Ljubljana, 17 September 2020 – the SIJ Group has received no less than nine awards in the call for best innovations of the regional offices of the GZS (the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), of which three will go on to compete for the gold awards in innovation at the national level. Thus, the SIJ Group is once again demonstrating and consolidating its position as of one of the most innovative Slovenian industrial conglomerates.
At the award ceremonies of the regional chambers of the GZS, which took place on 17 September 2020 in Koroška and on 24 September in Gorenjska, the SIJ Group once again made a statement with its innovativeness, which is intensely fostered and invested in at every company of the SIJ Group. The search for new solutions is a deciding factor for the SIJ Group as a specialised producer of steels for niche markets and its profitability, competitiveness and meeting the needs of its clients, who are on the constant lookout for new and better solutions.
For the 17th time in a row, three of the SIJ Group's largest companies – SIJ Metal Ravne, SIJ Ravne Systems and SIJ Acroni – took part in the tender for the best regional innovations within the GZS awards for innovations in 2020. In total, they received nine regional awards for their innovations – four gold, four silver and one bronze. This year, SIJ Ravne Systems can be particularly proud of their innovations, because they received two gold and three silver awards. Since this is the most important competition in innovation in Slovenia, the SIJ Group is very proud that no less than three of their innovations made it to the national level, specifically, one from each company previously mentioned, which are described in greater detail below.
It is the goal of SIJ Metal Ravne to become a strategic supplier to a major manufacturer of equipment for nuclear power plants, and thus an important producer of steel products for the industry. The awarded innovation of "Special stainless steel for the nuclear industry" will play an important role in reaching that goal. "Among the awarded steel grades are two completely new types of steel – SINOXX E790 and SINOXX E880, which were developed for the production of new and the repair of old nuclear power plants, and which are set apart by superior corrosion resistance and outstanding mechanical properties. New technologies of electro-slag remelting, rolling, forging, and mechanical and heat treatment have been developed for both steel grades. The already established steel grades SINOXX 4541, SINOXX 4057, SINOXX 4313 and SINOXX 4401 have been developed to the point where they meet the strictest standards set by the nuclear industry for the use in Russian nuclear reactors," Dr. Blaž Šuler, the director of the steel programme and head of the innovations team at SIJ Metal Ravne said. Developing the innovation meant that R&D engineers and specialists as well as sales representatives of SIJ Metal Ravne worked with the experts of the Institute of Metals and Technology and with SIJ Metal Ravne's client ŠKODA JS, which is known for high quality products used in nuclear reactors. With this innovation, SIJ Metal Ravne continues the development of its niche products, where they prove that they are ahead of the competition. Borut Urnaut, the Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, points out, "These steel grades meeting such high demands of our clients can only be produced by a handful of producers worldwide, while our clients assure us that we are the only producer in Europe, who can make such high quality products. After all, we are also a supplier of the most ambitious project in the world, the world's largest fusion reactor project ITER. We are proud of these results and, at the same time, we are pleased that they are recognised and rewarded in the wider public.”
SIJ Ravne Systems, in cooperation with the R&D team of SIJ Metal Ravne and the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, developed a new steel grade called SIHARD S247 for cold rolling, which has better wear resistance and a simultaneous better resistance against incidents. The significance of the innovation "The development of a new generation of 3% Cr steel for cold rolling" was explained by Alen Šapek, the head of R&D at SIJ Ravne Systems "This is an innovation that is not important merely because it offers a solution for the most demanding rolling conditions, but it is also cost-effective and therefore fully aligns with our main goal – customer focus." Viljem Pečnik, the Managing Director SIJ Ravne Systems could also not help but feel proud that the company he leads won three silver and two gold awards, one of the latter even making it to the national competitive level, “The awards are a testament that we can safely say that the innovativeness fuelled by the desires, demands and expectations of our clients already flows through the veins of our colleagues. I am proud of the fact that we are taking major steps in the area of product development and process development in teams in which we involve more and more employees. Fostering a culture of innovation among staff is one of our key policies for the future – only this way will we be able to strengthen our position in the market and with the customers.”
Part of executing SIJ Acroni's strategy for investing in products with a higher added value was also the investment in a new heat treatment line for quarto plates (HTL). The core of the innovation "The technological development of heat and surface treatment of duplex and super duplex proprietary stainless steel brands Sinoxx 4462 and Sinoxx 4410" developed by SIJ Acroni and the Jesenice R&D centre (RCJ) is based on establishing a new technological platform, as mag. Robert Robič, an R&D engineer for processing technology at RCJ and SIJ Acroni explains, "By developing a new and innovative technological platform, which includes altering the technology of treating quarto plates, we have set a foundation for stabilising the qualities of the presented Sinoxx 4462 and Sinoxx 4410 steel grades. In these uncertain times, this has enabled us to become a reliable and certified supplier on the demanding Norwegian market." The awarded innovation, as explained by mag. Branko Žerdoner, the Managing Director of SIJ Acroni, brings added value to other areas as well, "The development of a new technological platform has enabled us to reduce production costs, improve the final quality of the product, increase productivity in this segment and significantly decrease its environmental impact, which is especially relevant in these times. We estimate that the innovation will contribute 1.94% of our annual revenues in 2020.
The SIJ Group is the largest vertically-integrated metallurgical group in Slovenia. It operates in accordance with circular economy and its products are at the top of European and global niche steel markets. The SIJ Group is one of Slovenia's biggest exporters and is a pillar of employment in the regions Gorenjska and Koroška.
Additional information:SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.Mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate CommunicationsTelephone: +386 1 242 98 27Mobile: +386 41 313 532E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org