During the past 20 years, major Italian steel plant engineering company Danieli has supplied 175 electric arc furnace facilities to customers around the world. Backed by this high number of adoptions, the company is proposing the use of large electric arc furnaces to integrated steel producers. They have also decided to establish their first workshop in Japan to quickly and flexibly provide after-sales inspection/maintenance services. We interviewed CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Mr. Giacomo Mareschi Danieli during the time he was visiting Japan and asked about his views on market conditions and the company’s sales strategy.

―You have been conducting sales of steel plants in various countries around the world. What are the trends in recent years in terms of the number of orders you have received?

“We have been receiving many orders. In the most recent fiscal year ended June 30th, 2023, our sales increased by just over 10% from the previous fiscal year to 4.1 billion euros (653.7 billion yen). Our company is especially adept at handling electric arc furnaces, and there has been high levels of worldwide demand for the furnaces. Currently we have outstanding orders for 30 furnaces, so we have secured enough orders to keep us busy for 2-3 years. According to our estimates, our company accounts for over half of global sales of electric arc furnaces.”

“As for upstream process facilities beside electric arc furnaces, our ‘Energiron’ plants have been performing well. The ‘Energiron’ is a DRI (direct reduced iron) manufacturing plant for natural gas-producing countries such as those in South and Central America. In addition, our downstream process facilities have also been performing well, including our bar/shape mills, for which we have a global market share of around 70%. Most notably we have been receiving many inquiries regarding ‘MIDA’, our unique endless rolling mill which directly connects an electric arc furnace, continuous caster and bar/shape mill. The most unique characteristic of ‘MIDA’ is its extremely high energy efficiency due to not requiring the re-heating of billets. Japanese companies have shown interest in ‘MIDA’ as well.”

―In Japan, a growing number of organizations are moving toward newly establishing large electric furnaces in their pursuit to realize decarbonization.

“One of our company’s flagship products is our large electric arc furnaces which can serve as alternatives to blast furnaces. We would like to strengthen our activities of making technological proposals to integrated steel producers who are considering converting blast furnace facilities into electric arc furnaces. We have already received orders for large electric arc furnaces from multiple integrated steel producers in Western markets. For example, in 2021 we received an order from Algoma Steel in Canada. We are scheduled to supply two 250 ton electric arc furnaces as alternatives to their blast furnace, and we are aiming to have the electric arc furnaces begin operations from the summer of 2024. Once the necessary work is completed, we would like to propose to Japanese companies to visit the site to see the furnaces in operation.”

“Our company conducts sales of AC (alternating current) electric arc furnaces under the brand name ‘Digimelter’. One of its unique characteristics is its use of the ‘Q-ONE’ power supply system. It can prevent the occurrence of large voltage fluctuations (flickers), and it is capable of realizing significant energy savings. We also sell the ‘Q-ONE’ system as a standalone product, and during the past few years we have received many inquiries from Japanese electric arc furnace steelmakers as well. The ‘Q-ONE’ system has already been installed at Tokyo Steel, and going forward we have reached agreements to supply the system to Shinkansai Steel, Chiyoda Steel and JFE Bars & Shapes.”

―What kinds of measures will you pursue to further strengthen your presence in the Japanese market?

“In order to ensure that our customers can use our products without worries after their installation, we will newly establish our first inspection/maintenance worksite in Japan in the Hanshin region of Kansai, which is home to many integrated steel producers and electric arc furnace steelmakers. Currently we are in the middle of making preparations through our Japan branch, including selecting suitable land. At the earliest we would like to begin operating the site from June 2024. One of the challenges we have faced in the Japanese market is the issue of providing after-sales services, such as inspection and maintenance. We will improve our competitiveness by quickly and flexibly responding to requests from our customers after supplying our products.”