Imagine a stainless steel finish on one side and galvanised on the flip-side of a composite clad panel. A strong stainless steel finish out in front, and galvanised protection to boot in behind… but now imagine one third cheaper than the price of regular stainless steel.
Fresh to New Zealand comes a product that is causing a stir down in the deep south according to Gary Fahey, managing director of Composite Solutions, a subsidiary of Dan Cosgrove 2014 Ltd of Timaru.
“When I saw it I just had to go and see it for myself,” says Mr Fahey of the evolution from on-screen to an in-factory visit to supplier Changsong Group/ Simpson steel in ChangZhou, China.
Now, he has the sole distribution rights to Australia and New Zealand for the clad plate.
“We have the local council interested… imagine it in water, waste water and effluent tanks too, there’s a host of applications where people want the finish of stainless steel and its superior corrosion properties just on one side but also the protection of galvanised steel, which is well accepted on the outside in the atmosphere. This does both, but with a major cost advantage over normal stainless steel. Everyone I show this to experiences that ‘lightbulb moment’ where it clicks and the most common statement is, ‘It just makes sense’, explains Mr Fahey.
The stainless steel clad panel is manufactured from two components: top faceplate (stainless steel), bottom (galvanised steel) with a macromolecular polymer resin adhesive in between.
The macromolecular polymer resin forms an insulating barrier by total separation between the two dissimilar metals stopping electrolysis.
“It can be machined, laser cut, bent, punched,” says Mr Fahey, “it’s so very versatile while also highly aesthetic with that added peace-of-mind of galvanised insulation to protect it from environmental conditions and provide high corrosion resistance.”
The product is central to Changsong’s ‘green technology’ stable of products.
He says there are limits to its use but within its parameters, Mr Fahey is adamant there is a strong market for what is a quality composite metal.
It has high elongation and can be easily processed and shaped, but there are added benefits as well with reduced vibration due to the polymer membrane (far greater than ordinary stainless steel), and sound insulation is also higher thanks to the interlayer’s viscous properties and a low through current means even greater electrical resistance. Yes, you read correctly, electrical resistance in a stainless steel.
Currently the product is in use in tank construction, irrigation pipes, elevators, escalators, industries requiring high food grade protocols and extensively used in the manufacture of whiteware.
Mr Fahey says his trip to China was an eye opener, with the manufacturing facilities simply “blowing him away”.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s no wonder this composite material is making a stake for an international marketshare as it’s been put through all the testing cycles and has come out on top.”
The composite material is available with 304 and 316 grades of stainless steel and using the same process can have either copper or aluminium bonded to the galvanised steel as well.
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