Steel specialists can underpin sector’s digitalisation progress

The steel industry has problems encouraging the entry of younger candidates to become involved in its digitalisation. It had better educate its own engineers to become more aware of such technological developments, according to speakers at an evening talk at the Blechexpo 2019 fair in Stuttgart.

The steel industry does need people “… with a different mindset”, but is not really attractive to them, according to Tim Milde of Xom, a subsidiary of Klöckner & Co that offers digitalisation services. “The run for young talent has long begun, and they want to go to Facebook in Essen, not to Klöckner in Duisburg,” said Milde, who earlier this year presented at the Kallanish European conference in Amsterdam.

A solution was suggested by Menno van der Winden, general manager Advanced Analytics at Tata Steel Europe, himself a metallurgist who started to become involved in data analytics only two years ago. “I think all of you could do it, and you don’t need to be fifteen,” he told participants. The industry does not need digital experts for implementing data, but people who know the daily routine at a mill, he proposed.

To that end, Tata has started its own so-called Analytics Academy. “We have a whole community of users who have attended the academy,” he said. “You can make a metallurgist into a data analyst – but it won’t work the other way around.”