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Technology business Nightingale HQ have won funding with a European consortium to make steel manufacturing greener.

“It’s estimated that waste generated within the reinforcement steel manufacturing processes is between 2% – 8% and we are on a mission to reduce this to zero” proclaims Tony Woods, CEO Midland Steel.

This mission is at the heart of a newly funded EU project driving greener steel manufacturing, one that Nightingale HQ is lead digitalisation parter on. The project titled Re-imagining Design & Planning for Greener Reinforcement Steel Manufacturing aims to standardise modular prefabricated sections in order to reduce waste significantly. Nightingale HQ will work along-side KUKA, Bastal Steel, OCSC and VTT to reduce carbon emissions within fabrication by introducing a new concept of standardisation to the industry.

Nightingale HQ will focus on optimising the planning process in order to reduce the level of variability throughout the value chain from the steel mill to the factory floor. They will develop optimisation techniques using Microsoft Azure OpenAI and cognitive services to improve core tasks. CEO of Nightingale HQ, Ruth Kearney commented;

“The opportunity to develop digital tools using emerging technologies is exciting. Small improvements can lead to big gains in this sector. Also joining world-class partners on a larger vision of changing the steel industry is a challenge that we are looking forward to working on”.

Changing the way that buildings are designed and built is at the core of the project. It looks at multi-purpose buildings, which are currently happening in Norway and are resulting in reduced waste. Architects, civil engineers and developers will collaborate even before the design intent stage so they can re-imagine how modular or off-site components can be delivered. If up to 80% of any build can be standardised and built off-site it will revolutionise the construction industry delivering significant impact on the sector from a sustainability and health & safety perspective. Tony Woods, CEO of Midland Steel added;

“We want to close the gap between the real needs of steel manufacturing and the planning and design processes to deliver more sustainable, greener modular steel manufacturing. This is an opportunity to do something different and bring about real change. This project brings cutting-edge processes and technological solutions together to achieve this”.

The consortium beat of stiff competition from across Europe to win the grant with the announcement made at the Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) centre where EIT Manufacturing held the first Irish edition of their startup competition BoostUp in partnership with ATIM. Christian Bölling, Director EIT Manufacturing Central who visited the steel factory highlighted the strategic vision behind funding;

“EIT Manufacturing aims to accelerate innovation and thus help meet Europe’s ambitious climate goals. Projects like this one that look to transform steel production and the construction industry are essential”.

There will be many updates on the project over the coming months.

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