Ljubljana, 21 September 2022 – On Innovation Day, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia presented its 20th national awards to the most innovative companies as well as innovators in companies and public research institutions. SIJ Group was presented eight awards at the regional and national level, the most prestigious being the Silver National Innovation Award for Development of a Wear Resistant Steel SIDUR 400 with Low Content of Alloying Elements. This ranks SIJ Acroni, the largest company in SIJ Group, among the top producers of special wear-resistant sheet metal.
A total of 45 Slovenian cutting-edge innovations competed for the national award. Tibor Šimonka, The President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia and Senior Vice President of SIJ Group, expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the award-winning innovations include product and process innovations as well as marketing and social innovations, which means that “Slovenia boasts a wide and diverse range of companies and organisations that are able to innovate in a really broad field.” He was critical of the fact that Slovenia has been considered a moderate innovator for many years, as it has not been invested enough in research, development, and innovation.
Innovation at SIJ Acroni
Among the many innovative solutions by SIJ Group companies which were recognised with regional awards, the innovation that impressed the experts most at the national level was Development of a Wear Resistant Steel SIDUR 400 with Low Content of Alloying Elements. This ranks SIJ Acroni, the largest company in SIJ Group, among the top producers of special wear-resistant sheet metal. “SIJ Acroni's SIDUR 400 steel is manufactured in line with the special requirements of the most demanding customers. This steel is the flagship of SIDUR's wear-resistant steels, which has further strengthened our position among competing producers of this type of steel. We take pride in the fact that steel made from scrap steel ingots achieves all the required functional properties. And, what is just as important, SIDUR 400 steel contains a lower proportion of alloying elements, which makes a positive impact on reducing our impact on the environment,” emphasised Andrej Skumavc, Development Engineer for Special Steel Welding Technologies at SIJ Acroni.
“At SIJ Acroni, we have proven again this year that we are among the most innovative companies in Slovenia. SIJ Acroni is the only producer of wear-resistant steel in Slovenia, which further increases the significance of this innovation. SIDUR 400 steel is used for the most demanding products in engineering and construction, and our strategic goal is to become an even stronger supplier to companies involved in the manufacture of special road and rail freight vehicles,” said Branko Žerdoner, CEO of SIJ Acroni, who is proud of the company’s innovators.
In addition to the aforementioned national silver award (which is also the regional gold award), SIJ Acroni was also awarded the regional silver award for their innovation Technological Development of Stainless Steel Steelmaking Processes for Green Breakthrough, which saw a team of innovators develop a process for adding their own heavy feedback to the Argon Oxygen Decarburization (AOD) converter, which had a positive impact on reducing the carbon footprint and on productivity in the aggregate.We believe that SIJ Acroni grant winners Blaž Žerjav Jereb and Noel Gregorij, who ranked among the top five in the World Steel Association's steelChallenge competition in the steelmaking simulation, will also be among the future winners of the innovation awards of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, proving that SIJ Group is successful in grooming talent among young innovators.
Innovation at SIJ Metal Ravne
At the regional level, SIJ Metal Ravne once again proved its innovative capacities with their gold-winning innovation Aerospace Industry in SIJ Metal Ravne – Market and Product Development and two silver-winning inovations: Optimisation of Steel Production Process and Heat Pipe Technology for Thermal Energy Recovery in Industrial Applications.They are especially proud of their highest-awarded innovation Aerospace Industry in SIJ Metal Ravne – Market and Product Development. In March 2020, SIJ Metal Ravne obtained the EN 9100 aerospace certification, which gives the company a green light to start developing products in one of the most demanding industries – the aerospace industry. After the company obtained the aerospace certification, the entire Slovenian steel industry embarked on a pioneering journey into the global aerospace market with fully integrated product and marketing activities.
Innovation at SIJ Ravne Systems
SIJ Group's strong position in the Slovenian innovation space was rounded off by SIJ Ravne Systems winning two regional awards – the gold award for their innovation A Device for Testing Blade Persistence against Impulse Loads in Contact with Real Materials and the silver award for their innovation Laser Cladding of Abrasion Resistant Materials on Industrial Knives for Recycling Plastics, Paper Production, Tire Production and Recycling Industry.
At SIJ Group, we are proud that our innovative efforts and their results have been recognised both at the regional and national level, especially as our innovations also contribute significantly to a lower carbon footprint in addition to improving product quality, providing new solutions for customers, and lowering costs, thus following SIJ Group's sustainable development strategy.
SIJ Group is the largest vertically integrated metallurgical group in Slovenia. Its products occupy leading positions in European and global niche steel markets. It is one of the ten largest business groups in Slovenia, among the largest Slovenian exporters, and one of the most important employers in Slovenia.
Unaudited financial data shows that SIJ Group generated EUR 730.4 million in sales revenues in the first half of 2022 (a 61.7 percent increase compared to the first half 2021), with 84.3 percent of this amount generated on foreign markets. Out of the EUR 99.4 EBITDA, the EBITDA margin of 13.6 percent was 3.9 percentage points higher than in the same period last year. By the end of the first half of 2022, SIJ Group reached EUR 52.4 million in net profit.
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Katja Mramor Krumpak, Head of Corporate Communications
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