20-23 November 2024

The Role of “Innovators” in the Growth of "Metalworking Industry”


Did you know that humankind first discovered how to use metal over 10,000 years ago while the copper pendant excavated in northern Iraq only dated back to 8700 BC? It shows that metal has been integral to human civilization. Today, metal is used in the making of aircrafts, automobiles, electric cars, trains, ships and modern vehicles, as well as in construction and medical equipment, agricultural machinery, coins, jewelry, and many others.


As a matter of fact, there are no other materials that come close to metal in terms of useful properties. Metal is strong but light, durable but malleable, and can even conduct electricity. The more useful properties we discover of metals, the more we can develop new technologies and innovations.



Back in the year 1856 or 167 years ago, the world saw the rise of many "innovators" who developed many innovations in the world of metallurgy. One of them was Henry Bessemmer, a British engineer who discovered that conventional furnaces added too much carbon to molten iron, so he suggested blasting the molten iron with more oxygen because excess oxygen would fuse with excess carbon and transpire in the form of CO2.


This technique, which became known as the Bessemmer process, was a revolutionary milestone in the advancement of manufacturing processes for steel used in construction. It was the foundation for further development of steel production technology, one of the most popular metals up to the present day.


In addition, the metallurgy industry, like other industries around the world, is committed to sustainability. As a result, the role of innovators in green metal technology is being observed closely. For example, the use of "metallic hydrogen", a technique that uses hydrogen instead of carbon to reduce CO2 emissions and benefit sustainability in the long-term for steel industry. This method is already being pioneered by leading steel manufacturers from Germany such as Dillinger, Salzgitter AG and Saarstahl, and companies from other countries such as HYBRIT from Sweden and Voestalpine from Australia.



Another noteworthy innovation in the metallurgy industry involves the "recycling of battery metals". Since the availability of metals is limited and the popularity of electric cars continues to rise worldwide, expired batteries have become an enormous challenge to get rid of as well as a pollution to the environment. To curb this problem, the demand to recycle battery metals continues to grow which is inevitable.


Therefore, to end the metal life cycle of the battery, the demand for pure materials is reduced. Meanwhile, the black mass formed by the crushing and shredding of old battery cells that contains precious metals such as cobalt, nickel, manganese and lithium have become a valuable resource in recovering the life of used batteries. However, a major obstacle which is the difficulty of extracting these metals remains.


Consequently, the innovators of Sensmet from Finland have developed the µDOES ® (Micro-Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy), an on-line analyzer that displays the total amount of battery and metal contaminants in real time. It enables the extremely difficult and complicated recycling process of used batteries to become much easier. Sensmet's solution is an important step in the black mass characterization and process validation procedures compared to traditional spot sampling which takes a long time and requires laboratory analysis from many analysts. However, with a focus on precision, real-time results and ease of use, Sensmet's µDOES is a unique and innovative solution that makes recycling battery metals a less resource-consuming task.



Those interested in the latest news in metallurgy and metalworking, and are aiming to become a skilled innovator should not miss “METALEX 2023” – an event where you can expand your horizon on the endless possibilities related to newer, faster, more precise and more efficient technologies. Get ready to be wowed by many first-time launches of machinery in ASEAN or in Asia. Save the dates for 22-25 November and join us at BITEC, Bangkok. For more information, please contact [email protected] or call +66 2686 7222.