At ArcelorMittal, we view innovation as a mindset, rather than a set of guidelines or a structured programme
Throughout ArcelorMittal, we encourage our most important resource – our people – to push boundaries, think creatively, and be pioneers by developing ideas and turning them into successful outcomes that help keep our company at the forefront of competitiveness.
We view innovation as a mindset that helps generate new ideas. From inventing engineering techniques and bringing revolutionary new steel products to the market, to helping communities and the environment by thinking big when it comes to social responsibility, and even down to the way we give our own workforce the chance to grow and exchange knowledge and ideas through ArcelorMittal University, innovation is at our very core.
Our research and development (R&D) team is the catalyst for many of our technological advances. In 2011, ArcelorMittal’s pioneering S-in motion concept won the Best Process Innovation category in American Metal Market's Awards for Steel Excellence. The techniques and designs we created, using the latest steel grades and manufacturing processes, enable carmakers to reduce the weight of modern five-door C-segment vehicle bodies by as much as 14% – the direct consequence of which is a dramatic reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Successful innovations such as S-in motion don’t happen by chance. “It is my profound belief that it is innovation that will determine winners and losers,” says Greg Ludkovsky, head of R&D at ArcelorMittal.
Staying on the cutting edge of innovations in the steel industry is crucial and, as such, we constantly look to push ourselves to strive to develop the next groundbreaking concept.
“We are well on the way to developing the next generation of unique products,” adds Ludkovsky.
R&D supports work in other areas of the company too, and pioneering steel products and solutions have been created that feature in some of the world’s most prominent engineering projects. New York City’s One World Trade Center has benefitted from ArcelorMittal’s ability to create the world’s largest beam blank, and we have developed some unique products and solutions that are integral to Venice’s vital flood defence system.
Beyond innovation in products
As well as helping grand projects, we also push boundaries in the way we approach corporate and social responsibility. In Romania, the ArcelorMittal Foundation has been collaborating with Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing through an innovative construction design that results in low-cost, energy-efficient accommodation using a lightweight steel frame.
In Brazil, ArcelorMittal Tubarão has pioneered new ways to make better use of by-products generated through production. About 800,000 tonnes of Linz-Donawitz slag are produced in the country every year, but we put a lot of resources into improving the quality of the waste material so that it can be sold and used as a building material. We have also used the slag to create around 360 artificial reefs in Brazil.
José Geraldo Cavalini Tardin, manager of internal infrastructure, ArcelorMittal Tubarão, says: "Waste that would otherwise be sent to a landfill is being transformed into innovative new materials. We hope to replicate what's being done at other ArcelorMittal sites around the world."
And we strive to implement original thinking in one of the areas we take very seriously: learning. At one end of the scale are the leadership programmes, an integral part of our flagship ArcelorMittal University, which help identify and nurture potential managerial talent within the company. And at the grass-roots stage we look to make a positive impact on education in local communities, such as the ‘Transforming Tomorrow’ event run by ArcelorMittal Ostrava in Czech Republic, which asked secondary school students to think of innovative ways to persuade employees to wear required personal protective equipment.
From products to people, and from the top of the company right down to our community interactions, being innovative helps make us who we are.
“Most people think of innovation as new products. But it is much broader than that. It is innovation of products, innovation of processes, innovation in the systems we use, innovation in HR, in finance.”
Greg Ludkovsky, head of R&D