The steel industry generates contrasting views. For some it is a vital component for the construction and transportation industries, while for others is somewhat of a pariah as steelmaking requires large quantities of coke and coal for the blast furnaces. According to a new analysis by global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, steel manufacturer’s investment into digital transformation will grow at a CAGR of 10.9% between 2022 and 2031, reaching US$5.9 billion. Investment into data analytics to optimize the steel production process will to worth up to US$2.9 billion in 2031. Bolstering the data flows will be investment into industrial device and applications, fortified by security expenditures, both seeing fair growth by CAGR 5.9% and 8.4% respectively.

“For the industry and technology suppliers, safety, sustainability, and productivity are the three north stars. Technology suppliers should aim to align their solutions to assist steelmakers with at least two of these priorities. For example, providers of manufacturing execution systems helping customers’ productivity as well as improve the sustainability of their operations. Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor quality levels to reduce scrap and optimizing equipment performance. And, digital twins should encompass the three perspectives,” explains Michael Larner, Industrial and Manufacturing Research Director at ABI Research.

Technology suppliers providing software to the industry include those that specialize in helping producers optimize their processes (Falkonry, RealSteel, Smart Steel Technologies, and Samotics), keep track of information (KnowIT ERP and SteelTrace), and keep workers safe (Everguard.ai).

“Individual steel plants produce dozens different steel products (e.g., plates, coils bars, etc.) to exacting quality grades. This requires firms to effectively manage product changeovers so that output remains within quality thresholds. Analyzing quality levels in real time will be an investment priority over the rest of the decade,” Larner concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Industry 4.0 in the Steel Industry application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Industrial and Manufacturing research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.