Australians' love of the water has always provided challenges to the construction industry, particularly when it comes to choosing materials that can be used in aggressive environments such as near the coast or swimming pools.
Stainless steel grades 316 and 304 have long been the obvious solution in these applications, but the key factors of formability, cost and corrosion resistance are now shining the spotlight on an alternative grade.
445M2 stainless steel has been used in Australia for a number of years for roofing and walling applications, and its characteristics are now proving useful for a broader range of applications.
The material, supplied by ASSDA member Austral Wright Metals, is being used by Dunning Engineering Services Pty Ltd for a range of stainless steel pergola brackets.
Dunnings - a South Australian based manufacturer of builders and plumbers hardware, who also operate a sheet metal pressing and fabrication facility - developed the range in response to the growing demand for better corrosion-resistant products that can be used in aggressive environments.
The company experimented with punching and bending various grades of stainless steel, including 316, but it was 445M2's formability that provided the crisp, clean angles they were seeking, with the advantage of reduced tool wear.æ Dunnings was also able to fabricate with existing tooling and machinery, avoiding the prohibitive cost of new dies and tooling.
More importantly, 445M2 is a marine grade stainless steel with the corrosion resistance of 316 or better and a cost that falls between 304 and 316.
Dunning spokesperson John Gill said 445M2 resisted the salt from the surf, and gave safe performance over a long life - even when painted.
"Due to the formability of 445M2, the savings to our business have been enormous and we are now looking at other areas where 445M2 could be applied."
This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 37, Spring 2006.