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The Coming of Industry 4.0 and Possible Effects on Steel

April 26, 2018

Structural steel is a primary construction material, being used in the newest and most advanced construction projects around the world. That landmark prestige projects for the decades, and in the foreseeable future, are relying on structural steel is testament to the versatility of this building material and the steel industry as a whole.


That structural steel remains the material of choice for projects around the world is testament to the versatility of the material and the industry.


Remarkably, steel has managed to enter into the mainstream consciousness as well, what with a steel glut emanating from certain parts of the world. One might have expected this to affect the market adversely but continued building activity and renewed economic growth are sustaining high levels of demand.


As Industry 4.0 concepts permeate through industries, steel works will be looking for ways to incorporate these into their processes; thus maintaining the value proposition and offering a better product to clients. Here are some ways in which Industry 4.0 could better structural steel production:


  1. IT systems directly involved in design processes
  2. ‘Dumb’, unconnected industrial machinery imbued with sensors to become more context aware
  3. Data transmission from plant and machinery to centralized or cloud-based software
  4. Extensive integration of physical production processes with information monitoring
  5. Automated decision making on input received from manufacturing processes, supply chains and project prioritisation
  6. Closer tie-in with client-side software
  7. Data gathering to enable predictive models for production, lead times


On a micro-level these developments will mean efficiencies across the board. Better planning and coordination will yield lesser stocking requirements; finer machine control through data acquisition will enable optimum use of machines; and valuable labor can be more effectively dedicated to relevant tasks.

On the client side, this can yield a higher quality and more cost-effective product. Using prediction algorithms for ongoing construction projects, steel works may be able to pre-prepare structural steel before the order comes in – reducing lead times dramatically.

Regardless of Industry 4.0, quality structural steel and steel works in general will continue to depend on an experienced team. Which is why, with over 60 years in the industry, Scarbro Steel Works is a trusted supplier throughout the Greater Toronto Area for residential, commercial and industrial projects.