Steel & Design

Steel & Design

The global market for steel sheet production will reach a 496-billion-dollar valuation by 2031. Some of the most influential factors for the predicted increase in valuation are the rise in oil and gas infrastructure investments and the increment in demand in the automotive, industrial, aerospace & military sectors.

Considering the sustainability issues affecting the world today, the reduction of pollution and wasteful strategies is ever more pressing, this is also the case for the sector here presented.

New regulations aimed at reducing emissions, for example, prompt car manufacturers to find lighter parts. For these purposes, steel is one of the best materials available. Europe, which is adopting the 4.0 industry model, is pioneering the deployment of innovative and sustainable technologies in all sectors including the steel and iron industry.


In this regard during the production process of steel, a technique known as high-pressure forming is preferred, where the 2D sheets are transformed into 3D objects utilizing less energy and material. In alternative, carbon-rich anodes are evermore substituted with inerts in such a way as to reduce waste. The introduction of expanded steel is another clear sign of change, as this product represents one of the most sustainable options. Its popularity is indeed growing in many areas such as the medical, architectural, and industrial fields.


Many companies are also betting on green steel, which, thanks to the replacement of coke carbon with hydrogen will reduce CO2 emissions by 90%.

In alternative Prof Mapelli from the Politecnico di Milano suggests a different technique: the “seizure” of CO2 from the amines, ammonia, or ionic liquids with the consequent use of the CO2 extracted.

Also, biotechnology can come in aid, through the exploitation of bacteria, algae, and microorganisms that can reduce the production of CO2.

future scenarios

Future predictions show that many products, because of the minor number of units produced, will be made with steel sheets with a consequent reduction of costs in investments for plastic molds.

The decreased production of manufactured goods and their constant update will not allow for the continual use of plastics. As a matter of fact, what was once considered a prototype series has become the production series of today.  This will influence the design decisions needed to adapt the shape of objects, the solutions for couplings, and the personalization possibilities of the materials.

The Key for the sector then is to face the radical change it is experiencing, whilst designers must focus on digital technologies and A.I. as to favor a reduction in costs, the increase in quality, and the sustainable development needed to reach neutrality by 2050.

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