Industry body and lobby group the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) hopes to drive demand for stainless steel products by exhibiting at Water Show Africa 2017, which runs alongside Power & Electricity World Africa held at the Sandton Convention Centre on March 28 and 29.
Sassda executive director John Tarboton says increased demand will help stimulate local production, thereby creating jobs and growth in the stainless steel industry.
“We believe that understanding how to deconstruct and use life-cycle costing prior to performing material selection will help to increase the specification and use of stainless steel in a range of applications. “Our exhibition will assist in increasing the awareness and accessibility of life-cycle costing for people who enter the Sassda Eiffel Tower competition.”
The competition will be launched for the first time at the event and first prize is an all- expenses-paid trip to Paris valued at R125 000.
Several years ago, international nonprofit stainless steel research organisation International Stainless Steel Forum posed the question: “How much money would have been saved if the Eiffel Tower had been built with stainless steel?” Tarboton points out that, for the competition, Sassda will ask people to answer this question.
Entrants will be required to download an application or computer program developed by Sassda that can calculate life- cycle costs using net present values. “We are asking people to use this freely available app or program to enter the competition. All required information and details will be available at our stand,” he adds.
Tarboton says the organisation will also host two presentations: one on global trends in using stainless steel in municipal water distribution systems to reduce leakage rates, and the other on how life-cycle costing shows stainless steel can save costs.
Sassda notes that, as South Africa has had to implement water restrictions following its worst drought in decades, there is renewed focus on water distribution and service pipes, particularly the use of stainless steel products in these systems to reduce leaks and maintenance costs.
Tarboton comments on the importance of tightening up South Africa’s water supply infrastructure, citing statistics from an online news website report that up to 40% of Johannesburg’s water goes unaccounted for yearly, ultimately costing the city R1.16-billion in the year ending June 30, 2015. Of that amount, about R851-million worth of water was lost to leaks, according to the report.
Sassda comments that these losses have been partly attributed to using inferior or inappropriate metals in pipe joints and other fittings.
Tarboton adds that there is high-value potential in using stainless steel material for service piping and fittings. This is because products that are predominately manufactured using grade 316 stainless steel can potentially save millions of rands in the municipal water delivery sector by limiting the losses in leakage and filtration costs as well as resulting in a reduction in the use of water per capita.
Further, if municipalities were to use corrugated stainless steel piping, the need for joints in the system would be reduced, allowing the corrugated stainless steel pipes to maintain their strength, improve workability and extend the piping systems’ service life, he states.
“Stainless steel is an optimal material in water system applications and, while it comes at a price, it is an investment in the country’s infrastructure, of which the benefits and cost savings will still be evident in 100 years,” comments Tarboton.
He notes that the past two years have been “very tough” for the local industry, with apparent stainless steel use lower than what it was during the prefinancial crisis peak, but adds that “our members are confident that the contraction over . . . the past two years will be reversed”.
Sassda market intelligence specialist Lesley Squires adds that, over the past three years, a basis for the introduction of potable water in many rural areas of several African countries has been laid, presenting short-term water application opportunities for Sassda members.
“Within the next three years, the outlook is very promising for members looking to supply finished products to countries such as Madagascar – which currently has no potable water purification system – as well as the rural parts of Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Ghana.”
Tarboton notes that Sassda’s presence at Water Show Africa is directly related to the success of the organisation’s stand at last year’s Power & Electricity World Africa event, which generated a lot of interest in stainless steel pipes and solar water heaters.
He expects this year’s stand to be even more successful, which will be good for the organisation and great for the industry.