The Working Groups periodically bring together the representatives of the members working in them in order to establish joint industrial positions based on consensus and aimed at addressing innovation challenges with an impact on the competitiveness of the members of the Pole. The Steel Cluster started its activity by concentrating on 6 working groups focused on the 5 value chains identified among the members (capital goods, renewables, transport, packaging and construction) and one with a cross-cutting theme (steel industry). However, the evolution of the association itself led to the development of 4 new working groups:
- New Materials. This working group, led by ArcelorMittal (Finishing Unit) and the Idonial Foundation (Steel and Metal Alloys Department), includes activities aimed at promoting collaboration in the development of new materials, the selection of materials taking into account the conditions of the product in service, the manufacture of short series and other developments that can be carried out in a technological environment such as the Steel Apple.
- Surfaces and Coatings. Led by ArcelorMittal (expert personnel in coated products) and by Fundación Idonial (department of surfaces, surface integrity and corrosion). This working group organizes workshops to study the improvement of properties through the development and application of coatings and other processes in order to reach competitive solutions through industrial scaling, with the support of companies with expertise in certain areas, such as coatings manufacturers, to transfer this knowledge to the associates.
- Manufacturing and Joining Technologies, led by ArcelorMittal and Fundación Idonial (welding and technological services department). In this group, meetings and technical conferences are developed to transfer the main developments in manufacturing, such as the application of technologies related to welding, providing the state of the art of these technologies and facilitating interaction between partners, in order to propose collaborative projects such as Robotweld and Mecasol, 2 projects implemented in 2017-18 and 2018-2019 in the framework of the AEI call.
- Training and Human Resources. Led by Idonial Foundation and University of Oviedo. The main objective of this working group is to facilitate the incorporation of key knowledge among labor personnel of the Steel Pole partners, in order to channel this knowledge towards innovative solutions framed in collaborative projects. Three training initiatives have been carried out with more than 100 participants (CALDIA training itinerary). At the same time, contact is maintained with the companies of the Pole in order to adapt the contents for future training activities.
We have recently opted for the creation of a new line of collaborative work, the Innovation Commission, fully aligned with two of the specific objectives of the association:
- Generation of collaborative innovative ideas and initiatives among different members of the Steel Pole.
- Increasing the level of participation of the Members in R&D&I projects in competitive public programs.
The launching of this Commission responds to a need demanded by the members, where the Steel Pole and the knowledge provider entities will support the companies in the promotion of innovation, in the design and promotion of R&D projects and in the promotion of collaboration.