ICSAS 2011 a gateway to a more diversified economy
TARIKH: 14 Jul 2011

Posted on July 14, 2011, Thursday

KUCHING: In line with the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy’s (SCORE) five-prong development strategy and its 10 priority industries, the 7th International Conference on Steel and Aluminium Structures 2011 (ICSAS11) velved into the potentials of both steel and aluminium in Sarawak’s industrial development.

“Steel and aluminium smelters are good in Sarawak’s point of view in terms of diversification. It allows Sarawak to diversify from its traditional economy of wood and palm oil and into further processing and smelters operations associated with the fairly extensive and cheap hydroelectric power,” said Professor Ian Kerr, pro vice chancellor of Curtin University Sarawak.

As such, the ICSAS11 was regarded as timely with SCORE’s progress in terms of providing the knowledge and awareness to a wide range of resources that could spur its growth.

“The focus now is on sustainability of structures, environmental conscience and solutions to the current concerns of the industry itself,” Kerr pointed out.

According to Dr Lau Hieng Ho, the organising chairman of ICSAS11, the widespread knowledge presented by the keynote speakers would enable local participants to gain new insight and ideas into the growing steel and aluminium industry.

“As steel is 100 per cent recyclable, it is an extremely environmental friendly material compared with materials like concrete which have high carbon emission. Apart from that, steel provides an alternative material to exhaustive resources like timber.

“Hence, it is imperative for us to look into the benefits that can sustain the growth of the economy with little effect on the environment,” said Lau.

However, Lau noted that although the growth in demand in steel was stable in Malaysia, the usage was nonetheless low compared with developed countries like Australia and China.

This was further affirmed by the managing director of United GI Products Sdn Bhd (UGI), Paul Pau who noted that demand for steel had always been at a slower pace.

Despite the slow increase, Pau stated that demand for steel remained constant and would be growing at a more rapid pace in light of the SCORE projects that would boost up the demand. Apart from that, residential developers were beginning to pay more attention to the advantages of the nature of steel.

According to managing director of EcoSteel Sdn Bhd (EcoSteel), Chee Chiang Mei, more and more people were willing to accept the construction of steel roofs in the domestic sector such as residential homes.

“People are now looking for faster construction pace and the flexible nature of steel in terms of design, shape and its lightweight nature, has made it a preferred choice now for a lot of developers,’ said Chee.

With the increasingly growing demand in the steel and aluminium industries, the conference ensured a more in depth comprehension into the viability of both materials.