Steel is all around us and we use it every day. But do you ever think about where it comes from, what’s in it, or how it was made? The Smart Steel project, combining the knowledge and expertise of Sandvik and SSAB, was started to develop a fingerprint method to provide exactly this sort of information.
How sustainable is steel? That would depend on the composition and production method, but once made, it can be recycled again and again. Your stainless frying pan, for instance, could easily have been a kitchen sink in a previous life.
What would you like to be told?
The purpose of the “If Steel Could Talk” campaign is to find out exactly what users, manufacturers, and other interested parties would like a fingerprint to tell them.
“Discovering a viable fingerprint technology for steel would definitely open up new doors for us at Sandvik. The fingerprint would work as a stamp of quality, providing useful information on an individual product basis for our customers, and improvement opportunities in efficiency, sustainability and safety among other things,” says Mattias Klockars, Head of Strategic Research Labs at Sandvik Materials Technology, a Business Area at Sandvik.
The Smart Steel project, which has been running for almost four years, still has several challenges to solve, the greatest of which is to find the fingerprint. It would need to withstand very high temperatures, high pressure, and rough treatment, and several initiatives are being tested in parallel. A fingerprint in place would enable communication between material and machine and allow the machine to adjust settings automatically. This would reduce waste and prevent errors. In addition, knowing the exact composition of the steel would make recycling vastly more efficient.