An effective network
Sweden’s steel industry is a world leader within a number of specialised niches. The foundation of the steel industry’s export success has been a consistent and long-term investment in a product range incorporating high knowledge content.
In Sweden, more than one billion kronor (about 105 million Euros) is invested each year in steel research. The major part of this research is carried out within the different steel companies. The joint research conducted within Jernkontoret’s technical areas accounts for roughly 10–15 per cent of this total.
Jernkontoret’s industry-wide research comprises an extensive network. Indeed, practically all the steel plants in Sweden, Finland and Norway are involved. But there is involvement too from important suppliers and customers of the steel industry. In fact, the network comprises some 600 active participants and it is an effective instrument for channelling the research results into practical applications within the companies concerned.
The research is carried out within 14 technical areas (TO). These cover material and process technology research, spanning the whole cycle from the raw materials to the finished steels and by-products. The research is primarily needs-driven in character and is geared to enabling the results to be applied in the companies. In parallel, some basic research is also carried out. This research is undertaken at the participating companies, at different research institutes and at higher education centres such as universities of technology.
Read more about Jernkontoret’s Technical Areas
Research and innovation programmes
Jernkontoret also co-ordinates far-reaching research programmes on behalf of government agencies. At present, one programme is ongoing:
The Steel Eco-Cycle is an environmental research programme that was carried out in two phases during the years 2004–2012. The results now available show that steel has a vital role to play in the development of a sustainable society.
Samforsk klimat – co-ordinated research linked to the Swedish steel industry’s Climate Roadmap
Samforsk klimat is an initiative that supports the steel industry’s ambitions to implement its climate roadmap. Samforsk klimat co-ordinates ongoing research in line with the Climat roadmap, identifies research needs, initiates and supports research and development projects and disseminates results.
Read more about Samforsk klimat
Financing of the research
Those companies that participate in the research contribute financially with direct investments and inputs in kind, in the form of company-specific trials and working time. The industrial trials are a key component of the research collaboration between companies, research institutes and centres of higher education. This is because they offer scope for full-scale operational trials and the application of boundary conditions from real life to the analyses.
Public funding occurs through long-term research programme agreements, primarily with Swedish government agencies.
The joint Nordic steel research is unique of its kind in a number of ways and, what is more, it has very deep roots. As far back as 1751, technical co-operation in organised form was initiated within the Swedish iron and steel industry. The present operational form, whereby the research is divided into different areas, was established in 1926. Since 1969, the industry’s research activities have a Nordic dimension.