AISTech 2022 – Hitting the Ground Running with Expert Information
AISTech 2022 returned to Pittsburgh, PA and recorded the largest number of attendees, ranging from 7,500 to 8,000! It was held at the David Lawrence Convention Center and included an exhibition, panel of discussion, training programs, and presentation of technical papers. A number of topics were discussed, with PSI Metals participating with 3 technical presentations from our experts on the first day of the event.
The technical presentations included,
- Aligning Production to Available Energy With an Energy Consumption Forecast,
- Direct Rolling Scheduling is like Tightrope Walking Between Casting and Rolling and
- Forward Dressing: Toward a More Dynamic and Effective Material Allocation and Production Process.
On the second day, a demo station on Quality Indicators was carried out by Alessandro Stenico and was well received.
Learning From the Leaders: The American Steel Industry Surviving the New Challenges
The President’s Award Breakfast and Town Hall Forum, which were held on the second and third day respectively, were the highlights of the event. The keynote speaker of the President’s Award Breakfast was Barbara Smith, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Metals (CMC). The topic of her keynote presentation was “The Modern Steelmaker — A World of Opportunity.” The effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine on the supply chain and the need for decarbonization were the main topics in the Town Hall Forum.
The Town Hall Forum panel consisted of the Presidents and CEOs of ArcelorMittal North America, U.S. Steel, Cleveland Cliffs, SSAB Americas, Steel Dynamics Inc., (Nucor’s CEO could not attend due to a delayed flight). These leaders of the industry offered an insight into the discussed issues and their effects on the steel industry. They also debated the future and their hopes for the new Infrastructure Bill of President Biden, which promotes the purchasing of U.S. produced goods within the U.S. It was interesting to hear that they are yet to see an increased number of orders or any monetary benefits from this new bill and that they did not expect any until 2023 or 2024.
However, Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Cliffs, said this was an opportunity to bring about “de-globalization.” He further opined that the North American steel industry is significantly less CO2-intensive than the European or Asian one, as well as rather self-sufficient in energy supply and progressive.
We found ourselves enlightened by the discussion about how 30 years ago, the North American steel industry was declared dead and now is experiencing an unprecedented success, with high revenues and investments.
Attendees were also given further information, including news of new facilities and acquisitions like the Metals Recycling plant of Steel Dynamics in Mexico. There was also a clash of opinions and knowledge when David B. Burritt, President and Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Steel, debated with Lourenco Goncalves on the use and supply of Hydrogen in steel production. The use of nuclear power in Steel production was also discussed as it might play a role in decarbonization. It was interesting to learn the effects of the new greener production on prices, also for private consumers.
There was some sad news shared by the John Brett, Chief Executive Officer, ArcelorMittal North America, about some of the workers in their ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih Steel plant in Ukraine. They had joined the army to fight in the war to protect their country and quite a number of them did not survive combat. He explained to us how they closed the plant and moved the families at the beginning of the war. The Ukranian government had then asked for the plant to be re-opened which it was at 20% working capacity. This was rather unfortunate news to hear.
They ended the talk with a call for accountability, a declaration to hire more women, improvement of supply chain and the accompanying structure.
The End of the Fair: Leaving With More Than New Knowledge
PSI Metals had a great attendance at AISTech 2022, which ended with a prize giveaway of a truck and draws to pick winners of several gift cards. Harald Henning, Director of the Strategy Committee at PSI Metals, had this to say at the end:
The excellent attendance numbers at this AISTech and the statements by the top executives in the Town Hall Forum show that the steel industry in North America is currently very healthy, productive and profitable, and investing heavily in the future.
This was indeed true and there was definitely a lot of opportunity to network between companies, both those producing steel and those providing services for steel production. There were other opportunities to “talk shop and mingle” as some companies provided refreshments which were shared amongst participants.
We look forward to seeing you all next year in Detroit for AISTech 2023!
Chidi Aku is the Marketing Manager of North America in PSI Metals. She joined company in August 2021 and is working on campaigns to increase PSI Metals North America Inc’s online presence. She is also in charge of Document Management of the sales documents such as Annexes and Proposals.