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Choosing hot water storage tanks

Replacing your hot water system is both inconvenient and expensive, so it pays to carefully consider a hot water storage tank that will stand the test of time as well as deliver energy (and cost) efficiencies.

Storage tanks for hot water systems are made from either stainless steel or from carbon steel with a coating of vitreous enamel.

Stainless steel hot water storage tanks

A hot water storage tank made from grade 316 stainless steel. Image courtesy of Edwards Hot Water.Stainless steel tanks are made from 316 stainless steel, a material which is typically used in the marine industry because of its high corrosion resistance. The 316 stainless steel provides a natural barrier to corrosion that is virtually maintenance free.

This characteristic of stainless steel is evident by the use of 316 or its sister alloy 304 in many other areas of the home including kitchen sinks, dishwashers, washing machines, pots, pans, cutlery and fridges.

The material's strength and inherent corrosion resistance as well as its fatigue resistance from the stresses of constant temperature and pressure variation during service makes stainless steel a strong and durable option.

Vitreous enamel hot water storage tanks

Because carbon steels will corrode in contact with air or water, the surface of the tank must be protected by a layer of vitreous enamel added to line the interior of carbon steel.

However, manufacturers can't make the enamel layer perfectly impervious. The steel and enamel lining expand and contract at different rates as the temperature in the tank rises and falls. This can cause the enamel to craze or come unstuck from the steel, exposing it to water and corrosion. This is a particular problem if the water temperature is set too high.

The steel exposed at the coating defects is protected by the use of a 'sacrificial anode' that acts to prolong the life of the tank. These anodes, usually made from a magnesium alloy, require checking at regular intervals and replacement every 5-7 years on average.

Some water qualities (such as very soft or very pure water) are inappropriate for this system because characteristics of the water render the anode ineffective.

Stainless steel storage tank manufacturers

Edwards Hot Water, Aquamax and Beasley Water Systems are some of the main stainless steel storage tank manufacturers in Australia.

ASSDA member, Edwards Hot Water, has over 35 years of experience in the manufacture, supply and installation of stainless steel hot water systems. Edwards Hot Water exports tanks to 40 countries and the tanks comply with AS2712, the benchmark standard for hot water systems.

Manufacturers of stainless steel hot water tanks give long warranties because in the majority of conditions the tanks perform excellently and provide years of trouble free service without the need for regular maintenance or consumable parts.

Choosing a stainless steel hot water system means long life, low maintenance and a long warranty.

Image courtesy of Edwards Hot Water.
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 30, January 2005.

Building sustainably with stainless steel termimesh

Residential developers are encouraging new homebuyers to adopt more environmentally friendly materials when building - a trend that is growing in strength throughout many Australian capital cities and regional towns.

Termimesh works just like an insect screen. The mesh barrier is expertly installed across concealed potential termite entry points during the early stages of construction.The Old Broome Estate's Sustainable Home Award is offering $20,000 cash as a first prize incentive to a homeowner/builder who can best meet the sustainable design guidelines.

One sustainable element specified in the guidelines included using a non-toxic white ant deterrent such as Termimesh, a stainless mesh barrier manufactured by ASSDA member, TMA Corporation (formerly Termimesh Australia).

Termites nest in the ground underneath homes and if left unchecked can make a meal of timber floorboards and supporting frames. When a house has been identified as infested, immediate disruptive and expensive repairs, spraying and annual checks are required.

Termite damage is not commonly covered by normal household insurance, so land owners planning on building a new house should be proactive in specifying safe and effective termite protection.

The Termimesh System is produced from a proprietary, specialised grade of stainless steel that provides a highly effective and long life protective barrier against termites without the spraying of chemicals.

Termimesh works just like an insect screen. The mesh barrier is expertly installed across concealed potential termite entry points during the early stages of construction.

Termimesh is included in the Australian Standard - Protection of Buildings from Subterranean Termites, and has been assessed through the CSIRO product appraisal system.

With the backing of a 10 year warranty, many leading home builders throughout Australia include the Termimesh System as their standard specification for termite control. In addition, the Australian developed System has been exported overseas to South East Asia, Japan and the United States.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 36, Winter 2006.

Australian design wins international award

An Australian firm has won the kitchen design category of the prestigious Stainless Steel Awards conducted by the South African Stainless Steel Development Association.

Competing against entrants from all over the world, Queensland fabricator Bell Stainless won with its Crerar design, which was judged to be the most attractive and functional domestic kitchen installed during the past two years. The competition criteria were that the kitchen had to be designed using stainless steel appliances, kitchen accessories as well as stainless steel wash-up equipment, such as sinks and preparation bowls.

The objective of the Awards program is to encourage creativity, competitiveness and productivity in the stainless steel industry. Awards are made in fourteen categories covering all aspects of stainless steel design and manufacturing. Bell Stainless also achieved finalist status in the welding category.

Other 2002 finalists and winners came from South Africa, Finland, India, France and Canada.

Bell Stainless manufactures and installs both domestic and commercial kitchens, specialising in custom design and manufacture for clients' specific needs, including benchtops, rangehoods, custom designed furniture, water features and balustrading.

Bell Stainless has spent years refining designs and manufacturing techniques. Its winning design utilises stainless steel in several applications.

The rangehood and bench surfaces are made from 5WL Rimex textured stainless steel with curved mirror finished bullnose edging, providing both scratch resistance and visual interest. Other features have been constructed from stainless steel tube, round and flat bar in different finishes as well as satin finish sheet.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 23, December 2002.

A Step Up in Stainless Design

When a Melbourne design company decided to expand their business to a neighbouring space, a challenge was set: the adjoining office was on an upper level and a walkway was needed to connect the two.

The challenge was met by Carr Interior’s Daniel Stellini who envisioned a simple, strong and aesthetically refined stainless steel “hanging” staircase to allow for transit between the floor levels. 

“Considering the portal represents such a high traffic area, we required a material that was durable, strong and low maintenance: stainless steel met our brief on all three counts,” he said.

“It was our intent to express the raw edge detail of the 3mm stainless steel highlighting its fine yet strong characteristics,” Mr Stellini said.

ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Hi-Tech Stainless Fabrications used 620 kilograms of grade 304 stainless steel to construct the skeleton of the stairwell off-site. Due to the confined 900mm working space the pieces were assembled, TIG welded, screwed on from the inside and polished on-site.

Upon arrival at reception, the portal is seen as a crisp, polished insertion to the building’s brickwork, representing a refined sculptural element against the raw, distressed solid wall. Its fixing to only the upper level of the tenancy allows it to project and hover over the lower floor, whilst maintaining a weight capacity of 340 kilograms.

The stair’s profile has been left exposed, making it a feature of the space. Mr Stellini said challenging the conventional use of materials such as stainless steel is something he continues to do. Not a bad idea when you look at the possibilities!

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

Showcasing Adelaide Airport Using Glass and Stainless Steel

First impressions count the most when marketing a state to the rest of the world and Adelaide Airport achieved this aim with the construction and opening of a new terminal that combines glass and stainless steel to stunning effect.

Officially opened by Prime Minister John Howard on 7 October 2005, the new terminal is one of South Australia's most significant privately-funded infrastructure projects.

With 14 glass-sided aerobridges, the new terminal will give air travellers all-weather access for the first time in Adelaide Airport's 50 year-history and provide spectacular views across the Adelaide CBD and Mt Lofty Ranges on departure and arrival.

Developers for the Adelaide Airport engaged ASSDA member, Handrail and Balustrade Fabrications to supply stainless steel glass mounted handrails, glazing channels, guardrails and trolley rails.

More than two kilometres of handrail, 1.5 kilometres of guard railing and 150 metres of glazing channel were used in the $260 million project. The stainless steel glazing channel was a key architectural feature that provided Handrail and Balustrade Fabrications with an opportunity to demonstrate their skill and expertise.

The Adelaide-based company developed a unique welded interlocking channel for the 19mm thick glass to rest in using auto-CAD programming. Due to a unique welding process the channel remains straight and distortion free during manufacture and installation.

ASSDA Major Sponsor, Sandvik Australia supplied grade 304 and 316 stainless steel pipe and plate to Handrail and Balustrade Fabrications for the project. ASSDA member, Stainless Tube Mills polished and buffed the welded stainless pipe to the architect's specification for a 320 grit finish.

Another ASSDA member, MME Surface Finishing polished the 6mm and 10mm plate. Advanced Cutting Technology cut the 2,000 brackets for the angles slots to create a specially designed wing shape effect.

Adelaide Airport Limited Managing Director, Mr Phil Baker, said “the new terminal will give an extremely positive impression of South Australia - something that we all recognise as important when positioning ourselves on the world stage.”

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 34, Summer 2005.

School Building Gets a Splash of Stainless Colour

Showcasing the use of long lasting powder coated architectural finishes

The materials used for the Assembly Hall and Music Department of the Sacred Heart School of Performing Arts have set a new benchmark of possibility for the fusion between decorative and functional design.

ASSDA member Stainless Sections provided the stainless steel cladding for the Adelaide school building, for its hard wearing and low maintenance properties.  However, keeping to the creative nature of the activities to be performed within the building, a strong focus on the aesthetics was adopted.

The face side of the stainless steel was powder coated and then polished to produce a warm and coloured background.

Roy Carter of Stainless Sections says the product gives users the best of both worlds.

“The material allows the colour to be added without compromising wearability of the metal surface,” he says.  Roy also says the material facilitates ease of cleaning and graffiti removal.

The custom produced cladding panels used a 0.6mm base material, which was rigidised to a 1.2mm finish.  The material was installed as interlocking panels, complementing the linear building components.



This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 40

Reflecting Urban Renewal with Stainless Steel Cladding

Shining the way in major urban renewal precinct development is the Fujitsu Building, a speculative office building utilising stainless steel cladding to form a striking ‘gateway’ into Brisbane city.

Situated on Breakfast Creek Road, the five-storey Fujitsu Building is the first of three buildings in the ‘Portal Business Community’ to be developed by Ariadne Australia under a master plan by architects and planners, Cox Rayner.

‘Portal’ reflects an urban renewal of the former industrial site that has been used for petroleum storage and as a gasworks since the 1880’s including the preservation of Queensland’s oldest metal frame gasometer.

With this industrial setting in mind, the Fujitsu Building comprises economical materials and solar treatments to create intriguing textures in unconventional ways.

Whereas many speculative office buildings typically appear anonymous and soulless, the Fujitsu Building is an endeavour to demonstrate how speculative office buildings can be designed within meagre budgets to impart character reflective of place. This character was achieved by adopting an efficient floor plan and combining inexpensive materials such as stainless steel cladding.

The master plan concept turns the building through 90 degrees to north/south. This initiative optimises passive energy efficiency through screened and recessed glazing, ground level set-in, thermally insulated lightweight panel cladding and the concept of the roof as shade parasol.

Stramit Building Products selected uncoated stainless steel from their premium products range to create contrasted profilles and textures. ASSDA major sponsor, Austral Wright Metals provided technical assistance by recommending and supplying grade 445M2 stainless steel from ASSDA sponsor Nisshin Steel Company in Japan.

Grade 445M2 is a ferritic stainless steel that offers superior corrosion resistance compared to grade 316. A lower reflectivity matt finish was chosen for the site, next to one of the main roads into the Brisbane central business district. The matt finish doesn’t compromise the corrosion resistance of the grade, which is important as the Brisbane River is very close.

445M2 is suitable for roofing and cladding in marine environments and other areas where the environment is too severe for grade 304. Because it is ferritic, grade 445M2 has mechanical and physical properties more like carbon steel than the austenitic grades and is much easier to roll form into flat panels like those on the Fujitsu Building.

Thermal expansion is similar to carbon steel, so the grade can be designed with long roofing and cladding spans using well known practices.

The Fujitsu Building has received industry awards including the 2002 Queensland Metal Building Product Design award and the 2003 QMBA award for commercial projects over $10 million.

The final two buildings of the Portal Business Community will comprise a 42 apartment development with views of the Brisbane River and a four level office building modelled on the Fujitsu Building.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 29, September 2004.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pop-up Stainless Space

New Potential for Mirror Finish

A multi-award winning building design is using stainless steel to reduce its visual impact. ‘Zoo Booth’ is a small free-standing kiosk at Victoria’s Healesville Sanctuary and – thanks to its mirror finished stainless cladding – is very well camouflaged! The design concept came from Melbourne company TS1 Pty Ltd, who launched Transportable Design 1 (TS1) Pop-up Buildings in 2006.

For the unique application at Healesville, ASSDA member Stainless Sections provided grade 304, 1.2 mm stainless steel sheet, polished to a No. 8 mirror finish to reflect the organic surroundings. Stainless
Sections’ Roy Carter said mirror finished stainless was the ideal material to achieve low visual impact in a natural setting whilst maintaining durability in an elemental location. TS1 is an expandable, relocatable space, completely construction-free and can be assembled in one day. It has become a popular solution to extending a living or work place, retail space or even for use as a spare bedroom.

TS1 Director Nadja Mott said her vision reflected a transient, nomadic lifestyle: her creations are transportable, low impact and fully recyclable. Mr Carter said the emerging market for reflective buildings has prompted further innovation to achieve solar reflection capture.

“This material allows concave shaping to be achieved which enhances marketing opportunities for mirror finished stainless in the growing green building market,” Mr Carter said.


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

Vertical Landscaping

Ecologically Sustainable Stainless Design

With the population boom leaving less open space available for traditional garden beds, stainless steel is helping to reintroduce Mother Nature to an increasingly unnatural environment. Ecologically sustainable design (ESD) promotes the use of existing resources to maintain biological balance. This allows for natural light and ventilation, reduced energy usage, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The need for this type of specification is so apparent that the Government has established the Green Building Council of Australia (GBA) to advocate sustainable property development.

City of Melbourne was among the first to demonstrate ESD in Australia, with its own office building Council House No.2 (CH2). Green features such as natural lighting and temperature control earned CH2 the first GBA six-star Green Star Certified rating.

Among CH2’s green features is vertical landscaping created by ASSDA Member Ronstan Architectural. The specialist tensile contractors at Ronstan developed support systems for these gardens, fixing grade 316 stainless mesh and cables to the building’s exterior. Ronstan’s Rowan Murray said the benefits of green façades are now widely acknowledged. “Many new buildings include elements of active and passive solar design and have some sort of façade as a physical shade.

Using plants as a shade element is becoming increasingly popular and there are opportunities for the stainless steel industry to provide essential structure as a platform for plant growth,” he said. ‘Living walls’ can be more beneficial than conventional shading systems, both economically and environmentally. The plant’s ability to cool via evapotranspiration provides natural insulation, lowering the building’s running costs, while producing oxygen at the same time. “This in itself provides a direct social and psychological benefit to the building occupants, driving people to engage with the building,” Mr Murray said.

“People actually enjoy the close proximity to plant life and stainless steel plays a big part in making this possible,” he said. Mr Murray said design considerations are important when specifying for this type of application, particularly “dead weight” from suspended sheet and plant matte, wind and rain force, but careful design ensures an efficient lightweight stainless solution. Specifying ESD is also beneficial to your budget.

“We love to see stainless used in intelligent ways with façades and the good news is that despite the current climate we are gradually seeing developers begin to take a more responsible approach to the upfront cost of ESD,” Mr Murray said. A recent GBA report denotes the value in green features, such as stainless façades, claiming the study proved that “green buildings make occupants healthy, wealthy and wise”. GBA recently awarded its 100th green star to a sustainable interior design at Stockland Head Office in Sydney.


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

purge welding to minimise heat tint

Posted 19th May 2010

PIpes thumbnail

Stainless steel is frequently specified for food production, pharmaceutical, chemical and industrial applications due to its corrosion resistance and cleanability. It is vital in these sorts of applications to avoid or remove the oxide heat tint or scale that forms when weld metal is melted, because this heat tint is non-protective and provides a place for bugs to settle or for corrosion to start in certain conditions. Purge welding is particularly useful in these circumstances if no post weld cleaning is possible, e.g. inside tubes.

Figure-1---thickest-oxide

What is heat tint?

Figure 1 (right) shows the typical heat tint formed on the welded side if stainless steel is welded without excluding oxygen. The thickest, darkest oxide is in the centre (where the metal was hottest for longest) and a similar double rainbow will form on the opposite, root side of the stainless steel.

However, if access is good, such as in a tank or large vessel, then the back of the weld can be protected by gas flowing through a backing bar or even by manually or automatically blanketing the weld root with an inert gas from a lance. Unfortunately, this is not practicable in small diameter tubes. Further, post weld cleaning of the surface may not be permitted in pharmaceutical or food industry tubing with highly polished surfaces.

How is heat tint minimised?

Purge welding is a method used to ensure that, with no post weld treatment, the root of TIG welds in tube or pipe has no more than a pale straw heat tint. This level of colouration is specified in AS/NZS 1554.6 and AWS D18.1/D18.1M:2009 (level 3) as the maximum permitted for tube to be used in the as-welded condition both for corrosion resistance and hygienic applications (see Figure 2 below).

Figure-2-AWS-image-2

The heat tint control is achieved by maintaining oxygen levels <50ppm (0.005%) while the metal is hotter than ~250oC. It is assumed that weld preparation, heat input and weld technique are controlled to provide a full penetration weld with a smooth, cleanable profile suitable for Clean In Place (CIP) procedures.

Figure 3 purge welding diagramMechanical orbital TIG welding equipment should give the same result if the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Modern orbital welders are relatively narrow and can weld close to an elbow, i.e. near the edge of the welding head, as shown by the offset distance in Figure 3 (right), which represents a side view of an elbow being welded. The orbital welder clamps around the pipe and, after purging, rotates automatically while TIG welding the join.

If a consumable is used it must be at least as corrosion resistant as the tube or pipe material. Otherwise, the narrow weld could corrode rapidly if the tube was used in a corrosive environment. Purge gas must be dry and is normally argon, although low oxygen nitrogen can be used (even for duplex tubing). However, if there is excessive leakage into the arc, then phase balances can be disturbed and cause either cracking, poor toughness or lower corrosion resistance.

For long lengths of tube or pipe it is common to use removable dams to contain the purge gas. There are two main types of dams illustrated in Figure 4 below:

  • water soluble paper and adhesive tape inserted on either side of the weld area before assembly and flushed away afterwards; or
  • rubber lipped dumbell shaped assemblies with one end of the assembly attached to a purge feedline and cable for removal after the weld has cooled. The other dam disc contains a vent to avoid pressurising the purged area. Inflatable bladders can also be used instead of the rubber seals.

Custom-made tapered foam discs with a rubber backing and a covering hat may also be used if externally welding a flange to a pipe.

Figure-4---removable-dams

Purge welding tips and tricks

Purge welding is a skill and it is important that the welder is qualified for the weld. It is also essential to assess if he/she is competent to weld on the day. The weld preparation must include verification that the longitudinal weld profile in the tube will permit a gas tight seal for purging.

When the dams are inserted into each section of the tube or pipe, the feed tube and extraction wire must not be tangled. The dam spacing must be large enough so they are not overheated but, typically, a couple of hundred millimetres is adequate. The weld area must be cleaned with a new wipe and volatile solvent, and then allowed to dry before checking the area is clean. The weld area must not be touched.

Figure-5---gas-meterAlign the matching faces and start the pre-purge. The flow should be turbulent enough to remove air from the surface of the pipe, i.e. ensure the stagnant, boundary layer is very thin. Venting must be sufficient to prevent pressurisation or reverse, swirling flow which will mix purge gas with the existing air and reduce the effectiveness of the pre-purge. Either monitor the exit purge gas with a meter (as shown in Figure 5, right) until the oxygen level is acceptable or purge until at least 10 times the dammed volume has flowed. If a significant root gap is required then it can be taped over during this purge. However, care is needed to avoid contaminating the clean weld preparation with the tape adhesive. After pre-purging, reduce the gas flow to avoid blowing out the weld and commence welding.

Plan the welding to minimise positional welding with its less controlled weld profile and heat input. If the ends are not well restrained by a jig, tack them (but ensure the tack is also gas shielded). Thicker wall materials may require a trailing shield to ensure air does not contact the external metal while it is hot enough to oxidise. This is not an issue if external mechanical cleaning is acceptable.

Summing up

Stainless steel’s unique characteristics make it the ideal material in many highly-sensitive applications, but it is vital that it is handled appropriately so it performs as required. Purge welding to avoid heat tint is one example where getting it right from the outset ensures corrosion resistance, cleanability and, ultimately, longevity.

Coloured Facade

Maximum impact two years on

Coloured stainless steel has helped revitalise what has become one of Victoria’s largest and most recognisable shopping precincts – Westfield Doncaster.

In late 2008 Westfield completed a major redevelopment and refurbishment of the Doncaster shopping centre (located 20 minutes east of Melbourne’s CBD), doubling the complex’s size.

Central to the centre’s new look and feel is the building’s ultra contemporary and striking cladded facade that features coloured and patterned stainless steel supplied by Steel Color Australia Pty Ltd.

Steel Color Australia owner Vince Araullo said more than 600 square metres of grade 304 stainless steel were used to construct the eye-catching “Red Wall”.

“The brief from the designers, Westfield Design and Construction, was to deliver a contemporary looking facade that not only provided the Doncaster shopping centre with plenty of colour but would also be hard wearing against Melbourne’s diverse weather conditions,” he said.

“Our coloured stainless steel, which we import from Italy and distribute exclusively in Australia and New Zealand, is manufactured by Europe’s leading specialist in coloured stainless steel and special metal finishes – Steel Color S.p.a.”

The stainless sheeting was fabricated and installed by Melbourne-based Barden-Steeldeck Industries. Manager and part-owner Michael Shacklock said this was the first time his company had worked with coloured stainless steel.

“By attaching the sheets to a sub-frame we were able to make certain that all 300 sheets of coloured stainless steel were accurately positioned to deliver the distinctive looking facade,” Mr Shacklock said.

Mr Araullo said the colour refraction from the Rosso (Italian for red) stainless steel provided a changing colour palette depending on the time of the day and viewing angle.

“The unique movement of colour across the stainless steel clad entrance is a major shift forward from traditionally sterile looking facades that appear on many shopping centres,” he said.

To avoid the potential reflectivity of the facade hindering nearby traffic safety, a Perla pattern was specified. The indentations of the pattern diffuse light and provide an optical flatness, which effectively eliminates reflections.

The pattern also provided improved strength, allowing for a lighter gauge of 1.2mm instead of, typically, 1.5mm or more.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 47, Spring 2010.