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Technological advances in the Steel Industries

With the advent of Industry 4.0, the steel industries must modernize and use the available technology to their advantage.

Industry 4.0 is a revolution taking place in industries around the world. It aims to add very advanced technologies to the production processes of factories.

This technological improvement of industries is also called the 4th Industrial Revolution. And so, it is something that generates innovation and productivity in industries.

Within Industry 4.0 there are several technologies that can help factories. Examples include artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data, cyber security. Also the internet of things, advanced robotics, digital and additive manufacturing. Finally, systems integration, simulation systems, and digitization.

Therefore, it is essential that the large industries in the steel sector understand that this phenomenon is happening. And even more importantly, industries need to make the necessary changes to their factories. To then make the most of this technology.

The impact of Industry 4.0 in Brazil

The term Industry 4.0 was used for the first time in 2012. Still, the implementation of the technology in Brazil is not ideal. However, in 2020, with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a great acceleration in the digital transformation of the country’s industries.

In fact, data from a survey by the CNI (National Industry Confederation) show that 54% of companies that adopted some digital technology in 2020 had more profit than before the pandemic.

In Brazil, the most used technologies include Big Data, 3D printers, and computer simulations. With the use of these technologies, the impacts are very positive. Considering industries see more efficiency in their processes, agility in communication, and quality of the information provided. And also, greater productivity among employees.

In addition to the advantages for business, Industry 4.0 is also resulting in more employees in companies. Actually, the CNI survey shows that 30% of the industries that now use some Industry 4.0 related technology have larger workforces than before the pandemic started.

There is, however, a change in the profile of workers. These must be more qualified to use the necessary software and hardware. Consequently, this reality has an impact on the training that the employees must undertake.

It is often a good option for the company to invest in the education of its current workforce. By doing so, it is possible to value the talents that are already part of the company.

The number of companies using Industry 4.0 will grow

Although the number of companies using Industry 4.0 has increased a lot in 2020, data from ABDI (Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development) show that only 2% of industries currently use Industry 4.0.

Although small, this number is motivating. After all, the vast majority of industries still have room to grow more. Today, Brazil occupies the 62nd position in the world ranking, but with investments and technology, it is possible to reach new levels.

Impacts of Industry 4.0 on the steel industry

Like many other types of industries, the steel industry has been taking advantage of the opportunities that technology brings to improve its production process.

With the use of Industry 4.0, steel mills are able to become more autonomous. When using the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, it is possible that production is better documented and evaluated by robots.

Furthermore, the factory sensors used as part of Industry 4.0 are very useful in the steel industry. This is because they collect a large amount of data that will later be interpreted by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Another important impact on steel mills is that the planning of maintenance shutdowns is much more assertive, facilitating the predictive management of equipment. And also reducing unnecessary expenses or stopping production for a long time.

Having a digitized steel industry also allows the company to have a better interaction with suppliers and customers. That’s because the company is able to use tools, platforms, and applications that make it possible to solve problems in a much more agile way. Tracking orders from suppliers or delivery to customers, for example, is much more reliable and traceable with Industry 4.0 technology.

What to expect for the future of Steel Industries

The steel industry has been changing as the years go by, and that would be no different with Industry 4.0. Through the technology implemented in the factories, it is possible to have more efficiency in the factory, which results in better performance indicators for the company.

With the automation and analysis of Big Data, factories will have autonomous equipment, which will be able to make decisions without human intervention. This will be possible through indicators and evidence collected through the data that both sensors and systems integration provide.

Because of the technology used, it will be possible to develop more customized products on a large scale, resulting in a final consumer being more satisfied and engaged with the brand.

Therefore, by using Industry 4.0 technology, steelmakers will be better prepared to succeed in the digital future.

Importance of including Industry 4.0 in your company

As you’ve already noticed, there are many advantages for businesses using Industry 4.0 technology. In addition, those who do not keep up to date may end up being overtaken by the competition that is looking for smarter and more agile solutions for their companies.

Thus, it is possible to mention a series of benefits that the steel industries have when implementing this technology.

Starting with increased competitiveness against major competitors, greater efficiency in industrial processes, and development of a more innovative environment for employees.

Additionally, there is also a reduction in errors and failures by using machines that are better prepared to identify problems. Consequently, waste is reduced as well as unnecessary expenses.

At a management level, decision-making becomes more assertive because it is based on real and up-to-date data. And finally, security at the factory increases. Because there is the use of machines for repetitive activities and also the possibility of remote work.

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