Miles Prosser, Secretary-General of the International Aluminium Institute speaks to AlCircle

Miles Prosser is the Secretary-General of the International Aluminium Institute (IAI), the only body that represents the aluminium industry at the global level. With more than twenty years’ experience working on various industrial policy issues, Miles brings in-depth knowledge on resource allocation, sustainability and climate change.

Miles joined the IAI from the Australian Aluminium Council where he served as Executive Director for more than 10 years. He leads the IAI to promote the unique and valuable properties of aluminium in sustainable development. He holds an honours degree from the Australian National University.

AlCircle: Currently, IAI membership represents over 60% of global bauxite, alumina and aluminium production. Could you please share your views on the emergence and importance of Industry 4.0?

Mr Miles Prosser: Digital technologies are everywhere, affecting the way we live, work, travel and play. Digitalisation is helping improve the safety, productivity, accessibility and sustainability of systems and industries around the world. If adopted well, digital technologies have the potential to deliver exceptional value to various aspects of our lives.

From technologies that help companies locate deposits, to autonomous equipment and fatigue monitoring systems that protect workers, to social media that keeps the industry in close contact with various stakeholders, digitalisation can be a force for good in our industry.

We are already using technology to improve the safety, productivity, accessibility and sustainability of our operations. We’re finding new ways to use industrial waste in other applications such as in cement and concrete. We can now monitor and improve bauxite residue management. And I see this become the trend – where technology will enable the industry further its existing sustainability credentials.

Companies are also investing in new facilities fitted with state-of-the-art technologies which will enable automated monitoring and system controls with increased vertical integration along the supply chain.

Digital tools continue to transform ways in which customers buy and share their experiences in the aluminium industry. Digital channels like websites, blogs, and social platforms can be used for the buying process and to gather customer feedback. Using technology to analyse customer feedback enables companies in our industry to understand customer expectations, assist in acquiring and retaining customers and predicting and making suggestions for the consumer’s future needs.

However, as an industry, we are yet to realise the full potential of Industry 4.0. Like all sectors, the aluminium industry is on a journey and continues to invest in technologies that will improve efficiencies all round.

Digitalisation of the industry over the next decade will be a major feature in the entire value chain.