A large part of what we do here at ANY Weld involves the use of steel, so we thought we would take a look at the future of the industry in the UK. What are the predictions for the steel industry? How will the sector adapt to the ever-changing technology? Will there be any challenges? We delve into these questions in this blog.
What is the Steel Industry?
The steel industry began back in the late 1850s, and it has since become a staple in the industrial sector with around 32,000 people working in the industry. The UK steel trade contributes a whopping £1.6bn to the economy, so to ensure that the industry can remain stable for many years to come, foundries must embrace the changes it will undoubtedly face.
The World is Constantly Changing and Improving
From new materials and processes to different technologies and innovations, the industry has already faced many challenges, and this isn’t due to stop any time soon.
How Cheap Chinese Steel Has Affected the UK Steel Industry
So far, there have already been some tough challenges that the UK steel industry has had to face and tackle head on to remain strong.
Around 7,000 Jobs Were Directly Affected
In Autumn of 2015, the UK steel industry was faced with fierce competition. Cheap Chinese steel, which was of questionable quality, started to flood the global market, and this resulted in closure or reduction in capacity for many UK foundries.
To date, it has been suggested that around 7,000 jobs were directly affected by the cheap Chinese steel. And, since 1971, the people employed in the UK steel manufacturing industry has fallen by 300,000!
The problem that the UK steel industry faces is that steel manufacturing is simply far cheaper in other locations and the UK economy is better suited to other industries.
What Does the Future Hold for the UK Steel Industry?
There are many factors that have a significant impact on the steel industry, one of the primary ones being technology.
The UK Steel Industry and Technology
Technology is continually changing and advancing, which has an impact on how things work and operate across many industries, including steel.
Mini-Mill Type Operations
The steel industry is on the verge of a significant technological shift. There is a chance that the sector will move toward smaller mini-mill type operations as opposed to the current high economies of scale assets.
Help Toward the Improvement in Carbon Emissions
The new operations would be based around electric arc furnaces. The shift is possibly because the modern technology has low capital cost facilities while also having high technology and flexibility. It would also utilise 100% of recycled raw material, which could help toward the improvement in carbon emissions for the steel industry.
You might also be interested in our blog that looks at the benefits of steel recycling!
The UK Steel Industry and The Government
One way of improving the UK steel industry in the future could start with the government buying more steel from manufacturers in the UK. Currently, the government purchase around 42% of steel from abroad.
While the UK wouldn’t be able to provide the total amount of steel required, they could certainly contribute more than they currently do. The government has stated that they would consider the social and environmental benefits when buying steel. Many are hoping that this will help UK based steel manufacturers winning more contracts.
To summarise, the UK steel industry is likely to face some challenges in the future, but it should hopefully be able to tackle them. So long as manufacturers are willing to adapt to the new technologies, processes and work with the government to try and win more contracts.
Here at ANY Weld, we specialise in high-quality steel fabrication and glass products. We work on projects across the UK and Channel Islands while operating from a 20,000 sq ft factory. By keeping all of our services in-house, we can ensure that we remain in control and easily meet deadlines.
For more information on steel fabricators in the UK, why not give us a call on 01271 860794 or email us at [email protected]? We also offer all of our clients a free consultation, with no further obligations!