If steel could talk, what would you ask?
Steel is virtually everywhere, and we use it every day, but how often do you think about it, where it comes from, how it was produced or what’s in it? The Smart Steel project is developing a fingerprint method that can provide information about the steel. If available, what would you like to know?
How sustainable is steel? It depends on many things, such as the ingredients and how it’s produced. Once steel is produced however, it can be recycled again and again, almost endlessly, so the steel in your pan may have been a bike in its former life, or a heavy chain in a medieval prison, who knows?
Many opportunities and some challenges
Maria Germain at the Digital Business Development department at SSAB explains that this kind of fingerprint would play an important role in a future circular economy. The aim for the project is also to bring many different actors together, which sets new requirements on business models, transparency and collaboration. What should we measure, who owns the information, what data should we share and so on. This makes the project an exciting learning curve.
The project has been going on for almost four years and there are several challenges to solve; the biggest is to find that fingerprint. It has to withstand very high temperatures, high pressure and rough treatment. Several initiatives are tested in parallel.
When the fingerprint is in place, it will also be possible to use in the communication between material and machine in order for the machine to adjust the settings automatically. This would, among other things, cause less waste and fewer errors. Recycling the steel will also be more efficient if you know exactly what is included. Imagination sets the limits on what’s possible to use it for.
If you would meet a steel that could talk - what would you ask?
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