Straws have definitely been causing a quite a stir lately. Pun completely intended.
Plastic straws are everywhere. From the local coffee shop to our favorite smoothie place. Most of us pick up these items without even considering the environmental impact of one-time use plastic products. Unlike some other materials, plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose in a landfill.
One hallmark of a true artist is being able to create beauty out of anything. While certain artists might have preferences for one medium over another, there are some that never go out of style. Clay is definitely one of these, and paint is another. Metal statues and sculptures have also always had a place in traditional art. Recently, stainless steel has grown in popularity. Artists have crafted a number of impressive pieces in this material.
How Does Stainless Steel Become Art?
Art can be anything, or come from anywhere, and stainless steel is no exception to that rule. By its very nature, stainless steel offers a level of durability and versatility that is hard to find. Because there are so many options for finishes, it’s possible to create all kinds of art, ranging from the Dublin Spire to Balloon Dog.
Polishing a piece to a bright gloss, also called a mirror finish, can take days or weeks. As a result, it will help the piece last for a long time. Both Balloon Dog and Chicago’s Cloud Gate make use of mirror finishes. The original Balloon Dog is also an excellent example of the finishing technique for a drastically different color effect. An artist has many options when using stainless steel, making it a popular choice for sculptures and statues around the world.
How Does Stainless Steel Art Benefit a City?
The method of finishing a stainless steel piece can ensure its durability and longevity to a remarkable degree. Even if an artist decides to go the route of steel brushing, sandblasting, or heat treatments, the piece will still be sturdier than one made of marble or clay. A paint finish would bubble and peel. Fortunately, with the variety of options available for stainless steel, a paint finish is not necessary at all.
Given that stainless steel can be manufactured in several different shapes and sizes, and easily joined together, this also makes it a more cost-efficient alternative. A larger piece needs to be lugged around as one solid whole. Or, it can be carefully taken apart and reconstructed on site. This could leave noticeable marks behind. Many praise stainless steel for its reshaping abilities. With a little grinding and sanding after the welding, the piece will look like one finished whole.
Where Can I Find Stainless Steel Art?
There are stainless steel pieces everywhere. From The Seed Sculpture in Manchester to the Sibelius Monument in Finland, creative works by creative artists are everywhere you go. Depending on the artist, different techniques will come into play. Depending on the location, different grades of steel come into use.
For example, the Cones in Canberra, Australia might require a higher grade of steel than Turning the World Upside Down in Jerusalem. The Cones are a little closer to nature, and therefore more likely to deal with damaging elements. While pieces like News might have run at the forefront of the longer lasting steel sculpture trend, the evolution of the steel industry, and what we can do with it, has given rise to several alloys. Each of these is much more resistant to corrosion than the last.
As a sculpture trend, stainless steel is here to stay — and stay beautiful. It’s been a game changer from its earliest appearances, focusing on outlasting the environment, to the newer pieces that take advantage of modern technology.
In the recent past, China’s stock market has been dwindling due to the trade wars with the US. However, steel prices have been indicating a positive state of the economy. Although China is transforming from manufacturing to consumption economy, steel is still an essential part of the economy. For instance, Baosteel, one of the biggest steel manufacturing companies in the country, reported a sixty-two percent year-over-year increase in profits.
The steel market seems undisturbed by the numerous tariffs, internal economic issues, and government controls. For instance, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), steel production increased by 7.2% in July. Production in 2018 is ahead by 6.3% compared to the records set last year. The growth may have slowed slightly in August as the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reduced by 1.4% but stayed above fifty percent.
According to the World Steel Association, China accounted for 49.2% of the global steel manufacturing. Recent data indicates that China accounts for 50.7% of the world steel production. China’s output in a month is more than the United States produces in a year.
Lower Production, Higher Prices
In the past three years, the government has been running a campaign to reduce production capacity. This is in attempts to curb environmental pollution. Also, the overproduction has been blamed for low prices and losses. In 2016, the government cut the annual production by sixty-five million tons. In 2018, by fifty million tons.
This year, the government is looking forward to cutting output by thirty million tons. Apart from the cut in production, the government has also been issuing temporary suspensions in the Beijing area. This is to prevent steel factories from producing fog during the heating seasons. However, the suspension that could have cut production by fifty percent is not deterring overall production. This is because production doubled in other parts of the country.
On the other hand, the downsizing and production cut attempts by the government caused steel prices to soar. Some steelmakers increased their production to take advantage of the rise in prices. According to the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), there was a 14.6% increase in prices at the end of July.
Improved Production Process
Another reason for the increase in production is improved efficiency. Nowadays, most steel mills around the country use better grades of iron ore and more scrap steel to reduce emissions.
The good fortunes witnessed by the steel industry may be a headache to the government. Information from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) pointed out that this year’s targeted cut in production might be difficult if the profit margins continue to grow. However, the government has been able to cut capacity of 24.7 million tons in the first seven months of 2018.
There have been reports that some millers may restart outdated production methods to take advantage of the soaring prices. For instance, many mills that had closed two years ago have recently started reopening due to the increase of steel prices in the market. Research conducted by the Greenpeace East Asia indicated that 73% of the increased capacity came from factories that were presumed idle. There has not been an official government audit to explain the increased production despite the measure put in place to cut output.
Efforts by the government to cut production are faced with a lot of challenges. For example, there have been reports that the price does not control the production of steel. Overproduction is continuing whether the prices are high or low. Additionally, steel production has been thriving even when the GDP is declining.
In order to transform sugar cane into white sugar, it must undergo a complex refining process. Brazil and India are two of the major players in the sugar industry. Both countries are currently engaged in upgrading essential equipment for sugar refinery to aid in eliminating waste and contamination.
An essential aspect toward eliminating waste is implementing stainless steel for all equipment used in making refined sugar and sugar cane juice products. Many business owners are currently making the move to upgrade their equipment, which is in the best interests of safety – as well as efficacy. The slight increase in cost for stainless steel equipment would quickly get recouped through the major increase in usable product available to sell.
Transforming cane sugar into refined white sugar takes the most effective, viable metal available. Stainless steel meets that criteria. In fact, the most hygienic metal for refining sugar cane is stainless steel.
Sugar Cane and Corrosion
Regular carbon steel rusts and corrodes when it encounters air and moisture. However, when you add chromium, it creates stainless steel – which is highly resistant to corrosion.
The juice of the sugar cane is quite acidic. In addition, it emits a gaseous discharge. Acid tends to consume most organic material. Gas turns toxic when mixed with many chemicals. Most materials corrode and break down against acid and gaseous discharge. Corrosion is one of the biggest problems facing the sugar industry.
Any company that uses equipment to handle sugar knows their equipment will wear out quickly when exposed to sugar cane juice. If the equipment contains moving parts, then corrosion eats through the bearings and mechanisms powering those parts. If the equipment is a free-standing holding tank with no moving parts, then sugar cane juice quickly erodes the holding tank’s material. This allows it to spread to other pieces of critical equipment when the acidic cane juice wreaks more havoc.
Responsible Companies Use Stainless Steel
Corroding equipment typically contains sharp edges. Workers and employees deserve a safe working environment. Sharp edges from corroding parts pose hazards and danger to the employees sugar manufacturers have a responsibility to protect.
A great deal of wasted productivity, as well as the amount of product lost, happens because of using carbon steel or another metal that cannot resist corrosion. Stainless steel includes a ferrous and chromium property to it that makes it highly resistant to corrosive products.
Most major manufacturers worldwide use stainless steel to make their products. Typically, stainless steel is preferred for processing food products. It is nearly impossible to maintain sanitary conditions without it. In 2007, 11 years ago, India lost an estimated $250 million dollars a year due to corrosion in metal factories. If India’s sugar barons do not convert all metal equipment used to refine sugar, they may find themselves priced out of the world market. As a result, a recent study has found that using stainless steel solutions will reduce corrosion-related losses and recalls in India by nearly 50%, a figure that is sure to entice numerous major players in the sugar refinery industry.
With the sugar industry being a crucial driving factor for development in a number of countries around the world, the transition to stainless steel will mean continued sustenance and prosperity for those regions.
Welding is an important step in the construction process. It is the method of fusing two metal pieces together to form a whole piece using a heat source. Take note that this is not just perfect for creating metallic materials needed for constructing a home. You can also use welding as a means to fuse a metal part to another broken area of a home, vehicle, hardware or even a device. Construction experts, repair specialists, car mechanics, and even hobbyists often use this method.
Note, however, that the means of welding metal may vary based on the type of material used. Thus, you may need to change the steps needed for welding iron if you want to focus on other materials like aluminum or stainless steel. To get started, simply follow the steps below.
Wear The Right Gear First
You need to wear the right clothes and equipment first before you proceed with welding. The process can be dangerous to certain parts of your body due to the amount of heat being used. Wear a long-sleeve shirt in order to protect your lower arms from any sparks that may fly as you weld. Be sure to protect your hands with gloves. Also, use safety goggles to protect your eyes from the flash of the welding machine. You might want to consider wearing ear protectors as an option, too.
Identify The Right Joints
There are different methods you can use to fuse your metals. There’s the T-shape, where a piece of metal stands on top of the same metal that’s laid on the ground in order to form the letter T. You can also go for the corner method, where you just need to attach the metals to their respective edges. You can also pick the lap joint, wherein you can just overlap a certain area of a metal to another metal. The edge joint is where the edges of a metal are welded to wholly stack the two metals together. Lastly, the butt joint is where you need to weld two metals side-by-side to form a welding line at the middle, hence the name.
When performing this step, you have to take note of the metal’s thickness to find out how much will be welded. You also need to choose the right welding power needed based on the metal’s quality, and for you to find out if the joints can be welded fully. There is also a need to evaluate if the joint you will make will fit your task.
Picking A Filler Metal
The base metal should match the material used for welding another base metal. If they differ, you will need to use a filler metal in order to complete the process. Take note that welding two different metals together may cause cracking or breakage on the two metals you’re using. So be sure to check the compatibility of the two metals first before fusing them.
First of all, secure the two metals using a C-clamp or any fixtures in order to hold them tight as you prepare the materials for welding. Next, pick the right type of welding procedures depending on how you will use the welded metals. You can go for shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, keyhole gas tungsten arc welding, gas metal arc welding, and the flux cored arc welding.
The type of welding process will depend on the goal that you wish to achieve, meaning that you have to learn to do them all. You also need to choose an inert shielding gas, such as helium, or a combination depending on the metal or the task at hand. Typically, the shielded metal arc welding method doesn’t need to use a shielding gas at most times. Clean the base metal to get rid of any oxides by gently brushing it using a steel brush. You should also use oils to further polish the base metal.
The Welding Process
To start welding, heat up the area to room temperature. High carbon content steel must be preheated immediately, especially on metals with thicker volumes. If you’re using a type of austenitic material, there is no need to do this. After preheating, apply the welding torch on its designated area. Then, apply a post-heat using your heater once again as the metal is going to rapidly cool down, and may cause breakage or cracking due to the lack of heat upon welding the metals. This is very important to do when fusing thick metals together. Lastly, remove any grindings, slag or potential debris by using a chipping hammer.
These are the recommended steps that you need to take if you wish to properly weld your stainless steel materials. Be sure to learn what the different welding methods are, as instructed above, and follow all preparations mentioned. Any kind of repairman or specialist in construction considers welding as one of the basic tasks. Even hobbyists are placing efforts to learn this method as they need it for their craft. That’s why this guide will surely give you an insight upon the basics of welding itself.
Steel is one of the most durable and reliable metals in the world. Due to this, it is used for a variety of purposes, such as residential/commercial construction, auto manufacturing, and infrastructural development. While steel can be very durable and last for a long time, it does require some maintenance.
One of the more serious issues that can affect steel is rust. This occurs when a steel pipe or other steel material begins to corrode. The corrosion process refers to when steel comes into contact with water or oxygen for an extended period of time. Since it is a naturally occurring process, it can be hard to completely control. Fortunately, there are measures you can take that will aid in preventing rust from damaging your steel materials.
Clean the Steel Regularly
While certain paints, primers, and other coatings can do a good job of preventing rust from occurring, you will still need to conduct regular maintenance. One of the most basic types of maintenance for steel is to simply clean it on a regular basis. If steel begins to look dirty, it could be the first indication that rust will begin to form. Because of this, you should use steel cleaners to make sure that they are clean of all debris when possible. There are a variety of industrial steel cleaners today that will do a good job of protecting the steel. You can also use a variety of more natural solutions, such as a mixture of water, salt, and lime. White vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda paste are also viable options.
Consider Galvanized Piping
Galvanized steel pipes are coated in zinc to protect against rust formation. These are primarily used to transport water and can last decades. They’re more affordable than copper piping but still more durable than plastic, making them a top choice for large construction projects and outdoor uses where large amounts of water will be carried. The only problem with galvanized piping is that their diameter gets smaller over time, as sediment reacts to the zinc barrier and can begin to accumulate, restricting water flow. If this causes a clog, hammer out the sediment and other minerals from the outside of the pipe and flush the pipes out.
Remove Evidence of Rust
Since rust is a naturally occurring element, it can be hard to completely prevent at all times. However, if you do begin to see signs of rust, it is important that you react right away. When you notice a small section of rust growing on a piece of steel, you should go to your local hardware store. Purchase a steel brush to scrape off evidence of the rust. You can also use WD-40 to break down the bonds between the metal and the rust, making the removal process easier. Doing this will help to prevent the rusting area to corrode any further. After removing all of the rust, you should reapply a new primer and paint to prevent any rust from coming back. There is no perfect piping, but it is crucial to equip yourself with the right knowledge for prevention and maintenance.
Overall global steel output is headed in a positive direction, despite recent controversy surrounding steel tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration. Over the last year, raw-steel production has steadily increased. This is after nearly two years of below-average demand. The World Steel Association predicts that steel demand for manufacturing and construction purposes will continue to increase throughout the rest of 2018 and 2019. This often correlates with overall global economic prosperity. Typically, positive economic performance leads to innovation and new construction, hence the rising steel demand.
Data suggests that May 2018 saw the largest jump of the year. In that month, global output increased by 6.6% compared to May of 2017. From April to May alone, global steel production jumped by 4.7 percent. While China and the European Union are responsible for the largest portion of these jumps, other countries are sure to see significant boosts as well.
India: A Steel Behemoth
Just recently, Anglo-Australian mining company BHP Billiton announced that it predicts Indian steel demand will double by 2025. Allegedly, the government’s goal is to produce 300 million tonnes of steel by 2030. If current production were to truly double by 2025, that means it would reach 170 metric tonnes.
Some economists are suggesting that India’s 2030 goal may be a bit of a reach. However, they still say it’s no doubt that the construction and infrastructural industries have a demand.
The recent trade war that has been spurred on by the Trump Administration’s tariffs has global economies scrambling for new strategies and steel consumers. There has been an inevitable period of rockiness in light of these recent events. Nonetheless, Huw McKay, BHP Billiton Vice President of Analysis and Economics, says there is enough global steel demand to absorb the newly produced steel.
EU Responds to Steel Tariffs
Since the U.S. has imposed levies on imported steel and aluminum, the EU must prepare for a steel/aluminum import surge into the bloc from other countries. Consequently, they are searching for solutions to curb some of these imports. On Thursday, the EU voted to back measures preventing an overwhelming influx of steel and aluminum. As a result, they have put a quota in place. They will still welcome steel imports, with some exceptions. To prevent a flood of steel imports into the EU market, the EU will place tariffs on imports exceeding the determined quota.
Excessive steel imports into the EU market could damage the EU steel industry’s own prosperity. The EU has also imposed its own levies on numerous U.S. imports, including jeans, bourbon, and motor bikes. Canada is also imposing “retaliatory tariffs” in response to the new U.S. policy.
While the impacts of the U.S. steel tariffs on the domestic market are still being assessed, certain industries (such as the automotive industry) will likely be impacted. In some steel-oriented towns across the country, the tariffs have brought relief. Many view it as a way to boost the American steel industry and encourage domestic steel production. As time continues on, consumers and steel experts are hopeful that growth in the steel industry will too.
While everyone has come across steel bollards, very few know of their dynamic features and uses. Bollards are steel, and sometimes aluminum, pillars used to line entries to stores and sidewalks. In fact, steel bollards are categorized under street furniture and contain the potential for well-designed and artistic blockades. Only a few people take note of bollards as they walk down the street. However, there is more to them than meets the eye. Here are a few reasons to install these blockades.
Steel bollards are useful in enhancing the security of pedestrians. While auto accidents can occur any time, bollards often act as a barrier that prevent a car from entering a pedestrian-only zone. They can be seen in places like pedestrian malls, college campuses, or civic centers. Without being an eye sore or an obstructive barrier like a fence, they are an effective and minimalistic way of keeping automobiles out of unwanted areas.
You can hire an urban architect or planner to help design an aesthetically pleasing blockade outside your business premises. You may even use steel bollards to increase the awareness of your business as most of them are used as landmarks. In fact, storefronts with a unique blockade often become a landmark for meet-ups. That helps drive more traffic to a store. Besides being guards, companies can also use steel bollards as guides. These blockades help protect property as well as direct traffic to a specific location.
You can use blockades as an anti-ram barrier for stores prone to burglary. Steel bollards create a perimeter wall that prevents drivers who intend to trespass from getting close to your storefront. It also helps prevent drivers who lose control from hitting your property. Furthermore, these blockades ensure escape cars don’t drive off while simultaneously securing the perimeter.
Store owners may use decorative steel bollards as part of an architectural design. Moreover, business owners may also use these blockades to dress up a drab storefront or create uniformity. Steel bollards will forever be a game changer when it comes to adding fixtures to storefronts and sidewalks. You want decorative steel bollards that can add aesthetic enhancement to a storefront or security perimeter.
Create Visual Containment
Another function of steel bollards is the creation of visual containment. In fact, bollards installed along the sidewalks may obstruct pedestrians and help them keep off the curb. Steel bollards don’t lessen room on the street; instead, they create a larger visual boundary than the height of the curb. In fact, the appeal of the curb is one that delivers the first impression of a company. You may choose steel bollards to enhance the environment as well as offer security to your business premises. Steel bollards are available in custom designs to meet the needs of large sites that would want to develop a unique appearance.
Street bollards will play an integral role in the future of urban development projects. In fact, there are other purposes for steel bollards. They can be used to house lighting fixtures, security cameras, and serve as bicycle parking posts. These blockades are loved by entrepreneurs and architects alike for their design, functionality, and simplistic possibilities. In fact, the benefits that pedestrians and business owners get from street bollards outweigh the cost of design and installation by far.
Many homeowners, as well as home decorators and designers, love the look of stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Although many design and decorating trends tend to come and go, stainless steel appliances seem to be here to stay, according to interior designer Elizabeth Pash.
Fortunately, this metal remains one of the easier types of material to clean. This is important, especially if the place your kids happen to love to touch the most is the front of your stainless steel fridge or if your stainless steel faucet is showing signs of hard water stains. So, how can you keep the stainless steel in home looking new and shiny?
Believe it or not, the concoction you put on your favorite salad isn’t that much different than the solution we’ll propose here. That’s right. We’re talking about the vinegar and oil treatment.
First, you’ll clean the stainless steel object in question with a liberal supply of vinegar. Then, you’ll treat it with the oil to finish the job.
Here’s what you need:
- White vinegar in a spray bottle (You can find a cheap bottle at the dollar store.)
- Paper towels
- Mineral oil or olive oil
- A soft cloth with microfibers (Cloths used to clean cars will work.)
Once you have all the cleaning supplies you need, take a look at the stainless steel. If you look closely, you’ll see that it has a grain. Once you start wiping, you’ll want to wipe in the direction of the grain.
Next, spray the appliance with the vinegar, making sure that you apply a good amount of it. Once you’ve wet it down with the vinegar, then start wiping it with the paper towels. The purpose of this first step is to get rid of the grime and debris that is stuck to the stainless steel.
After that, pour a bit of the oil onto your soft cloth and wipe the stainless steel down with it, again going in the direction of the grain. This step should remove fingerprints and other marks from the appliance.
Dish Soap and Baking Soda
Consumer Reports recommends a slightly different approach to cleaning your stainless steel.
- Soft cloths
- Mild dish soap
- Glass cleaner
- Baking soda
- A sponge
Initially, you need to mix some warm water with the mildest dish soap you have. Wipe the appliance down with the soapy water and the soft cloth. Once you’ve done that, rinse out the cloth and give the appliance the once-over again. Dry it with a soft cloth to finish.
Sometimes, even after this treatment, you’ll still see fingerprints. Spray the appliance with the glass cleaner and wipe it down to remove those.
Finally, a paste made from warm water and a bit of baking soda will remove thick grease and baked-on food particles. Rub a bit of the mixture onto the sponge and then rub the grimy spots down. Rinse with water and wipe dry with a soft towel when you’re done.
It’s important to treat your appliances with a wax finish after you clean them so that they remain fingerprint-free for longer. An article on The Independent recommends Zep Stainless Steel Polish, though there are other brands. Just be sure that the brand you choose is made for stainless steel.
Lightly spray the appliance with the wax, being careful to not get too much of the spray onto the appliance. Give it a few minutes to set, then wipe it down with a soft microfiber cloth. Again, make sure that you wipe with the grain of the steel.
This treatment helps you keep smudges, fingerprints, and other “sins” at bay between treatments.
Lastly, you’ll want to be careful about using harsh chemicals and abrasives on your stainless steel. These products ruin the surface of your appliances.