Silver Linings

During periods of instability, you realise the true value of working with great people. 

It’s the unique talent and spirit of our team at IMET Alloys that has proven so crucial during some of the most trying times in our lifetime.

It’s often easy to get caught up in the day to day demands and pressures that businesses face in order to maintain a competitive edge. But it is also worth taking the time to reflect on what you do and why you do it.

The challenges of the last few years have been unprecedented due to the political, economic, and social disruptions that were caused during the COVID-19 crisis.

This set the scene for a decade that up to this point has been beset by some of the most serious global issues of our generation.

At the start of 2022, just as the UK and other western economies were easing COVID restrictions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th kicked off policies to impose sanctions against Russia which have rippled across global markets.

This has been a period that has exposed many of the inadequacies of multiple systems – from healthcare, finance, energy, and raw materials, against a backdrop of global warming and a growing need for urgent action.

As a result of significant lobbying by the aerospace industry, these sanctions have not included titanium.

The supply of Russian titanium nevertheless remains uncertain, leading the aerospace industry to focus upon reducing its exposure and long-term need for Russian titanium which make up more than 50% of the titanium in some Airbus plane structures and more than 40% in some Boeing plane structures.

The situation has put leaders in an impossible position, caught between balancing short-term pressures against medium, and long-term uncertainties.

There are however some silver linings.

As often happens in times of crisis, innovation goes into overdrive. You only need to look at how social media technologies reached a 5-year level of maturity during the pandemic in a period of only 18 months, with the fast tracking of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other digital technologies.

Or how the development and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines were fast-tracked through joint global efforts of science, governments, and manufacturing.

Necessity is the mother of invention and human resilience often leads us to find new ways of doing things when there is a strong and special need.

Through IMET Alloy’s innovative processes we have proactively focused on creating a hi-tech metals circular economy to help industries reduce their dependency on external/ prime raw materials supply.

This helps address at least two of the most pressing issues of our time – the supply threat to critical raw materials – and the need to achieve net zero emissions.

In this sense, IMET Alloys avoided a frenetic fast-track process in adapting to the current geopolitical challenges – it was already long-since factored into our processes.

Yet that is not to invite complacency, as we always strive to find new and better ways of doing things. Its who we are.

IMET’s philosophy has always been to innovate and drive change to the benefit of constantly evolving industries in a continually evolving world.

And without the skills, knowledge, and expertise of our people throughout all our global locations, that would simply not be possible.


Article by Ruaraidh Williamson, CEO IMET Alloys