To mark the global celebration of the 100 years since stainless steel was first produced, the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) has themed its Stainless Steel Awards for 2012 ‘A century of innovation’.
The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF), in January, launched a website dedicated to celebrating a 100 years of stainless steel and marking the integral part the metal plays in the modern world.
The website highlights that it is only within the past 150 years that metallurgists have learnt how to make steels, control their properties and mass-produce them with a consistent level of quality.
The site also points out that a number of scientists discovered the excellent corrosion resistance of chromium-alloyed steel during the nineteenth century, but it was not until the early decades of the 1900s that the first stainless steel was patented and manufactured.
As part of the centenary celebrations, a travelling exhibition about stainless steel was launched in Beijing, China, last month. The exhibition will also be moved to a number of locations around the world.
The website and exhibition are cosponsored by the ISSF and members of the Team Stainless network, an informal network of industry associations that represent the stainless steel industry and its main alloying elements.
Meanwhile, to promote the sustainable and environment-friendly properties of stainless steel, Sassda has added environmental impact to its 2012 awards criteria.
“In a world that is challenging itself to be more environment-friendly and sustainable, the various grades and applications of stainless steel, as well as its green nature, make it a dynamic metal for innovation and technological developments,” says Sassda chairperson Bernard Maguire.
Stainless steel is a 100% recyclable product and does not produce toxic runoff. Sassda encourages all stainless steel users to ensure that production processes and work environments are green as well.
Maguire states that the association aims to decrease companies’ impact on the environment, as well as boost efforts to lower their carbon footprint.
Other criteria for the awards are excellence, which includes exceptional work, concepts and execution; creativity, originality and advancement; sustainability with regard to business and the environment; and efficiency, which includes meeting deadlines, increasing materials output and reducing costs.
The quality of a company’s products and its job creation potential will also be taken into account.
The awards are open to all Sassda members, as well as to international companies through industry organisations, the Nickel Institute and the International Chromium Development Association, which will soon be sending invitations to their members to participate.
Maguire says any company in the stainless steel industry that believes its stainless steel initiatives meet the criteria are welcome to enter.
University of Pretoria head of materials science and metallurgical engineering Professor Madeleine du Toit, Sikhaya Archi-tects architect Tom Steer, digital agency Trigger founder Gavin Rooke, Sassda fabrication sector head Diego Sella and Sassda consumerware sector head Diana Carmichael are the judges for this year’s awards.
The Stainless Steel Awards will be held at the Theatre on the Track, in Kyalami, Johannesburg, on October 11.