Logo

Posted 1 March 1998

Kuala Lumpur's new international airport terminal will open within a month and travellers will be sheltered by a A$17 million stainless steel roof which has largely been developed by Australian expertise and innovation.

KL airportThe roof profile of the contact piers and air bridges (60,000m2 total area) had to satisfy a number of criteria, including rainwater runoff, resistance to wind uplift, and a smooth, painted appearance. The roof area comprises a composite system with an outer metal membrane of fully-welded stainless steel. Further complicating the design, the architect (MJAC) wanted to avoid valley gutters on the roof's curves.

Around 280 tonnes of 0.4mm grade 316 stainless were used for the roof and unique, tapered sheet, roll forming technology was developed to accommodate curvatures in the roof. While rollforming is normally used on parallel edge products, Chadwick Technology (Forestville, NSW) and Horton Engineering (New Zealand) developed a rollformer which was capable of rolling roof sheet in excess of 20 metres long, with the edges tapering to a pre-determined dimension. All of the taper, shear and rollforming equipment was computer controlled to obtain correct dimensions.

Similarly, a fully automated welding system was designed to weld at 5 metres/minute (resulting in a total of 125km of welding), with the generated heat being water cooled. Fixing clips, which were welded within the seam roof, had to allow for thermal movement of up to 20mm. To provide the unwelded surface appearance, a rib cap was designed to conceal all the welds, fixings and unpainted sections.

Bill Mansell, Chadwick's Engineering Director, said MJAC specified stainless steel to provide the client with a lifetime investment in maintenance free roofing. The stainless steel sheet, which was coil coated with a dark green fluorocarbon PVf2, was supplied by Avesta Sheffield (Castle Hill, NSW) and special end fascia and architectural trims were fabricated by the Townsend Group (Mortdale, NSW).

The airport is opening in February/March this year and it will be fully operational for the Commonwealth Games in September 1998. The roof, which is a finalist in the Gold Circle Award for Innovative Roofing from the USA's National Roofing Contractors Association, is certain to give international visitors to Kuala Lumpur a strong, visual impression of Australia's design and fabrication capabilities.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 11 - March 1998.


Posted 1 March 1998

Sydney's recently redeveloped Chifley Square now pays tribute to its namesake in a dramatic, yet personable, manner - an 8m tall stainless steel sculpture of Ben Chifley towers over the square, forming part of City of Sydney's capital works program in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Chifley_3Sydney artist Simeon Nelson designed 'Ben Chifley' and a glass and stainless steel wall on the site while working as part of the multi-disciplinary design team involved in the site's $3 million redevelopment. Hassell architects (Sydney) were given open guidelines for the design of the site, but two of the objectives were to see Chifley appropriate recognised and to provide a windbreak on the Hunter Street side of the square.

Nelson specified 5 tonnes of 20mm grade 316 stainless plate for two cut-out images of the former war-time treasurer and the post-war Labor prime minister. The plates are positioned in parallel and bolted to a stainless frame, allowing 1mm tolerances.

Nelson designed the sculpture in stainless steel because of its long-term durability. He also felt the material was appropriate because it is often used as an industrial product and Chifley kick-started industrial growth after the war.

The sculpture was fabricated by CBD Prestige Metal Works (Sydney) from material supplied by Sandvik Australia (Smithfield, NSW). After shotblasting by IMP (Sydney), the final surface finishing and passivating was carried out by BHM Stainless Technology Group (Keon Park, Vic) using a specialised process developed by the company for unusual projects of this nature.

Chifley_wallSimilarly impressive is the 'Lightwall, Crucimatrilux' (also fabricated by CBD), which incorporates panes of transparent glass bolted together on nine stainless frames made of 74mm x 20mm bar with a mill finish. Because of the fine tolerances required, dowel and glue were used instead of welds to hold the frames together.

The 10.8m long and 3.2m tall wall serves a structural function as an extension of the back wall of the cafe and also acts as a wind shelter. visually, it provides a contrast with cafe's wall, which is made from white coated glass.

The redevelopment of the site, which is semi-circular in shape and divided in half by Philip Street, was aimed at unifying the two spaces to reflect the original intent of the site's 1937 design. Together, the Lightwall and Chifley sculpture form part of an impressive, contemporary response to historic town planning.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 11, March 1998.


Posted 29 August 2000

When millions around the world watch the Sydney Olympic Games this September, they will also be experiencing the best of Australian architecture, with particular emphasis on stainless steel.

Stadium Australia, located at Homebush Bay in Sydney's inner city in the centrepiece of the Olympic site. Here, events such as the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field program will be played out. Closer examination of the sit reveals the use of stainless steel in a myriad of applications, both aesthetic and functional. Perhaps more importantly, the use of stainless steel helps meet the organiser's "green" commitment: to use materials with minimal impact on the environment and designs that reduce waste and conserve resources.

THE STADIUM
Seating 110,000, Stadium Australia is the largest stadium in the history of the Olympic Games. To give an idea of its size, the two main curved trusses span 296 metres and four Boeing 747s would fit side by side under the span of the main arch.

The roofing material was supplied by ASSDA member Atlas Steels (Australia) Pty Ltd, the handrails by ASSDA member Sandvik Australia.

Nineteen lighting towers, representing the number of cities in which the Olympic Games have been held to date, stand like sentinels guarding the entrance to Stadium Australia.

The towers consist mostly of concrete and painted steel, but grade 316 stainless steel rods, 25 millimetres in diameter, provide tension in each corner, while 316 doors and infill panels, with a No. 4 finish, exist at ground level.

The names of each of the cities where the Games have been held are glass-bead blasted on to grade 316 sheet with a No. 4 finish.

These towers each carry solar panels that contribute to the public elecricity grid an amount of power equal to that consumed by the towers at night.

At the bottom of one of the towers is a Munich Memorial to honour the athletes who died at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The memorial consists of three plaques fabricated from grade 316 stainless steel and glass, the names being engraved and paint filled in a surface with a No. 4 finish. Stainless steel channel sections, glass bead blasted on the inside and mirror polished were used around some of the edges.

Spread over six levels, the kitchens at Stadium Australia will see almost as much action as the field! Anticipated to feed about 110,000 people every day during competition, the kitchens have been fitted out with stainless steel equipment including benches, exhaust hoods, 200 deep-fat fryers and 300 upright refrigerators. ASSDA members Curtin Foodservice Equipment Pty Ltd supplied a bulk of the equipment, including over four and a half kilometres of stainless steel benches, 145 stainless steel hi-velocity extraction hoods, 200 deep-fat fryers, bain maries, refrigeration equipment, bulk and plated hot food holding carts and more than 200 mobile trolleys. Grade 304 stainless steel for the equipment was provided by ASSDA member Fagersta Steel.

THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE
Home to 15,000 athletes, officials and coaches during competition, the Olympic Village reflects stainless steel's contribution to the "Green Games". 6,000 kilograms (10,500 square metres) of grade 316 stainless steel mesh were installed to provide a chemical-free termite barrier to over 500 houses in the Village.

Fabricated and installed by Termi-Mesh Sydney Pty Ltd, the stainless steel mesh provides a physical barrier around the building perimeter and is collar clamped to pipes and other entry points. The result is a permanent obstruction to termites that eliminates the use of potentially dangerous chemicals.

OLYMPIC BOULEVARD
Olympic Boulevard, which passes key venues such as Stadium Australia and the Aquatic Centre, features spectacular fountains with stainless steel components.

Water jets, each covered by a grade 316 stainless steel cowl, provide a cascading arch at Fig Grove.

Fabricated grade 316 stainless steel gratings, black chrome plated so they are almost invisible under water, are used as safety screens. Grade 316 sections are also used to ensure the water cascades evenly along the length of the feature and as structural supports.

At the far end of the Boulevard is a fountain featuring lines of tubular water jets. Each jet comprises an inner structure of grade 316 stainless steel tubes clad with 3 millimetre thick 316 sheet, formed into a tapered cylindrical section with a No. 4 finish.

The underground pump house receives fresh air through spiral, welded ducting consisting of 250 millimetre diameter grade 316 stainless steel. A nearby wooden viewing pier has 316 handrails on galvanised steel uprights.

THE TORCH
Perhaps the most evocative symbol of the Games is the Olympic Torch, which carries the flame from Olympia in Greece to Stadium Australia, via the Olympic Torch Relay.

he design of the approximately 1 kilogram, 72 centimetre tall torch includes three layers representing earth, fire and water. The inner layer is polished stainless steel, the middle layer anodized aluminium and the outer layer specially coated aluminium.

Thin grade 316 stainless steel strip was used to form a skin inside the grade 430 stainless steel tube inner layer, acting as a shield against heat, wind and rain. Also, very fine (25 micron opening) 316 stainless steel gauze was installed as a final filter to clean the liquid propane/butane gas mixture that fuels the torch, thereby preventing contaminants from extinguishing the flame.

The torch was fabricated by Sydney firm GA & L Harrington, who produced over 14,000 torches available for purchase by the 10,000 runners participating in the Torch Relay.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 16, August 2000.


Posted 5 January 2001

Sports fans trekking to Melbourne's Colonial Stadium will enter the ground via a 200 metre long, 20 metre wide bridge shrouded in stainless.

The Bourke Street Pedestrian Bridge, which connects Spencer Street Station to the eastern entrance of the $460 million sporting arena, opened in March 2000, makes extensive use of stainless steel to stunning effect.

A 200 metre long canopy comprising 14 rolled cascading stainless steel sheets divided in sections by red coated curved steel antlers protects pedestrians queuing on the south side of the bridge. The antlers, made from carbon steel, provide lighting and primary support to the stainless steel canopy.

400 metres of stainless steel handrailing with balustrades run the length of each side of the bridge.

he bridge connects the Gateway to the east and adjacent Spencer Street Station and extends across the station to the West End Connection above North-South Road.

Pedestrians entering the 30 000 person capacity bridge on the station side are greeted by two red glass towers, large staircases and a crushed wall of stainless steel through which a ramp connects disabled access from street level to the bridge.

Wood Marsh, the firm commissioned to design the bridge, said stainless steel was chosen because of its appearance, low maintenance and longevity.

"With thousands of people expected to cross the bridge every time an event is on, we needed a material that would not only withstand this level of traffic, but would make an eye-catching entrance to the stadium."

"Stainless steel was the obvious material choice -it is durable, needs limited upkeep and achieved the look we were after."

The roof cladding consists of 20 tonnes of 1.6mm grade 316 stainless steel sheets rolled to a radius of approximately 325mm butt joined, with a No. 4 finish to both faces.

400 metres of 6 inch, Sched 40 grade 316 stainless steel pipe was used for the handrails, polished to a No. 4 finish.

The handrails were constructed at Shearform Industries' workshop and installed, invisibly fixed, on site. The roof cladding was fabricated and polished in the workshop and installed on site.

The roofing material was supplied by ASSDA member Atlas Steels (Australia) Pty Ltd, the handrails by ASSDA member Sandvik Australia.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 17, January 2001.


Posted 5 January 2001

Sixty tonnes of stainless steel has been exported to Hong Kong as part of an innovative Australian-designed and manufactured kit form, large span skylight project worth three quarters of a million dollars.

The 42 gable trussed skylights and sub-frames in varying sizes up to four metres wide and eight metres long were installed in a $90 million dollar treatment plant commissioned by the Hong Kong Government.

Grade 316 stainless steel was used for the skylight's precision pre-cut sub-frame members, welded maintenance ladders, lntalok mechanism assemblies, special profiles, on sight assembly jigs, pivots and fixings.

The project specified that the skylights be easily removed from the roof to allow crane access to equipment in the building. However, the skylights also had to be strong enough to withstand Hong Kong's coastal gale force winds. Sky Roof International (Victoria) undertook the project.

Sky Roof Director, lan Howe, said the specifier's requirements and environmental concerns were met by adapting stainless steel to the company's lntalok cyclonic glazing frame system.

"The government specified that they wanted something striking, low maintenance and durable," Mr Howe said.

"As the frames had to be robust for lifting and withstand the conditions inherent in a coastal region, the obvious choice was stainless steel."

The skylight was designed to use wind uplift force to operate the lntalok hold down mechanism.

When the aluminium skylight structure is forced skyward by wind suction on the glazing, the small surface area of the stainless steel sub-frame is unaffected. This creates a differential force between the skylight and the sub-frame which is transmitted to the lntalok mechanism via the stainless steel ladders. The stronger the wind uplift on the skylight, the tighter the stainless steel lntalok engages the building.

All the prefabricated stainless steel components for the skylights were produced in a zircon glass bead blasted finish by ASSDA member Hart to Hart Fabrications (Dandenong, Victoria).

The skylights were then shipped to Hong Kong in fully fabricated kit form for easy on site assembly.

Mr Howe said ASSDA's Australian Stainless Reference Manual was vital in providing stainless steel technical and supply information.

"I found the Reference Manual and other pieces of information very useful in learning more about stainless steel and also in helping me find a fabricator for the job - Hart to Hart Fabrications," he said.

Following the success of the Hong Kong project, Sky Roof International is working on a design for a skylight featuring stainless steel glazing frames.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 17, January 2001.


Posted 17 May 2001

Stainless steel spiral handrails provide a stunning support for climbers of Perth's new Bell Tower complex.

Grade 316 stainless steel tube was used to construct handrails for an internal spiral staircase and for an observation platform on the building's sixth floor.

170 metres of tube was used for the staircase, which was spiralled and fixed to the mild steel structure of the building. Washers and neoprene gaskets were used to separate the stainless steel from the mild steel, avoiding corrosion issues caused by dissimilar metal contact.

The handrails were fabricated by Tubelok Metals Australia in their Cannington (Western Australia) workshop and brought into the Bell Tower in six metre lengths.

Handrails on the sixth floor observation platform were secured to the structure with patch fittings through toughened glass, with 40 metres of stainless steel pipe used in total.

All handrail for the project was polished to a AWBP finish (as welded buff polished)_ Stainless steel for the project was supplied by ASSDA member Austral Wright Metals.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 18, May 2001.


Posted 28 February 2002

Sea World's latest attractions, polar bear cubs Lia and Lutik, have captured the public's attention since their arrival from Russia late last year. The one-year-old siblings join resident polar bears Kanook and Ping Ping, who have already given the park one of its most successful years since Polar Bear Shores was built in 2000.

The use of stainless steel in the construction of the polar bear enclosure contributes to giving park visitors a close look at the playful cubs and the adult bears. Large underwater viewing windows, supported by stainless steel frames, allow the public to watch the bears swimming and diving in a four-metre deep pool.

The health and well-being of the bears is a prime consideration in the design of their custom-built enclosure, which Sea World says "leads the world in providing a naturalistic and stimulating environment utilising the latest in polar bear technology, drawing on international research and knowledge."

The exhibit features natural landscaping, chilled water pools, shade cover, water misters and streams, wind generators and diving and climbing opportunities. Stainless steel plays a significant part. The larger bears are powerful animals, and strong stainless steel doors onto the exhibit ensure their security as well as the keepers'. The four air-conditioned den areas are made of grade 316 stainless, selected to withstand the corrosive effect of bear urine and daily hosing out.

Introducing the bears to one another had to be carefully managed. A specially designed stainless steel mesh screen known as the "howdy window" separated the older bears during the quarantine period, while allowing them to see and smell each other. Kanook, who was 16 when she was brought to the Gold Coast from Arizona, has taken the dominant role while Ping Ping, a young curious five-year-old when he arrived from China, is more submissive. The screen was a success with the two now getting along well together. The same method is being used to familiarise the bears and the new cubs without any risk to Lia and Lutik.

Bringing the polar bears to Australia was the culmination of three years of research and planning. Sea World says there has been overwhelming interest and support from the public which in turn can only assist conservation efforts for the polar bear.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 20, February 2002.

World Class and Australian Made


Posted 28 February 2002

The Australian stainless steel industry is committed to providing high quality, durable products for the architecture industry.

Vee-cut technology is an example of precision fabrication catering to the demands of architects and designers.

Following the importation of a Japanese vee-cutting machine, Australian manufacturers now offer extremely accurate sheet metal folding, resulting in excellent optical features.

The Amada machine operated by Vee-Cut Australia in Sydney produces tight radius curves with precision, while hardly altering the surface tension of the stainless sheet. This produces minimal distortion even with the use of mirror finishes. The machine is capable of handling heavy gauge (up to 6mm) material allowing the manufacture of very strong architectural elements with the precision and high polish associated with light-weight constructions.

GUCCI STORES
Vee-cut technology is typically used for architectural features where clean, sharp lines and a high level of finish are desired, such as shop and hotel fittings and joinery items. The machine has been utilised in the manufacture of stainless steel shop fittings for fashion house Gucci, with the Sydney store the latest in a series which includes Saipan in the Pacific, Auckland and the Gold Coast.

Each fit-out includes illuminated stainless steel and glass showcases made to Gucci's worldwide store design (pictured), and miscellaneous stainless fittings such as shelving, belt straps and lettering totalling around $100 000 per store. About a dozen cabinets have been built for each store using grade 304, 2mm gauge material polished to no.8 mirror finish.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 20, February 2002.


Posted 28 February 2002

The superior strength of stainless steel has long made it the material of choice for prison toilet facilities. Innovative styling has now opened up a new market in public restrooms. Increasingly, venues are turning to stainless steel to make their facilities safer and reduce costs in the long term.

Vandalism in public facilities is a widespread occurrence, with some pub and club owners forced to replace a toilet every few weeks. While the initial outlay may be higher for stainless fittings, the cost of replacing and installing a ceramic pan can be recouped after just one instance of vandalism. Unbreakable stainless steel also eliminates the risk of injury from sharp ceramic shards and the inconvenience of effluent overflow.

Stylish designs mean that aesthetics aren't sacrificed for practicality. Martin O’Brien, General Manager of the recently refurbished QA Hotel in Brisbane’s Teneriffe, says stainless steel was the logical choice because it’s "tough as teeth, durable and looks good. Stainless steel was the best way to go - its clean lines never go out of date." As part of a total makeover, the QA replaced ceramic tiles and fittings with stainless steel. O’Brien says vandalism in pubs is a big issue, with "punters" taking out their frustrations in the bathrooms and causing a lot of damage to conventional fittings.

ELEGANT AND FUNCTIONAL
Metal, timber and black are the predominant themes in the $3 million refurbishment of the 120-year-old Regatta Hotel, overlooking the Brisbane River. Conceived by owner-developer Steve Hammond, the renovation juxtaposes high tech and rustic, with gleaming metal and glass surfaces set against timber frames and sandblasted brick walls. The metallic theme continues outside with stainless steel topped café tables on the pavement and verandahs, and aluminium louvres replacing traditional lattice.

Stainless steel is integral to the washroom design, combining clean, minimalist lines with durability, vandal-resistance and minimum maintenance. Push pad controls replace vulnerable taps, while moulded stainless steel pans with in-wall slimline cisterns and push pad flush eliminate other targets for vandals. Stainless steel is used for mirrors, air-towels, soap and toilet paper dispensers.

Stainless steel fabricator Stoddart, who drew on the resources of ASSDA to develop a commercial product range, says their pans are often specified as part of a suite to fit in with a high-tech, architectural look. This project used Stoddart's standard shrouded toilet made from satin finished, 316 stainless to withstand heavy duty cleaning products. A pin inside the bowl prevents objects like wine glasses being flushed into the plumbing. The flat plate design of the rim flush makes the toilet contraband-proof and the unit has the advantage of being able to be fixed onto a wall from the inside.

Stainless steel features heavily elsewhere in the bar frames and counters and in a microbrewery. Three 2 000 litre stainless steel tanks with decorative copper cladding have been incorporated into the design of the downstairs bar. The beer is piped to fermentation tanks in the upstairs bar, which form a backdrop to the dancefloor. Apart from providing a theming enhancement to a predominantly beer pub, the installation of a microbrewery was a commercial decision in response to a growing demand for boutique and specialty beers, says project manager Rob Forbes.

BEACHFRONTS AND PARKS
Local authorities present another significant market for stainless steel amenities. Gold Coast City Council, which for some years has had a policy of replacing vandalised ceramic toilets with stainless steel ones, is now installing stainless steel pans in all new public convenience blocks. To improve safety, the Council is also considering installing stainless steel woven security mesh near the entrance of public toilets. The one-way screen allows people to see if is there is a threat outside the building before exiting.

STYLISH STAINLESS SHOWERS
In conjunction with Stoddart, Gold Coast City Council is developing a prototype stainless steel shower to eliminate the corrosion problems of beachside installation. Ian Munro, Supervisor in the Council’s Building & Maintenance section, says the project has attracted interest from other councils on the coast. Seven showers are currently being tested. ASSDA member Stoddart has also manufactured stainless steel street furniture for Casuarina Beach on the Tweed Coast in northern NSW including beach-themed showers in 316 stainless. These are designed to be vandal and weather resistant and feature automatic water cut-off to prevent wastage.

Image on left: Casuarina Beach 316 stainless surfboard shower. Design by Hutton-Harris. Fabrication by Stoddart.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 20, February 2002.


Posted 1 September 2002

The overwhelming response from the architecture community to our earlier article on precision folding of stainless steel sheet using vee-cutting technology has prompted a more in-depth look at the process.

Thanks to vee-cut technology, stainless steel sheet can be formed into angles as precise as those obtained by extrusion. This technology is now being carried out in Sydney, allowing the local manufacture of a whole range of stainless steel architectural products. The technique is particularly suited to elements such as door fronts, window frames, shopfronts, showcases, elevator doors as well as all forms of cladding.

In a completely new method of manufacture, vee-cutting can also be used to make flat products such as tread plates for lifts and escalators by removing strips of material to the required width and depth.

CLEAN LINES COMPLEMENT SPECIAL FINISHES
Ordinary bends made on a brake press typically produce a corner radius twice the thickness of the sheet, resulting in a finished product with soft, blurred lines. But with the introduction to Australia of vee-cut technology, it is now possible to produce stainless steel with corners as precise as an extruded angle, such as those found on aluminium window frames.

The method is particularly useful when working with textured and patterned stainless sheet. Such finishes are distorted by the traditional bending method. Using the vee-cut machine, the feature finish is preserved without loss of quality. This makes it the manufacturing method of choice for items such as bar fronts, display cases, door furnishings and a myriad of other uses where appearance counts.

THE VEE-CUTTING PROCESS
The machine cuts a continuous vee-shaped notch in the sheet using a series of five tools, which make repeated passes across the surface. The number of passes required varies depending on the thickness of the metal; generally three or four are needed, but up to 15 can be required for thicker product.

The machine can handle thicknesses in the range of 0.6mm to 6.0mm and is capable of cutting to a minimum depth of 0.4mm and processing sheet up to 4m in length. The sheet is then folded along the groove in a brake press. The depth of the groove can be set for acute angles down to 15°.

When used for cladding, up to 70% of the thickness of the sheet can be removed; however, care needs to be taken not to weaken structural components by removing too much of the thickness. One option is to remove material to obtain a tight corner and then stitch weld to restore strength – it is a matter of weighing up cost and other considerations.

A TYPICAL APPLICATION - ENTRANCE DOORS
An example of the finish available can be seen in the revolving doors of the McKell Building in Sydney (pictured). Byrnes Entrance Technology Pty Ltd (BET) worked with ASSDA member the Townsend Group to produce profiles and folded panel sections to clad the central steel and aluminium core of the triple door. The final effect is the appearance of a solid, triangular-shaped central column with lightly inward-curving sides.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 22, September 2002.

Stainless Steel Mesh


Posted 1 December 2002

Woven metal fabrics are a popular architectural product in Europe, where stainless steel mesh is used for a high-level finish in many internal and external settings, such as wall and ceiling panelling, space dividers, external cladding and facades.

Now Sydney firm Interspace Manufacturing Pty Ltd is making and installing woven stainless steel wire mesh screens using metal fabrics from iO Metal Fabrics Pty Ltd, a German firm with an Australian presence and a member of ASSDA.

ASSDA member Interspace has been designing and manufacturing store fittings and custom fixtures for displays and exhibitions since 1970. The firm began utilising stainless steel mesh two years ago and has produced partitions for a number of interiors, including the AMP Building in Sydney and the office of medical supply firm B. Braun, designed by Leffler Simes Architects. Another project is Space 207 in St Leonards, Sydney, which is being billed as "the North Shore's finest office building, so advanced it is destined to lead the way in business premises for a long time to come." The designers of Space 207 set out to create an environment representing "style, sophistication and elegance" and chose stainless steel mesh to complement the building's hi-tech, ultra-modern decor.

Woven stainless steel fabrics are versatile and reliable. Made from corrosion-resistant grade 316 stainless, they are equally at home in hostile external locations requiring stainless steel's hard-wearing capability and in internal spaces where aesthetic values come to the fore. They can be put to a variety of uses, including partitions, wall and ceiling cladding, awnings and sunscreens. In Germany they are also employed in roadside noise reduction barriers.

Stainless mesh is lightweight but strong and it is extremely resilient when subjected to environmental threats such as heavy weather, fire and chemicals.

Like textiles generally, metal fabrics are woven on a loom, producing an attractive array of patterns and textures in a varying degrees of weight and flexibility.

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


Posted 1 June 2002

Hastings Caves, one of Tasmania’s major tourist attractions situated a scenic two hours’ drive south of Hobart, has received a major upgrade.

According to the Site Co-ordinator Keith Vanderstaay, the caves "have been reinvented with the completion of a state of the art, computer-controlled lighting system which will change the way everybody will see the cave."

New stainless steel handrails allow visitors to navigate the cave in safety, and are designed to last for generations, minimising the need for maintenance in the caves' sensitive environment.

Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service, as part of a safety review of structures used by the public, identifed the 1930s galvanised pipe handrails as substandard to the new AS2156.2 Walking Track: Infrastructure Design and decided to replace them.

Another primary concern was the environmental damage being caused by the breakdown of the galvanise.

The Service looked at using stainless steel or aluminium for the project and after all considerations, including cost, the decision was made to use grade 304 stainless for the posts and rails.

The job consisted of 263m of rail along around 90m of walkways, stairs, ramps and viewing platforms which snake through the cave.

Sinclair Knight Merz was engaged to design, seek tenders and supervise construction. The project presented some unusual and physically demanding challenges for the fabricator, Prins
Metalwork of Kingston.

COLD, DARK WORK

Adrian Prins and his firm worked on the project for two and half months, with a team of four or five people living at the caves for half that period.

All of the installation work, which was carried out in winter, had to take place at night so that the caves could stay open to visitors during the day. For the same reason, no voids were allowed to remain at the end of each session. The workers had to carry out all the old carbon steel balustrades by hand, just as they had to carry in all the new rails and their equipment, down 200+ steps into the cave.

Once inside they had to be very careful not to touch any of the formations, which are extremely fragile.

Because no angle grinding was allowed inside the cave for environmental reasons, they used a reciprocating saw to remove some 190 old posts.

The stubs were capped and the new posts installed. MIG welding was allowed, but kept to a minimum. There was only 240V, 10 amp power supply throughout the cave.

Where possible, fabrication took place at the workshop and was fine-tuned on site. The nature of the project meant that there were many adjustments to be made as few of the
balustrades have consistent angles. The concrete steps and landings, which were boxed in situ to adapt to the contours for the caves’ public opening in 1939, are quite irregular.

Sitework was carried out at the cave entrance, under artificial lights, in an area 400m from the carpark. It took the workers six trips along a boardwalk every night just to set up equipment
and they then had to carry materials and equipment up to 400m from the cave entrance.

While those who worked on the project recall the cold and the dark conditions, visitors can now safely enjoy the beauty of the cave in the knowledge that the new stainless steel infrastructure is protecting the caves and its visitors.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 21, June 2002.


Posted 1 June 2002

The Australian construction and food processing sectors can specify stainless steel tube in large sizes with confidence in its quality and timely delivery, now that local production has commenced at a Victorian plant.

Manufacturing by an Australian firm will also make it easier for specificiers to communicate their special requirements.

Stainless Tube Mills' special purpose factory in Melbourne’s outer east is producing longitudinally welded tube in diameters up to 300mm and wall thicknesses up to 8mm – the largest seamwelded stainless steel tube available in Australia. Tube in this size range has always been imported.

The recently commissioned draw mill, designed in house by ASSDA member STM in conjunction with CSIRO, joins twelve other mills on site which produce welded tube up to 101.6mm outside diameter.

While a conventional mill uses a drive mechanism to feed the strip through the mill and produce welded tube, in the draw mill strip (1) is drawn through the mill with the forming rolls idling (2 & 3). This has the effect of producing a tube with minimal roll forming marks, as well as precise tolerances. The internal weld bead (4) is rolled to merge with the parent metal producing a smooth bore. Externally, the polished finish renders the seam all but invisible.

The smooth interior finish means tube produced on the draw mill is ideal for transfer of processing fluids, particularly food products, where the clean internal bore is mandatory.

Large diameter tube is also finding application architecturally for balustrades, barriers and structural column formers. As formers they make an attractive alternative to brick or concrete,
delivering a superlative appearance and impressive structural strength, which can be further bolstered by filling with concrete. STM used 300mm columns in T304 alloy to dramatically enhance its own office façade (left).

The draw mill has only been in operation commercially for a short time, however STM reports there has already been considerable demand. The firm's future plans include production of heavy walled large diameter sectional tubes for architectural applications.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 21 - June 2002.


Posted 1 June 2002

Melbourne's public life is populated with unique, strong and take-as-you-find personalities. Its culture – from high to mass – is influenced by figures like Jeff Kennett and Sam Newman, who shape Melbourne's view of itself and its environment.

While the former Premier's impact on the Victorian capital has been comprehensive, the refurbishment of Brighton Sea Baths as an upscale nightspot part-owned by Mr Newman has contributed a smaller scale landmark which is just as likely to provide visitors (male ones, anyway) with a memorable impression of the city.

The retired Geelong player and AFL Footy Show co-host, well-known in Melbourne for his flamboyant lifestyle, including a 5m high mural of pop icon Pamela Anderson at his Brighton home, came up with a quirky idea for the urinal: a built-in wide-screen TV (main image).

ASSDA member Britex, working with Buxton Constructions' Adrian Seymour and architects McGauran Soon Pty Ltd, were able to deliver the goods thanks to the versatility of stainless steel.

Melbourne's CBD has undergone a transformation in recent years, and everywhere stainless steel is playing a significant role. It’s proving its durability and appeal in major public facilities, such as Colonial Stadium (urinals) and Vodafone Arena (food preparation areas), both venues which showcase the city’s top sports events and attract many international visitors. The facilities must perform under the pressure of large crowds and yet look good.

Stainless steel fulfills these requirements here as it does at the Melbourne Convention Centre. The Centre, one of the country’s premier sites for international events, makes the most of its riverside location, with floor to ceiling windows framing views of the Yarra and one of Melbourne's best-known attractions, the Polly Woodside. Stainless steel benches in the foyer are in keeping with the clean lines and open spaces (see image, right).

Stainless works equally well in boutique refurbishments, such as Brighton Sea Baths and Retreat on Spring, an upmarket health resort tucked away near Melbourne’s gracious old Parliament buildings. The design language of Retreat on Spring is quiet, peaceful, harmonious.

Blond, polished floorboards, bamboo and stone set a tranquil tone. Stainless steel slips easily into this combination of natural elements and muted colours, while providing a practical surface in the health bar area and for the vanities in the individual therapy rooms.

From the intimate setting of Retreat on Spring to the high-traffic amenities at the city’s massive sports arenas, stainless steel is perfectly at home, providing both understated elegance and rugged performance.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 21 - June 2002.


Posted 1 June 2002

Pressed stainless steel cladding has been used to spectacular effect on the Dame Roma Mitchell Arts Building of Adelaide Institute of TAFE, the training ground for many of Australia’s future performing and visual artists.

The originality of the design complements the creative nature of the activities housed in the building, situated on the edge of Adelaide’s Light Square.

Completed in December 2001, the four-storey complex comprises an art gallery, basement workshop facilities for ceramics and sculpture, two theatre spaces, and various studios and workshops.

Stainless steel fulfils a dual function. Not only does it provide aesthetic appeal, the pressed surface combined with the choice of finish is strongly resistant to the type of damage likely to
occur in a public building.

This world-class facility occupies a site area of 3,785m2 and has a total floor space of 15,500m2, but in spite of its bulk, a striking feature is its apparent light and transparency. The uninterrupted flow of the stainless steel panels from the external feature walls into the main foyer through the window-wall area creates amplitude. Reflections from the polished and
textured panels generate a play of light.

CONSTRUCTION

Each 0.45mm thick panel was unique and had to be manufactured and pressed individually. The interlinking design made it critical for all work to be executed satisfactorily from the outset, as it could not be rectified later. The real construction challenge lay in resolving the myriad detailing issues at the interface between the stainless steel and other elements.

This achievement – an Australian construction first – was a key factor in head contractor Hansen Yuncken gaining a high commendation at the Australian Institute of Building Professional Excellence in Building Awards. The Dame Roma Mitchell Building project team also included architects Hassell Pty Ltd and engineering firm Wallbridge and Gilbert.

Fabrication, by Donato Steel Fabrications Pty Ltd, was carried out in the workshop and panels were delivered to the site in specially constructed crates to avoid physical damage. Most of the approximately 2,000m2 of grade 304 stainless steel sheet was supplied by ASSDA member Atlas Steels Pty Ltd.

FINISH

Using a minimalist colour palette, the interior design relies for interest on the contrasting essential qualities of the materials utilised – glass, concrete and stainless steel. A finish combining high lustre and surface roughness (2B) was chosen for the stainless panels, providing a rudimentary feel sympathetic to the overall design. This choice has proven highly successful from both the aesthetic and maintenance perspectives, as it does not attract surface contaminants.

The result for Adelaide TAFE is a unique Australian landmark.

This article appeared in Australian Stainless Issue 21 - June 2002.

A Style Statement in Stainless


Posted 1 December 2002

The transformation of Sydney's Walsh Bay from derelict wharves and sheds into a prestigious residential complex, complete with cultural, retail and commercial facilities, provides a stage for Australian innovation in design and technology, including some of the finest examples of stainless steel structural and architectural applications.

Located amid Sydney's landmarks -the Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks and Sydney Harbour Bridge -the Walsh Bay Precinct is said to be "the most significant urban renewal of heritage Sydney to be undertaken for many years."

According to developers Walsh Bay Partnership (WBP), a joint venture project between Mirvac and Transfield, "the redevelopment captures an exceptional balance between Walsh Bay's rich heritage, sympathetic contemporary design, and the vision to revitalise Walsh Bay as Australia's finest new residential address."

The development features 350 luxury apartments, 140 of them located on Pier 6f7, one of the five "finger wharves" constructed between 1906 and 1922 to serve Sydney's expanding commercial shipping activity. But the area's history goes back much further: Walsh Bay was one of Sydney's first industrial ports, dating back to 1820. Like many other city ports around the world, Walsh Bay ceased operations in the '70s and by the late '90s much of the area was unused and neglected.


New Technology Preserves Authentic Feel
WBP was formed in '97 to undertake restoration, with an emphasis on conservation strategies such as salvaging the old hardwood timbers and historical artefacts. Over 80% of the original buildings are being retained and the style of new construction is required to evoke and interpret Walsh Bay's rich heritage. Preserving its historic appeal, unique operable louvres which mimic the original timber planks face the 200m long refurbished pier. These are made from aluminium and supported by grade 316 stainless steel brackets. The louvres pivot on stainless steel supports, allowing them to withstand winds up to 130krnlh. As a safety measure, they close automatically if the weather worsens. They were designed by Architectural Glass Projects Pty Ltd, a Sydney firm which specialises in building components such as glass facades, operable louvres, balustrading and specialised glazing.

 

Stainless to Resist Sea Spray
To take best advantage of its Sydney Harbour location, a marina with private boat moorings accessible from ground-level apartments runs along both sides of the pier and features     stainless steel steps, gates and balustrades.

Starting with the right materials and selecting the most appropriate surface finish are key factors for ensuring the quality and life-cycle of the finished project, particularly in harsh marine environments. A surface roughness (Ra) under O.SJ.Jm using 320 grit abrasives was specified for the stainless steel used in this project. Mechanical grinding was followed by electropolishing, a chemical process which smooths and levels the surface, to produce the best protection against tea staining and contamination.

Surface treatments were carried out by two ASSDA members, MME Surface Finishing and Metaglo Pty Ltd. A large proportion of the stainless steel material used was imported large extruded T and 'L' sections up to 150mm deep. MME, which has the capacity to process elements up to 6.5m long by either mechanical means or electropolishing, modified machines and developed new techniques to produce a consistent O.SJ.Jm finish throughout. Components were returned to MME after fabrication for immersion pickling and electropolishing.

An Asset for Sydney
The revitalised Walsh Bay precinct is set to become an attraction for residents and visitors when it opens next year. As well as offices and apartments, the development includes a new cultural centre, an 850 seat theatre, parks, restored bridges and walkways. A promenade will link Walsh Bay to The Rocks and Circular Quay, opening up the foreshore to the public for the first time in over a century.

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


Posted 1 July 2003

Architect Jan Jensen was a consultant to Brisbane City Council on the design of the Brisbane Riverwalk, currently under construction. The walk will take pedestrians from the CBD to the inner suburb of New Farm along the river.

At this proximity to Moreton Bay, the water is brackish and the air salt-laden - it is destructive to most construction materials. Corrosion-resistant stainless steel was chosen for this landmark project to deliver the 100 year service life required by the asset owner.

The structure consists of floating pontoons, reinforced with 316 stainless steel deformed bar. There are stainless steel balustrades and light poles and a suite of stainless street furniture.

Jensen describes the process of specifying the correct finish, including gaining a theoretical understanding and producing prototypes:

The Starting Point
As a key parameter of design responsibility 'value for money' the decision to use stainless steel was an easy one. Our rationale was: "It doesn't corrode and our work is in salt-affected air; it lasts forever; it is low maintenance; it will save us money and keep on looking good."

We needed a specification to let contracts for the manufacture of street and riverscape elements. Writing a specification required describing and reproducing the manufacturing process exactly to get reliable, predictable, consistent and economic results.

Our research took us to ASSDA's timely seminar on the fifty most frequently asked questions about stainless steel, where we were able to ask about tea-staining and how to avoid it.

Then we talked to manufacturers. The answers to our questions about surface roughness and the finishes available made us realise there were variations within the industry and we needed to define our requirements with scientific precision. Specifically, we needed to know the surface roughness (Ra) in microns (µm), as the labels 2B, No. 4 and so on refer to the method used to achieve the finish and comprise an Ra range.

Building Prototypes
We concluded that to write our specification we needed to build the product first to set it within the theory and the 'standard range of common industry manufacturing practice'. We commissioned prototypes of a balustrade and a light pole then the furniture suite for the Riverwalk: seats, bollards, bins, lights, sign posts and drinking fountain.

Forge Brothers Engineering produced the prototypes. It drew on the expertise of ASSDA and its members University of Queensland Materials Performance, 3M Australia, Heat & Control, Condamine Wellscreens, Ronstan International as well as AbrasiveFlex and Dana Ridge.

We soon realised that:

> The common system of finish grades is not a measure of surface roughness, eg the Ra of No. 4 finish products measures anywhere from 0.45 to 0.8µm depending on product form and supplier. Typical Ra for sheet is 0.3 to 0.4µm while it is not unusual for other products such as flat bar to be rougher. Thick plate, thin plate (sheet), tube, flat bar and hollow bar are manufactured by different processes which produce different finishes. The surface finish changes in hot rolled plate and gets smoother as the plate reduces in thickness.

> Ra meters were not commonly used in the industry although their use is growing.

> All abrasives aren't the same. Wear and tear and pressure make a difference. We tested non-woven abrasive belts, Trizact belts, air wheels and silicon carbide.

> The electro-polishing industry uses a variety of chemical baths and voltages.

Towards a Specification
In arriving at our specification we learned:

> Best practice calls for a finish below 0.5µm combined with electro-polishing to eliminate sulphides and increase the chromium content of the exposed surface.

> Wet blasting at low air pressure levels with a water and abrasive bead mix provides a consistent surface finish and economically removes surface variations ready for electro-polishing. This avoids the unexpected rise in roughness which can occur when electro-polishing removes microscopic peaks, previously flattened by mechanical polishing, to uncover underlying pits.

The proof that our specification works can be seen on the Brisbane River. After twelve months in a salt air environment our prototypes are still looking clean and new.

Words by Jan Jensen.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 25, July 2003.


Posted 30 November 2003

The humble stainless steel rail is set to become a visual feature with the introduction of an innovative new product that people just can't keep their hands off.

Decorative Tube or Deco Tube has already started making waves on Queensland's Sunshine Coast with a choice between six different patterns suitable for a whole range of applications.

Caboolture Wheelchairs' new Custom Stallion GT design made with stainless Deco Tube.An Expression of Individuality

Caboolture Wheelchairs manufactures a range of customised manual and electric wheelchairs made of stainless steel for disabled people, sporting wheelies, hospitals and nursing homes.

The company sought to transform an ordinary functional wheelchair frame into a stylish feature by using a Deco N8 tube pattern to create a unique, individualised look (pictured below - left).

Unlike most stainless steel applications, wheelchairs are not polished but powdercoated in a range of colours to overcome the stigmatic 'institutional' image.

Caboolture Wheelchairs applies clear blue or red colour powdercoat on the 1.2mm thickness tube supplied by ASSDA member, Tubesales (Qld) to retain the distinct pattern effect.

Ronca Sheetmetal's office foyer display feature fabricated using Rimex sign lettering and stainless Deco Tube.A Distinctive Foyer Display Feature

Caloundra-based ASSDA member, Ronca Sheetmetal wanted to show their interior design clients a myriad of options available to them using stainless steel materials.

Since the office foyer was due for minor refurbishment, the company opted to create a curved display feature wall that doubled as an internal company sign (pictured below - centre).

A Deco N8 tube was used for the feature rail to highlight the new product ... and to impress.

Manufactured in 304 stainless by ASSDA member, National Tube Mills, the feature rail measures 38.1mm in diameter with a thickness of 1.5mm.

This feature rail was complemented with sign lettering using a passivated 6WL stainless supplied by ASSDA member, Rimex Metals.

A feature rail made with stainless Deco Tube in the wine cellar of Sails Restaurant, NoosaA Wine Cellar with Function and Style

Lyndon Simmons, the owner of Sails Restaurant in Noosa loves stainless steel. Simmons has specified so much stainless steel at the popular restaurant location on Hastings Street that staff nickname him the 'Steel Man'.

So it was no surprise that Simmons jumped at the chance to use Deco Tube for a railing in the restaurant's wine cellar when told of the product by Sunrise Hills Welding and Mechanical.

The Noosaville company installed 304 stainless Deco N8 with a 31.8mm diameter and a thickness of 1.2mm.

The contrast of the timber wine racks combined with the stainless steel railings with minimal lighting creates a warm, alluring visual effect that highlights the quality wine collection.

The Deco N8 tube pattern available in six different patterns increasing to nine in the near future.Properties of Deco Tube

Deco Tube is suitable for bending, polishing and powder coating. Ductility does not change and due to the distinctive patern, tensile strength is increased dramatically. In fact, Deco Tube has approximately 70% higher tensile strength than standard tube, due to the cold working, which is required to produce the patterned surface.

Higher strength can result in weight savings by allowing designs in lighter wall thickness, which can be particularly important in the transportation industry.

Deco Tube is also suitable for use as accessories in bathrooms, marine environments or anywhere where safety is an issue.

The product is expected to be popular with Councils, architects, bending companies, boat manufacturers, home decorators and shopfitters.

Marketed by Tubesales (Qld), Deco Tube is designed and manufactured by National Tube Mills, Brisbane with material supplied by ASSDA member, AvestaPolarit (now trading as Outokumpu).

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 26, November 2003.


Posted 30 January 2005

North Queensland's Hayman Island Resort welcomes thousands of guests every year to the Great Barrier Reef island destination. Also attracted by the beauty of the resort, cockatoos have eaten away at the timber balcony railings and balustrades

To combat the work of the troublesome cockatoos, the resort management called for stainless steel to replace the timber railings and balustrades on the fifteen year old building.

ASSDA major sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals, supplied approximately 1,000 linear metres of grade 316 stainless steel including 76 x 42mm oval tube and 38mm diameter round tube in high polish to Mackay-based fabricator, Jeff Eales Sheetmetal for the project.

Stainless steel was used extensively for the balcony top rail and posts on all three levels of the pool wing accommodation block. Because many of the balconies are at the edge of the pool, oval profile tube was specified to prevent glasses or bottles being placed on the rail and then being bumped into the pool.

Also, to ensure guests receive uninterrupted ocean views, stainless steel wire rope was installed on each of the balustrades. This helped to eliminate the restricted views given by the previous timber material.

ASSDA member, Arcus Australia Pty Ltd supplied stainless steel wire for the balcony balustrades and ASSDA member Bridco supplied the wire fittings, turnbuckles and swages for the resort balustrading redevelopment.

Guests have commented on how the use of stainless steel complements the surroundings, improves the views and suits the building style.

Hayman Island Resort management are also impressed with the new stainless steel railing as it stops the bird problem, requires low maintenance and is easy to clean. All these qualities make the tropical ocean views much better.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 30, January 2005.


Posted 1 May 2004

The Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park Corner, London stands as a symbol of freedom and an enduring spirit of strength.

To commemorate the men and women who fought and died for Australia alongside Britons in the two World Wars, Australian architectural firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and artist Janet Laurence designed the Memorial to reflect the sweep of the Australian landscape.

The result was a highly durable structure featuring a long, curved wave wall constructed out of West Australian green granite and supported by grade 316L stainless steel.

ASSDA Major Sponsor, Atlas Specialty Metals, and ASSDA members, M & S Stainless Supplies and Dalsteel Stainless supplied approximately 9000 kilos of stainless steel for the structure including 8mm plate, pipe, angles and 3mm sheet.

Grade 316L was specified for its corrosion resistance, particularly as the Memorial comprises a water feature that periodically cascades water across the wall to highlight the names of the hometowns of our soldiers.

Stainless steel was used primarily in the construction of stainless steel cradles which were fabricated in Australia, shipped, positioned and lifted into place to support the granite.

All welds were pickled and passivated to provide protection from the bromine and chlorine’s likely to be deposited on the frames from the water forms built into the Memorial.

Australian-based firm Design and Survey Neon (DSN) played a leading role in the design and manufacture of the supporting structure by using 3D modelling techniques.

The 3D modelling allowed the manufacture of components and assembly of the job to become a seamless process.

DSN modelled the granite wave wall and supporting cradles. The templates for the granite blocks and their fixings were then lifted from the model to enable the fixings to be pre-drilled prior to assembly.

The use of laser cutting and CNC technologies allowed DSN to fabricate to near machining tolerances. Laser etching of assembly notches were added for simple fabrication and installation.

Coordinates for supporting cradles from the model were used to determine correct on-site positioning via electronic theodolites.

The granite blocks were positioned with a 6mm gap vertically and horizontally to a tolerance of plus or minus 1mm. Precise accuracy was required to avoid accumulation of errors because of its wave like design.

Most of the components for the Memorial were imported from Australia. Water features and water effects were created by Waterforms International and all the stone work was assembled by Australians.

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

Photos courtesy of Department of Veteran Affairs & Design and Survey Neon (DSN).

Main image: The Australian War Memorial 'Dedication Day Wreaths' placed in front of the curved granite wave wall. Photo courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs, copyright Commonwealth of Australia. Reproduced by permission.

Other images: 316 stainless steel cradles were lifted into place to support the granite blocks that form the wave wall.