Tata Steel launches online Open Innovation portal to generate ideas for product, application, process and service improvements
An interactive Open Innovation initiative has been launched by Tata Steel for the sharing of new ideas to create the next generation of steels and improve the processes used to make them.
The new online portal, www.tatasteelinnovation.com, sets out key challenges and opportunities, and invites experts and creative thinkers to collaborate with the company. Developed with the support of the Welsh Government and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, this Open Innovation initiative aims to promote research and development involving new and multiple parties.
Pete Longdon, Manager of New Technology and Innovation at Tata Steel, said: "We have to innovate to succeed - this is true in any sector. Using online technology, we're looking for new partners, possibly even new customers and suppliers, to contribute to our product and process development.
"Open Innovation is increasingly utilised across industry because it encourages and welcomes co-operation with partners and avoids companies having to reinvent the wheel by exploiting solutions that already exist.
"Our initiative aims to attract free-thinkers, perhaps in small and medium-sized companies that have great new technologies, but lack the opportunity or resource to exploit them. Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected places - we just need to be smarter at identifying them."
Pete Longdon explained: "We're looking at a wide range of opportunities, including new applications for our products, new coatings and ways to combine our products with other materials. We will also be open to ideas which improve our processes - optimising raw materials and energy usage and reducing waste, for example.
"Tata Steel has a proven track-record in innovation. We've transformed the corrosion resistance of steel by creating MagiZinc® galvanising technology, which is used by car manufacturers for instance. We've also developed car body products, like our new Serica™ product, to help manufacturers make more stylish cars at lower production costs. And Tata Steel's pre-painted Colorcoat® products for buildings are widely acknowledged to be world-leading.
"The latest ballistic protective steel, known as Pavise®, for military vehicles, is a fantastic example of commercialising a concept developed in academia. We also continue to develop functional technologies to transform buildings into power stations and we are tackling key issues in process emissions reduction, recycling and energy-efficiency."
The new online portal will make it easier for Tata Steel to work with new external contributors while ensuring that all parties' intellectual property is respected and rewarded.
About Tata Steel's European operations
Tata Steel is Europe's second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies products and services to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy & power and aerospace. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world's largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of 29 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across four continents.