Ljubljana, 26 September 2019 On Innovation Day, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia presented its seventeenth national awards for the most innovative companies as well as innovators in companies and public research institutions. The SIJ Group was once again at the forefront with a silver national reward for the advanced SIHARD S671 – DURAWEAR cold-work tool steel, which is a global innovation.

44 of the best innovations from all over Slovenia competed for the national awards that were presented at the 17th Innovation Day by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. The awards were given to the most innovative companies as well as innovators in companies and public research institutions. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia also presented an award for the best innovation of the year according to the public – in 2019, it is an innovation from Vivapen, an automated 3D screen printing machine for a fountain pen.

The SIJ Group has again consolidated its position as one of the best innovators in Slovenia with the silver award for the global innovation of the advanced SIHARD S671 – DURAWEAR cold-work tool steel. Dr Tatjana Večko Pirtovšek, Head of Metallurgical Development and Research, SIJ Metal Ravne: “The tool steel that we have developed is the first of its kind in the world. It has superior properties due to its innovative concept of titanium alloying. There is no steel on the market that would have better combinations of useful properties with regards to wear resistance at the same level of alloying. Ravne is home to some of the world's leading manufacturers of knives and cylinders as well as tool makers, and they will be able to use this steel in their products immediately." The global innovation was developed by experts from SIJ Metal Ravne (development team, technology department, production and sales) and joint development teams that included experts from SIJ Ravne Systems and the Institute of Metals and Technology, while experts from SIJ Acroni contributed to the testing.

 Borut Urnaut, Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, is proud that the efforts of innovators have been acknowledged and rewarded: “The knowledge and research of our colleagues are given meaning when they are put to effective practical use in order to improve our competitiveness and secure a better future. The global competition and a dynamic market environment require continuous development, a great deal of flexibility, and the integration of innovation, knowledge, and experience. The innovations that we have developed this year at SIJ Metal Ravne have shown that we are ready for these challenges, and the innovations have also helped us consolidate our position as the tool steel producer with the third largest market share in the European Union."

The constant search for new solutions plays a decisive role for the SIJ Group as a specialised steel manufacturer for niche markets – it is important for its profitability, competitiveness, and the customer satisfaction, who constantly require new and better solutions. This year we can be especially proud of all our innovative achievements and developments in this field. At the regional level, we received six innovation awards in May – two gold, three silver, and one bronze. In June, we presented the development and research programme MARTINA (Materials and Technologies for New Applications), in which SIJ Metal Ravne and other project partners developed an advanced tool steel for innovative new generation tools. In the same month, with the “ Imam idejo” (I have an idea) campaign and the slogan “ Vsaka šteje, prebijmo meje” (Each idea counts, let's break through), we launched a project to encourage innovation in all employees and to achieve the goal of having each employee contribute at least one idea a year.



The SIJ Group is the largest Slovenian vertically-integrated metallurgical group, and works according to the principles of circular economy, occupying leading market positions in European and global niche steel markets. The SIJ Group is one of Slovenia’s largest exporters and is considered a pillar of employment in Jesenice and Ravne na Koroškem.

According to unaudited business data, the SIJ Group created 417.2 million Euros in revenues in the first half of 2019, 84.4 percent of which came from foreign markets. The achieved EBITDA was 38 million Euros, and the EBITDA margin was 9.1 percent. In the first half of 2019, the SIJ Group created 81.2 million Euros of net profit.

Additional information:

SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
Telephone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile: +386 1 41 313 532