The Federal Government recently announced $5 million in new funding for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Australian Steel Innovation (Steel Research Hub).

In addition to the ARC Government funding, the Steel Research Hub’s eight industry partners— Australian Steel Institute (ASI), the Australian Industry Group, ArcelorMittal, Bisalloy, BlueScope Steel, InfraBuild, Liberty Primary Steel, and Weld Australia—will contribute another $13.9 million in cash and in-kind support.

The University of Wollongong, together with Australian National University, Deakin University, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of New South Wales, the University of Newcastle, and the University of Sydney, will contribute a further $9.5 million cash and in-kind.

This takes the total funding to $28.4 million, which will enable the Steel Research Hub to operate for another five years (2021-2025).

A sustainable, competitive, resilient Steel Industry

Based at the University of Wollongong since its launch in September 2014, the Hub brings together teams of internationally recognised research and industry talent to deliver innovative solutions and breakthrough technologies in manufacturing and product development. These solutions are helping to ensure sustainable growth in the Australian steel industry.

The objective of the Hub is to support Australia’s steel manufacturing industry to be sustainable, competitive and resilient, based on the creation of new, higher value-added products and more advanced manufacturing processes.

Australian Steel Institute Chief Executive, Mark Cain, said, “The Steel Research Hub will provide value to ASI members, and the wider Australian steel community, right throughout the entire steel value chain. The solutions developed by the Hub can help the Australian steel industry remain sustainable and globally competitive through increased innovation.”

Steel Supply Chain Transformation

The Hub’s Steel Supply Chain Transformation program will investigate the application of enabling technologies and advanced manufacturing techniques to achieve a generational shift in capability across the entire supply chain.

“The entire Australian steel supply chain, particularly SMEs, is set to benefit from the Hub’s Steel Supply Chain Transformation program. This program will focus on future-proofing steel manufacturing through the adoption of technologies like automation and machine learning, as well as Industry 4.0 principles,” said Cain.

“Facilitated by the ASI, the program will provide cost-effective opportunities for ASI members to collaborate with universities, and discover how to increase their manufacturing productivity, efficiency and flexibility to create high value products with export potential.”

“It will help the Australian steel industry embrace innovation and advanced manufacturing processes to ensure resilience in the ever-changing global market. By reducing the financial constraints that restrict innovation and the adoption of advanced manufacturing, this program has the potential to deliver valuable benefits to ASI members,” said Cain.

Product, Process and Performance Innovation

Three other distinct, but complementary, research programs will be undertaken by the Hub, focused on product, process and performance innovation:

  • Process integration and sustainability: New manufacturing processes and methodologies that significantly improve resource intensity while maintaining productivity, quality and asset life objectives
  • Product innovation and technology: Novel approaches to next-generation product solutions incorporating improved functionality such as higher strength, ductility, durability and material resilience
  • Advanced corrosion performance and manufacturing efficiency: Step-change performance in anti-corrosion treatments together with new processing capability and more productive coating manufacturing lines

All three of these research programs bring together the capabilities of Australia’s steel producing companies, including Bisalloy, BlueScope Steel, InfraBuild Steel, and Liberty Primary Steel.

Read the news release from University of Wollongong

For further information about the Steel Research Hub, visit: http://steelresearchhub.uow.edu.au/