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Collaboration Brings Results

20 November 2017

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

CONCEPT STAGE

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

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

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

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

THE DESIGN

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Art Symbolises Community

20 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Family of Duplex Stainless Steels

20 November 2017

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

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

HISTORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADES OF DUPLEX

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

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

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

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

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

USES OF DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS

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

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

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

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

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

WHERE CARE IS REQUIRED WITH DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS

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

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

SUMMARY: DUPLEX CHARACTERISTICS

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

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

  

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

Photos courtesy of Outokumpu.

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

Wynyard Walk: Where Beauty Meets Function

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

21 June 2017

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

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

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

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

THE PROJECT

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

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

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

THE DESIGN

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

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

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

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

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

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

 THE OUTCOME

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

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

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

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

Disc Dryers Get a Makeover

Wave Discs Revolutionises Traditional Drying Process

21 June 2017

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

THE CHALLENGE

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

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

There are significant inefficiencies in the manufacturing of disc dryers:

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

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

BENEFITS

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

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

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

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

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

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

AWARD WINNING DESIGN

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

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

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

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

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

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

PATENT

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

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

K-TIG: A Quantum Leap for Welding

Innovation Design Set to Transform the Industry

21 June 2017

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

DEVELOPMENT

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

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

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

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

NEXT STEP

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

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

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

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

THE PROCESS 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stainless Steel Shines in Perth's Elizabeth Quay

12 December 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Innovative Urban Design

12 December 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stylish Lines

12 December 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Guidelines to Using AS/NZS 1554.6 for Welding Stainless Steel

12 December 2016

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

What is this standard?

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

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

The raw product of welded fabrication

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

Classification of welds

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

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

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

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

Post-weld surface finishing

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

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

Condition III does not have acceptance criteria.

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

Other treatments

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

27 October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images courtesy of Kane Constructions.

Impressive Stainless Steel Ribbon Graces New Brisbane Food Gallery

27 October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images courtesy of Stainless Aesthetics.

Stainless Steel Transforms Meat Processing Plant

27 October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images courtesy of SSAF Australia.

Running Water

27 October 2016

Water authorities tackle water shortages with stainless steel.

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

Tokyo, Japan

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

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

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

 

Taipei, Taiwan

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

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

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

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

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

 

Western Cape, South Africa

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

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

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

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

   

 

Investing in the future

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

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

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

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

Stainless Steel Design Innovation

26 May 2016

Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge is sporting increased safety measures with the application of innovative stainless steel products and laser-fusion technology.

 The 76-year old heritage-listed cantilever bridge now incorporates three-metre tall, stainless steel safety barriers on its pedestrian walkways, as a result of an outstanding collaboration between multiple project stakeholders. Completed in December 2015, the $8.4 million project was led by design and construct head contractor, Freyssinet.

The design brief was to develop an anti-climb structure that was both functional and aesthetically appealing, whilst ensuring the heritage values of the bridge were maintained.

This presented a number of engineering challenges, including the affixation of the barrier structure to the existing heritage-listed bridge without permanent methods of attachment, such as welding or other damaging techniques, whilst addressing the weight and wind load tolerances, ambient vibrations and noise potential.

Visually, there was also a key design requirement to ensure pedestrian views of the river, Brisbane city and surrounds, and of the Story Bridge itself, was preserved.

The initial reference design was specified in stainless steel (with an option for painted carbon steel) and required the fabrication of heavy box sections for over 1000 posts to support a tamper-resistant, horizontal balustrade cable system. The outrigging was specified in carbon steel, with isolation joints to support the upright posts. However, aesthetically, this design created a clutter of vertical elements.

Freyssinet developed an alternative design concept employing Carl Stahl X-TEND® stainless steel mesh, and engaged ASSDA Member Ronstan Tensile Architecture to assist in the design rationalisation. Ronstan Tensile Architecture conducted form-finding analysis to mimic increasing the mesh self-span between the posts. The findings resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of posts required and a more secure fall-restraint system than initially designed.

Replacing the original tension wire design with a mesh barrier significantly reduced the structural loading on the posts, allowing for a smaller number of lighter duty posts, and reducing the cost below the initial estimate.

The concept solution delivered was a dynamic structural design that met the exacting demands of the specification. The design evolved to using laser-fused stainless steel open section beams for the posts, positioned approximately three metres apart with a blackened Carl Stahl X-TEND® stainless steel mesh barrier.

This project is the largest to date in Australia using laser-fused stainless steel structural beams.

Low impact laser-fusion is a process that allows the welding together of pre-polished flat components to a special profile without damaging the visible surface. It provides an effective and economical alternative to extrusions or conventional welds, providing closer tolerances, superior joint integrity and more consistent finishes.

The introduction of laser-fused stainless steel structural beams into the Australian market allowed Freyssinet the flexibility to plan and design with stainless steel in an outcome that was unrivalled for the project scope. Developed and manufactured by Montanstahl (Switzerland) and its subsidiary Stainless Structurals Asia (Singapore), the laser-fused stainless steel structural beams were supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Atlas Steels, as the exclusive agent for the product in Australia.

To this end, Atlas Steels supplied over 30 tonnes of stainless steel for the project, including 316L grade 80x80x6mm I-beam sections for the 530 upright posts, 316 grade 65x65x6mm angle bars for the outrigging, and 316 grade 38.1x1.6mm 320 grit polished tube for the framing of the mesh.
The I-beams supplied were made from a pre-polished strip with a <0.5Ra finish. The I-beam components were laser cut, polished, and then laser-fused together.

Freyssinet rolled the I-beams using a local roll forming company in Eagle Farm to form a curve, following several prototypes to achieve the required design. The beams were then delivered to ASSDA Accredited Fabricator Stainless Engineering Services to cut the posts to the specified height, verify the dimensions, placement and drilling of the holes for the bolt connections, and passivate the posts to ASTM 380 prior to installation.

Stainless Engineering Services also used the offcuts from the I-beams to fabricate the brackets, ensuring no material wastage.

ASSDA Member Anzor Fasteners supplied 550 units of grade 316 stainless steel coupling cables in various lengths of up to 2.1 metres, in 4mm diameter and 1/19 configuration. Each cable was swaged to a threaded stud on one end and a u-shaped fork coupling on the other end. The coupling cables were used to affix the X-TEND mesh to the posts, providing an adjustable method of attachment.

Following the erection of the posts, Ronstan Tensile Architecture supplied and installed 3400m2 of Carl Stahl X-TEND® 316 grade stainless steel mesh constructed from coloured stainless steel wire rope. The stainless steel was blackened with an additional polyester amino resin, which was hardened to the wire under temperature.

The blackened Carl Stahl X-TEND® mesh was the key to achieving an unobtrusive composition and historical aesthetic, while providing the flexibility and tensile strength required for the structure’s design and use of the laser-fused posts.

The structure is a pivotal safety addition to the Story Bridge and exudes functionality in its excellent and unique engineered design. Stainless steel is unmatched in the materials selection for providing durability, structural performance, low maintenance, corrosion resistance and aesthetics.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Photography by Fullframe Photographics.

Revision of AS 1528: Fluid Transfer in Stainless Steel Tube and Fittings

26 May 2016

Connections are vital

Any visit to a dairy, beverage or food processing plant will drive home the critical importance of the connections between the tanks, mixers, driers, pumps, etc. The image above (courtesy of TFG Group) showing an image of a brewery is a typical example. These tubes and/or pipes carry the process materials, the heating or cooling or wash water, gases, and also dispose of the wastes.

 

Getting the right standard

Except for high pressure or very aggressive environments, most tube is rolled into shape and welded longitudinally. For mechanical or structural service such as columns or handrails, the weld must penetrate and be sound although to perform its mechanical function, it may not need to provide a seal. This is reflected in the basic test requirements of standards such as ASTM A554 ‘Welded Stainless Steel Mechanical Tubing’ and is a reason why it is cheaper and is sometimes used, in error, for fluid transport. Despite these restricted requirements, the external finish is often critical for aesthetic reasons as seen on the handrails in the figure on the right.

Verification of leak tightness is the reason why tubing standards for carriage of fluids, e.g. AS 1528.1 or ASTM A269 or ASTM A270, all include either hydrostatic or 100% eddy current testing. Section 8.4 of the ASSDA Reference Manual summarises the test requirements of the plethora of tubing (and piping) standards commonly used in Australia. However, the food and sanitary industries also require surfaces that are readily cleanable. Hence, in addition to a lack of leaks, there are also requirements on the profile of the weld bead in the tubing, potential crevices in fittings and the surface finish of product contact areas. 

System design and installation

Quite apart from the manufactured components, the system design must include adequate slope for self draining (including across welded joins), simple cleaning procedures, velocities above ~0.5m/sec for low solids streams, at least double that for high solids content and avoidance of design features permitting stagnant zones or dead legs. Excess velocity (at least below about 40m/second) is not a concern for stainless steel, although it may increase noise and pumping costs. These are matters for another place.

Material selection

There are quite complete sets of corrosion resistance data for single corrosives (and some mixtures) at a variety of temperatures and concentrations but they are usually for continuous exposure.  For some acidic, hot and salty fluids or slurries such as sauces, high alloy stainless steels or even nickel-based alloys may be required and such components are rarely “off-the-shelf”. However, for apparently aggressive fluids processed in batches, the intermediate cleaning will arrest the initiation of attack and restore the passive layer so that standard 316(L) material is usually adequate especially with the highly polished finish often used to enable cleanability. One operational issue is that cleaning chemicals can be quite aggressive and the procedures must ensure that residues from cleaning do not remain and are not able to be concentrated and cause corrosion or hygienic issues.

Food tube and fittings – AS 1528

The weld bead is a potential source of crevices and for food tube, its effect must be removed without causing additional surface defects. AS 1528.1 requires the weld bead to smoothly blend without harmful markings. It also sets a nominal surface roughness (0.3 μm Ra) for the rest of the interior by requiring the use of fixed (1.6mm) thickness 2B material. ASTM A270 ‘Seamless and Welded Austenitic and Ferritic/Austenitic Stainless Steel Sanitary Tubing’ assumes a sophisticated specifier as it lists a mill finish as well as multiple alternative mechanical or other finishing techniques. Acceptance of minor surface imperfections is by agreement. The specifier may require a surface roughness (Ra) limit – which, of course, would override a grit size specification.

The manufacturing tests (eddy current or hydrotesting) ensure that food tube will hold pressure. For the essential quality assurance purposes, AS1528.1 requires line marking of tube. Finally, food grade tube requires a complementary set of fittings that will fit together. The AS 1528 suite achieves this with screwed couplings (Part 2), butt welding fittings (Part 3) and clamp liners with gaskets (Part 4). Aesthetics may be important and is in the hands of the specifier as the exterior of AS1528.1 tube may be as-produced or “buff polished as agreed”, i.e. polished with grit of a specified size.

The AS 1528 suite started life in 1960 as AS N32, was split into four parts in the mid 1970s and completely revised by an ASSDA driven working group to its present form in 2001. It has been widely accepted especially since the 2006 publication by ASSDA of what is now the Food Code of Practice for the fabrication and installation of stainless steel process plant and equipment in the food and beverage industries.  The New Zealand dairy industry has effectively adopted the AS 1528 requirements for dairy tube and fittings. Multiple overseas suppliers provide tube to the AS 1528 specification.

Food and beverage manufacture is obviously worldwide and this has resulted in national, regional and international standards which are different and locally focused. The sizes of the ISO alternatives (ISO 2037, 2851 – 3) are quite different. The European standard (EN 10357- which supersedes BS4825.1 and DIN 11850) covers similar tube but does not cover the range of sizes commonly used in Australia. The British Standard products (BS 4825) are similar in sizes to the AS 1528, but with a restricted range. The American 3A products also cover a restricted range. 

“As a result, ASSDA is spearheading an industry effort to revise the 15-year-old suite of AS 1528 standards”.

What is in need of review?

There are a number of typographical errors and inconsistencies between the parts, there are only some pressure ratings and the listing of fittings requires some revisions. The tolerance on the tube wall thickness has been narrow and one sided since inception and while the standard allows modification by agreement, the current wall thickness requirement will be reviewed.  Other issues for discussion will be the addition of larger sizes and assessment of differences for internal finishes between parts of the suite. And finally, it is intended that AS 1528 will be converted to a joint Australian and New Zealand standard to formalise New Zealand’s use.

If users of the AS1528 suite of standards have any suggestions for changes or improvements to the standards, ASSDA would welcome your emailed comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Acknowledgements

This article has drawn heavily on documents produced by the ASSDA/NZSSDA working group dealing with the proposed revision of AS 1528 and in particular Peter Moore from Atlas Steels, Kim Burton from Prochem Pipeline Products and Russell Thorburn from Steel and Tube in New Zealand.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Stainless in Color

26 May 2016

A modern and innovative design using coloured and textured stainless steel has left an impressive statement on an Adelaide streetscape.

South Australia’s premier shopping district Rundle Mall underwent a full makeover from 2012-2014 as part of the Adelaide City Council’s initiative to revitalise the precinct.

Part of this redevelopment included a redesign of the facade of a commercial tower at 80 Grenfell Street, housing the Adelaide headquarters of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Design practice HASSELL delivered an iridescent façade design using coloured stainless steel cladding, supplied by ASSDA Member Steel Color Australia. The extent of the façade referred to as ‘the ribbon’ cascades over 10 storeys, connecting the office tower to the lobby entrance via the retail parapet. The ribbon was made up of over 100 panels that twist and bend over the full height of the building, creating an artistic ripple effect.

HASSELL and Arup’s façade engineering team tested this unique design with physical and virtual models, further refining the design detailing with extensive prototyping. This collaboration with the assistance of Steel Color Australia’s product and material knowledge ensured this remarkable design element was feasible.

Stainless steel was specified for this design as its inherent properties allowed for the level of manipulation required to construct the architect’s creative expression, as well as provide a high quality and aesthetically pleasing finish.

Over 1500m2 of grade 304 stainless steel in 4000x1250x1.2mm sheet in a Rosso colour (Italian for red) was supplied by Steel Color Australia, as the sole distributor in Australia and New Zealand for embossed, coloured, mirror finished and textured stainless steel manufactured by Steel Color S.p.a in Italy.

Steel Colour Australia owner Vince Araullo said that electro-colouring (INCO system) is the main technology in Steel Color Australia’s production. ‘The stainless steel sheet’s surface was directly altered, chemically stimulating the natural passivation of the material. No painting was involved in the process, increasing the pitting resistance of the stainless steel.’

In terms of manipulating the steel’s shape, Araullo said that colouring is an intrinsic part of the stainless steel. ‘This means the stainless does not lose colour during shaping, as opposed to aluminium for example which would need to be coloured after folding due to the fragility of the coloured anodic coating.’

Steel Color Australia facilitated the overseas production of some 270 sheets, weighing 10 tonnes and their shipment to the project site. Modular framework was constructed to bend the stainless sheets into shape for easy installation on site by crane.

The visually striking building façade integrates impressively into the Rundle Place precinct, and the outcome has resulted in a virtually maintenance-free and colour enduring structure.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Images courtesy of Steel Color Australia.

Stainless Delivers State-of-the-Art Production Facility

26 May 2016

Stainless steel has helped deliver improved environmental performance and increased efficiency for a major food production company.

In 2014, Australian agribusiness GrainCorp announced a $125 million investment in a consolidation strategy to integrate its GrainCorp Foods’ manufacturing operations, including the relocation of its Brisbane plant to the existing West Footscray facility in Victoria. This move effectively terminates the use of its coal-fired equipment, giving GrainCorp Foods the opportunity to invest in efficient and environmentally sustainable technology and significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

As a result, GrainCorp Foods’ West Footscray operation commenced its expansion and upgrade in 2015 to deliver a state-of-the-art food processing plant.

GrainCorp awarded the design, engineering and installation to SPX Flow Technology Australia, and SPXFlow awarded ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator TFG Group the contract to install and fabricate specialised components for the facility’s new margarine production line.

TFG Group’s Foodline Projects division installed and assembled the stainless steel equipment under the direction of SPX Flow Technology Australia, including numerous pumps, valves, heat exchangers, vessels and specialised processing equipment.

The TFG Foodline Projects team also mechanically installed over 12km of stainless steel pipe, AS 1528 304L and 316L tube ranging from 25mm to 100mm in diameter, and over 6000 fittings supplied by ASSDA Sponsor Prochem Pipeline Products.

Hygiene and cleanability of equipment used in food production is paramount, and the correct specification and fabrication quality of stainless steel ensured this criterion was met.

The TFG Foodline Projects team consisted of 35 specialised welders, fitters and installation specialists to ensure the project’s tight lead-time of 24 weeks to completion was met with zero safety incidents. Orbital welding was applied to ensure speed, accuracy and prevention of bacterial contamination in the products.

As part of the factory upgrade, TFG Group’s Austline Fabrications division assisted with the fabrication and installation of the specialised scalloped stainless steel tank access platforms, break tanks, stainless steel chemical bunds and support racks. Jacketed pipework was fabricated to ensure the internal temperature of the process pipework was controlled to prevent the viscous product from solidifying.

These specialised items were all fabricated at TFG Group’s purpose-built factories in both Western Australia and Victoria, and transported to the West Footscray facility for installation by the Foodline Projects division.

GrainCorp’s investment in its West Footscray plant has delivered a fully integrated facility and a more efficient focal point for the sourcing, refining, and distribution of GrainCorp’s locally-produced edible oils and food ingredients.

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 56 (Winter 2016).

Images courtesy of TFG Group.

A Walk to Remember

12 June 2015

The spirit of the Anzacs is evoked in a new architecturally stunning, stainless steel walkway that unfolds around Newcastle’s cliffs and links Strzelecki Lookout to Bar Beach.

 The much-anticipated Newcastle Memorial Walk opened on 24 April 2015 on the eve of the Anzac centenary, and features spectacular 360-degree views of Newcastle city and coastline.

The 450m raised walkway forms part of Newcastle City Council’s ‘Bathers Way Project’, a $29 million foreshore development and revitalisation program to link Merewether Beach with Nobby Beach via a coastal walk. The total cost of the walkway was $4.5 million, $3 million of which was contributed by BHP Billiton to mark their 100-year anniversary since the commencement of steel making in the Hunter region.

In commemoration of the Anzacs the walkway features silhouettes of soldiers, laser cut from 10mm thick weathering steel, specified to withstand the coastal wind load. These silhouettes are engraved with 3,860 family names of almost 11,000 known Hunter Valley men and women who served in the Australian Imperial Force, Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army Nursing Service and British and Commonwealth forces during World War 1 from 1914-1918.

EJE Architecture carried out the detailed design work, and lead architect Barney Collins said the historical significance of the project site inspired the walkway’s sinusoidal design.

“During the design phase, we looked at the history of the site and build location next to Memorial Drive, which was originally constructed in 1922 to pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in World War I,” Collins said.

“The design concept of what is commonly known as ‘the wave effect’ was drawn on the fact that DNA was used to identify the human remains of soldiers, and this process stood as the connection between the soldiers and their families.”

Constructed by Waeger Constructions and engineered by Northrop Engineers, the walkway has a structural design life of 70 years, as required by Newcastle City Council. Grade 316L stainless steel was specified due to its sustainable, corrosion resistance and ductile properties. The cliff top location of the walkway overlooking the Pacific Ocean was also a determining factor given the high wind and salt exposure.

ASSDA Sponsor Atlas Steels supplied 64 tonnes of stainless steel for the walkway including DN150 x 10.7mm, DN125 x 6.5mm, and DN65 x 5.1mm wall pipe; 200mm x 100mm x 6mm rectangular hollow sections and 100mm x 100mm x 5mm square hollow sections for the bridge section frames; and 16mm diameter round bar and 50 x 2mm and 50 x 3mm round tube for the handrails and balustrades.

Good scheduling and planning ensured on-time delivery of the stainless steel over a period of 14 weeks, which was sourced from three overseas mills. Positive material identification (PMI) testing was performed by the mills on all stainless steel supplied to ensure the specified grade of 316L was delivered.

Fabricated and installed by ASSDA Member and Accredited Fabricator SGM Construction & Fabrication, the 160m of stainless steel bridge sections consist of eight, 20m single spans (four under trusses and four over trusses) each weighing 6.5 tonnes. The frame of each section is fabricated from 12 square hollow sections welded to two rectangular hollow   sections, and the walking surface is laid over the frame. On either side of the truss, the wave-like effect was created by bending and rolling wall pipe to sweep above the frame for the over trusses and below the frame for the under trusses.

Seven Y-shaped precast concrete pylons up to 8.8m high and 3.4m wide, and two abutments, support the bridge sections of the walkway that reach up to 9m above the ground.

The decking of the walkway was laid with fibre-reinforced plastic, and being a non-structural component, was specified with a 44-year design life. The safety aspects of the bridge are completed with hand railings, which are welded on to the bridge trusses inside the curved pipe sections.

Over 760m of handrails and 600m of vertical balustrades cover the length of the bridge, specified with a maximum Ra value of 0.5. ASSDA Member Australian Pickling & Passivation Service was contracted to electropolish the balustrades and pickle and passivate the completed bridge sections. A purpose-built electropolishing unit, consisting of six baths, was set up to handle and achieve the specified finish of the 1.5m high x 6m long balustrade panels each weighing 180kg.

With an allotted fabrication period of only four months, SGM Fabrication & Construction manufactured the bridge sections using its 2000m2 workshop to full capacity to meet the critical deadline for Anzac Day.

As the walkway runs parallel to Memorial Drive, the main thoroughfare from King Edward Park to Merewether Beach, the erection of the pylons and installation of the bridge sections took place only during a 10-hour window over two nights to avoid prolonged temporary road closures.

Coastal undermining was a challenge for the structural engineers, however good design and construction ensured environmental protection of the sensitive coastal site to minimise erosion.

Mr Collins said the key to the project’s cost control and overall success was the engagement of local contractors.

“The direct involvement of each contractor’s Directors ensured seamless communication and full control of each project phase. The walkway is already an icon for Newcastle, and everyone who has worked on the project is thrilled over its success,” Collins said.

More than two million people visit Newcastle’s beaches every year, and the Newcastle Memorial Walk is already one of Australia’s most remarkable coastal walkways and a significant World War I tribute.

  

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 55 (Winter 2015).

Images courtesy of Bryce Thomas.

Welding Dissimilar Metals

12 June 2015

Welding the common austenitic stainless steels such as 304 and 316 to each other or themselves is routine and the easiest of fusion welding. Nevertheless, there are many situations where it is necessary to weld stainless steel to carbon steel. Two common examples are balustrade posts attached to structural steel or doubler plates connecting supports to stainless steel vessels. There are differences in physical properties such as thermal conductivity and expansion, magnetic properties, metallurgical structure and corrosion resistance, which all require attention. This article outlines the necessary procedures for satisfactory welding, including reference to standards, and explains the necessary precautions. Appendix H of AS/NZS 1554.6:2012 has a more detailed technical discussion including advice on welding carbon steel to ferritic, duplex and martensitic stainless steels.

 Welding process
The normal TIG and MIG welding processes are suitable for welding austenitics to carbon steel. As a guide, welding should be carried out at ambient temperature with no pre-heating required (except possibly for drying), unless the carbon steel has more than 0.2% carbon or a thickness of more than 30mm and giving high restraint, in which case a preheat of 150°C is usually adequate. Because carbon steels are susceptible to hydrogen cracking, the consumables and the weld area must be dry.

Weld area preparation
When welding galvanised steel (or steel coated with a zinc rich coating) to stainless steel, it is essential to remove the zinc from the heated zone because it is possible to get zinc into the weld, which will cause liquid embrittlement and cracking along the zinc penetration line. It is possible that fume from the zinc coating will cause Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) problems. The weld areas of stainless steel must also be clean and free from grease or oil, as the contaminants will cause carbon pickup and possible sensitisation, leading to intergranular corrosion.

In addition, because the nickel content of the austenitics makes the weld pool more viscous, the weld preparation must be more open (see Figure 1) and the root gap larger to allow wetting. Consumables with added silicon (Si) also assist with edge wetting. An additional effect of the nickel content is that the penetration into the no-nickel carbon steel will be greater than into an austenitic stainless steel (see Figure 2).

Welding consumables (filler metal and gases)
Carbon steel must not be welded directly to austenitic stainless steels as the solidified weld metal will form martensite, which has low ductility and which, as it contracts, is likely to crack. There is an easy way to select the higher alloy filler, which will dilute to give the correct austenitic microstructure with enough ferrite to avoid shrinkage cracks. Refer to Table 4.6.1 in AS/NZS 1554.6. Another way is to use a Schaeffler deLong diagram (see Figure 3) or the WRC 1992 diagram as described in Appendix H2 of AS/NZS1554.6. The standard recommends that carbon steel to 304(L) uses 309L, and carbon steel to 316(L) uses 309LMo.

If nitrogen additions are used, care is required as it will decrease the ferrite content of the weld metal, which may cause hot cracking.

The shielding gas must not include the oxygen often used in carbon steel mixtures. If an active gas is desired, then low levels of CO2 can be used.

 

Thermal expansion
There is a degree of distortion inherent in welding a low thermal expansion carbon steel to a high thermal expansion austenitic stainless steel. The expansion coefficient for mild steel is approximately 12 compared to 17 μm/m/°C for stainless steel in range 0 – 300°C. There is also the difference between the good heat conduction of the carbon steel compared to the poor heat conduction of the stainless steel (49 to 15 W/m°K at 200°C respectively), which means that the stainless steel will cool (and contract) more slowly than the carbon steel, especially if the welded sections are thick. 

To control distortion, the heat input should be minimised and the joint tacked before making the full weld run. One trick is to tack the ends, centre, 1/4 points and possibly 1/8 points in that order. Heat input and interpass temperature recommendations for stainless steel welding are given in section 5.10 of AS/NZS 1554.6.

Post weld cleaning
After welding, clean the weld area to remove slag and heat tint to examine the weld integrity and also to allow the metal to be painted. If possible, blast the weld area with iron free grit but if that is not possible, grind along the weld line to avoid dragging carbon steel contamination onto the stainless steel. ASTM A380 has recommendations for passivation solutions for mixed mild and stainless steel welds. The formulations include peracetic acid and EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), but mechanical cleaning alone is the most common method.

Corrosion protection
It is assumed that the carbon steel will be painted for corrosion protection. When a barrier or insulating coating is used for painting the carbon steel, carry the paint onto the stainless for up to 50mm (depending on the environment’s corrosivity) to cover the stainless steel that has been heat affected. Figure 4 shows a carbon to stainless steel weld with an inadequate coating. Normally in a stainless to stainless weld, the welded fabrication would be acid pickled and passivated using a hydrofluoric/nitric acid mixture, but this is clearly not possible for a carbon steel to stainless steel fabrication because of the corrosive effect on the carbon steel. If the weld zone is to be exposed to corrosive conditions, and it is intended to use a zinc rich final coating on the carbon steel, a stripe coating of a suitable barrier paint is required along the edge of the zinc coating to avoid possible galvanic dissolution of the zinc coating adjacent to the stainless steel.

Stainless clean up
Quite apart from any weld to carbon steel, the stainless steel away from the weld area must be protected from contamination during fabrication. This includes weld spatter, carbon steel grinding debris and smearing of carbon steel on the stainless caused by sliding contact between carbon and stainless steels. If contamination occurs, then it must be removed either by mechanical means, followed by use of a nitric acid passivation paste or by the use of pickling and passivation paste. Passivation paste will not affect the surface finish of the stainless steel, whilst pickling and passivation paste will etch the stainless steel. All acids must be neutralised and disposed of according to local regulations. The surfaces must also be thoroughly rinsed after the acid processes.

Further reading
NI #14018 “Guidelines for welding dissimilar metals”
NI #11007 “Guidelines for the welded fabrication of nickel-containing stainless steels for corrosion resistant services”
IMOA/NI “Practical guidelines for the fabrication of duplex stainless steels” (3rd edition)
ISSF “The Ferritic Solution” (page 36) deals generally with welding ferritic stainless steels
AS/NZS 1554.6:2012 “Structural steel welding: Part 6 Welding stainless steels for structural purposes”
Herbst, Noel F.  “Dissimilar metal welding” © Peritech Pty Ltd 2002 (available for download from here)

This article is featured in Australian Stainless Issue 55 (Winter 2015).



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