CONTENTS

ASI TO LAUNCH STEEL INNOVATION PORTAL

A NEW INNOVATION PORTAL FOR THE STEEL SECTOR LOOKS SET TO FOSTER COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN INDUSTRY AND UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH ORGANISATIONS; DEVELOPMENTS IN PREFAB WILL BE FEATURED.

The Australian steel industry has a long and proud tradition of producing high quality products and services backed by a commitment of investing in technology, innovation and skills development. According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, approximately 75% of modern steels have been designed, developed and brought to market over the last 20 years.

Not surprisingly, Australia has some of the world’s leading researchers undertaking cutting-edge projects and developments. For instance, BlueScope boasts an innovation and product development team of over 70, based at its Port Kembla steelworks. Similarly, Liberty OneSteel recently announced a major energy efficiency program that will see the use of renewable energy at its Whyalla steelworks, as well as the installation of solar panels, pumped hydro and battery storage.

Innovation is not confined solely to industry. Several Australian universities and research organisations are also leading the charge, such as the Australian Research Council Research Hub for Australian Steel Manufacturing at the University of Wollongong.

Amid this exciting research and innovation in areas as diverse as in ‘green steel’ and renewables, new product development, and advancements in digitisation, robotics, automation and virtual augmented reality, it comes as no surprise that Australia is experiencing a steel renaissance. There is an unprecedented pipeline of opportunities in infrastructure, defence, building and construction.

To this end, the Australian Steel Institute (ASI) is set to create, launch and then maintain a Steel Innovation Portal (SIP). The SIP will be a central web-based library designed to house innovative steel-related research and developments, which will be accessible to the entire community.

According to Tony Dixon (Chief Executive, ASI), “The ASI must help foster a vibrant Australian steel industry. As such, we are putting in place the mechanism by which to create linkages between industry and academia. Through the SIP, we are striving to create a robust future for the steel industry.”

“It is important that steel manufacturers, distributors and fabricators learn from, and share ideas with, their peers both locally and internationally. We must be able to capture and share the cutting-edge ideas and emerging innovative concepts among all participants in the steel industry, including Australia’s leading universities and research hubs.”

“The SIP has been designed to promote innovation, collaboration and communication. The use of this web-based tool by the industry should support greater flexibility, productivity, and efficiency in the local steel supply chain,” said Dixon.

THE CONCEPT

There is a significant body of world-class steel related research being undertaken in Australia by universities, manufacturers, private research institutes, and industry bodies. While the ASI interacts with a select group of these entities, it is almost impossible for any single organisation to be aware of or help coordinate the diverse array of research currently being undertaken.

The SIP has been designed to:

• Allow local universities, research organisations and manufacturers to post structured details of their research projects in a standardised format

• Allow posting of researcher bios in a structured format, with linkages to relevant research projects

• Be easily searchable, enabling users to quickly and easily find research projects that may be of interest

• Facilitate connectivity, communication and collaboration between industry and universities and research organisations

• Allow easy updating and editing of details to ensure timely, accurate information

• Support matching of innovation ideas to research capability

PREFABRICATED ARCHITECTURE RESEARCH PROJECTS

Just one of the research projects already available via the SIP is the Innovative Connections For Volumetric Units In Multi-Story Modular Buildings, currently being undertaken by Swinburne University in Melbourne.

This project considers current connecting systems for prefabricated and modular buildings, most of which rely on the use of bolted connections for high load transfer between modules vertically and horizontally. This requires risky direct internal and external access, as well as considerable time for alignment and overall assembly. The lack of integrated components limits mass production of such connections and their scalability to meet strength and size requirements.

“It is important that steel manufacturers, distributors and fabricators learn from, and share ideas with, their peers both locally and internationally. We must be able to capture and share the cutting-edge ideas and emerging innovative concepts among all participants in the steel industry, including Australia’s leading universities and research hubs.”
Tony Dixon, Chief Executive – ASI.

As such, Swinburne University’s project proposes an innovative concept of boltless connection for modular construction that is expected to simultaneously address all these functional issues and eradicate the use of bolted systems.

The proposed connection concept is numerically verified through FE simulations and experimentally validated through half-scale axial tension and compression and shear tests. The results are being used to simulate the system-level response of multi-story modular buildings constructed with this connection. ■

It is expected that the SIP will be launched later this year. Further information will be made available via the ASI’s website: http://steel.org.au.

Tony Dixon, Chief Executive – ASI.

 


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