Ljubljana, Friday, 1st June 2018 – The SIJ Group received five recognition awards in the best innovations competition organized by the Regional Chambers of Commerce of Gorenjska and Koroška – while SIJ Acroni and SIJ Ravne Systems were awarded the gold, SIJ Metal Ravne won the gold, silver, and bronze. The three regional innovations that received the gold will compete for national recognition awards.

On the last day of May and the first of June, the announcement of the winners of the competition organized by the GZS (the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce) for the Regional Chambers of Gorenjska and Koroška brought yet another triumph for the SIJ Group. The key to our success was innovation, which all companies of SIJ Group strongly support and increasingly invest in. The constant search for new solutions, which received three gold, one silver and one bronze recognition awards, is the crucial factor in ensuring that the SIJ Group, a specialized producer on niche steel markets, remains profitable and competitive, and continues to meet clients' needs for the newest and best solutions.

»Hot Working Made Easier with the Tool Steel SITHERM 2343« is this year's golden innovation, created by the SIJ Acroni company in collaboration with the Jesenice Centre for Development (RCJ) and their sales & product development teams. Dr. Grega Klančnik, Development Engineer in SIJ Acroni/RCJ and Team Leader: »The innovation and competitive advantage of SITHERM 2343 lie in the carefully planned production process and heat treatment, which allow a high level of material micropurity and homogeneity without the addition of microalloy elements. It is in high demand mainly in service and shopping centres, tool repair workshops, and hardening plants, as it can be made into durable tools for foundries and forges.« SIJ Acroni already introduced steel SITHERM 2343 onto the highly competitive European market.
Branko Polanc, Managing Director of SIJ Acroni, is proud that the efforts of his innovators have been acknowledged and rewarded: »The implementation of steel SITHERM 2343 represents a new milestone in the manufacture of niche steels with high added value. SIJ Acroni has thus become also a producer of tool steels for hot forming and casting of non-ferrous metals.«

This year's winner of the regional gold is SIJ Ravne Systems from the SIJ Group, whose triumphant innovation »A Unique System for Automatic Manipulation of Round Bars« was designed in collaboration with its sister company SIJ SUZ from the SIJ Group. The SIJ Ravne Systems Innovation Team Leader, Nejc Gorinšek, justifies the award: »The competiton requires two separate systems for loading and unloading bars. At SIJ Ravne Systems, we have combined the two into a single system, which represents an important turning point in the development of machine manufacture in our company.«
»Apart from the many creative sparks and useful suggestions which we materialized in the previous year, and which have improved the efficiency of our work, we also developed several new products that are already successfully used by our clients. The project that received the gold is one of them.« - Samo Jenič, Managing Director of SIJ Ravne Systems.

According to SIJ Metal Ravne, innovations always come in threes, and theirs shine gold, silver and bronze. The »Ingot Stripping Pin« is Metal's bronze innovation, which enables better ingot ejection from the moulds, simplifies cleaning and maintenance, and makes work safer. The regional silver went to the project »Optimization of Small Cylinder Forging«, which did away with the narrow neck, thus increasing 2017 cylinder sales by 60% compared to the previous year. The winning project was »Optimization of the Production of Ledeburite Steels for Cold Working«, which cut unsuccessful production by half, decreased scrap, and increased the production volume. Gašper Stopar, Team Leader and Rolled Profile Production Manager at SIJ Metal Ravne, explains: »We were looking for a long-term solution for the problem of unsuccessful production of tool steels for cold working. We studied the entire process chain and implemented changes at certain key points.«
Andrej Gradišnik, Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne: »On a market that constantly requires newer, bigger, and more complex products, SIJ Metal Ravne remains competitive with continuous development, and a combination of smart investments and experience-based knowledge – knowledge that becomes meaningful when put into practice efficiently, used towards making our work more successful, and ensuring a better future.«

All three golden innovations made it into the second round and will be competing for national awards.

The SIJ Group is the largest vertically integrated metallurgical group in Slovenia, occupying with its products leading positions on European and global niche steel markets. Alongside the Metallurgy Division (its core business), the SIJ Group is also composed of the Poultry Division (the Perutnina Ptuj Group). Together, the two divisions created revenues of 1.012 billion Euros in 2017, 103.8 million Euros of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), and a net profit of 15 million Euros. Both divisions created most of the 2017 revenues in foreign markets. Steel exports amounted to 821.5 million Euros, which is 81.1 percent of the total revenues.

Further information:
SIJ – Slovenian Steel Industry, d.d.
Mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communication
Telephone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile phone: +386 41 313 532