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Pryde Fabrication Celebrates 10 Years in Stainless Steel

Warren Pryde has good reason to be proud. His company, Pryde Fabrication, is celebrating a ten year anniversary as a fabricator in the stainless steel industry.

 

Pryde Fabrication began in 1995 in Capalaba, Queensland, when Warren saw an opportunity to install stainless steel commercial kitchens for fabricators followed by a venture into architectural balustrading installation.

“I started with just myself, a ute and a toolbox. There was just one offsider which was my father-in-law.

“Six to eight weeks into it, there wasn’t enough hours in the day. I think I was working probably eighteen hours out of twenty four. Within six months I had five people working for me.”

As the company expanded, other metals were introduced, but predominantly the focus was always stainless steel. After 20 months, it was clear that a factory of his own was needed to support the slowdown that Warren says is probably still coming.

Fast forward to 2005, and Warren has established factories in both Queensland and New South Wales. Warren reflects on what would be the company’s most significant stainless steel project achievements to date.

“Definitely the RiverWalk project balustrading ... it’s a job that we’re certainly proud of internally. That’s up there as ‘challenging’ and the finish we ended up supplying out there we were more than happy with.”

The company’s sustained focus on quality has seen Pryde Fabrication develop a strong leadership role in the stainless steel industry.

When the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association launched the ASSDA Accreditation Scheme in early 2004, Pryde Fabrication was one of Australia’s first companies to be industry-recognised as an ASSDA Accredited Fabricator.

“Unfortunately there are some people playing around on the stainless side that shouldn’t be there. The market is so price driven these days, the margins are tight.

“I thought [the Scheme] was good mainly from the point of view that there was an assurance there that the client was going to get what they actually expect from the stainless steel.

“When you come up against another Accredited Fabricator you don’t mind because they are pricing the right material, the right structure. We saw this [Scheme] as a way to market ourselves as a top quality fabricator in the stainless steel industry.

Warren says that he still hasn’t got a sales representative on the road, instead attributing the company’s success to return business and offers his plans for the next ten years.

“A realistic figure is trying to double our turnover ... we’re ready for another expansion right across our market, whether it be the street furniture, commercial kitchens or the architectural side.

“We’re looking at increasing that [marketshare] without needing too many sales reps on the ground. So we’re still looking at that return business basis”.

The gains from having an ASSDA Accredited Fabricator status has resulted in benefits for his clients, his company and the whole industry.

Warren describes how the Scheme has assisted his company in marketing his business to the specifying community.

“With a lot of the government departments getting our name put in front of the right people with the order books ... they know what can happen to stainless if it’s not done the right way”.

Finally, Warren has this advice for fabricators starting out in the stainless steel industry.

“Companies who haven’t got the experience, if they get in touch with ASSDA they have the opportunity to do it the right way.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who does the stainless work out there, if it’s done properly, it’s only going to be better for the industry and better for our company - because the majority of our work is stainless.”

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 33, Spring 2005.

National Gallery of Victoria

Showcasing Art with Stainless

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) houses one of Australia’s most important visual arts collections. However, with the passage of time, the collection had outgrown its facilities.

Since the existing building opened in 1968, the collection had doubled in size and only five percent of the Gallery’s collection was on display at any one time.

As part of a major upgrade and renovations to the existing Gallery, the Victorian State Government called on construction company Baulderstone Hornibrook to lead the project.

Architect Mario Bellini, from Milan, with Australian firm, Metier 3, used stainless steel to stunning effect in a design framework that seamlessly integrates the contemporary ‘metallic’ look of stainless whilst keeping much of the original heritage feature intact.

ASSDA Major Sponsor, Sandvik supplied 10 tonnes of 304 stainless steel including solid bar, hot rolled flat and heavy angles for the project. Most of the stainless steel was surface linished by Silverstone and some was electropolished by ASSDA member MME Surface Finishing.

Applied Manufacturing fabricated glazed ramps and walkways, solid staunchens, glass panel frames and door surrounds for the courtyard in addition to balustrading, external handrails, rigging systems and feature mesh screens.

Fractal Systems supplied an imported stainless steel mesh product for the ceilings in the foyer and feature walls in the Federation Court.

This type of mesh consists of stainless steel rods in one direction and has stainless steel ropes threaded/woven in the other. Mesh was used for three reasons. Firstly it is semi-transparent, secondly it reflects light and finally it has an appealing visual texture, all dramatically influencing the ultimate sense of place.

In the feature walls, the mesh was mounted in panels framed with stainless steel angle frames bolted to the substructure. In the ceilings, the mesh was stretched over a curved sub-structure and tensioned at both ends. Other than these two main elements, stainless steel was used as floor cladding in locations where visual transition was required between two types of flooring (eg. parquetry and glass floors), as cladding to ceiling bulkheads and for struts in the glass roof trusses and cast hold-down ‘spiders’.

Zorana Zankasar from Metier 3 Architects, Victoria said that “stainless steel is almost a necessary component of the contemporary design. It is hard to imagine a major contemporary building without stainless steel”.

“I believe that because stainless steel offers trouble-free maintenance combined with the look of metallic”, said Zankasar.

The project started in January 2001 and the gallery was re-opened to the public in December 2003.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 28, May 2004.

Mirror Mirror on the Water

Stainless Steel Fish Bar

Development of Melbourne's Docklands Precinct has inspired an exciting range of creative architecture, featuring a diverse selection of building materials.

Special finish stainless steel enhances the facades of the prestigious NewQuay follies on Victoria Harbour promenade. The Fish Bar folly, clad entirely in blue mirror stainless steel, brings life to the water's edge by combining public convenience with creativity to produce a unique example of urban art.

The design is the result of a successful collaboration between the developer MAB Corporation, SJB/FKA architects and students from the upper design pool of RMIT's School of Architecture, which ran a design competition.

The winning concept, by students Sherry-Ann Kwok and Jessica Liew, was deemed to successfully unify and integrate art and architecture into a commercial or retail environment. The underlying aim of the follies was to create sophisticated architectural forms that break up the hard edge against the water and create defined destinations as people move around NewQuay.

Blue mirror stainless steel from ASSDA member Rimex Metals was chosen as it evokes suggestions of frozen water and adds bold, bright colour to the building, which consists of an arrangement of raking, interlocking planes. The physical properties of stainless steel and its corrosion resistance in this salt-water environment make the material a logical selection.

The Colouring Process

As coloured mirror stainless steel is generally only produced in grade 304, a special mill run of 316 material was produced by Rimex UK to fulfill the architects' requirements for corrosion resistance and colour continuity.

Grade 316 stainless steel sheets were polished to a mirror finish before being coloured. In the colouring process, the stainless is immersed in a chemical bath to closely control the generation of the chromium-rich oxide film. This clear oxide film is present in all stainless steel and is the key to its excellent corrosion resistance.

By varying the film's thickness, a range of colours is produced, the same way that oil floating on the water's surface produces a rainbow effect. No dyes or pigments are used: the colour is due entirely to the physics of light distorting as it bounces off the stainless steel surface and back through the oxide layer.

Construction

Commercial builders, Icon Construction Management, were commissioned to construct the building. There were some challenging hurdles as the building is perched half on the pier and half over water supported by pylons.

Construction was performed from a barge with the use of booms and scissor lifts from the wharf.

Fabrication of the Rimex blue mirror sheet into cladding panels and their installation was performed by Alustain Fabrications, a Melbourne firm specialising in architectural stainless steel cladding.

The interlocking panels were pressed into individual pans and attached to a waterproof plywood substrate before fixing to a top hat section. The complex design called for almost every panel to be unique.

Together they form a weatherproof barrier capable of withstanding demanding coastal conditions. Unlike most faades, the stainless steel cladding was installed at the beginning of construction, enabling fixings to be concealed with only a 1-2mm margin between panels. ASSDA member, Fagersta Steels Pty Ltd, supplied the stainless steel for the project.

The Fish Bar folly contributes to the mix of open space experiences aimed at meeting the diverse needs of residents and visitors. The contemporary design and material selection demonstrate stainless steel's potential for integrating architecture and urban art.

Words: Neil Lyons, Photos: Anna Joske
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 24, March 2003.

Mirror Mirror on the Lake

A new Stockland housing development on the Gold Coast has incorporated the use of art to promote outdoor living and community engagement. And, with a public lake the intended destination, artists Lubi Thomas and Adrian Davis knew stainless steel would best fit the bill.

The Highland Reserve development in Upper Coomera, 40 minutes south of Brisbane, boasts a mountainous backdrop and sprawling native bushland.  The additional inclusion of a lake within the development prompted Stocklands to commission a public artwork for the area.  Following a process of concept pitches from various artists, Lubi Thomas and Adrian Davis of Davis-Thomas were successful in securing the project.

“They (Stockland) have always, until now, bought artwork off the shelf,” Lubi Thomas says.  “This time though, they wanted to do something site-specific.”

After spending time in the area the artists discovered the most evident thing about the lake was its mirror-like quality.  They were inspired by the lake’s rippling responses to wind changes and wanted to convey this relationship to the general public.

The result was a series of nine stainless steel floating wind ‘petals’, each with their own anchor point and dispersed across the lake.  The use of mirrored stainless steel meant the original concept delivery was met.

“We needed to find a material that was robust enough, as well as something that would reflect the lake itself,” says Lubi. “That is what inevitably drew us towards mirrored stainless.”

The pieces are made entirely of grade 316 in sheet, tube and flat bar to cater to the environment, and to ensure a life of 20-25 years. The added benefit is that ongoing maintenance is limited to removing the marks of nature.

ASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator Rocklea Pressed Metal supplied materials for the works, and was further engaged for part of the fabrication.

Troy Olive of Rocklea Pressed Metal said the CAD drawings were sent to them, enabling them to laser cut and roll the petals to the desired radius.  In total, 12-15 sheets of stainless steel was used.

The use of mirrored stainless  meant an additional relationship was explored between the lake and the sun.  In the right conditions, the pieces react to the sunshine hitting the water, beaming light between the pieces.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 40, Winter 2007.

Making Over the MCG with Stainless Steel Technology

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or the ‘G’ as it has become affectionately known, has an important project deadline.

The national sports icon is currently undergoing a redevelopment in preparation for the 2006 Commonwealth Games to be held in March.

When complete, the ‘G’ will boast three impressive glazed entry structures over the Ponsford Gate, the Members Entrance and the Olympic Stand Entrance, each with its own network of high tensile stainless steel members.

The project is a collaboration between Ronstan’s architectural division and steel contractor, Materials Fabrication.

ASSDA member, and Australia’s own world leader in tension structures, Ronstan Architectural Rigging Systems, has been intimately involved in the supply of stainless steel tension rods on the project.

Ronstan looked at the loads required and selected the material grade for the specific tensile characteristics. This allows for the optimal efficiency of the tendon in transferring the load, a key requirement in lightweight tensile architecture.

In this case the ‘G’ structures included 600 tendons with adjustable fork ends manufactured from approximately two kilometres of 19mm grade 316L stainless steel bar.

These were polished to a No. 7 finish and passivated to achieve the required aesthetics and longevity.

“The challenge was to compliment a great product with the right mix of product support,” said Rowan Murray, General Manager of Ronstan Architectural Rigging Systems.

Images courtesy of John Gollings.
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 32, Winter 2005.

Maintenance Critical to Stainless' Performance

The growth in the use of stainless steel over recent decades has been a real success story, predominantly due to its aesthetic appeal and, of course, its resistance to corrosion

 

However, the continuing performance of stainless steel, particularly in harsh coastal environments, relies not only on the intrinsic features of the material, but also on appropriate maintenance.

 

ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Bell Stainless from Kunda Park on the Sunshine Coast, Qld has had extraordinary success both nationally and internationally, being the only company in the world to have won multiple South Africa Stainless Steel Development Association Awards - one of only two Australian companies to win.

Bell Stainless general manager David Vine said they took the ongoing maintenance of their work very seriously and cited their installation several months ago of the balustrade for the HMAS Brisbane memorial at Alexandra Headland on the Sunshine Coast as a key example.

Mr Vine said they used two products from ASSDA member Cyndan Rapelle Pty Ltd - an Australian industrial chemical manufacturer - to keep this type of installation looking good:

- Cyndan Stainless Steel Cleaner, which uses a combination of phosphoric acid and ammonium biflouride, providing deep cleansing of grime, mineral salts, leaching, oxidation and other stains, particularly tea stains; and

- Cyndan Rapelle Stainless Steel Sentry - a protective treatment that fuses with the surface forming a water repellant film to reduce corrosive build up of salts.

He said they have used Cyndan products since 1999 and found them time effective, easy to manage and safe to use.

Cyndan Chemicals was founded in Australia in 1978 and has partnered with Rapelle Pty Ltd to market their products internationally.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 37, Spring 2006.

Fitness Never Looked So Good

Sydney’s Fifty Four Park Street is not your average gym. The exclusive venue recently underwent a luxury makeover requiring 250 square metres of stainless steel to fully portray the club’s intended style and class. ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Townsend Group worked with designer Blainey North to create a stunning and sustainable interior.

Mirror finished columns are a focal point of the indoor pool, featuring circular column cladding joined with chrome coloured silicon to maximise waterproofing. Two of the columns double as large features with water pumped up the centre of each, to spill out and over the top.

Townsend Group’s Mark Ryan says the columns are constantly drenched in warm, chlorinated pool water, so grade 316 stainless with a No.8 finish was the best choice for corrosion resistance in the humid, damp environment.

Skirting, handrails, patch fittings, stair soffits, a dividing-wall feature and balustrades were mostly vee-cut prior to rolling or bending to achieve tight radii bends. All polishing was done by hand to a mirror finish to produce a highly reflective surface as specified by the designer.

“Blainey North specialises in upmarket fit-outs and is meticulous about workmanship and quality,” said Mr Ryan, who added that clean, reflective surfaces were a high priority.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 44, Spring 2008.

Earth-Friendly Installation

A weld-free installation process has caught the attention of Victoria’s caving community.

Parks Victoria and ASSDA Member Stainless Tube Mills Fences Pty Ltd recently completed a visitor access upgrade for popular tourist sites, the Royal and Fairy Caves.

STM Fences’ patented assembly process for tubular panels allows for easy installation without the need for welding.

Ranger in charge of Buchan, Dale Calnin, said using this system meant installation wasn’t damaging to the caves’ sensitive environment. 

“The stainless steel balustrading looked fantastic and is a well presented modular system,” he said.

Mr Calnin said this process would be welcomed by the international caving community.

220 metres of grade 316 stainless steel handrails and balustrading were installed to provide strong and durable protective barriers.

The application consisted of 50.8mm diameter top and bottom rails with 12.7mm diameter spigots, square mesh panels and fabricated stainless cable trays by Duraduct Pty Ltd.

Double top rails were also installed, using STM Fences’ innovative swivel cones to help with undulations throughout the caves.

A fine bright finish was applied by Stainless Tube Mills Pty Ltd and fabricated components pickled and passivated by Duraduct for maximum corrosion resistance.

Great caution was taken during installation to protect the caves’ delicate interior.

“STM Fences worked closely with Brettell Developments to ensure installation was handled appropriately for the environmentally sensitive area,” STM’s Peter Martin said.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 45, Summer 2009.

Duplex to Shine in DNA Design

An Australian-led design consortium will put a new twist on bridge construction with a 280 metre long stainless steel pedestrian bridge spanning across Marina Bay, the foreshore to Singapore's CBD. The bridge will link the highly anticipated Marina Bay Sands resort to a bayfront promenade linking major cultural, tourist and recreational sites.

Selected from a field of 36 international teams, the design team, incorporating Australian architects the Cox Group, engineers Arup and Singapore-based Architects 61, has designed an entirely new concept in bridge construction, based on the double helix structure of DNA.

The double helix will carry a metre wide pedestrian walkway running parallel to a six lane vehicular bridge, which is part of the same $68 million project.

Arup senior associate Greg Killen said the pedestrian bridge was a true world first, in that it did not use any of the known support mechanisms which categorise all bridges built to date. The shape of the bridge can be described as two slinkies, one stretched out slightly further than the other, flipped, and then placed inside the first. This shape is then doubly bent to form a smooth curve.

As far as we know, this design direction has not been explored before, Mr Killen said.

An Arup-designed structural optimisation program confirmed the unique design concept offered substantial structural performance.

Mr Killen said the helix tubes touch only under the deck and the unravelling forces were captured elsewhere by light stiffening rings that hold the opposing tubes apart (rather than together) in a kind of structural magnetism.

The concept enabled the use of five times less steel than a conventional box girder bridge of the same length, which meant the budget would run to the use of stainless steel.


We chose to design in duplex stainless because we've used it on a number of projects before and while the strength is comparable to structural mild steel, the maintenance costs are reduced and the total life of the bridge is extended beyond 100 years, Mr Killen said.

There is a perception in the marketplace that the cost of grade 2205 duplex is much more than austenitic varieties such as 316. This is not the case and while there is great fluctuation in both prices, the fabrication costs are similar (although some of the processes are slightly different).

The higher strength of 2205 makes a big difference, especially on longspan structures where the self weight is often the major design driver. 2205 also has superior durability including resistance to the tea staining that plagues many austenitic structures.

Singapore, a busy air hub with a very small land area, has become well respected for the quality of their buildings and infrastructure.

Singapore is not only clean and leafy, there is a noticeable emphasis on quality urban design. The urban landscape includes extensive use of materials such as stone, glass and metals where Australian cities may favour cheaper, less durable solutions. This makes Singapore the perfect platform for the world's first double helix bridge, Mr Killen said.

The project will use 370 tonnes of duplex stainless steel for the superstructure, including pipe, and welded plate and tapered sections. Stainless finishes selected by the Cox Group include a combination of bead blasting and polishing, with one of the slinkies to be highly polished and the other bead blasted, using olivine, a magnesium silicate medium.

The project, which is currently out to tender, is expected to begin construction at the end of this year and be completed in 2009.

Images courtesy of Arup + Cox + Architects 61
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 37, Spring 2006.

Curved Spine Leaves Strong Impression

If you’re investing in a home overlooking the water at Noosa, Queensland, you will almost certainly want the fittings to be impressive.

Sunshine Coast ASSDA Accredited Fabricator, Bell Stainless, rose to the challenge at this Noosa property by designing and building a single stringer staircase and balustrade that leaves a lasting impression.

The curved staircase features 15 timber treads which are bolted onto 6mm grade 316 stainless steel plates, which are then welded onto the stringer.

The handrail is made from grade 316 with a No 4 finish and the balustrade in-fills are made from 10mm solid rod.

Bell Stainless General Manager David Vine said the more than 90 degree curve of the staircase created some design challenges.  
“Because you can’t roll the pipe in a corkscrew for the stringer we started with a curve on a flat plane then used a series of cuts to corkscrew it,” Mr Vine said.

“Of course, we also had to be careful not to distort the angle when the tread plates were welded on.  It was an interesting challenge.”  
Mr Vine said even though the staircase was indoors, the salty coastal environment meant grade 316 stainless was the logical choice for this upmarket home.

“We steered away from stainless steel wire for the balustrades because of the inherent difficulties with teastaining in the crevices, and because we needed to maintain an even curve to match the top rail,” Mr Vine said.

The stringer was fabricated in two halves and assembled on-site.

Mr Vine said because of the high tensile strength of stainless, there was very little flexing as people move up and down the staircase.

“The owners were really happy with the final outcome and we’ve had a number of enquiries from people who’ve seen it.”

The stainless steel was supplied by Fagersta, Brisbane.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 42.

Celebrating Melbourne City's Cultural Links in Stainless

Piazza Italia at the northern end of Argyle Square on Lygon Street, Carlton is Melbourne's newest public open space and meeting place was officially opened on 29 January 2006

 

Lord Mayor John So said the Piazza will be a wonderful addition to Melbourne's famous Italian cultural precinct.

 

“For generations, Argyle Square has been a place where city residents, workers and visitors have stopped to soak up the atmosphere of Lygon Street, eat gelati and catch up with friends and family,” the Lord Mayor John So said.

The northern end of Argyle Square features new gardens, traditional porphyry stone paving, a giant 45m2 solar clock and stainless steel street furniture.

ASSDA Accredited Fabricator T.R.J. Engineering fabricated the 16 stainless steel double bench seats for the redevelopment.

In December 2005, Melbourne City Council released a statement announcing that all powder-coated seats, litter bins, benches and drinking fountains in the city centre will be replaced with stainless steel finishes over the next ten years to give the streetscape a sleek, modern feel.

Lord Mayor John So said the stainless steel replacements would be designed to improve its functionality for the elderly, the young and people with disabilities, while withstanding high levels of wear and tear.

“The maintenance cost of stainless steel is half that of powder-coated items, while its lifespan is twice as long,” the Lord Mayor said.

Also, to celebrate Melbourne's successful hosting of the 2006 Commonwealth Games and to recognise the many athletes who participated, Melbourne City Council commissioned T.R.J. Engineering to fabricate stainless steel cladding for existing street poles in Bourke Street.

These cladded fabrications proudly feature the names of all the teams that competed in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games acid etched into the stainless steel.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 35, Autumn 2006.

Brisbane RiverWalk: Floating in Stainless

Brisbane residents can now walk on water with the completion of the Brisbane City Council's RiverWalk floating walkway.

Stainless steel is at the heart of the 850 metre-long, 5.4 metre-wide pontoon system that effectively connects the city and the inner suburb of New Farm.

The pontoon structure, positioned 35 metres from the riverbank, has been designed to allow people to experience the feeling of being on the river - of literally walking on water.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Tim Quinn said "Brisbane is now truly Australia's River City as we're making greater use of our river system than any other state in the country.

"Completion of this vital section of RiverWalk will also have the added benefit of enhancing the city's public transport network by offering immediate access to interchanges including City Cat, ferry services, bus and rail."

Made up of a state-of-the-art pontoon system that wraps around the shoreline, it boasts world first technology that was designed and engineered in Queensland.

ASSDA supported the project by responding to more than 40 enquiries for technical assistance for the Brisbane City Council project.

Fabricating the Top-Side Structure

ASSDA member, Pryde Fabrication, supplied 35 tonnes of handrails and posts to the $13.5 million project and was instrumental in fabricating many of the environmental design elements featured on the walkway.

Pryde produced 60 individually curved handrails to create a visual effect of the ebb and flow of the Brisbane River, whilst support posts and the straining posts that holds all the load incorporates a distinct 'mangrove' design.

Grade 316 stainless steel was used throughout the fabrication of handrails, balustrades and staunches with a smooth surface finish enhanced by electropolishing.

RiverWalk Stainless Steel - ASSDA Members Suppliers

Pryde Fabrication Top-side structure - handrails, balustrades and staunches
Arminox Australia Reinforcing bars in pontoons
Ronstan International Cables and rigging materials
Sandvik Stainless steel supply to Pryde Fabrication
Atlas Speciality Metals Stainless steel supply to Pryde Fabrication
Condamine Wellscreens Electropolishing services to Pryde Fabrication
Johnson Screens Stainless steel supply to Pryde Fabrication
Tom Stoddart Pty Ltd Supply of stainless steel pole guides

Reinforcing the Pontoons

The key to RiverWalk's extended lifecycle was the use of stainless steel reinforcement by ASSDA member, Arminox Australia in the design of the 287 floating pontoons.

Most concrete reinforcing uses carbon steel, however, in marine structures where the material is exposed to chlorides in the salt water, it can corrode and cause the concrete to crack and deteriorate over time.

Arminox supplied 140 tonnes of reinforcing bar material, cut and bent to the customer's schedule in 10, 12 and 16 mm diameters.

Using specialised machinery, Arminox was able to save Brisbane City Council thousands of dollars by cutting out and tying a number of lap joints with a 40mm diameter overlap.

By reducing the thickness of concrete cover the Council saved two cubic metres of concrete per pontoon.

This initiative resulted in a lighter pontoon that contributed to increased buoyancy and lower costs for the Council.

With a total of 450 kg per pontoon, tighter tolerance control meant enhanced low material wastage.

Stainless reinforcing builds corrosion resistance into the concrete and durability has been proven over many decades.

World Class Achievement

ASSDA congratulates all members who supplied stainless steel to the Brisbane City Council's RiverWalk floating walkway, naming the project "a Queensland world class achievement designed to last 100 years with minimal maintenance".

ASSDA Executive Director, Richard Matheson inspected the 850 metre floating pontoon system after its official launch in December 2003 and congratulated the Brisbane City Council on a durable feature that would only have been made possible with stainless steel.

"The RiverWalk is a world class achievement designed to last 100 years and to achieve this aim 181 tonnes of stainless steel was specified for its durability in not only handrails, posts and cabling but also for reinforcing in the pontoons," Richard Matheson said.

"Stainless steel is at the heart of the RiverWalk project because of the material's non-corrosive properties and excellent presentation despite harsh environments," said Mr Matheson.

The RiverWalk will now provide direct riverfront access for around 20,000 walkers, cyclists, joggers and rollerbladers everyday.

RiverWalk Stainless Steel Specification Checklist

  • 850 metre floating walkway
  • 287 floating pontoons
  • 181 tonnes of stainless steel
  • 20 km of stainless steel wire
  • 2,534 kg of stainless steel wire cable
  • 135 kg of stainless steel rigging fittings
  • 1,800 linear metres of handrail
  • 1,750 support posts/staunches
  • 60 individually curved panels
  • 140 tonnes of reinforcement bars
  • 35 tonnes of handrail and posts

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 27, February 2004.

Stainless Vision

Inspiration from Medieval Tale

The lance used by St George to slay the dragon in Medieval mythology - Ascalon - has inspired a stunning addition to Perth’s St George’s Cathedral forecourt.

Ascalon portraitAscalon, designed by Perth artist Marcus Canning and New York based Christian de Vietri, was chosen as the winning piece from an international competition attracting 99 entries.

The sculpture features an 18m grade 316 stainless steel telescopic pole with a mirror finish, surrounded by a billowing white fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) ‘cape’, which represents St George on his steed.

ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Diverse Welding Services was commissioned by engineers and project managers Capital House Australasia to create the pole, which weighs about 2 tonnes.

Capital House managing director John Knuckey said the artists had a vision for the sculpture and his team’s role was to make it happen. He said the strength of the central pole was a concern for the artists, while the structural engineers were strongly focussed on minimising vibrations and maximising stiffness.

Capital House’s research indicated that 316 would be the most appropriate grade and their interest in selecting from standard sections determined the dimensions.

“The pole also had to be dead straight because people would pick it by eye if it wasn’t,” Mr Knuckey said. “We had no desire to compromise on quality but we were concerned that polishing would be too expensive, so originally only the bottom third was going to be mirror polished. In the end Diverse Welding Services said they could achieve a mirror finish on the entire pole and they did an excellent job.

“At first we weren’t sure who to trust with the job, but once we had visited Diverse Welding’s factory, we knew they were the right people.”

Diverse Welding Services director Karl Schmidt said their main challenge was determining the weld design to ensure the work conformed to AS1554 Part 6.

They welded together stainless steel pipe in differing dimensions to create the telescopic shape of the pole and produced joining spigots from plate (supplied by ASSDA Member Stirlings Australia), enabling the pole to be bolted to the FRP ‘cape’.

Ascalon joining spigotsThe sections were rotated on horizontal positioners and welded using stainless steel flux cored wire and TIG welding processes. The pole was given a full mirror finish and passivated using a citric based product.

Artist Marcus Canning said Diverse Welding and Capital House were fantastic to work with on the project.

“It was a late decision to shift to a telescopic design, which increased the complexity of the job under a pressured timeline, but they rolled with it and did what they had to do to get the job done, and done right,” Mr Canning said.

“The pole is such an important element to the work now it’s in situ and responding to the elements - the mirror finish makes its quality shift dramatically throughout the day and night as lighting conditions change.”

The sculpture was created following a $500,000 donation from Australian prospecting geologist Marc Creasy to the Cathedral Arts Foundation, and the only guideline was the theme of St George and the dragon.

Images courtesy of Marcus Canning.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 48, Autumn 2011.

Pipes Run Half Marathon

That deserves a drink!

A joint venture between two ASSDA Members has seen 21km of stainless steel pipe work installed as part of the greenfields Bluetongue Brewery recently completed at Warnervale on the Central Coast of NSW.

Bluetongue Brewery 3Bluetongue Brewery 2The $120 million Pacific Beverages brewery, which officially opened in November 2010, contains more than 2000 tonnes of stainless steel, including more than 120 tonnes of tube sourced in Australia through ASSDA Sponsor Atlas Steels.

The brewery construction was overseen by German brewery manufacturer Ziemann, who contracted ASSDA Accredited Fabricators TFG Pty Ltd and TripleNine Stainless Pty Ltd as the sole installation partners for the stainless steel components.

TFG/TripleNine assembled and installed the pumps, heat exchangers, valves, brewing vessels and fermentation tanks, as well as fabricating and installing all the pipework.

TFG Manager Tom Moultrie said they used grade 304 and 316 tube ranging from 25mm to 100mm in diameter. To ensure accuracy, speed, efficiency and quality, specialist sanitary welders orbital welded the tube on site. The construction phase lasted 8 months and, at the height of the project, TFG/TripleNine had 60 fabricators on site.

Mr Moultrie said the scope and size of the project were the motivating factors behind the first-time joint venture.

“The joint venture made sense because both companies could continue to service our other clients during the construction phase, as well as meeting the tight deadline,” he said.

Ziemann project manager Sven Mauchnik said TFG/TripleNine were chosen due to their brewery experience and their ability to match the tight time schedule.

“We were able to build the complete brewery within 8 months and make the first brew on the original planned date,” Mr Mauchnik said. “The quality TFG/TripleNine delivered was beyond our expectation, which is obvious for everybody who visits the brewery.”

TFG/TripleNine installed 48 silos, including fermentation and storage vessels around 18m high. Two cranes were used to install four vessels a day.

The fermentation tanks and brewing vessels were manufactured abroad by Ziemann to assist in meeting the tight time frames.

The Bluetongue Brewery is unique in its design because it has twin-stream brew houses under one roof, which allow for brewing flexibility.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 48, Autumn 2011.

Grade 431

A versatile, high strength martensitic stainless steel

Martensitic stainless steels are a less well-known branch of the stainless family. Their special features – high strength and hardness – point to their main application area as shafts and fasteners for motors, pumps and valves in the food and process industries.

The name “martensitic” means that these steels can be thermally hardened. They have a ferritic microstructure if cooled very slowly, but a quenching heat treatment converts the structure to very hard martensite, the same as it would for a low alloy steel such as 4140. Neither the familiar austenitic grades (304, 316 etc) nor the duplex grades (2205 etc) can be hardened in this way.

Grade 431 (UNS 43100) is the most common and versatile of these martensitic stainless steels. It combines good strength and toughness with very useful corrosion resistance and in its usual supply condition can be readily machined.

Chemical Composition

The composition of 431 specified in ASTM A276 is given in Table 1 below.
Grade 431_Table 1

 

 

 

The inclusion of a small amount of nickel in grade 431 is different from most other martensitic grades. This small but important addition makes the steel microstructure austenitic at heat treatment temperatures, even with such a high (for a martensitic grade) chromium content. This high temperature austenite enables formation of hard martensite by quenching.

Corrosion Resistance

The relatively high chromium content gives grade 431 pitting, crevice and general corrosion resistance approaching that of grade 304, which is very useful in a wide range of environments including fresh water and many foods.

Grade 431 has the highest corrosion resistance of any of the martensitic grades. Corrosion resistance is best with a smooth surface finish in the hardened and tempered condition.

Grade 431 is sometimes used for boat shafting and works well in fresh water but is usually not adequate for sea water.

Heat Resistance

Grade 431 has good scaling resistance to about 700°C but, as martensitic steels are hardened by thermal treatment, any exposure at a temperature above their tempering temperature will permanently soften them. 600°C is a common limit.

Mechanical Properties

The application of grade 431 is all about strength and hardness. Table 2 below lists mechanical properties of the grade annealed and in hardened and tempered “Condition T”.

Grade 431_Table 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heat Treatment

A feature of grade 431 is that it can, like other martensitic steels, be hardened and then tempered at various temperatures to generate properties within a wide spectrum, depending on whether the requirement is for highest possible hardness, or best ductility, or some balance between these. Hardening is by air or oil quenching, usually from 950-1000°C.

The tempering diagram in Figure 1 shows properties typically achieved when the hardened steel is tempered at the indicated temperature. A tempering temperature within the range 580 – 680°C is usual. Tempering between 370 and 570°C should be avoided because of resulting low impact toughness.

Tempering should follow quenching as quickly as possible to avoid cracking. Softening is usually by sub-critical annealing, by heating to 620 – 660°C and then air cooling.

Grade 431_Figure 1

Physical Properties

Density

7700kg/m3

Elastic Modulus

200GPa

Thermal Expansion (0-100°C)

10.2µm/m/°

Fabrication

Machining is readily carried out in the annealed condition, and also in the common Condition T. Modern machining equipment enables high speed machining at this hardness of about 30HRC.

Welding of 431 is rarely carried out — its high hardenability means that cracking is likely unless very careful pre-heat and post-weld heat treatments are carried out. If welding must be done this can be with 410 fillers to achieve high strength but austenitic 308L, 309L or 310 fillers give softer and more ductile welds.

Cold bending and forming of hardened 431 is very difficult because of the high strength and relatively low ductility.

Forms Available

Grade 431 is available in a wide range of bar sizes — virtually exclusively round but some hexagonal. Most other martensitic grades are only available in round bar, although the higher carbon 12% chromium “420” series of grades may also be available as hollow bar and as blocks and plates intended for tooling applications.

Alternatives

Another approach to high strength stainless steel bar is a precipitation hardening grade, such as 17-4PH. These grades have similar corrosion resistance and offer some advantages in producing long, straight, higher strength shafts.

Shafts to be used in more corrosive environments are likely to be a duplex or super duplex or nitrogen-strengthened austenitic grade. These, however, have lower achievable strengths than martensitic or precipitation hardening grades.

Specifications

Grade 431 is usually specified by ASTM A276, with composition as in Table 1. In the Australian market, however, there are usually two deviations from A276:

  1. It is most common to find this grade supplied in the hardened and tempered “Condition T” to AS 1444 or BS 970, with specified tensile strength of 850-1000MPa. Yield and elongation are typically in conformance with the limits listed above. ASTM A276 only lists a Condition A version of grade 431 — this is the annealed condition that would normally require hardening heat treatment after machining.

  2. The second deviation is that it is usual for cold finished stainless steel bars stocked in Australia to be with the all-minus ISO h9 or h10 diameter tolerances. Hot finished “black” bars with all-plus ISO k tolerances may also be available.

 

This article was prepared by ASSDA Technical Committee member Peter Moore from Atlas Steels. Further technical advice can be obtained via ASSDA’s technical inquiry line on +617 3220 0722.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 48, Autumn 2011.

Whole of life costing

19 years plus points to stainless

A fresh focus on whole-of-life costing at Gold Coast City Council has led to the specification of stainless steel for long-term structures in the foreshore zone.

The philosophy, which was adopted following the publication of a study by Griffith University and GCCC, is likely to have flow on effects to other councils and government bodies.

GCCC’s co-ordinator of technical governance Paul Conolly said the seed was planted in 1998 when Council’s Technical Services Branch specified stainless steel for a modular toilet structure in a foreshore zone park. The material was deemed at the time to be cost prohibitive on a capital expenditure basis but the process sparked an interest in lifecycle costing.

Mr Conolly said Council’s growing interest in lifecycle costing, combined with an expectation among locals and tourists that public facilities showcase a ‘resort style’ finish, had brought the focus back to stainless steel in recent years. “There has been a clear trend towards lighter, more open structures for public facilities and these lend themselves to steel work,” he said. “A lot of our public facilities are in the foreshore zone and some materials weren’t performing as well as we wanted, so we started to look at corrosion issues and how to best manage this. We started using stainless steel for critical elements, such as joint interfaces for concrete works; bolts, brackets and cleats for boardwalks; and for high use facilities such as rubbish bins.

“Our observations led us to believe that stainless was the way to go in the foreshore zone, but we had no tangible justification which the designers could use to validate the decision for our asset custodians. We needed clear evidence to prove the initial cost of stainless steel was justified over the life of the structures.”

Griffith University scholarship student Jordan Cocks was called on to research the topic in conjunction with industry affiliate GCCC as partial fulfilment of his Bachelor of Civil Engineering.
Mr Cocks investigated multiple structural scenarios from the perspective of what would represent the most cost-effective solution: hot dipped galvanized (HDG) steel, paint systems, duplex systems using both HDG and paint, or stainless steel.

The result was a report containing a design guide, a life cycle cost analysis and a life cycle costing spreadsheet for structures in the foreshore zone. The report indicates stainless steel is a viable option based on cost alone for structures with a design life greater than 19 years. Conversely, the study indicates a HDG coating would theoretically have a life span of 14 years, leaving the exposed steel subject to rapid corrosion unless protected by an increasingly costly maintenance regime.

Mr Conolly said the report had delivered a workable tool enabling designers to input various parameters, such as current prices and design life, producing a guide for selection of the appropriate material or finishes based around optimising whole-of-life costs.

Similar principles were used to shift the specification of a park arbour in Broadbeach towards stainless steel. The material was essential due to the warm, humid environment of the foreshore, regular spraying with water and fertiliser, and the fact that the arbour would have plants growing over it that would take many years to fully establish. The report has now been used to guide material selection for a number of projects, including toilet blocks in Jacobs Well, Miami (pictured) and Burleigh Heads.

“With these projects, we have gone to the asset custodians and our first question was – what is the design life?” Mr Conolly said. “The report has helped reinforce the need for a ‘cradle to grave’ approach to responsible and sustainable asset management encompassing all stakeholders. This includes not just the designer and asset custodian but all the operational and maintenance personnel involved with a structure.

“For stainless steel structures, the asset custodians now recognise that to retain an asset over the long-term and to satisfy the whole of life cost advantage there must be regular wash downs as part of the maintenance program. The higher initial construction costs are offset by the lower cost regular wash downs which form the major component in the new maintenance regimes. The buildings are also being designed to be hosed from ceiling to floor. The overall process has really helped improve the relationship between the asset custodians, designers and maintenance staff.”

Mr Conolly said the report had also been used to promote the use of stainless steel in playground equipment and shade sail structures. “It is just a matter of making that little leap towards recognising the whole-of-life cost and ensuring delivery of a durable product – it’s not rocket science, just common sense when you think about it.”

GCCC is also now favouring ASSDA Accredited Fabricators and looking to ASSDA to provide third party technical expertise or adjudication should conflicts arise relating to material performance. The ASSDA Accreditation Scheme requires fabricators to conform to stringent standards of competence, training and education and encourages a consistently high standard through industry self-regulation.

ASSDA Executive Director Richard Matheson said GCCC’s decision to favour ASSDA Accredited Fabricators and specify stainless steel in the foreshore zone was a welcome one. “I believe we will see this initiative mirrored by other councils and government bodies in the near future,” Mr Matheson said.

“There is no doubt that informed specification and quality fabrication by people who know and understand the material will offer long-term cost savings and extend the life of the product. This is why ASSDA places so much emphasis on education and technical expertise – Councils and other government bodies need to get it right the first time and ensure value for money for their constituents.”

Mr Conolly said for long term structures, stainless steel was becoming the default specification in the foreshore zone and the trend was even moving inland.

“We’re asking the question: what will look and perform best from cradle to grave? It’s making people think differently,” he said.

Download the the final report here (4.6MB) - Whole of Life Cost Comparison and Cost Benefit Analysis for Steel Structures Constructed in the Foreshore Zone.

GCCC close up GCCC close up 2
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 48, Autumn 2011.

Outstanding Design and Specification

Sunshine coast stainless shines 18 months later

An impressive span of stainless steel balustrade at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is demonstrating that good design and specification achieves stunning results that last the distance.

The $8.5 million Sunshine Coast Council Bulcock Beach redevelopment, which was opened in late 2009, incorporates over 300m of grade 316 stainless steel balustrade.

PLACE Design Group’s project landscape architect and lead consultant Ben Stevens said the balustrade was a collaborative design effort between PLACE Design Group and ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Bell Stainless.

“We wanted a clean, simple design that didn’t detract from the magnificent sweeping views of Pumicestone Passage, and one that stood up to the front-line marine location,” Mr Stevens said. “We worked closely with Bell Stainless to refine the design. They had some great ideas to maximise long term performance of the stainless steel, while reining in expenditure.”

The final design included 100mm x 50mm rectangular hollow sections (RHS) for the main balustrade stanchions. Because RHS and circular hollow sections (CHS) were available pre-polished from ASSDA Sponsor Fagersta Steels, it meant that significant cost savings could be achieved in the fabrication and finishing stages. The use of standard RHS sections instead of plate and flatbar significantly minimised the inclusion of crevices in the detailing.

“Because we managed to achieve the required balustrade budget allowance and satisfy Council about the long-term durability of a stainless steel balustrade system we think an outstanding outcome has been achieved,” Mr Stevens said.

Bell Stainless managing director David Vine said this was a landmark project for the company in many ways. “We saw an opportunity to raise the bar for coastal commercial installations,” he said.

“After exploring the project’s specified finish, we developed a hand-polishing technique that worked extremely well. We’re really pleased with how it’s performing.”

Bulcock Beach, Caloundra

Images courtesy of Chelmstone. Photography by Greg Gardner Photography.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 48, Autumn 2011.

Weathering the Financial Storm

'Remaining Competitive and Profitable' by James Johnson, Millatec Pty Ltd

Now is the time as an owner of a small or medium enterprise to move back into the coalface and be involved in all facets of your business. As a business owner, no one spends less money, identifies opportunities to improve productivity more or reduces waste better than you.

In the current economic climate it seems especially pertinent to discuss tools that can help you remain competitive and achieve break-even or be profitable.

The four key areas are:

  1. Financials
  2. Human resources
  3. Marketing
  4. Systemisation

Controlling your finances

When it comes to managing your finances, structure is vital. It is imperative that you plan your cash flow on a week-to-week basis to ensure debts can be paid when due. Ensure tax liabilities are allowed for. If you can’t meet your payment dates, talk to your creditors or the ATO: most will work with you, but they will take action if you are not open and honest.

To effectively monitor spending and avoid unexpected cash flow shortfalls, your financial reporting needs to be up-to-date. An ideal target is end of month plus 10 working days. To ensure reporting and recording is useful, filing of all financial transactions – including accruals – is vital.

A network of support is fundamental to the sustainability of your business. It is important to establish and maintain an open and honest relationship with your bank – during times of profit and of loss. The bank will understand the long-term fluctuations of your business and will be your best source of information on current services that suit your needs. Remember, banks do not want to see you go out of business – they will help you stay afloat.

For example, they have developed a range of new products to help with cash flow.

The current economic climate is a great time to negotiate for better deals – from freight to materials – and it is an ideal time to negotiate new leases.

Human resources: maximising productivity

Employees are the bones of your company. Have high expectations of your staff and make them known. Just as important as setting a high standard of work is letting your staff do their job and being flexible enough to make them want to stay. At the same time it is advantageous to not have any staff member who you are afraid to lose: no one should be irreplaceable.

A large part of managing human resources is managing risk. Employee training is invested time and money. Maintaining low staff turnover means retention of knowledge within the company and makes thorough training a valuable investment.

Marketing: sending the right message

If you want to maintain and grow sales, first and foremost be a marketing company. Invest in marketing as you would a new machine: work out the investment and expected return and research what is right for your business.

It is a great time for change so try the things that you have been putting off during busy periods.

The key is remembering that sales must lead production, and production must support the promise. This is a constant battle: they both need – and work just as hard as- the other. This needs to be reinforced daily.

Systemisation

Linking systems together means you maintain control of the business. Report and record weekly, monthly and quarterly. This not only helps in tracking financial movements but also ensures that in the instance of staff absence, the system will remain functional.

Linking the following systems is a good place to start:

  • Quoting (capture all costs)
  • Processing orders (no job starts without a written PO)
  • Producing job cards
  • Purchase orders (nothing gets in without one)
  • Time capture (measure productivity)
  • Stock
  • Invoicing (nothing gets out without one)
  • Financial accounting

If you have had a crippling 12 months, it is not too late to recover and come out stronger, wiser and more profitable.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.

New flexible learning

For stainless apprentices

At the beginning of 2008, ASSDA was successful in its application for funding from the Federal Government for a project focused on the integration of e-learning into industry. The funding has seen ASSDA create a Workforce Development Strategy and a Flexible Learning Delivery Pathway incorporating e-learning, with plans to develop an additional e-learning module titled Practical Skills of Surface Treatment to complement the existing Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Module.

The Workforce Development Strategy provides an industry-wide framework in which to address the workforce challenges for the stainless steel industry: skills shortages, staff retention, knowledge retention. This document assisted ASSDA in defining what the industry requires in training, skills development and the retention of employees.

The body of the project sees ASSDA working in conjunction with SkillsTech Australia and multiple industry partners to develop e-learning as a form of theory training for apprentices aiming to acquire their qualification in stainless steel fabrication.

ASSDA created a Flexible Learning Delivery Pathway that gives apprentices and employers the choice of conducting training both online and within the workplace. This form of training is beneficial to the apprentices as they are able to work at their own pace, in a location of their choice and in a nonthreatening learning environment. For the employer the pathway is economical as the apprentice can conduct their study in the workplace, therefore reducing time spent away from the workplace.

Using ASSDA’s Stainless Steel Specialist Course and existing resources within the TAFE system, SkillsTech Australia has developed an e-learning system based on the required competencies for a qualification in fabrication, with a particular focus on the unique requirements of working with stainless steel. These training modules offer learning through video, audio, text, images and interactives that are interesting to the apprentice whilst teaching them the underpinning knowledge they require to develop a skill.

In March 2009, 12 apprentices were inducted into the e-learning program for Stage 1a at SkillsTech. This stage is now complete and feedback from the apprentices has been extremely positive. Stage 1b has now commenced and will see the apprentices training solely within the workplace with a workplace mentor to oversee their theory training and instruct them in their practical experience.

This is an exciting development aimed at positioning e-learning as the training method of choice within the stainless steel industry and will help meet ASSDA’s goal of building a strong workforce with a focus on quality and innovation.

If you are interested in viewing the Workforce Development Strategy or learning more about the learning options becoming available for apprentices, call ASSDA on (07) 3220 0722.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.

Stainless Screening

Combining Strength and Style

Melbourne based designer Pierre Le Roux began working with steel 15 years ago, more recently with stainless. “I love the high-tech, reflective quality of stainless,” he said.

Le Roux’s popular custom made wine rack design has attracted clients from both retail and domestic markets. Often doubling as a wallscreen, the unique rack is fabricated from grade 304, 3mm stainless steel sheet supplied by ASSDA member Dalsteel Metals. Each bottle holder was hand polished to achieve a personal finish.

Le Roux’s company produces custom made stainless pieces including sculpture, architectural and landscape features. Stainless domestic furniture and screening is becoming increasingly sought after and demand is largely surpassing supply. “The most common thing people say to me is that there’s just nothing out there, so they come for something unique,” Mr Le Roux said.

Creating one-off pieces to meet client specification means customer satisfaction and artistic flexibility. “This makes for a very rewarding profession,” said Le Roux.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Magazine - Issue 46, Winter 2009.