in charge and will be for a while.