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Person standing in front of a production line of robot welding arms.

Smart Steel Systems CEO Chris Brugeaud with his clever robots.

Making Australian steel products competitive

A fully-automated structural steel fabrication plant in Queensland has overcome the limitations of most robotic systems by developing ‘artificially intelligent’ technology that can meet bespoke needs.

IR4 Pty Ltd’s – trading as Smart Steel Systems – plant is staffed entirely by robots and directed by an artificially intelligent software platform which analyses 3D plans to plot the most cost-effective way to fabricate custom-made structural steel sections.

The system has reduced error rates and slashed the cost of fabricating steel in Australia. It more than halves the time needed to produce a tonne of fabricated structural steel. Chief Executive Officer, Chris Brugeaud, says traditional robotic systems shine when repeated production of the same product is required, but are far less efficient when one-off parts are needed, as each part requires reprogramming. He says the Smart Steel Systems technology is ‘globally significant’ because it can effectively program itself.

Smart Steel Systems was established in 2010 and received an Entrepreneurs’ Programme Accelerating Commercialisation Grant of $1,000,000 in May 2015  to move from prototype to commercial-scale production.

Within four months of of their innovative software platform being operational, the business began generating monthly revenue of $300,000-$500,000 and went from employing 3 staff to 10. 

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The original intent for the software programme and the basis for the application of the pilot plan was off the backbone of the fact that a lot of manufacturing opportunities were being exported overseas, so we’re seeing an increased number of imported manufacturing product, and the key basis of our technology is to try and bring those jobs back onshore. 

Chris Brugeaud, CEO, Smart Steel Systems

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Further information

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