Ljubljana, 13 October 2021 – As part of Innovation Day, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (CCIS) yesterday for the 19th time awarded the national awards for innovations to the most innovative companies and innovators in companies and public research institutes. SIJ Group is once again at the innovative peak, having received a gold national award for Hot Work Tool Steel with Improved Thermal Conductivity SITHERM S140R and a silver national award for Development of the new advanced tool steel for the most demanding veneer peeling applications - RANO@STEEL
Forty-one of the best innovations from all over Slovenia competed for awards at the national level. Tibor Šimonka, President of the CCIS and Senior Vice-President of SIJ Group, expressed his satisfaction that the awarded innovations include product and process as well as marketing and social innovations, and was delighted that these are the fruit of innovators who, in their search for the best solutions, also collaborate outside their organisations.
With the gold award for the innovative SITHERM S140R steel, an innovation on the global scale, SIJ Group has once again consolidated its position among the top Slovenian innovators. Peter Kirbiš, development engineer and head of the gold winning innovation team, SIJ Metal Ravne: “The innovative SITHERM S140R steel is a solution to the needs of the tool market for higher productivity and longer tool life. The alloying concept developed for the new SITHERM S140R steel brings different combinations of properties, so that at the same hardness and comparable toughness and through-hardenability, this steel achieves significantly higher thermal conductivity than standard hot work tool steels. For the end user, these properties mean that the tool dissipates heat much more intensively, which prolongs tool life, prevents overheating of the inserts and enables shorter production times and consequently higher productivity."
For the past 15 years, the innovation teams of SIJ Metal Ravne have been successfully participating in the CCIS award selection for best innovations at the national level. This year's gold award, after a series of silver awards in past years, represents an important step forward, explains Borut Urnaut, Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, and adds: “At SIJ Metal Ravne, we set high goals for ourselves in the field of development. Every year we develop five to ten new steels, and over a hundred new products. The successful participation of our innovation teams in the award selection process for best innovations is the norm for us. SIJ Metal Ravne is the fifth largest producer of tool steels in the world, the third largest in Europe. With the development of the new SITHERM S140R steel, we are further consolidating our position in this market. Based on our development strategy and the perceived needs of the market, our development teams are already designing new steels, new products and new technologies."
By receiving the silver national award for the development of RANO@STEEL, SIJ Ravne Systems further affirms SIJ Group’s innovativeness. Tilen Ravlan, head of the silver winning innovation team, SIJ Ravne Systems: "The development of RANO@STEEL for the most demanding veneer peeling applications is the result of the collaboration of SIJ Ravne Systems, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Maribor and SIJ Metal Ravne development teams. By altering the chemical composition, we positively affected the wear resistance and toughness of the steel. In the global veneer knife market, the market share of softwood veneer knives is 60 percent. We have not been competitive in this area so far. With this new steel grade, we have stepped into the niche market for softwood veneer knives, where steel producers from the Far East (Japan) have dominated so far. We are currently the only producer of this steel grade in the EU, and one of the three largest in the world."
The CCIS silver national award is confirmation that SIJ Ravne Systems are consolidating their position as an innovative company. It is an additional incentive for SIJ Group's second largest company in the Koroška region, which provides a wide range of products and services to various industries with its unique combination of metallurgical and engineering know-how. Viljem Pečnik, Managing Director of SIJ Ravne Systems, emphasizes: “Customers appreciate our unique combination of metallurgical and engineering expertise, with which we ensure continuing development in the production of top-quality steel end products and equipment. Last year, we ran 14 development projects and two strategic development partnerships with customers. We will remain among global competitive leaders only with good products and by insisting on the concept of continuous improvement and innovation.”
For SIJ Group, a specialised manufacturer of steels for niche markets, the ever-evolving search for new solutions plays a crucial role for its profitability, competitiveness and meeting the needs of new customers. In SIJ Group, we encourage innovation at all levels with the Imam idejo (I have an idea) campaign, through which we encourage all our employees to come up with new ideas and solutions for the sustainable progress of SIJ Group in all our areas of operation.
SIJ Group is the largest vertically integrated metallurgical group in Slovenia. Its products occupy top positions in European and global niche steel markets. It is among the ten largest corporate groups, among the largest exporters, and one of the most important employers in Slovenia.
According to unaudited financial figures, SIJ Group generated sales revenues amounting to 451.6 million EUR in the first two quarters of 2021 (a 24.4 percent increase year-on-year), and an EBITDA of 43.6 million EUR (a 91 percent increase year-on-year). In the first two quarters of 2021, the Group earmarked 29.1 million EUR for investments (10 million more than the preceding year). In the first six months of 2021, SIJ Group was profitable and generated a profit of 10 million EUR.
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Katja Krumpak, Head of Corporate Communications
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