The steel industry is vital to the success of the US economy. Over the past decade, many steel companies have struggled to remain profitable. While last year’s steel tariffs left the fate of the industry uncertain, 2018 definitely ended on a high note.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently announced the launch of a “Stainless Steel Starship”. The test spaceship’s real time development was shared on December 24, 2018. This was in the wake of Musk’s tweet that the company’s “radically redesigned” design was ready to launch by January 2019.
When it comes to food safety, the hygienic integrity of the tools used in processing the food is crucial. This especially goes for dairy products. In the dairy industry, the smoothness of stainless steel prevents build-up of the oils and natural sugars found in dairy.
Steel is one of the strongest building materials. As a result, it withstands environmental and weather effects. It also saves on energy and minimizes waste. This makes steel one of the most eco-friendly building materials. Here is how.
MX3D, a Dutch robotic manufacturing technology startup, is celebrating the completion of its revolutionary 3D printed steel bridge. It will soon be installed over a canal in Amsterdam. Creating the bridge required years of design, engineering, and coding. Printed from over 9,000 pounds of stainless steel, the bridge represents an innovative application of this traditional structural material.
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.