According to an independent rating published by the Barometer Project (works within the A.Partners Capital investment firm), Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK) ranked among Russia's top 10 corporations in terms of open innovation performance and obtained the best result among Russian metallurgical companies.
Barometer defines open innovation as technological solutions or products used by a corporation that have been developed outside its own research departments and not obtained through collaboration with other large companies. Often, such solutions are developed by start-ups or individual entrepreneurs. In 2021, for the second time, Barometer evaluated the largest Russian companies on criteria reflecting the effectiveness of their cooperation with such developers.
MMK is currently improving its production processes and implementing a large-scale digitalisation strategy Industry 4.0, while actively engaging third-party developers using various tools: annual R&D programmes (implemented both with start-ups and major R&D centres), the R&D Centre at Magnitogorsk State Technical University, and the MMK Research Centre at Skolkovo.
MMK carefully selects developments that are suitable for the plant's operations: for example, following the SteelStart – Accelerator in 2020, MMK expanded its cooperation with Microbor, a developer of carbide coatings which increase the service life of rolling mill rolls. In addition, MMK regularly holds its own internal accelerator and Open Days for potential suppliers: these measures also help to look for new technological solutions.
"It is very important for us to meticulously study all the projects that are submitted to tenders and accelerators and to evaluate whether a particular solution is suitable for our Company," commented Georgy Larin, Head of the MMK Research Centre at Skolkovo. "Of course, we are glad that MMK's work with open innovations is so highly valued, and we will continue to improve and develop this area."