Open Innovation at Tata Steel
Tata Steel is a world leader in the steel industry and the development of advanced new steel products is a key part of our strategy. Over the last 18 months alone we have launched over 30 new products.
Tata Steel invests heavily in improved steelmaking production processes, new steel based products and applications and, in Oct. 2015, we opened our new Centre at Warwick University, demonstrating our continued commitment to Research and Development.
What is clear to us, however, is that no matter how much we spend on internal research and development, or support our core academic networks, we can never have in place the expertise to cover all of our interests. Our needs include optimising raw material and energy use, developing new technologies for sustainable iron and steel making, new chemistries for advanced high strength steels, understanding hot and cold metallurgical transformation processes during rolling, as well as developing advanced coatings technologies for our products used in construction, automotive and Energy and Power, to name but a few. Add to this the key need to understand the way in which our customers use our products and their future needs, it is clear that we must constantly find new ways of identifying the right partners to work with and over the last 18 months we have been actively developing an open innovation strategy, unique in the Steel Industry.
In April, 2014 we launched our Technology Challenges Gallery where we post specific opportunities and challenges that we want to explore with partners. In February 2015, we launched Tata Steel’s Innovation Portal, describing more generally our interest areas across our production processes, product development opportunities and new application development, and giving potential partners the opportunity in confidence to propose areas where we can work together.
Of course, launching these initiatives is one thing, following through on them is another. To date we have had over 160 proposals from large organisations, Academia and SME and are actively working to develop a number of these with the proposers, including one that will be installed on one of our production units in early 2016 and with the potential to be installed on a number of others throughout Tata Steel. If you think you have an opportunity where we can work together, we want to hear from you!