European Economic Congress: Europe is testing steel industry


Representatives of science, business and politics met during 11th European Economic Congress in Katowice to discuss conditions and challenges of economy. 3 days, almost 150 debates and meetings, hundreds of experts from different fields. This great event attracted thousands of visitors from Poland. Steel industry is challenged by import and high prices

Tomasz Ślęzak, BOD members and country manager participated in debates about steel industry future of economy and climate changes. Experts agreed on the fact that European steel industry is losing its competitiveness due to high prices of CO2 allowances, which producers outside UE do not have to calculate in their operations and because of cheap import. – We feel indirect effects of climate policy. High prices of CO2 allowances impact our competitiveness. We count that European Commission and politician will feel obliged to introduce such solutions which will create level playing field – said Tomasz Ślęzak. He emphasized as well that though steel industry would like to decarbonize its processes the available solutions are not enough. It requires huge amount of renewable energy, which in current situation is not possible.

Technology for industry: robots and artificial intelligence

Sanjay Samaddar, head of human resources and IS/IT in ArcelorMittal Europe- flat products and Gert Bogaert, head of Automation, Industrial Automatics and Models discussed the role of robots, new technologies and automation in the industry. Robots may streamline the processes or make them easier but are not able to replace human creativity.

Discussion entitled “Robots among us. Technology and society” was opened by Jaroslaw Gowin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Higher Education who in his speech focused on philosophical and ethical aspects of new technologies. He said that robotization cannot harm humanity, we should not be afraid of new technologies but the way they might be used. These new technologies should help us live better and not make us their slaves. Wojciech Kamieniecki, chairman of  NCBiR, claimed that 30 percent of today’s profession will disappear in few years. All participants of the discussion emphasized that we should not be afraid of losing our jobs as artificial intelligence will not replace emotional intelligence. And the process of transformation will result in new job creation. Sanjay Samaddar explained that new technologies are a challenge for the company, our task will be to develop new skills. Automation and robotics is something unavoidable in the steel industry and we need to be well prepared to these changes. -Robots will not replace humans- he said.

During a discussion on robots in industry, Gert Bogaert explained that robotics is an added value to the company and may bring many benefits. Small businesses may as well develop in scope of automation not necessarily by investing huge amount of money in new applications but by small steps.

Education for industry, future and progress

Monika Roznerska, HR director at ArcelorMittal Poland, took part in an interesting discussion on education for industry.  Solid companies are built thanks to its employees. They however should be equipped with skills and expert knowledge. HR directors, CEOs of companies discussed what the skills are which the labour market is missing, what the needs of companies are, what to do to be attractive employer and attract employees.