AUSTRALIAN STAINLESS Specialising in stainless steel and its applications
Photo credit: Geschke Plumbing
ISSUE 69 2020
A stainless approach to protecting the environment Safeguarding Australia’s environmental biosecurity is critical in preventing the introduction and spread of pests and diseases, and the Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) facility in northern Melbourne is setting the benchmark in international best practice with the use of stainless steel. The PEQ facility in Mickelham is a stateof-the-art, purpose-built operation constructed to streamline the country’s quarantine services and consolidate five pre-existing Commonwealth PEQ facilities spread across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Managed by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the 144ha site includes an administration building, modern laboratories, dog and cat receiving areas, horse facilities and separate compounds for birds, ruminants, bees, plants, horse veterinarians and dogs and cats. Today, as Australia’s flagship quarantine control centre,
Photo credit: Geschke Plumbing 2 – Australian Stainless Issue 69
the integrated PEQ facility is the first point of entry for all imported animals, plant material and insects entering the country, providing secure accommodation and biological containment. One of the more challenging aspects of the PEQ facility’s construction was the design and build of the avian compound. The complex and demanding brief included the delivery of five high-criticality biocontainment units under Quarantine Containment Level 3 (QC3) requirements, the highest level of biosecurity containment. Containment of micro-organisms and
prevention of their release is of utmost importance. Mitigating and eliminating risk of exotic pathogens and disease connected to avian imports such as fertile eggs and live birds is critical. In association with UK-based Suncombe Engineering, a worldwide leader in the field of wastewater decontamination, ASSDA Member Fineweld Stainless Steel was engaged by hydraulics contractor Geschke Plumbing to supply, manufacture, and install the wastewater decontamination plant system and connecting containment pipework for the treatment of QC3 biowaste products in the avian compound.
The wastewater decontamination plant system required a 12,500L collection vessel and 1,750 heat treatment vessel, and the collection vessel was fabricated from 316 grade and the treatment vessel from 2205 duplex stainless steel with a 2B 0.6μm finish in Fineweld Stainless Steel’s Carrum Downs workshop. Following manufacture, the treatment vessel was packaged and transported to Suncombe Engineering in the UK for final assembly into the wastewater decontamination plant and to undergo a complete Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) as a certified testing authority. The wastewater decontamination plant was then transported back to Fineweld Stainless Steel in Australia for pre-testing at their facility and then installation on site.
In addition to the two vessels, Fineweld Stainless Steel installed and welded the connecting pipework on site, manufactured from 5t of 316 grade stainless steel. All pipework welded joints – approximately 1,500 butt welds – were orbital welded and each one inspected, tested and recorded as part of the project scope to comply with the client’s strict QC3 requirements. QC3 facilities use gaseous decontaminants including vaporised hydrogen peroxide and chlorine dioxide. The use of stainless steel offers material strength, hygiene and resistance to both corrosion and the chemicals required to deactivate pathogens, whilst ensuring a gas-tight system for fumigable ductwork. The installation took place two stories underground, therefore manufacturing and pre-spooling had
no margin of error. Extensive logistical challenges were diligently managed, and in collaboration with Suncombe Engineering and Geschke Plumbing, the project was delivered on-time and on budget by the Fineweld Stainless Steel team. In what would have been traditionally manufactured and imported from overseas suppliers, Fineweld Stainless Steel is showcasing the high quality and technical capability of Australian stainless steel manufacturing, producing high-end pressure vessels and complex works for a demanding and precise application. World-class infrastructure demands high quality products and long-term asset performance, both of which have been successfully delivered for the avian compound of Mickelham’s PEQ Facility through superior local workmanship and the use of stainless steel.
ASSDA MEMBER CONTACT Fineweld Stainless Steel \ Steve Waterson, Sales & Project Manager \ firstname.lastname@example.org \ 03 9775 0339 \ fineweld.com.au 3 – Australian Stainless Issue 69
Coloured and patterned stainless steel Westfield Doncaster, Victoria Photo credit: Steel Color Australia
Think stainless steel, and most people think ‘bright, shiny and silver’. But did you know that specifying stainless steel is not limited by its silver appearance? Coloured and textured stainless steel is an exciting material choice for designers and architects. In addition to offering a high quality and aesthetically-pleasing finish with choice of colour, stainless steel’s superior benefits when compared with plastics or anodised aluminium include resistance to heat, light, abrasion and corrosion, and overall increased durability and performance extending the service life of the application. This article will take a look back at the development of coloured stainless steel, detail the electrochemical colouring and PVD coating processes, and explore the various surface textures available.
History and development Back in late 1960s, INOX developed a process for uniformly colouring smooth stainless surfaces. The colour relied on the growth of a uniform oxide-based film in a sulphuric and chromic acid mixture. The colour changed because of the interference of reflections from the top of the layer and the metal underneath it. It is like the colours in a soap bubble or an oil film, except that the INOX film had a very uniform thickness. This is because it is grown under uniform temperature and flow conditions with tightly controlled chemistry. Because the colours were subtractive rather than additive, they were not the same as a rainbow spectrum, but colours ranged through bronze, blue, black, charcoal/ grey, gold, purple and green as the film grew from 20nm to 360nm. The colours also varied slightly with viewing angle because of the interference process that gives the colour.
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Initially, there were two limitations and two caveats. Firstly, the coatings were easily abraded so it should not be used in heavily trafficked areas because any mechanical damage could not be repaired. Secondly, it was initially only grown on 304. And the caveats? The tight thickness limits mean that batch-to-batch colours could have slight tint variations although, this also has been exploited to provide a softer colour image.
Electrochemical colouring Within a decade, a dual stage process was developed with an electrochemical treatment that provided greater abrasion resistance. Research in Australia showed that, for 304 base material, the film provided a slight improvement in corrosion resistance although the change is not as significant as a passivation process. Further developments showed that coloured films could also be formed on 316. The necessity for a uniform film thickness still requires factory treatment which means that it is limited to sheets or round surfaces such as tubes. Nevertheless, building facades, shopping centres and smooth surfaced
art works were able to display a variety of stainless steel colours, even when the coloured stainless steel has been carefully bent into shapes. These colours are very durable, even in Australia, as they do not fade with UV exposure and, in a graffiti-infected urban environment, solvents can be used to remove tags and other unwanted additions to coloured facades and signs. However, they are not repairable if scratched and can only be mechanically fixed as welding locally destroys the coloured film.
Surface Blackening Do the arms of your black windscreen wipers use this colouring process? Well, no. The rich, glossy black used to be from immersion of stainless steel in molten sodium/potassium dichromate at 400oC for about 30 minutes but is now usually replaced by a 180oC cured organic coating. Shorter immersion times were used for thermal solar water heaters but they are now either painted or plastic - although black chrome has had a place in the market.
Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coating The second major method of colouring stainless steel is PVD or Physical Deposition of a Vapour – hence PVD. The process is carried out in a high vacuum chamber with a small amount of (usually) argon gas. The gas is ionized by a high negative voltage on the target and forms a plasma of electrons and positive ions which bombard the source metal and ejects (or sputters) metal ions or atoms. These are deposited on the product to form a thin (typically 300nm) coating on the clean product. It is critical that the coated surface is free from contaminants or the coating will lack adhesion. It is routinely used to hard coat small objects like drills but, on a larger scale it produces coloured door furniture or objects whose size is only limited by the vacuum chamber. Coating larger objects and sheet material requires greater electron ionization efficiency in the plasma which typically uses magnetic fields parallel to the surface of the target.
sheet profile significantly increases strength and stiffness with a pleasing aesthetic. An added advantage for profiled finishes is that scratches only affect the peaks and are less apparent partly because they are not continuous. On a grander scale, the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is a more complicated Cambric profiled finish on a base 316 metal with BA stock. The profiled finish is to avoid blinding reflections while using a 316 base metal with a mill finish that has the highest corrosion resistance available.
The source metal can also be generated by thermal evaporation but this is less common. Unlike the electrochemical INOX process, the colour of the PVD coating is determined by the source material with a few examples shown in the table. It is also invariant with viewing angle. PVD coatings are much more abrasion resistant than the INOX system but are not indestructible. Gold
Bus station seat with colourful anodised aluminium arms
Patterned stainless steel: Surface texture and its effect A range of embossed, patterned and textured stainless steel finishes are available. Hot rolled finishes are usually too dimpled for aesthetic finishes. Cold rolled mill finishes are smooth and either dull grey (2B) or very bright (BA – bright annealed) and provide differing basic appearances but the same mechanical properties. Both have significantly better corrosion resistance than as-abraded finishes. Aesthetic changes by abrasion or blasting will provide feature finishes but have only minor effects on the colour and mechanical properties although rough as-abraded surfaces are known to be less corrosion resistant, i.e. the 0.5 micrometre Ra criterion.
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Photo credit: Outokumpu
Mechanically embossed profiles on austenitic mill rolled finishes might reduce the cleanability, but they also increase the strength because of cold work strengthening - while retaining the base metal corrosion resistance. This strengthening means that thinner material can be used, such as the thin checker sheet used in toolboxes – good visuals and lower weight in the utility with security for tools. Profiled sheet for outdoor public seating is another application with thinner sheet because of the strength and a bright appearance without glare. High wear areas such as airport baggage collection or hospital corridors often use rigidised stainless steels where a through
University of Florida (UF) Health Shands Children’s Hospital Photo credit: International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF)
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MURRAY FREDERICKS PHOTOGRAPHY
Rheem Australia’s Sturdy Stainless Steel Range Stainless steel hot water heaters offer superior design combining high thermal efficiency, corrosion resistance, durability and performance for domestic applications. ASSDA Member Rheem Australia has been committed to delivering hot water systems for over 80 years, with its first gas water heater manufactured in 1939 in Waterloo, Sydney. Through new product development and innovation, Rheem Australia has pioneered the commercial production of Australian-made hot water systems, designed and built for Australian conditions. Operations Manager at Rheem, Gavan Schaeche, says, “Rheem Moorabbin is leading the way with its very own Stainless Steel and Commercial Centre of Excellence. The centre performs 125km of stainless steel welds a year to keep up with the demand of the new range which has quickly become an industry favourite.” Rheem Australia’s stainless steel hot water system range includes gas and electric storage ranging in capacities from 50L to 315L. Manufactured from a range of stainless steel grades, the hot water systems use mains pressure water delivery and do not require a sacrificial anode for corrosion protection, reducing long-term maintenance and service costs over the life of the water heater. The electric stainless steel models in the hot water system range offer high energy efficiency, exceeding Minimum Performance Standards (MEPS) by 12-24%. In addition, stainless steel cylinders weigh significantly less than comparable vitreous enamel models, making the product easier to manoeuvre and install. It is particularly well-suited for households that have their water heater installed indoors or in elevated multi-storey locations. Victorian-based Plumber and Founder of The Tap Man, Chris Arms, has been providing household solutions for thirty years. Delivering reliable household appliances is paramount to maintaining a highly satisfied client base, and when Chris receives a request to replace a hot water system, he always recommends the most suitable product from the Rheem stainless steel range.
“I like to bring my customers along on the journey to find the right solution for their home through education about what they can expect from the products and materials I’m installing. While the stainless steel range comes at a higher price point, it’s absolutely worth the investment. In my experience, stainless steel is a robust material that’s durable, corrosion resistant and less likely to incur a leak,” Chris says. “It’s also one of the only hot water systems where I often do a repair over a replacement, should there be an issue such as an element assembly requiring replacement. The stainless steel tank makes a repair worthwhile.” Stainless steel can present a higher upfront cost when comparing various hot water system products, however its investment is surpassed by the material’s performance and lifespan, and cost savings in energy efficiency, service and maintenance costs.
Stainless steel is a robust material that’s durable, corrosion resistant and less likely to incur a leak. ASSDA MEMBER CONTACT Rheem Australia \ 1300 615 713 \ rheem.com.au
6 – Australian Stainless Issue 69
Stainless steel… Limitless
ART & DESIGN
‘Limitless’ is the stainless steel sculptural creation of Gold Coast artist Ian Haggerty, whose concept was selected in a design competition by Bond University to celebrate their 30th anniversary. The 6.5m tall sculpture takes pride of place under the university’s iconic Arch and gleams in dignity and elegance from its 316L grade stainless steel construction. Inspired by the limitless possibilities created by education, the sculpture features a world sphere at its centre with four overarching wings representing the four pillars of learning: Learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be. Reflection was also a key concept in the sculpture’s design, with mirror polished stainless steel the unrivalled material choice in bringing together the alumni and future students to inspire and signify that there are no limitations to education when it comes to gender, age, race, or religion.
In a nod to celebrating local fabrication, the artist engaged Burleigh-based ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator Atlas Stainless Balustrade & Fabrications to fabricate and install the 1.5t sculpture. Stainless steel rings were laser cut in various sizes from 100kg of 5mm mirror polished plate and welded together to create the intricate bubble pattern featured in the top section of the four wings. The bottom sections were fabricated from 400kg of plasma cut plate, with 1mm sheeting used to cover the bottom eight sides to allow for the chemical etching of over 26,000 Bond University graduates in homage of their educational achievements. The Atlas Stainless Balustrade & Fabrications team also fabricated the base structure, and sphere and wing supports from mirror polished pipe
to bring together the pre-constructed world sphere and its overarching wings. The fabrication process involved the team using their in-house plasma cutter, CNC bandsaw, CNC section roller and in-house polishing equipment both by machine and hand, and specialist welding techniques. The project took over six months to complete and the structure was installed using two cranes, joining the university’s existing landmarks as a focal point of the state-of-the-art campus landscape. Special lighting effects were also installed as part of the sculpture to highlight its key features at night and shimmer in the surrounding water of the lake fountain. ‘Limitless’ was unveiled in May 2019 to celebrate the university’s 30-year milestone and remains a legacy piece for Bond University.
ASSDA MEMBER CONTACT Atlas Stainless Balustrade & Fabrications \ Mark Young, Branch Manager \ 07 5593 4744 \ email@example.com \ atlasstainless.com.au 7 – Australian Stainless Issue 69
Stainless Steel Stock Guide 2020 EDITION 5 OUT NOW!
A resource aimed at disseminating an up-to-date breakdown of ‘ex-stock’ stainless steel materials on offer in Australia. What is the ASSDA Stainless Steel Stock Guide? It is an online-only publication which details the stocking (defined as stocked in Australia as regular item) portfolio of commonly-used stainless steel semi-finished and finished materials. Information has been provided to ASSDA by suppliers and is intended as a general indication of common availability only. Contents include: • Sheet, Coil & Plate • Safety Flooring Products • Pipe & Tube Fittings • Wire & Wire Rope
• • • •
Bar Mesh Pipe & Tube Fasteners
Who is it for? Anyone who needs or wants to know about stainless steel materials that are readily available in Australia, and in what form and specification. As a designer, specifier or engineer, use the Stainless Steel Stock Guide to better understand the relevant specification, sizes and product dimensions of readily available materials to aid design, project management and delivery. As a fabricator or producer of stainless bearing goods, use it not only for your day-to-day procurement queries, but also to find ways to streamline operations, better manage inventories and optimise your own production processes.
Download your free copy through ASSDA’s website: assda.asn.au
ASSDA receives International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) Stainless Industry Award (Silver) for Best New Development for the Murray Irrigation PIIOP Round 3 Project. Congratulations and thank you to all ASSDA Members involved: AWMA Water Control Solutions \ Arcus Wire Group \ Akras Industries \ Valbruna Australia \ Vulcan Stainless Photo credit: Ertech
Stanch Stainless Steel Co., Ltd.
Acerinox \ Amity Pacific \ Aqseptence Group \ Arcus Wire Group \ AusPress Systems \ Austral Wright Metals \ Australian Stainless Distributors \ Callidus Welding Solutions \ Ching-Hann Industries Co., Ltd. \ Chromeni Steels Pvt. Ltd. \ Dalsteel Metals \ Fagersta Steels \ Laxcon Steels Limited \ Metal Centre Australia \ Prochem Pipeline Products \ Sanwa \ Stainless Steel Wire & Mesh \ Vulcan Stainless \ Yue-Seng Industrial Co., Ltd.
Stoddart YC Inox Co., Ltd.
AUSTRALIAN STAINLESS MAGAZINE MORE INFO: Enquiries or further information on any material presented in this publication should be directed to ASSDA: Level 9, 307 Queen St, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4000 \ +61 7 3220 0722 \ firstname.lastname@example.org \ assda.asn.au EDITORIAL: Contributions of story ideas specialising in stainless steel and its applications are welcome from Members of ASSDA. ADVERTISING: Advertise in the only publication that reaches are targeted group of 5000+ in the Australian stainless steel industry. Rates available at www.assda.asn.au. CONTACT: Lissel Pilcher, Editor: email@example.com DISCLAIMER: ASSDA sources articles and advertisements from a variety of contributors and accordingly does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of the contents of this publication nor the suitability of specific applications referred to herein for any particular use. Competent advice should be sought before acting on any matter contained in this publication.