Brdo pri Kranju, Wednesday, 26 September 2018 – SIJ Group was awarded three silver awards at the Innovation Day 2018, organized for the 16th consecutive year by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia (GZS), and solidified its long-standing top position among the most innovative Slovenian companies. SIJ Acroni’s innovative steel SITHERM 2343, SIJ Metal Ravne’s optimized production of ledeburite steel, and SIJ Ravne Systems’ unique system for the manipulation of round bars are the solutions that have made quite the impression with their innovative approach and the new market opportunities they offer.

The SIJ Group’s innovation achievements have been recognized at the national level this year as well, a reward for the many years of investing into development and for the efforts to bring out an innovative spirit in all its employees. For the SIJ Group, innovation is an important drive to fulfil the customers’ needs for new and better solutions, yet also an important factor in profitability and competitiveness.

The silver national award for the innovation “Hot Working Made Easier with the Tool Steel SITHERM 2343” was awarded to SIJ Acroni and the Jesenice Centre for Development (RCJ). Mr. Grega Klančnik, Development Engineer at SIJ Acroni/RCJ and Team Leader:The SITHERM 2343 steel is intended for the production of tools for hot forming and casting of non-ferrous metals. We have developed an innovative production process that is more cost and time efficient without omitting any of the steel’s distinct characteristics. The chemical and micro-structural homogeneity of the aforementioned steel are key. It is in high demand mainly in tool repair workshops and service centres, while the main end users are foundries and smitheries. By developing SITHERM 2343, SIJ Acroni will increase its share of the sale of tool steels and the sale of steels with higher added value.” 

Mr. Branko Žerdoner, Managing Director of SIJ Acroni:We encourage all employees to find new solutions and implement and reward the best suggestions. Following the footsteps of other companies of the SIJ Group, we also established the idea management system TOP (total business optimization) and every year we proudly discover that we have many co-workers with a high innovation potential. We concluded last year with 541 submitted and approved improvements that resulted in the economic gain and savings in the amount of almost two million Euros.”

Gašper Stopar, Rolled Profile Production Manager at SIJ Metal Ravne and Leader of Innovation Team, which also received the silver recognition award for the “Optimization of the Production of Ledeburite Steels for Cold Working”, says, “The production of tool steel for cold working is increasing here at SIJ Metal Ravne. Its share in the entire production is approaching 20 percent. The share of the unsuccessful production of this steel has been higher than the average unsuccessful production of other products, that is why we were looking for a systematic and long-term solution. Tool steels for cold working are intended for customers of cyclically loaded tools such as: punchers, pressers, die inserts for the compaction of powders, knives/blades, forging, rolling and deep drawing tools.” 

Andrej Gradišnik, Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, said that the goals in the field of innovations in society are very ambitious: “We follow the goal of one innovative suggestion per employee per year. To reach that goal, a high innovation culture must be set up within the company. On the one hand, it is about the management’s commitment to recognize innovation as an opportunity for sustainable development and to support the employees’ efforts to tap into their innovation and creativity. On the other hand, and this is even more important, employees look for possible improvements and new opportunities, which they realize with their knowledge and experience.”

SIJ Ravne System was the recipient of the third silver recognition award for the SIJ Group: “We have made a comprehensive plan for the project for our sister company SIJ SUZ – we developed the idea and the solution, prepared plans and the automation, and took care of the execution all by ourselves. The innovation “A Unique System for Automatic Manipulation of Round Bars” justifies the title of one of the most important machine manufacturing projects, since it serves as a reference project and represents a turning point in the future development of this field and the company. We have already offered the system as a standard solution to Slovenian and foreign buyers,” said Innovation Team Leader Nejc Gorinšek, SIJ Ravne System.

Regarding the new challenges created by the changing needs of the industry, Viljem Pečnik, Managing Director at SIJ Ravne Systems, said: “The customers are in the centre of our attention – their desires, needs, and expectations are considered comprehensively. We are upgrading existing and developing new products and services for them, building solid and long-term partnerships that ensure competitiveness and the future development of the company.”


SIJ Group is the largest Slovenian vertically integrated metallurgical group. Its products occupy leading positions in European and global niche steel markets. The group consists of two divisions – Metallurgy (core business) and the Poultry Division (Perutnina Ptuj Group). According to the first unaudited business results for the first half of 2018, Metallurgy and Poultry Divisions generated sales revenues of €557.8 million and an operating profit (EBITDA) of €57.4 million.

Additional information:
SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile phone: +386 41 313 532