2017 has been a great year for the steel industry so far. We recently reported Japan steelmakers increased earnings for this fiscal year, showing solid growth in profit and positive signs of future developments. The same trend can be seen in the steel industry around the world, including in India and Korea.
Industry experts believe that a sustainable growth is to be expected in Q3 and Q4 of this year. There have been some interesting developments that are further strengthening the bullish trend.
Japan Leading the Charge
The steady growth in volume seen by steelmakers around the world is the result of growing industries, especially the manufacturing industry. Japan has been leading the charge in this department, recently reporting a 1.6% jump in industrial production in June. This jump is still lower than what Reuters predicted, but the market sees it as a positive sign nonetheless.
Japan is leading the charge in infrastructure growth too. As demand for steel products rises due to big projects in Asia, Europe, and America, steelmakers will continue to see an increase in production and sales volume. The two parts of the equation affect each other in a positive way.
On the other hand, the UK’s construction industry is showing signs of slowing down. In the United States, new projects that have been approved are not being started due to various issues. These two big markets may slow down the growth of the steel industry to a certain degree, but their impact will not be substantial. After all, the biggest demands come from Asian countries, particularly Japan and South-East Asia in general.
Upgrades and a Focus on Efficiency
In response to the steady growth, companies in the steel industry are investing in new machinery. The focus is clear: top players are investing in efficiency and value instead of sheer volume. Alton Steel recently poured $4.75 million into its new facility in Alton.
The push for better efficiency is getting tremendous support from the manufacturers of equipment and tools. Better, more capable machines are now used, not only to improve quality but also to maintain a high level of efficiency. A deburring machine gives a high-quality finish to products without increasing production costs by a substantial margin. Automation makes the whole production workflow even more efficient.
More Positive Signs
Alton Steel is only one of many companies who is pacing their investments to meet the market demands. According to Jeffrey Hoerr, Alton Steel’s General Manager of Sales and Quality, investments across the industry will continue to create headlines for up to five more years.
“You see big numbers in the steel industry when people make investments that wouldn’t catch people’s attention, but this is very well spent money for a company of our size for the focus that this product brings,” said Hoerr. Other companies are taking the same precise approach in planning their investments, with some planning to make big investments as early as this year.
The steel industry is abuzz and more exciting developments are to be expected. Be sure to stay tuned for news and updates right here on Steel Technology.