Logo


Stainless Steel: Sustainability and Life Cycle Costing

Humanity’s use of materials has progressed over the millennia from natural resources such as plants and stone to manufactured materials such as ceramics, metals and plastics with a corresponding increase in consumption of energy and materials – and increasing waste production. In parallel, the world’s consumers have grown exponentially from about 1 billion in 1800, to 7.6 billion in 2018 and a predicted 9.8 billion in 2050 – all demanding more infrastructure, facilities and resources to support the expectations of higher standards of living. This has led to an increasing realisation that green production, recycling, waste reduction and more efficient use of resources are essential.  

The green or sustainable credentials of stainless steels largely derive from their corrosion resistance and consequent long life, without the need for more than cleaning by rain washing or routine water and detergent cleaning. A good example is the Chrysler Building in New York which was built in 1930. It has only been washed twice in 1961 and 1995 using low impact detergents and yet it still retains its bright appearance partly because of good drainable design, although the inherently smooth surface from its manufacture was also a factor.

In comparison, the Eiffel Tower in Paris is painted every seven years using 60 tonnes of paint in a 15-month campaign with 25 painters and their consumable equipment. Closer to home, the constant repainting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge provides a similar contrast to the penetration of stainless steel into the building and construction industry without the ongoing labour required for repainting and maintenance of carbon steel structures. At a smaller scale, current practice minimises maintenance in more aggressive environments by processing the surface after fabrication as shown by the bright surface of the electropolished railings beside the Brisbane River.

It is difficult to compare any corrosion (and therefore lifetime) of stainless steel with carbon steel or zinc because of the different mode of attack, i.e. stainless steel pitting vs. the general loss of copper or zinc. However, a South African 20-year atmospheric corrosion study of lifetimes used carbon steel as a baseline of 1 and found that zinc, copper, aluminium and 316 stainless steel had lifetimes of 25, 90, 170 and >5000 years respectively. 

A secondary benefit of the long life of stainless steel is that the carbon dioxide emissions and the embodied energy required in manufacture are amortised over a much longer period of time. Raw CO2/kg metal and MegaJoule/kg metal data is given in Table 1 for these materials. Stainless steel is not the lowest or highest in absolute terms of carbon dioxide emissions or energy required per kilogram of stainless steel produced, but when its long life is considered, its performance on these criteria is outstanding.

Stainless steel does not use volatile organic solvents in its production or use and does not contain lead, mercury or other leachable heavy metals. Stainless steel is routinely used in pharmaceutical, food and beverage processing because of this chemical stability due to the hydrated chromium-oxide passive layer.

In a confirmation study of the stability of stainless steel with water, a 3.5-year testing program of the hot and cold water in 316 pipework of a Scottish hospital found the chromium content was less than 1% of the 0.5ppb permitted for potable water and nickel content (a trace food requirement) was less than 3% of the 0.2ppb permitted.Looking at environmental issues, Table 2 shows the results of a Scandinavian run-off study, commissioned because of concerns about heavy metals in environmentally sensitive areas. The zinc and copper values will obviously vary with time as the oxide layers form and leach. However, the passive film of stainless steel is substantially stable so that run-off can be used for potable water. A first flush discard system may also be used.


REUSE AND RECYCLING

In a well designed and executed project, stainless steel will not degrade and therefore it is probable that the process or application will become outdated while the stainless steel is still operational as a pipe or vessel or tank or other component. Such repurposing may be on the same site or elsewhere in the same industry, e.g. from milk to wine or water or fruit juices or for a radically different process. However, it is rare for repurposing to move from chemical to hygienic industries. Since stainless steel has an inherently high value, there are multiple examples of building refurbishment where the stainless steel has suffered mechanical damage or the layout must be changed. The William Penn Place (Pittsburgh) rejuvenation shown was after 50 years of use but did not require material replacement.

Recycling may occur as part of the life cycle, e.g. re-melting of scrap, or at end-of-life. Table 3 indicates significant variations depending on the material and its proposed use.  A study of the recycling at 14 European mills covered 18 products across two ferritic, two austenitic and one duplex grade, i.e. all but the small volume of specialised, niche grades of stainless steel. For each of the 18 products, the mean recycled stainless steel content was significantly greater than 65%. The six ferritic products were all above 90%, the nine austenitic products were between 68% and 78% while the three duplex product forms had between 69% and 76% recycled steel input.

While some mills show significantly higher percentages, a nominal 30-year life of stainless steel combined with the almost 6% compound growth of stainless steel use means there is insufficient scrap available now to substantially increase the recycled content from general use.

LIFE CYCLE COSTING AND SAVINGS FROM DURABILITY 

The minimal maintenance required on stainless steel buildings and structures is a significant direct cost saving, and increased availability of equipment is also important. For example, in a waste water processing plant, a decision to replace the wetted parts of a galvanised distributor with 316 and the notionally dry parts with 304, reduced maintenance costs by 92% and increased availability from 76% to 98%.

A civil engineering example is the Progresso Pier as shown below where the original pier with carbon steel reinforcement is in ruins after 32 years exporsure. A Nickel Institute funded comparison between the 1940s construction using 304 reinforcement (right pier) and a theoretical pier constructed with carbon steel showed that the carbon steel would have contributed to a 44% greater overall life cost until 2020. It also showed that using stainless steel reinforcement had between 20% and 80% less environmental impact. This low figure was due to the predominance of the mass of concrete compared to the 240 tonne of stainless steel.

GREEN AND SUSTAINABLE

Green projects minimise energy use and one option is to reduce solar loading by installing perforated sunscreens or fixed slats in locations where insolation is high and ambient temperatures are not extreme. Design of perforated sunscreens is a sophisticated but well understood process with standard programs available. There are multiple examples that use stainless steel because it does not require more than rain or simple water washing to retain a bright appearance.  

Finally, increasingly the “green” label means growing plants or other flora along stainless steel wires or supports either in public places as a visual softening or as a deciduous sun screen where stainless steel is required because of the lack of maintenance access to the supports once the vegetation is mature.

In summary, the durability of stainless steel provides substantial reductions in maintenance costs, supports a considerable recycling and reuse process, and provides control mechanisms for energy use.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 63, Spring 2018

Grand Reflections

Innovative Melbournian architecture has delivered a striking stainless steel feature in the city’s latest commercial mixed-use development.

Melbourne is setting the benchmark for world-class design with Collins Square now one of Australia’s largest CBD commercial precincts, covering an entire city block on Collins Street. Already home to a number of leading global corporations and the revitalised heritage-listed Southern Goods Shed, the $2.5 billion project will at completion comprise of five commercial towers and over 10,000sqm of retail space.

Black mirror finish stainless steel columns are the focal point in the lobbies and food precincts of Towers Two and Four of Collins Square. Soaring an impressive 10m to 12m tall at a diameter of 1300mm, the stainless steel-clad columns are complemented by floor-to-ceiling window glass and natural stone masonry walls and floors.

ASSDA Member Fabmetal Specialists supplied, fabricated and installed the grade 304 stainless steel circular columns, using its own patented column cladding system. Twenty stainless steel clad columns were installed across the two towers.

Fabmetal Specialists’ pre-fabricated the customised stainless steel column panels from 1.2mm sheet, and using a modular cladding method, installed the panels with a unique fixing system allowing no visible fixings or caulked joints.

Coloured stainless steel in a No. 8 mirror finish from the company’s TiVox range was used for the project and specified for its upmarket appeal and elegant aesthetics. In addition, stainless steel also offers durability and ease-of-use during construction.

Providing a true mirror reflection, the black chromatic colour (known as ‘Jet Mirror’ in the TiVox range) was achieved with a titanium film using a Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coating process. The coating technology offers a number of high chemical and technical features, including resistance to abrasion, scratches and corrosion, and overall minimal maintenance.

The end result is an innovatory, high quality stainless steel finish, bringing life to the surrounding activity of Melbourne’s place-to-be for business and leisure.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 62 Winter 2018.

 

Stainless Delivers Success

World-class infrastructure demands high quality products and long-term asset performance, both of which have been delivered through superior workmanship and the use of stainless steel.

Fuchs Lubricants Australasia opened its new $33 million purpose-built plant at Beresfield, New South Wales in February 2018. Operating in Australia since 1979, Fuchs’ expanded and relocated from its original factory in Newcastle due to strong business growth, now being the only major lubricants company to still manufacture products in the country.

Fuchs’ new plant is a blending operation, features two highly-developed laboratories and is three times larger than the old factory, producing 10,000 lubricant products for applications in industries ranging from mining and automotive to transport and food.

Stainless steel has been integral to the plant expansion project design and construction, being the material of choice in demanding environments that involve high heat and aggressive substances. Offering structural integrity and excellent corrosion resistance in high temperature applications, stainless steel is vital in the construction of tanks, pressure vessels, valves and pipework. 

The Myriad Connections

ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator TFG managed the 12-month stainless steel installation project. This included 9km of 304L grade AS1528 tube ranging from 25mm to 101mm in diameter, 1km of pipe, 33 tanks, and the specialised fabrication of a blending platform and pipe racks for a purpose-designed traffic flow system to move and process raw through to final product oils and lubricants around the 25,000m2 plant. The stainless steel materials were supplied by ASSDA Members Prochem Pipeline Products and Stirlings Australia.

After receiving the process design and piping and instrumentation diagrams from Fuchs, TFG’s Foodline Projects division mechanically designed and installed the pipe routes and pipe racks, increasing production capacity from 30 million to 90 million litres per year. Foodline Projects was integral in the success of the project through designing and incorporating 3D models of the pipe routes and racks which improved performance and efficiencies. Foodline Projects also completed the piping and installation of a custom loading arm.

TFG’s Austline Fabrications division designed and completed 3D drawings of the 35-tonne blending platform and pipe racks, and included 40 per cent extra capacity for future expansion. The 40-metre-long and three-tier platform was pre-fabricated in their Perth workshop, then flat packed, transported, assembled and installed on site.

 

Processing and Vessels

ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Furphy Engineering designed, fabricated and supplied 33 grade 304 stainless steel tanks ranging in size capacities of 16kL to 180kL, with material including processed plate supplied by ASSDA Member Vulcan Stainless.

The tank designs were produced by Furphy’s in-house engineering team, accommodating for both heat exchange and agitation requirements to ensure that Fuchs were confident in the ability of the tanks and vessels to perform the required manufacturing operations going forward, all of which were completed to AS1210.

The manufacture of the designs heavily utilised a range of innovative technologies in Furphy’s state-of-the-art workshop, including plasma welders, automated strake manufacturing and seam polishing systems, full undercover hydrotesting and QA/QC sign off, as well their own in-house laser welded cavity plate. While widely embraced in Europe, Furphy Engineering is currently the only manufacturer with laser welded cavity plate technology in Australia, a key part of the heat exchange design on this project.

The heat exchange loading on the pressure vessels was high given the materials and size of the equipment, and the laser welded cavity plate system enabled additional heat exchange surfaces to be included on the cones, increasing the active thermal exchange area and optimising the efficiency of the system to ensure effective operation.


The successful collaboration of TFG Group and Furphy Engineering resulted in the project being completed on time and within budget, each using their in-house stainless steel design and technical expertise to deliver a world-class facility supporting Fuchs’ continued expansion and investment in the Australian lubricants market.

  


This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 62 Winter 2018.

Stainless Provides Strength and Style

Taking pride of place within Perth’s Optus Stadium Park is the Arbour featuring a stainless steel cable net canopy delivered by ASSDA Member Structural Dynamics.

The 60,000-capacity arena is the latest major development to hit Western Australia’s capital, boasting a world-class multi-purpose venue that combines innovative design with community infrastructure.

The impressive Arbour stands 10m tall and 20m wide, and stretches 450m around the south side of the Stadium. It connects a new six-platform railway station to the Swan River, over which the Matagarup Bridge is currently being constructed to provide pedestrian access to East Perth.

Over a thousand stainless steel cables were installed on the 43 arches that make up the Arbour to create a tensile structure in the form of a canopy. Suspended on the structure using bespoke fittings are 3,076 bronzed artwork panels reflecting Whadjuk and Noongar stories. 

Stadium Park was constructed on wetlands with cultural heritage significance to the Indigenous community, and its rich Aboriginal history was the inspiration behind the Arbour’s design.

More than 13 tonnes of grade 316 stainless steel was used, including in excess of 14km of 16mm and 8mm hammaTM X 1x19 wire rope supplied by ASSDA Member Arcus Wire Group, 20,000 bespoke fittings and over 34,000 screws.

Stainless steel was specified for the cable net canopy for its strength and durability to withstand the harsh Western Australian weather conditions, including powerful coastal winds driven from the Indian Ocean. The 16mm edge cables on the structure were tensioned to forces up to 52kN, with the 8mm longitudinal and transversal cables tensioned up to maximum of 11kN.

In addition, the high quality and aesthetical value of stainless steel complemented the Arbour’s design in creating an eye-catching structure for patrons.

Structural Dynamics provided value engineering and practical advice to the project engineer Maffeis Engineering and project architect Hassell on how to best integrate stainless steel tensile systems into the design.

Their in-house team of engineers used structural and finite element analysis as components of the detailed analysis and modelling on how the cable design would behave and interact within a tensile architecture installation.

Structural Dynamics also worked with engineering firm Partridge to undertake the final design, review, slip testing of the bespoke cable clamps and final sign off for the project. Each of the eight different types of cable edge clamps were sent to the National Association of Testing Authorities’ (NATA) accredited laboratory for slip testing under wet and dry conditions to ensure their strength and adequacy.

The cable fittings were designed to the AS 1170 series: Structural Design Action, AS 4100: Steel Structures and AS 2759: Steel Wire Rope – Use, Operation and Maintenance.

Structural Dynamics’ Project Manager Shaun Salmon explained the logistics of the assembly of the Arbour whilst maintaining safe and continued access to the Stadium for more than 1,000 workers. ‘It was important during the installation process that our team of skilled and qualified tradesmen and riggers followed the approved construction sequencing and quality management system processes whilst not impeding access to the Stadium from the primary entry point on the southern concourse. Both temporary and permanent bracing measures were used throughout construction along with sequential tightening and regular cable tension testing to achieve the design intent drape and sag of the cable net canopy and not applying adverse force to any single point on the structure.’

Structural Dynamics’ collaboration with the multiple stakeholders involved in the Arbour design and construction ensured the successful delivery of a custom-designed stainless steel cable net canopy providing the flexibility, tensile strength and structural performance required.  

Optus Stadium officially opened on 21 January 2018 and is the new home game venue of local Australian Football League teams Fremantle Football Club and the West Coast Eagles.

 

        

 

Arbour photos courtesy of Structural Dynamics. Photography by Abigail Harman.

Aerial photo of Optus Stadium Park courtesy of MakMax.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine #61.

Stainless Sustains Intricate Brick Facade

Stainless steel is playing a vital role in the structural integrity of a new state-of-the-art library at one of Brisbane’s most prestigious boys’ school.

The Centenary Library at Anglican Church Grammar School was designed by Brand + Slater Architects, and the ambitious project was part of the school’s master plan to provide a technology-rich, world-class centre for its 1800 students. Comprising four levels, the tertiary-inspired building features an extensive range of learning spaces including a 250-seat lecture theatre, teaching and meeting rooms and over 80 individual study areas.

The library stands 23.5m tall on a heritage-listed part of the school campus. Paying homage to the school’s history whilst appealing to a contemporary aesthetic, the library exterior features an intricate brick façade backed by a stainless steel support and restraint system custom-designed and manufactured by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator, Ancon.

Grade 304 stainless steel was used and specified for its longevity, durability and performance properties to meet the building’s 50+ year design life.

Ancon’s specialist knowledge, manufacturing agility and project management service proved invaluable to the contractor when building the detailed façade of the decorative arches and corbelled brickwork with all structural steelwork now unseen.

Shelf Angle Brick Support

Ancon masonry support systems enabled the large-scale brick cladding installation on this impressive education facility to be completed to the highest safety standards, while showcasing its architectural brickwork features.

Ancon’s MDC and CFA continuous shelf angle support systems carry the intricate brick façade, consisting of freestanding archways and projected brickwork. The MDC stainless steel angles are fixed to the reinforced concrete frame, span a 40mm cavity, and create a horizontal shelf to provide the necessary support for up to 3 metres of brickwork.

Cast-In Channel

Ancon’s 30/20 cast-in horizontal channels were used to provide the fixing between the concrete frame and shelf angles. The channel enabled the necessary horizontal adjustment for the installer, and its compact size eliminated the issue of potential clashes with the reinforcement steel in floor slabs.

Nail holes aided the fixing of channels to timber framework and an infill prevented the ingress of concrete during casting. Cast-in fixings do not generate expansive forces in concrete. It can therefore be used at close centres and often used closer to the edges than expansion fittings.

Wall Ties and Restraint Fixings

To restrain the distinctive brickwork details to the reinforced concrete structure, stainless steel L-shaped SPB and SDB frame cramps were fixed into the reinforced concrete using 6mm FBN expansion bolts.

FBN single expansion bolts are a cost-effective anchor and fix into a hole similar to the diameter of the bolt. This allows the hole to be drilled through the hole in the item to be fixed.

Technical Expertise

As part of Ancon’s free design service, plans were produced illustrating the location and reference of all fixings required. Ancon’s early engagement with the project’s structural engineers, Bligh Tanner, enabled a workable and cost-effective design to be agreed upon prior to the build of the complex masonry features. Sharing their expertise with the clients at this stage of the project meant installation difficulties, site delays and unnecessary remedial measures were avoided.

  

 

Centenary Library photo (above); Copyright: Christopher Frederick Jones.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine #61.

Thermal Expansion and Design of Stainless Steel Fabrications

Either while being welded or glistening in the summer sun, the three major families of stainless steel behave differently to each other, carbon steels, aluminium and copper alloys because, as shown in the bar chart, the coefficient of thermal expansion and conductivity - and their ratio - varies.  

While alloys of copper and aluminium have equal or higher coefficients of expansion than austenitic stainless steels, it is the unique combination of high thermal expansion and low thermal conductivity that necessitates special precautions and procedures in the design and fabrication of the most commonly used 304/304L and 316/316L grades of austenitic stainless steel in structures and vessels. Information on handling other families of stainless steels is given in ASSDA’s Australian Stainless Reference Manual.

Distortion during welding

Failure to address thermal expansion and conductivity can result in severe distortion during welding, as differential expansion causes the heat generated by the welding process to remain localised, causing steep temperature gradients  and high localised stresses or surface distortion. Standard welding procedures should be adopted to minimise heat build-up in the weld zone. These include using minimum amperage consistent with good weld quality and controlling interpass temperatures using guidelines provided in Table 5.10 of AS/NZS 1554.6. Clamping jigs with copper or aluminium backing bars as heat sinks on the welds may also be feasible. Other precautions to minimise distortion during welding include efficient jigging or the use of an ends and middle sequence of closely spaced tack welds rather than a straight run. The wrinkled guttering below illustrates the shrinkage problems of poorly planned welding.

The Design Manual for Structural Stainless Steel2 indicates that austenitic stainless steels suffer from the same types of distortion during welding as carbon steel, but the higher coefficient of expansion (17 μm/m°C versus 12 μm/m°C for carbon steel) and the lower thermal conductivity (approximately 30% of carbon steel) increase distortion of austenitic stainless steel weldments. Duplexes are between carbon and austenitic stainless steels in thermal expansion coefficient, but the thermal conductivity is similar to austenitics so heat control is still important. Ferritic stainless steels have similar thermal welding properties to carbon steel but require more skilled welders for metallurgical reasons.

The Design Manual also suggests that a number of additional actions can be considered by both the designer and the fabricator to minimise welding distortion and mismatches such as illustrated in the manifold. These include designing with symmetrical joints, designing to accommodate wider dimensional tolerance, reducing cross-sectional area of welds in thick sections (e.g. replacing Single ‘V’ preparation by Double ‘V’ or Double ‘U’), ensuring that good fit-up and alignment are obtained prior to welding, and using balanced welding and appropriate sequences such as ‘backstepping’ and ‘block’ sequences.

Expansion problems after installation

Another problem arising from the high coefficient of expansion of austenitic stainless steels compared to plywood is differential expansion – although water uptake may also be an issue.  In the illustrated case of stainless steel bonded to plywood by adhesive, a maximum length of 3m is recommended to avoid failure of the adhesive bond during thermal cycling. 

Another problem is when panels (even quite small ones) are in full sun and do not have expansion room for the movement since they were installed at (say) 20°C to the 40°C day plus 30°C overheated metal.

In architectural applications with long runs such as profiled roofing, expansion clips should be used to permit thermal movement without localised buckling and failures. As with other metal roofing and cladding systems with runs 3-9m or longer, there are limits to the maximum width of formed profile for the thickness of stainless sheet used. The formed profile must have sufficient columnar rigidity and strength to transform thermal expansion stresses into sliding movement in the expansion clips. For longer runs, expansion joints should be provided every 7-12m, with clearances of 6mm at vertical faces and 12mm where a gutter end abuts a wall. The publication Stainless Steel in Architecture, Building and Construction - Guidelines for Roofs, Floors and Handrails3 illustrates roofing fixtures for roll-formed profiles and the traditional standing seam and batten roll types. In contrast, ferritic guttering and roofing have similar properties to carbon steels with about 62% of the expansion of an austenitic structure.

In stainless steel piping systems, thermal expansion stresses can cause rupture of the support points, buckling of the pipe, or breakage of equipment connected to the piping if the changes in dimensions are not absorbed by expansion joints or flexibility of the piping installation. The Piping Manual for Stainless Steel Pipes for Buildings4 provides a guide to assessing thermal stresses and reactions at supports and anchor points, as well as a guide to determining if the flexibility of piping can absorb its expansion. The latter involves an empirical formula which requires that the piping anchor points are at the pipe’s ends, the piping system has no branches, and there are no changes along the length of the pipe (e.g. diameter, thickness, material quality, temperature, etc.). If the flexibility cannot absorb the thermal expansion displacement, then expansion joints, flexible joints or ball joints should be used (after a computer stress analysis of the joint).

Conclusion

Thermal expansion and conductivity are critical determinants when designing and fabricating austenitic stainless steel products and are still important with duplex stainless steels. Early consideration of these elements will ensure a better and longer-lasting product, both aesthetically and structurally.

 

 

REFERENCES

  1. ASSDA’s Australian Stainless Reference Manual, see also:

    Avery, R.E. & Tuthill, A.H. (1992) Guidelines for the Welded Fabrication of Nickel-Containing Stainless Steels for Corrosion-Resistant Services (NI 11 007)

    IMOA’s Guidelines for the Welded Fabrication of Duplex Stainless Steels, 3rd Edition (2014)

  2. Design Manual for Structural Stainless Steel, 4th Edition (2017): www.steel-stainless.org/designmanual 

  3. Cochrane, D.J. (1994) Stainless Steel in Architecture, Building and Construction - Guidelines for Roofs, Floors and Handrails (NI 11 013)

  4. Nickel Institute and Japan Stainless Steel Association (1987) Piping Manual for Stainless Steel Pipes for Buildings (NI 12 008)

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine #61.

 

Collaboration Brings Results

The new facility in Merrifield Estate on Melbourne's outer northern fringe will allow Dulux to step into the next generation of paint manufacturing technology and innovation. Dulux's aim was to design and construct a state-of-the-art facility, so using quality products was essential to achieve this. Stainless steel in 300 series grades was an integral part of the project design, including storage vessels and over 10,000m of food grade, quality tube complying with AS1528.

CONCEPT STAGE

In 2015, Dulux announced its decision to construct the new state-of-the-art, highly automated paint factory at an investment of $165m.

The Dulux plant, the first of its kind, is approximately 20,000m², built on 17 hectares of land and is due for completion towards the end of 2017. For a project of this large scale, it was crucial that a strong collaborative relationship was set up between Dulux and its chosen suppliers. In relation to the tubing, supply flexibility, reliability and quality was a key requirement and ASSDA Sponsor Prochem Pipeline Products stepped up to the mark and was the successful tenderer. At the outset the total amount of tube was unclear and would only become apparent as the building process unfolded.

Working together with the client, Prochem executed a strategy to provide more than 10,000 metres of stainless steel tube over a nine-month period to complete the project.

Whilst the original engineering design specified pharmaceutical standard ASME BPE, Prochem worked with the client and design team to have this changed to AS1528 due to its suitability for the application and also due to availability of this stainless steel standard compliant product in the Australian market.

THE DESIGN

The design included a number of large and small storage vessels which were fabricated locally and supplied by ASSDA Members and Accredited Fabricators A&G Engineering and J Furphy & Sons. 

A major part of the design involved the supply and fabrication of the AS1528 tubing and included stainless steel fitting and flanges. The fabrication work was contracted to ASSDA member John Beever Australia who worked closely with Prochem to ensure a continuous supply of materials was made available as required. 

The project consumed over 10,000 metres of AS1528 tubular products in a size range from ½” to 8” in outside diameter with the bulk being 2”, 3” and 4”. The fittings used in the project included BSM fittings, tri-clover ferrules and clamps and also a significant amount of ANSI flanges which were all supplied by Prochem and fabricated by John Beever. The overall project quantities were significant and as such a large degree of co-ordination and co-operation was required with numerous manufacturers to meet the project schedule. 

An innovative technique was designed to match the tri-clover ferrules and clamps to the tube and machinery to enable a correct fit-out at site. 

With good co-operation and education, the project also allowed the flexibility to use both stainless steel grades 304 and 316 if availability became an issue. 

With an innovative and co-operative approach involving many ASSDA members, this project was completed on time and within budget, and will support the Dulux paints business for decades to come.

 

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 60 (Summer 2017/18).

Art Symbolises Community

You return home after a long journey. Imagine being greeted by a beautiful stainless steel sculpture surrounded by landscaped gardens on your return. One ASSDA Member has used stainless steel to symbolise everything we love about our communities: Security, comfort and home.

It’s easy to think of stainless steel in relation to tubes, panels and rolls in the construction industry, but Brisbane-based ASSDA member, Concept Stainless Design, has taken the product and crafted it into stunningly beautiful sculptures for developers Villa World at their new subdivision on the northern Gold Coast.

Located 70km south of Brisbane, Arundel Springs will provide 386 dwellings in a family-friendly environment adjacent to the Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area and close to Griffith University and light rail services.

Villa World provided the concept design to reflect the organic growth of nature and symbolise the new families and children who will grow in the new suburb. 

The team at Concept Stainless Design adapted the design to match the size of available grade 316 stainless steel sheets. A small curve of 5mm radius was provided at the tip of the fronds to avoid sharp edges. Another small curve of 9mm was used at the gully between fronds to achieve a flawless polished finish.

The sculptures have been designed to withstand winds of up to 160km per hour, an important feature given Arundel Spring’s proximity to the ocean. An internal frame was built to secure the fronds in position, as well as a horizontal base beam hidden within the sculpture and two legs extending down from the base beam into a large buried concrete block. The structural design certification was completed by Concept Stainless Design’s in-house engineer.

The face of each sculpture was manufactured from grade 316 stainless steel sheet supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Dalsteel Metals.

The sculpture faces are joined along the centre line with an invisible polished butt weld, executed by Concept Stainless Design’s highly skilled tradesman at their Brisbane workshop. The faces were bonded to marine ply and “U” stiffeners were formed from grade 316 stainless steel strips then glued and screwed in. The second face was then placed over the stiffeners, glued and screwed to the ply-bonded face.

The entire project took eight weeks to construct and transported to their new home at Arundel Springs. The sculptures were secured in place by concrete blocks and steel bolts provided by Villa World’s civil contractor in under two hours.

Stainless steel was chosen for the sculptures because of its beautiful, smooth and highly polished finish, and for its low-maintenance properties. Surrounded by clear skies, new vegetation and lush grass, the sculptures welcome residents and visitors alike.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 60 (Summer 2017/18).

The Family of Duplex Stainless Steels

The use of duplex stainless steels has grown globally based on their strength, corrosion resistance and a range of properties that improve equipment life.

The name duplex is sometimes used to describe Alloy 2205 (UNS S31803 or UNS S32205), however duplex is a family of alloys ranging from lean duplex and standard duplex to super duplex stainless steel.

HISTORY

Duplex stainless steel was first developed in France and Sweden in the 1930’s, with the early grades becoming a forerunner for AISI 329, but a lack of control over the chemistry and lack of adequate welding products and techniques impeded development of the product.

Cast versions eventually became available and were subsequently used successfully in many industries where some corrosion, wear and strength were required.  

Areas such as pump components saw a raft of duplex grades developed in standard and super duplex. It should be noted that further work or welding was not required with these particular forms.

In the 1970’s Swedish manufacturers produced and marketed what could be described as a lean duplex called 3RE60 (UNS S31500) with lower chromium, nickel and nitrogen than grade 2205.

3RE60 had success with tubing and displayed excellent resistance in replacing 304 and 316 tubes that had previously failed due to chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking.  The use of 3RE60 in vessels was less successful due to issues such as inter-granular corrosion (IGC) from early welding techniques. The issue was not with the grade but with fabrication, as well as the melting technique to enable control of alloying elements to provide a consistent structure and provide predictable strength and corrosion control.

In the late 1970’s grade 2205 arrived in the market, initially as a tube, then in flat-rolled and other products. The point-of-difference from earlier attempts was well-documented welding technique control, which lead to the increased usage of duplex.

The grades displayed higher strength than standard austenitic grades, excellent resistance to stress corrosion cracking and improved pitting resistance. The other driver was the rising price of nickel, which added a commercial advantage over using a lower nickel duplex product.

GRADES OF DUPLEX

The grades are listed in three groups; standard, lean and super.

The major difference between each grade is corrosion resistance.  This is based on a Pitting Equivalent Number: 

(PREN) = %Cr + 3.3 x %Mo + 16 x %N.

This is a comparative rating that relates to the critical pitting and crevice corrosion temperatures in hi chloride environments (CPT and CCT respectively).

DUPLEX TYPE PREN
Standard Approximately 35
Lean 25-30
Duplex Above 40

USES OF DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS

Stress corrosion cracking (SCC) is a form of corrosion that occurs with a particular combination of factors:

  • Tensile stress;
  • Corrosive environment; 
  • Sufficiently high temperatures: Normally above 60°C but can occur at lower temperatures (around 30°C in specific environments, notably unwashed atmospheric exposures above indoor chlorinated swimming pools). 

Unfortunately, the standard austenitic steels like 304 (1.4301) and 316 (1.4401) are the most susceptible to SCC. The following materials are much less prone to SCC:

  • Ferritic stainless steels;
  • Duplex stainless steels;
  • High nickel austenitic stainless steels;

 The resistence to SCC makes duplex stainless steels suitable for many processes operating at higher temperatures. Examples of the successful use of duplex stainless steel are hot water tanks, brewing tanks and thermal desalination vessels.

WHERE CARE IS REQUIRED WITH DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS

Duplex stainless steels can also form a number of unwanted phases if steel is not given the correct processing, notably in heat treatment. Phases like sigma phase leads to embrittlement, meaning the loss of impact toughness, but sigma phase also reduces corrosion resistance.

The formation of sigma phase is most likely to occur when the cooling rate during manufacture or welding is not fast enough. The more highly alloyed the steel, the higher the probability of sigma phase formation. Therefore, super duplex stainless steels are most prone to this problem. Another form of embrittlement occurs above 475°C, and it can still form at temperatures as low as 300°C. This leads to the design limitations on the maximum service temperature for duplex stainless steels.

SUMMARY: DUPLEX CHARACTERISTICS

Compared to the austenitic and ferritic stainless steels, duplex can give:

  • Up to double the design strength;
  • Good corrosion resistance depending on the level required;
  • Good toughness down to -50°C;
  • Excellent resistance to stress corrosion cracking;
  • Welding in thin and thick sections with care;
  • Additional effort required due to high mechanical strength;
  • Up to 300°C maximum in service.

  

Author: Trent Mackenzie is a metallurgist with more than 35 years experience in the industry and General Manager of ASSDA.

Photos courtesy of Outokumpu.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 60 (Summer 2017/18).

Wynyard Walk: Where Beauty Meets Function

New infrastructure in the heart of Sydney is set to transform the busy transport hub and provide a stylish new gateway to the Barangaroo development.

21 June 2017

A growing population in Australia's most populous city calls for innovative design, so when the NSW State Government commissioned construction of the Wynyard Walk, ASSDA Sponsor and Accredited Fabricator Stoddart stepped up to the challenge.

The Wynyard Walk forms one of several solutions to break congestion in the Sydney CBD, allowing pedestrians to move from the Wynyard transport hub to the new development at Barangaroo waterfront in six minutes, avoiding steep hills, busy intersections and inclement weather events.

With an estimated 75,000 commuters using the busy hub every day, traffic flow is expected to increase to 110,000 over the next seven years in what is traditionally Sydney's third busiest station.

The tunnel will become the main arterial connection between Barangaroo and the city's transport network and provides vital infrastructure into the future.

THE PROJECT

Alongside CPB Contractors, Stoddart incorporated over 1,600m2 of perforated and solid stainless steel sheeting fabricated into ceiling and fascia pannelling installed in the Clarence Street entrance facade and the tunnel lining. The new Clarance Street entry point is a multi-level portal descending to Wynyard Station via escalators and elevators.

ASSDA Sponsor Austral Wright Metals supplied the project with over 50 tonnes of 445M2 grade stainless steel sheet.

A major consideration for the design team was to ensure aesthetic value for commuters and visitors alike.

THE DESIGN

Inspired by nature and Sydney region geology, the design concept for Wynyard Station focused on flow, with all materials selected to create a sense of motion as part of a unified architectural expression.

The intricate patterns were all designed and executed within Stoddart's factory in Karawatha, Brisbane. The design work was completed wholly on CAD and Solidworks to ensure each panel fitted exactly into the patter and alongside adjacent panels. The Brisbane facility completed all aspects on the manufacture.

The external facade from Clarence Street to Wynyard Station was completed using perforated metal panels on the new access area via escalators and elevators down to the station several levels below.

The internal fitout, including the ceilings, walls and bulkheads, were all constructed from perforated stainless steel as well as solid stainless steel panels.

The complicated ceiling pattern proved challenging, but not insurmountable, resulting in a beautiful floating effect beckoning commuters along.

The project signalled the completion of Stage One of a $160 million upgrade to Wynyard Station.

 THE OUTCOME

The Kent Street level incorporates an extraordinary twenty-metre digital media screen which showcases flowing images of time, travel and places from all over Sydney throughout history, providing commuters with a far more entertaining commute than traditional toilet-block-tiled underground tunnels.

For tens of thousands of commuters who daily traverse the tunnel, Wynyard Walk is a time and energy saving alternative to the street level traffic roulette they once faced.

The added bonus is the stunning, aesthetically pleasing surrounds, the shiny panels and beautiful architecture, all of which was made possible by the use of stainless steel.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 59 (Winter 2017).

Disc Dryers Get a Makeover

Wave Discs Revolutionises Traditional Drying Process

In the search to find a more efficient way of manufacturing industrial disc dryers for the meat-rendering industry, Melbourne-based engineering company Pinches Group has developed a new technology called Wave Disc.

THE CHALLENGE

Traditional rotary discs comprise of a series of stainless steel discs, welded back-to-back and attached to a centre pipe. Together, the pipe and discs make up the shaft, which operates under steam pressure and rotates within a stainless steel shell.

Employed throughout the world in a wide range of industries, disc dryers are commonly used to dry materials such as coal, sand, sludge, paper pulp and animal waste.

There are significant inefficiencies in the manufacturing of disc dryers:

  • Discs are cut from industry standard rectangular plate, with the centres and corners of the donor material often wasted;
  • Flat discs rely on pressure-welded pins for structural support. A typical two-metre diameter disc requires ninety-six support pins pressure welded with full penetration on both sides of the disc. Pressure welds are not only labour intensive, but due to the proximity of discs with the drum, they are difficult to repair once the dryer is in operation.

ASSDA Member Pinches Group began investigating designs that could overcome the need for support pins and reduce raw materials waste. Rather than cutting the discs, Pinches discovered that using specific rectangular sections of material discs could be formed through a series of folds along one edge of the plate. This enable all supplied materials to be used in the formulation of the disc.

BENEFITS

Because folds occur consistently and consecutively around the disc, the folds reinforce the structure of the discs and eliminate the need for added support.

Removing the pins not only improves manufacturing time, it eliminates the chance of weld failure around the support pins, which can cause equipment faults in traditional disc dryers.

Additionally, the natural waves of the discs provide increased agitation to drying material, which can improve evaporation rates.

One design flaw with flat discs is a tendency for product to stick and build up between discs. With Wave Disc, the waves in the disc massage the product and keep it moving within the drum, preventing build up and ensuring that all raw materials are exposed to heat.

Wave Disc also provides greater surface area. Any indirect drying processes (where the heat source doesn't make direct contact with the product) is reliant on the surface area to transfer heat.

With the addition of the folds, Wave Disc provides a surface area at least thirteen per cent larger that conventional discs within the same footprint. This means that existing disc dryers can replace their current shaft with a Wave Disc shaft and increase the capacity of the dryer.

AWARD WINNING DESIGN

In 2012, the Wave Disc concept received top level funding from the Australian Federal Government's Commercialisation Australia program.

In 2014, the first Wave Disc unit was installed at animal by-product processor, Australian Tallow, in Brooklyn, Victoria. Since then, further units have been exported to by-product processors in New Zealand.

As Australia's leading supplier of processing equipment to the animal rendering industry, Pinches Group developed Wave Disc to overcome specific inefficiencies within the meat processing industry.

Now that this innovative new technology has been tested and proven in the rendering industry, Pinches has plans to expand their focus to heating and cooling processing technologies in the food and agricultural sector.

Pinches Group own and operate a testing facility in Melbourne which incorporates an operational Wave Disc pilot unit used by prospective clients and educational institutions for running trials on a range of raw materials.

Among other metrics, the pilot units can provide clients with evaporation rates and in-an-out moisture levels for specific products.

PATENT

The Wave Disc design is protected by Provisional Patent Number 593495.

This article in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 59 (Winter 2017).

K-TIG: A Quantum Leap for Welding

Innovation Design Set to Transform the Industry

For the past six decades, the welding process has only been tweaked and modified, but one Adelaide company has developed a new process set to save millions of dollars and forever change the way welds are performed.

DEVELOPMENT

In 2000, Dr Laurie Jarvis and his associates at CSIRO Adelaide studied the effect of surface tension within an active weld. It was noted that under certain conditions, namely narrow gaps and increased process conditions, that far greater speeds could be obtained when welding clean materials.

The team developed a brand new process involving a high speed, single pass, full penetration welding technology that significantly reduces the need for wire or edge bevelling and is not required where autogenous welds are acceptable.

The result is a flawless finish at a speed up to 100 times faster than TIG welding in materials up to 16mm in thickness.

By definition, clean materials include stainless steels, nickel alloys, titanium and zirconium. Other materials with high impurities (such as alloy steels) cause the weld arc to become unstable and the process becomes unmanageable.

NEXT STEP

With Dr Jarvis as technical leader, a group of experienced materials experts formed K-TIG. Today K-TIG has progressed into many world markets with the system, winning a number of awards along the way.

The K-TIG process involves a specially controlled high current arc which opens a full penetration keyhole in the joint between the two welding surfaces.

Featuring extremely high stability and operating over a wide range of welding currents, K-TIG looks set to become the next big thing in fabrication.

Since its inception, K-TIG has achieved enormous growth in the market, with the technology being exported to eighteen countries. Customers using stainless steels are typiclaly saving 90% on production costs.

THE PROCESS 

The process ideally suits non-corrosive and exotic materials with a thickness range of 3mm to 16mm for single pass welding, however thicker metals can be welded by multiple passes.

K-TIG easily handles the traditionally difficult material, super duplex.

As for energy consumption, K-TIG consumes as little as 5% of the energy and gas consumed by TIG/GTAW for the same weld, dramatically reducing its carbon footprint.

A typical K-TIG weld is performed in a fraction of the time of a conventional weld, in a single full-penetration pass using just one welding gas.

The resulting weld is with multiple fusion lines, dramatically reducing the potential for inclusions, porosity and other defects typical of many welding processes.

The K-TIG system can monitor and control the addition of wire to a weld if that is desirable.

This article in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 59 (Winter 2017).

Stainless Steel Shines in Perth's Elizabeth Quay

The successful collaboration of ASSDA members and their expertise in the extensive use of stainless steel has been integral to bringing Perth’s iconic and most complex bridge to life.

The Elizabeth Quay Pedestrian Bridge was constructed by DASSH, a joint venture between Decmil, Structural Systems and Hawkins Civil, and is a key feature of the Elizabeth Quay mixed-use development project core to revitalising Perth’s CBD.

Designed and engineered by Arup, the cable-stayed suspension bridge features a leaning double arch, is 22m high, 5m wide and is suspended over the inlet of the Swan River with a clearance of 5.2m from the water. The 110m long meandering pedestrian and cyclist bridge allows for continuous movement around the Quay, connecting the new promenades, an island and ferry terminal.

Stainless steel reinforcement plays a vital structural role in the bridge, with ASSDA Sponsor Valbruna Australia supplying approximately 89 tonnes of 2304 grade Reval® in 12, 20, 25 and 32mm reinforcement bar for the three concrete river piers. The reinforcement bar diameters originally specified were not available locally and so the design was modified to accommodate what was ex-stock in Australia to minimise construction downtime.

Installed exclusively in the splash zones of the concrete piers, stainless steel reinforcement was specified to resist corrosion attack and prevent concrete spalling. In addition, the overall mass of the concrete piers had to be minimised in order to support and achieve the sleek, sinuous design of the almost 200 tonne arches.

Reduction in concrete mass decreases the overall protection of the installed reinforcement bar, resulting in stainless steel as the material of choice to achieve the slimmer river piers and meet the demands of the architectural design.

During the grade selection process, grade 2304 lean duplex stainless steel was also deemed the most cost effective option to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and deliver the expected 100-year service life of the structure.

Visually, stainless steel is also featured in the key design elements of the bridge, including the handrails, balustrades, support posts, mesh barriers, kerbing, fascia panels and kick rail stations. Local jarrah timber decking and decorative feature lighting was used to complete the durable and low-maintenance walk and cycle way.

ASSDA Member Stirlings Australia supplied over 60 tonnes of stainless steel for the bridge project, including 111 wire mesh panels, over 300m of 50.8mm x 3mm round tube in a 320 grit finish to support the mesh panels, welded pipe for the handrails and balustrades, and 2205 and 316/316L grade plate in 6mm and 10mm. An additional 52 tonnes of 316/316L and 8 tonnes of 2205 grade stainless steel plate was supplied and laser cut in-house by Stirlings Australia using their 6000mm x 2000mm laser cutting machine for large-format materials.

Furthermore, Stirlings Australia supplied 7 tonnes of stainless steel channel and angle bar for the architectural elements and structural sections of the quay’s new ferry terminal.

ASSDA Sponsor Vulcan Stainless also supplied the project with over 50 tonnes of laser cut 2205, 316 and 316L grade stainless steel. Polished 2205 grade 3mm stainless steel plate was supplied via its Sydney service centre, cutting approximately 10 tonnes of coil to length, which was then laser cut to size and polished to the specified No. 4 finish prior to delivery. Upright and support pieces for the balustrading were also laser cut and supplied from Vulcan Stainless’ Sydney and Perth service centres using 316 grade 12mm and 316L grade 16mm stainless steel plate.

The 25mm thick pieces were cut using Vulcan Stainless’ in-house 8kw Trumpf Laser, the only machine in Western Australia able to laser cut at this thickness including holes.

Both Stirlings Australia and Vulcan Stainless also supplied laser cut 316/316L grade stainless steel plate for the planter beds that formed part of the landscaping around the Elizabeth Quay precinct.

ASSDA Member Unifab Welding was contracted to fabricate and install over 60 tonnes of stainless steel for the visual elements of the pedestrian bridge as supplied by Stirlings Australia and Vulcan Stainless.

Over 60 different individual balustrade sections each at 1800mm tall were fabricated to allow for the shape and movement of the bridge. Manufactured in compliance with AS/NZS 3992 and ASME 9, Unifab Welding used gas manual arc welding (GMAW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) techniques to fabricate the various sections.

To meet strict deadlines, all kerbing pieces were welded together using 8mm stainless steel flat bar to replicate the originally specified 300x100x8mm rectangular hollow sections (RHS), a product that was not locally available off-the-shelf. The kerbing pieces were also polished back to a 320 grit and No. 4 finish.

Aside from the wire mesh, all stainless steel components for the bridge were polished to Ra<0.5 and then electropolished prior to installation to provide maximum corrosion resistance in the salt-water environment.

A key architectural feature of Elizabeth Quay, the pedestrian footbridge was opened to the public in January 2016. It exudes in quality, aesthetic appeal and durability with its extensive use of stainless steel, and is certain to provide the structural and material performance required to stand the test of time.

Offering 360-degree views, the bridge is an exciting addition to Perth’s CBD and provides increased opportunity for locals and tourists to interact with the Swan River and reinvigorated waterfront destination.

This article in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 58 (Summer 2016/17).

Innovative Urban Design

Stunning stainless steel creations by ASSDA Member Draffin Street Furniture have delivered the contemporary edge required by the rising urban metropolis of Ringwood, Victoria.

Working in collaboration with a team of urban architects and designers, Draffin Street Furniture crafted a suite of custom urban street furniture for the Eastland Shopping Centre in Ringwood.

The Eastland Shopping Centre is located within a major transport network and services a large area of Melbourne’s eastern growth corridor. The integration of sustainable development within Ringwood is creating a sought after urban destination with a contemporary lifestyle. As such, its development is a consciously considered endeavour that is geared to meet the specific needs of its growing population.

Funded by Maroondah City Council, landscape architectural firm Urban Initiatives (UI) was commissioned to generate a design vocabulary that would establish a consistent suite of street furniture and treatments that relate to the proposed scale and vision for Ringwood. UI approached industrial furniture designer Andrew Gibbs to design a distinctive suite of street furniture and urban infrastructure that would meet his vision.

Australian Native Landscapes (ANL) who was commissioned by UI to construct the project, including acquiring and installing the furniture elements for the Ringwood development, contacted Draffin Street Furniture to bring Andrew’s design concepts to life.

Draffin Street Furniture worked in collaboration with Andrew to develop his unique furniture designs and generate physical manifestations that met the design brief. Draffin was able to produce an amazing result within a difficult timeframe, constructing an innovative and unique collection of urban infrastructure from his very complex and technical designs.

Comprised of a series of seat benches, both backed and backless, bicycle racks, tree surrounds and waste receptacle surrounds, the Ringwood furniture suite is constructed primarily of grade 316 stainless steel.

Using stainless steel plate ranging from 3mm to 6mm thick and 100x10mm flat bar supplied by ASSDA Sponsors Dalsteel Metals and Outokumpu, Draffin Street Furniture fabricated the custom-made furniture suite and performed the mechanical finishing in-house to Ra<0.5. The furniture was further pickled, passivated and electropolished by ASSDA Member MME Surface Finishing to ensure maximum protection against corrosion in a dense metropolis area.

Draffin Street Furniture’s Director Ian Draffin said the vast majority of street furniture and other public urban infrastructure going into the Melbourne CBD area is now trending towards stainless steel as a default specification. While there is a high capital cost initially, the benefits of using stainless steel is unmatched in its material performance and reduction in ongoing maintenance and life-cycle costs.

Ensuring sleek, modern aesthetics as well as durability, the choice of stainless steel ensures innovative urban infrastructure will remain functional and attractive for years to come.

This is an abridged version of a story that first appeared in Outdoor Design Source and later featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 58 (Summer 2016/17).

 

Stylish Lines

Stainless steel continues to deliver a strong and enduring reputation for visual appeal and structural performance in commercial applications.

Perth’s Cockburn Health and Community Facility features over 300m of internal and external stainless steel handrails and balustrades fabricated and installed by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator, Balustrading WA.

The extensive use of stainless steel in the integrated medical and health centre complements the state-of-the-art building and quality services offered to the local community.

ASSDA Sponsors Austral Wright Metals and Vulcan Stainless supplied grade 316 stainlesss steel throughout including for the main vertical balusters, which measure 10mm thick, and are 150mm wide at the bottom tapering to 100mm wide at the top. Stainless steel brackets were custom made to support the balustrades and stainless steel spider fittings were bolted to carry the 13.5mm glass sheets. The handrails were manufactured from 50mm diameter stainless steel round tube.

All stainless steel components were specified with a 320 grit satin finish, and passivated by Balustrading WA prior to installation for maximum corrosion resistance.

The bespoke stainless steel balustrade and glass design offers stylish lines, spaciousness and unobtrusive views both in the facility’s internal voids and on the external balconies.

Stainless steel was specified not just for its aesthetic appeal, but also for its corrosion resistant properties. The facility’s exposure to a salt air environment being located less than 10km from the Western Australian coastline makes stainless steel the material of choice to resist tea staining and provide long-term durability and performance, particularly for the external applications.

Minimal maintenance is required, with a monthly wash down using soap or a mild detergent recommended to remove any deposits that can contribute to surface discolouration and ultimately corrosion.

Offering maximum durability, safety protection, visual appeal and style, the stainless steel architectural features of the Cockburn Health and Community Facility showcase an impressive everyday application of the material.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Magazine Issue 58 (Summer 2016/17).

 

Guidelines to Using AS/NZS 1554.6 for Welding Stainless Steel

Using AS/NZS 1554.6 effectively means rather more than requiring “Weld finishing to AS/NZS 1554.6”. The standard is an effective way to get the finish you want or need on stainless steel structures. This guide should help you to nominate the quality of weld to the standard.

What is this standard?

This standard is for welding any non-pressure stainless steel equipment and when it was first drafted in 1994, its structure followed that of Part 1 dealing with carbon steel. A major revision in 2012 removed redundant text, expanded the good workmanship guidelines and brought the weld assessment and finishing processing up-to-date, while including guidance on precautions to minimise risk of failure from vibration. The assessment section includes mandatory limits to weld defects and now includes optional features such as level of heat tint and surface roughness that may be specified by the principal or owner.

AS/NZS 1554.6 is a mixture of mandatory requirements and recommendations with shopping lists of possibilities. In particular, the post-weld treatment provides a number of possible processes and results, and specifying the option desired will minimise cost and frustration and deliver the result required. As an example of mandatory requirements, there are strict requirements for personnel qualifications, which are difficult to address retrospectively.

The raw product of welded fabrication

Figure 1 (refer to banner image above) is typical of a routine TIG butt weld of two thin 316 stainless steel sheets and displays a rainbow of colours on the surface. The colours are caused by optical interference of reflections from the front and back of the heat formed oxide layer - just like reflections in an oil film on water. The unprotective iron-rich oxide layer can be seen in the dark colours and can reduce the corrosion resistance of a 316 to below that of a 12% chromium stainless steel. They must be removed along with a small amount of steel underneath them, where the chromium has been depleted during welding. Specifying their removal is covered later in this article. Let’s start with Section 6, because that is where the weld quality is assessed.

Classification of welds

Welds are classified as Category 1 (structural) or Category 2 (non-structural). Category 1 welds have a subset Fatigue Applications (FA), where vibration and fatigue failures may be an issue. The main difference is that Category 1 and Category FA welds require external visual inspection plus sub-surface inspection by radiography or ultrasonics. The permitted levels of sub-surface defects are listed in Tables 6.3.2(A) and 6.3.2(B) for structural and fatigue classifications respectively.
However, all of the Categories 1, 2 and FA are assessed against three levels of surface defects revealed by visual and liquid penetrant inspection.

The permitted defect sizes are set out in Table 6.3.2 and are grouped under three levels:
A:    No defects and used for critical structural, aesthetic or corrosive service;
B:    High quality for general and non-critical aesthetic uses but may have minor defects that allow corrosives to accumulate in very aggressive environments;
C:    Hidden locations or areas with low stress and benign conditions.

The temptation is to specify Level A for everything, but this may raise costs unnecessarily without adding to durability. Often Level B is very satisfactory. For instance, the ASSDA tea staining requirement of weld quality is Category 2, Level B.

Category FA welds require compliance to Level A assessment of surface defects plus restrictions on the angle between fillet weld tangents and the adjoining stainless steel surface. This restriction supplements the 1 in 4 slope in section thickness changes set out elsewhere in the standard. Table 6.3.1(B) gives the level of sub-surface defects permitted. It applies only for FA requirements.  

Post-weld surface finishing

The standard also provides options for post-weld and surface finishing. Welds may be treated mechanically with abrasives, or chemically (or electrochemically). Any of these finishes can be called up for Condition I and Condition II, but the defining feature of Condition I is that the weld bead must be ground flush. This strip polishing is common in tank fabrication for the food and beverage industries. It removes the heat tint and the chrome depleted layer beneath it without using pickling acids, but it also improves cleanability by removing the weld bead with its inherent unevenness. In vibrating applications, the mechanical removal also decreases the risk of stress concentration along the stiffening line of a weld bead.

The standard also allows stainless steel brushing to remove surface deposits or else for the surface to be left “as welded”. These options are included in Condition III.
Table 6.2.1 summarises the paths to the surface conditions and Table 6.3.3 provides the acceptance criteria based on discolouration, average surface roughness Ra and maximum surface roughness (Rmax). In the 2012 version, the criteria are largely “specified by the principal”, but Condition I and II for discolouration are tied to the AWS D18.2 colour charts of heat tint which match Sandvik and Nickel Institute work confirming that a pale straw colour caused no detectable change in corrosion resistance. There are non-mandatory notes that transverse surface roughness should be <0.5μm Ra and clean cut for corrosive service [as for surface 2K in EN 10088.2] and about the applicability of Rmax to cleanability in hygienic service. Amongst other variables, the grit size will determine the roughness (Ra and Rmax) and hence the as-abraded corrosion resistance and cleanability.

Condition III does not have acceptance criteria.

Tables 1 and 2 below are a guide to the use of category, class and condition (used both for treatments applied and assessment results) and relate them to post-weld processes.

Other treatments

While mechanical abrasion will remove heat tint and the chrome depleted layer, it will expose manganese sulphide inclusions which are points for corrosion initiation. It may also leave metal flakes on the surface, which provide crevice corrosion sites.

Pickling [Section 6.2.3(a)] using a nitric/hydrofluoric acid bath or paste will remove metal flakes and manganese sulphide inclusions. Pickling a non-abraded weld area will not significantly change the surface roughness, but will give similar corrosion resistance to an abraded and pickled surface. If the use of hydrofluoric acid is difficult, then a nitric acid passivation process of an abraded surface will improve the passive film, remove the inclusions, but not any metal flakes. A passivation treatment will strengthen the passive film even of a pickled surface. A nitric-only treatment is not effective on a heat tinted surface. Other modifications of Conditions I and II include electropolishing [6.2.3(b)] or, more recently, electrocleaning [6.2.3(c)]. Both apply a current which dissolves the surface either in a bath (electropolishing) or on site (electrocleaning). The mechanically polished bar illustrated in Figure 2 had an Ra of ~0.7μm before electrolishing, but 0.2μm less afterwards and with a much brighter appearance that also has a thicker passive film. Electrocleaning is a manual process, and while it can produce a very strong passive film, its results depend on the expertise of the operator.

Condition II finishes include simple pickling (HF/HNO3), electropolishing (although often with a prior pickle to remove non-conductive weld scales) and electrocleaning for site operations. The longitudinal weld in the pipe (refer to Figure 3 below) still has weld reinforcement, but is chemically clean. The black lines parallel to the weld have not been affected by the acid pickling and are probably due to cracked oils not removed by solvents prior to welding. Post-pickling passivation is also included in this Condition II suite of treatments.

The mechanical treatment of heat tint by stainless steel brushing [6.2.3(d)] simply burnishes the surface and does not remove the low chromium layer beneath, i.e. it will not restore the corrosion resistance. Abrasive polishing, linishing, grinding [6.2.3(e)] or even blasting [6.2.3(f)] can remove heat tint and the low chromium layer while leaving some weld reinforcement, but a nitric acid passivation process may be required afterwards. In addition, the surface may be too rough for good cleanability or smooth appearance. Under Condition II, one treatment to provide oxide-free welds for pipes and tubes is the use of inert gas purging with low (tens of ppm) oxygen levels.

Apart from the weld inspection, Section 5 of the standard has multiple recommendations for excellent fabrication including heat input, interpass temperatures, avoidance of arc strikes and welding under adverse weather conditions, to name a few. There are also mandatory requirements (the “shall” clauses) on tack weld size, weld depth to width ratio, thinning of metal when dressing welds and even chloride limits in leak test water. The standard is detailed and requires some study for those wishing to produce good welds compliant to the relevant sections of AS/NZS 1554.6 and applicable to the application or structure under consideration.

Conclusion

The specification of weld quality requires an understanding of mechanical and chemical processes used to produce a smooth and clean surface suitable for the specific application. The standard provides a shopping list to accurately specify exactly what you want. Respecting that intent will lead to the greatest productivity in delivering the structure.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Magazine issue 58 (Summer 2016/17).

Stainless Steel Supports Innovative and Engaging New Face for the Australian Museum

The Australian Museum's 2015 facelift saw its new entrance made with a contemporary glass curtain wall feature supported by stainless steel.

The design brief for the architecturally stunning entrance hall feature was a structure that conveyed the image of a modern and transparent institution. Designers Neeson Murcutt Architects and Joseph Grech Architects drew inspiration from the museum’s collection of gemstones for the new façade, resulting in a double-glazed window set against coloured glass panes.

ASSDA Member SGM Fabrication & Construction fabricated the stainless steel frames to support the glass facade as part of the museum’s redevelopment plan. This transformation saw Australia’s oldest museum swing the orientation of its entrance from College Street to William Street.

Fifteen stainless steel framed glass panels stand 8.5m high by 1.6m wide to form a dramatic vertically pleated structure that runs parallel to and complements the existing sandstone wall. Behind the glass façade are 48 diamond-shaped coloured glass panes positioned to take advantage of the northern sun, diffusing and refracting the light to create a welcoming ambience into the museum.

Around 30 tonnes of specialty glass was imported from Luxembourg for the façade. Seven tonnes of 316L stainless steel was used for the frames, including rectangular hollow sections (RHS) supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Midway Metals and 8mm plate supplied and laser cut by ASSDA Sponsor Vulcan Stainless.

SGM Fabrication & Construction’s Managing Director Scott McHugh said welding the stainless steel frames was challenging due to the length and material, and all stainless steel plate had to be individually laser cut by Vulcan Stainless prior to being pressed. ‘Straightness was a big consideration due to the frames holding 30mm thick glass in place. The frames had to be straight and true to within 3mm over the entire length (0.4% tolerance) to support the double-glazed glass.’

The stainless steel frames were pickled and passivated by ASSDA Member Australian Pickling & Passivation Service (APAPS) to remove any heat-affected areas from the laser cuttings and to ensure there was no iron contamination from the pressing.

The frames were specified in stainless steel for its strength, visual appeal and similarity of low maintenance regimes with glass. It was installed by Kane Constructions and the entrance hall was officially opened in September 2015.

The museum’s grand entrance feature is a modern addition to the historically and culturally significant building, certain to maintain its visual appeal for decades to come.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 57 (Spring 2016).

Images courtesy of Kane Constructions.

Impressive Stainless Steel Ribbon Graces New Brisbane Food Gallery

Stainless steel has brought life to a unique food precinct located in a recently opened premium office tower in Brisbane City's Golden Triangle.

Developed and constructed by Grocon, 480 Queen Street’s sustainable and eclectic design boasts a 6 Star Green Star and a 5 Star NABERS rating. The building’s food gallery, otherwise known as Room 480, is located on level 2 and capitalises on the stunning views of Brisbane River and Story Bridge to deliver a restaurant style experience and retreat for diners.

Complementing this space is a suspended stainless steel sculpture, designed by local architecture and interior design practice Arkhefield. Inspired by water flowing around rocks, the ‘stainless steel ribbon’ delicately hangs from the ceiling and weaves over the landscape of the room.

Grade 304 stainless steel was specified for the ribbon feature, using 100m of 0.9 x 600mm coil supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Dalsteel Metals. The 1 tonne of coil was supplied in a Bright Annealed (BA) finish and polyethylene coating on both sides for protection, with one side brighter than the other to fulfill the architectural effect and design requirements.

Arkhefield wanted the ribbon feature to be highly reflective on one side, with a brushed appearance on the other. As it curves and wraps through the space, the bright and flat sides of the stainless steel ribbon interact to reflect the surrounding colours and light, allowing movement and distortion throughout. Stainless steel proved the only material able to achieve this aesthetically appealing finish, whilst providing a high-quality, durable and lightweight structure.

The stainless steel ribbon spans 35m x 6m across Room 480’s ceiling and was installed by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless Aesthetics Director Mike Mooney said the installation of the entire 1 tonne of stainless steel coil as a continuous ribbon was one of the more challenging aspects of the project. This was successfully achieved using their custom designed and fabricated turntable, which housed the coil and allowed it to unwind safely 3.5m above floor level, while protecting the ribbon’s surface finish.

The installation of the stainless steel ribbon around the light fixtures emphasised the visual appeal of the sculpture and its surface qualities. It is suspended using 3.2mm wire support cables and fixings in grade 316 stainless steel supplied by ASSDA Member Anzor Fasteners.

The stainless steel ribbon is an impressive and visually dynamic integrated element of Room 480, adding colour and movement to a traditionally formal space. In addition, the sculpture provides a level of intimacy to the space that could not be achieved with a standard flat suspended ceiling, providing a pleasant ambience for patrons to dine and relax.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 57 (Spring 2016).

Images courtesy of Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless Steel Transforms Meat Processing Plant

Over 17 tonnes of stainless steel has been used for the upgrade of a premier meat processing plant to support the growing local and global demands of Australian red meat supply.

The Australian Lamb Company (ALC) currently exports lamb to more than 60 countries worldwide, and recently secured a 10-year contract to process lamb for Coles supermarkets in eastern Australia.

ALC’s multi-million dollar investment to support demand and increase production capacity included the expansion and upgrade of its meat processing operation in Colac, Victoria.

ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Stainless Steel Associated Fabricators (SSAF) Australia was engaged to design, manufacture and install 65 box conveyors spanning 400m, three access walkovers and 30 production tables for the plant’s re-engineered automated boning room.

The conveyor system was designed by SSAF Australia with input from the ALC’s production team to achieve optimum process flow. The main criterion for the mechanical design was excellent product transfer, mechanical reliability and optimal hygiene through easy cleaning of the conveyor’s belt and frame.

The box conveyors are a semi-modular design using the latest SEW-EURODRIVE MOVIGEAR® SERVO motors and gearboxes. Compared with conventional motors and gearboxes, SSAF Australia’s Managing Director Chris Stacey said these systems are significantly more efficient in reducing power usage and allowing a wider speed range without loss in torque.

Grade 304 stainless steel with a 2B finish was specified and used for the upgrade, supplied by ASSDA Sponsors Atlas SteelsMidway Metals and Vulcan Stainless.

Grade 304 stainless steel is a standard requirement in the food industry where acid and salt are not present in the production process. With rigorous standards in food safety and hygiene to adhere to, the boning room must be washed down daily and to this end, the conveyors incorporate CIP (clean in place) systems.

Stacey said that grade 304 2B stainless steel with a PVC protective coating is the material of choice for their food grade equipment. ‘By taking care during manufacture and polishing welds to 320G, 2B is superior to a No 4 or bead blasted finish. The smoother grain structure is much better than No 4 in inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and is easier to clean. Our equipment is regularly swabbed for surface cleanliness and this is critical to our customers’ Quality Assurance (QA) requirements.’

With the full scope of works completed within a 6-month timeframe in early September 2016, the increased capacity of ALC’s Colac operation has delivered significant benefits for the Australian lamb industry and a boost in the Victorian economy.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 57 (Spring 2016).

Images courtesy of SSAF Australia.

Running Water

Water authorities tackle water shortages with stainless steel.

Water is a fundamental human need. It is central to our lives, from what we drink, to what we use in washing ourselves, our clothes and a multitude of other uses. Safe, clean and palatable water comes at a price though, and when leaks occur in distribution systems, additional costs are incurred as even more water must be found and treated. Security of water supply is a prerequisite for sustainable growth and dealing with leakage is a universal challenge. To combat the scourge of leaks, a number of water distribution authorities across the world have implemented affordable solutions utilising stainless steel, which not only saves money, but water, a precious resource.

Tokyo, Japan

Prior to the 1980’s, water shortages in Tokyo were chronic and rationing was occasionally required. When the city’s water provider, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Waterworks Bureau (TMGWB), analysed leakage repairs, they determined that 97% were on the distribution pipes of 50mm diameter or less. In Tokyo, there are more than two million such connections that take the water from the mains to internal systems in buildings. Historically, lead pipe was the preferred material for distribution lines because it is soft, malleable and easy to work with, especially for the last few metres from the mains to buildings. Once lead pipe is in the ground, however, various forces can act on it. Vibrations from traffic and construction work as well as subsidence and earthquakes can cause the soft lead pipes to deform, become detached or even break.

In 1980, TMGWB started to actively replace all service connections with grade 316 (UNS S31600) stainless steel pipe. In 1998 corrugated grade 316 (S31600) stainless steel pipe was introduced for distribution lines that take water from the mains to final destinations in homes, offices and industrial plants. The pipe is corrugated at regular intervals to allow for it to be bent during installation, to accommodate changes in direction and the avoidance of obstacles without additional joints. It also allows for movement of the pipe during earth movement and seismic events. By supplying a single length of corrugated stainless steel pipe, the number of pipe joints was greatly reduced. In switching to stainless steel pipe, the reliability of the water supply has increased and the leakage rate has been reduced by 86% from 15.4% (1980) to 2.2% (2013). To put this into context, since 1994 Tokyo has reduced annual water leakage by nearly 142 million cubic metres - the equivalent of 155 Olympic-size swimming pools per day, with savings in excess of US$200 million per year. Also, annual leak repairs have decreased from 60,000 (1983) to 10,000 (2013). Due to the corrosion resistance of stainless steel, TMGWB expects service life in excess of 100 years.

Graph below: Correlation between repair cases, leakage rates and installation of stainless steel pipes in Tokyo.
Courtesy of the Bureau of Water Works, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

 

Taipei, Taiwan

In 2002, a severe drought brought intermittent water supplies to the Taiwanese capital over a 49-day period. Of the 450 metering areas in the city, 40% were losing half of their water or more before it reached consumers.

Analysis of repair cases showed that while polybutylene pipe made up only 3% of the length of the system, it accounted for 28% of all leaks. Approximately 90% of all problems occurred in plastic pipes, with the vast majority (83%) caused by cracking.

In 2003, the Taipei Water Department began a similar program to Tokyo, replacing distribution lines with corrugated grade 316L (S31603) stainless steel pipe. Although the ongoing program has so far only replaced 35% of the lines, the result has been a reduction in water loss from 27% (2003) to 17% (2014). This adds up to an annual saving of 146 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of 160 Olympic-size swimming pools per day.

In 2014, a drought occurred with even less rainfall than the 2002 event which precipitated the pipe replacement program. However this time, the improvement in leakage rates achieved since 2003 meant there was no interruption to the water supply.

The 2002 drought in Taipei caused severe water shortages.
Image courtesy of the Taipei Water Department.

 

Western Cape, South Africa

South Africa is by nature a semi-arid country; its annual rainfall is only half the global average. It has a population of 55 million and is facing freshwater scarcity. It is estimated that at least 37% of its clean drinkable water is lost due to leakage from old and unreliable infrastructure.

The Groot Drakenstein Valley is the cradle of the South African deciduous fruit and wine industries. Water is supplied to over 800 farms including 50 vineyards. Here, there are numerous examples of carbon steel and cast iron pipes that have failed in many areas after just one year due to the very aggressive acidic soils and high water table. “We started a project in 1992 in the Drakenstein Municipality to replace existing piping with stainless steel,” explains André Kowalewski, Senior Engineer - Water Services, Drakenstein Municipality. “We have reduced water loss to around 13% in comparison to the 37% national average. Ten years back only the Drakenstein Municipality used stainless steel. Now 80% of the Western Cape municipalities do.”

André and his team plan for a life expectancy in excess of 50 years. Stainless steel used in Drakenstein is primarily grade 316 and in some cases grade 304 (S30400) in visible locations. Projects are currently focussed around pumping, purification, storage, pipelines and sewage. One such project is a 500 mega-litre/day delivery system completely in grade 316 stainless steel.

Stainless steel pipe in the Western Cape resists aggressive acidic soil conditions.
Images courtesy of Johan Van Zyl.

   

 

Investing in the future

The experience of Tokyo, Taipei and the Western Cape gives water authorities the confidence to specify stainless steel for piping systems. While the initial cost compared to competing materials may be higher, stainless steel has been shown to be a good investment over its long life, paying back each year in reduced maintenance and cost per litre processed.

This article was originally printed in Nickel Magazine (August 2016, Vol. 31, No.2), published by ASSDA Sponsor Nickel Institute.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 57 (Spring 2016).

Banner image: Corrugated pipe installation. Image courtesy of Tokyo Suido Services/Showarasekan.