News

Unchanged Interest Rates Bodes Well For Businesses in The Metals And Engineering Sector
2019/05/29

Johannesburg, 23 May 2018 – The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) decision to keep the repo and prime rate unchanged at 6.75 percent and 10.25 percent respectively augurs well for beleaguered businesses in the Metals and Engineering (M&E) sector, especially given the current state of the economy, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said today.

Speaking after this afternoon’s announcement by the Reserve Bank, SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said businesses in the M&E cluster of industries continue to face headwinds, amid increasing operational expenses, stalled domestic demand, a weaker exchange rate and volatile margins.

“The generally weaker exchange rate, increasing logistics costs and rising input costs compound the cost of doing business locally. Moreover, there is additional pressure on local businesses coming from the external trading environment as a result of constricted global growth expectation due to trade war risks. If global growth expectation is lowered due to the global trade war, it is difficult to avoid systematic risks, especially to smaller economies. It also becomes very difficult for exporting companies to find new markets,” Dr Ade said.

He said that the sensible decision by the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members to leave interest rates unchanged augurs well for local firms at the micro level – including small and medium enterprises which are very sensitive to interest rate changes – and exporting companies.

In conclusion, Dr Ade said the stable interest rate trajectory enables businesses to plan future production processes and make trade decisions with a reasonable degree of certainty. He said the positive effects on the cost of doing business in the broader manufacturing sector will invariably have a positive impact on the margins of struggling companies.

Dr Ade said the decision by the MPC was also expected to go a long way towards boosting local consumer demand for final manufactured goods, given that consumers now have a slight reprieve on their personal budgets. It also bodes well for the M&E cluster’s intermediate manufactured goods, which are principally driven by derived demand dynamics.

Source



Happy Ramadan to all our Customers
2019/05/07

Increase In Inflation Does Not Bode Well
2019/04/24

Increase In Inflation Does Not Bode Well For Beleaguered Businesses In The Metals And Engineering Cluster – Says SEIFSA

Johannesburg, 17 April 2019 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) is concerned with the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today which reflects an increase in the general level of prices for goods and services, against the backdrop of existing volatility in fuel prices, SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said this morning.

According to the Stats SA data, the annual CPI was 4,5 percent in March 2019, up from 4,1 percent in February 2019. The index increased by 0,8 percent month-on-month in March 2019.

“The latest inflation data is of great concern to beleaguered businesses in the metals and engineering sub-sectors and the broader manufacturing sector, which are facing continuous headwinds including rising intermediate inputs costs. Moreover, over-indebted consumers are not afforded a reprieve from oscillating petrol prices and a general rise in the prices of goods and services underpinned by a weaker rand and a difficult economic environment,” said Dr Ade.

He added that consistent and unpredictable fuel prices, increasing intermediate input costs and passive domestic demand impacts negatively on the margins of businesses, also negatively affecting profitability. Dr Ade said the difficult operational environment faced by businesses is of great concern, and the added pressure in the form of higher CPI figures is worrisome. A constant rise in the general level of prices which decreases the purchasing power of the rand does not augur well for broader manufacturing which imports the bulk of its inputs.

Dr Ade said it is also disconcerting to see that CPI data is now delicately poised at the mid-point of the South African Reserve Bank’s official inflation target range of 3 percent to 6 percent.

“Given this context, businesses still have to closely monitor petrol prices, the volatile exchange rate and the unpredictability in electricity supply, as upside changes of these variables may lead to additional costs with compounding inflationary effects,” Dr Ade concluded.

Source



Happy Birthday to our Director
2019/04/08

Roemers would like to wish Wolf a

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

We hope the year ahead is wonderfully successful!



Some Fun Facts
2019/04/02

Metals have been around for centuries, valued for their strength, durability, versatility, and electrical conductivity. Metal is used in industrial and architectural fabrication such as using sheet metal and other forms in building construction, bridges, tools, machinery, electronics, plumbing, HVAC, automobiles, aircraft, military equipment, and more. About 75% of all elements on the periodic table are metals.

  1. Iron is the most abundant metal on earth—and it also makes up much of the Earth’s core. The most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, however, is aluminum.
  1. Silver conducts electricity better than any other metal.
  1. Noble metals—such as precious metals silver, gold, and platinum— resist oxidation and corrosion in moist air.
  1. Alloys contain two or more elements mixed together, usually two metals or a metal and a non-metal.
  1. Mercury has the lowest melting point of all metals—and it’s the only metal that’s liquid at ordinary room temperature and pressure.
  1. At 3,400 degrees C, tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal in pure form. (Although carbon remains solid at higher temperatures, it changes to a gas rather than melting into a liquid).
  1. Iron is galvanized by dipping it into molten zinc. The galvanization process helps prevent rust.
  1. Up until the Middle Ages, there were only seven known metals: Bronze, iron, gold, copper, silver, lead, and mercury.
  1. Almost 69% of all steel—more than 80 million tons—is recycled in North America each year. That’s more than aluminum, paper, plastic and glass combined. Steel’s magnetic properties make it easy to separate from the solid waste stream into the recycling stream.
  1. Steel was first used for skyscrapers in 1883.
  1. The Eiffel Tower is about six inches taller in the summer than in the winter. Why? Because steel and iron expand when heated.
  1. Have you ever noticed how often brass doorknobs and handrails are used in public buildings? That’s because brass, a copper alloy, is naturally antibacterial. (But you should still wash your hands!)
  1. Explosion welding is a powerful process that can join nearly every kind of metal together, which most other welding methods cannot do.
  1. If two pieces of uncoated metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together. It doesn’t happen on Earth because the atmosphere puts a thin layer of oxidation between the surfaces. The oxidized layer actually acts as a barrier, preventing adherence.

Source



High Speed Steel
2019/03/27

Characteristic properties of all high speed steels are:

  • Superior woking hardness
  • High wear hardness
  • Excellent toughness
  • High retention of hardness and red hardness

Influence alloying elements on the steel properties:

Carbon: produces carbides, increases wear resistance, carries matrix hardness.

Tungsten and Molybdenum: Improves red hardnesss, retention of hardness and high temperature strength of  matrix, from special carbides of great hardness.

Vanadium: Forms special carbides of supreme hardness, increases high temperature wear resistance, retention of hardness and high temperature strength of  matrix.

Chromium: Promotes deep hardening, produces readily soluble carbides.

Cobalt: Improves red hardness and retention of hardness of the matrix.

Since it is possible to achieve specific properties by carefully balancing these alloying elements, we are able to get a combination to suit almost any type of application.

Source



Load Shedding
2019/03/20

The last week had Cape Town at Level 4 load shedding, which resulted in 7,5 hours per day with no power.

Roemers, however, was only sligtly affected, thanks to our solar power facilities and generator...other SME's however, had more of a problem...

Businesses in South Africa have spent the past week struggling to operate amid rolling blackouts that affect their operations for as many as five hours at a time.

The power cuts by cash-strapped utility Eskom, which provides about 90% of the country’s electricity, are a “hugely damaging reality check,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday amid a fifth straight day of blackouts.

The reductions may cost the country as much as R5 billion rand a day, according to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, a civil-society group.

Bloomberg visited some businesses during blackouts to see how they were coping with the situation.

 

Suzanne van Weely said she is throwing out as many as 15 loaves of unbaked bread daily - about a 10th of what she produces at her Supercalifragilistic bakery and coffee shop in Linden, Johannesburg.

“People don’t get the things they want and they walk out,” Van Weely said. With fridges shut down, cheesecakes, mousses and trays of tiramisu “are going off. It’s all stuff that costs money to make,” she said.

Across the road, trading at her father Ronald’s store, Magnificent Paints and Hardware, is at a standstill. When the power goes out, his regular customers - local contractors - stop working and so do his orders and sales.

Three of his six delivery trucks are parked in the yard while he sits in a back office lit only by a rechargeable lamp and the light from his smartphone screen.

“The power outages are way too long,” he said. “Four and half hours is way too long - most people work for eight hours so more than 50% of the workday is lost. They should make it two hours then we can at least get some business done.”

Around the corner, the screens on electronic fuel pumps at the Linden Garage gas station are blank. While owner Marco Dalle Ave jokes that his old mechanical pumps were seemingly more advanced and better suited to rolling blackouts, he is worried about turnover and having to pay staff.

“If you can’t operate, you can’t make money,” he says. According to him, a generator would cost more than R100 000 rand - which he can’t afford.

Francois Labuschagne, who also can’t afford a generator, said electricity shortages are killing business at Print2Go, his printing shop.

“It is like the economy has just been cut in half - half of the economy is operating half of the day and it is not like there is a plan,” he said. “As a business owner, this is a ridiculous situation, we’ve got staff to pay - if the business goes under then staff lose their jobs.”

While the Rembrandt butchery has a back-up generator, power cuts still have a devastating effect, said Marco Huisamen, its manager.

With petrol prices close to record levels, running the generator is expensive and doesn’t provide nearly enough energy to keep all the lights on, fridges cold and meat band saws working all at once.

Source



Update on Water Restrictions 2019
2019/03/12

LEVEL 3 WATER

RESTRICTIONS (AMENDED)

Page 1 of 3

The City of Cape Town has amended Level 3 water restrictions to allow for various relaxations

effective from 1 March 2019 until further notice.

SUMMARY OF KEY CHANGES:

 Watering restrictions have been relaxed to allow the use of:

o dripper, drip line or soaker hose irrigation on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

o sprinklers or a hosepipe fitted with a self-closing spray nozzle on Saturdays

 Watering using a bucket or watering can is still allowed and watering hours are still restricted

to before 09:00 or after 18:00 for a maximum of one hour per day per property irrespective of

the watering method used.

 There is no change to the restriction level and Level 3 tariffs remain in place.

 The overall city water usage target of 650 million litres per day and the personal water use

limit of 105 litres per person per day remain in place.

LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS (Amended March 2019)

Restrictions applicable to all customers

 Watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water allowed only before 09:00 or after 18:00

for a maximum of one hour per day per property as follows:

o on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays using dripper, drip line or soaker hose

irrigation or using a bucket or watering can

o on Saturdays using sprinklers or a hosepipe fitted with a self-closing spray nozzle.

 Sports facilities, parks, schools, learning institutions, nurseries, customers involved in

agricultural activities, users with historical gardens and customers with special requirements

can apply to the Director: Water and Sanitation for exemption from the above.

 No watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water within 48 hours of rainfall that provides

adequate saturation.

 Borehole/wellpoint water must be used efficiently to avoid wastage and evaporation.

Borehole/wellpoint water users are strongly encouraged to follow the same watering times

as applicable to municipal drinking water use detailed above.

 All City borehole and wellpoint users are expected to comply with all National Department of

Water and Sanitation regulations pertaining to borehole/wellpoint usage, including the

notice in the Government Gazette No. 41381 (Vol. 631) of 12 January 2018.

Borehole/wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records

and have these available for inspection.

 Permission from the National Department of Water and Sanitation is required in order to sell or

buy borehole/wellpoint water.

LEVEL 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS (AMENDED)

Page 2 of 3

 All boreholes and wellpoints must be registered with the City and must display the official City

signage clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. Visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater for

information on how to register.

 All properties where alternative, non-drinking water resources are used (including rainwater

harvesting, greywater, basement water, treated effluent water, spring water and surface

water) must display signage to this effect which is clearly visible from a public thoroughfare.

 Topping up or filling of swimming pools with municipal drinking water allowed subject to 1)

the pool being covered with a non-permeable solid pool cover when not in use and 2) the

recovery of backwash water and the use of rainwater for pool topping up where

practically possible.

 No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal drinking water

allowed. Water users, such as abattoirs, food processing industries, care facilities, animal

shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs (health/safety related only) must

apply for exemption.

 The use of municipal drinking water for ornamental water fountains or water features is

prohibited.

 Customers are strongly encouraged to install water efficient parts, fittings and technologies to

minimise water use at all taps, showerheads and other plumbing components.

 Customers with special requirements can apply to the Director: Water and Sanitation for

exemption.

Restrictions applicable to residential customers

 All residents are required to use no more than 105 litres of municipal drinking water per person

per day in total irrespective of whether you are at home, work or elsewhere.

 Washing vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats with municipal drinking water is only allowed if

using a bucket. Washing with non-drinking water or cleaning with waterless products or dry

steam cleaning processes is strongly encouraged.

 You are encouraged to flush toilets with greywater, rainwater or other non-drinking water.

Restrictions applicable to non-residential customers

 Commercial car wash industries must comply with industry best practice norms regarding

water usage per car washed and recycle or reuse a minimum of 50% of water used.

 Informal car washes to use only buckets and not hosepipes.

 Washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats with non-drinking water or cleaning with

waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes is strongly encouraged.

 Spray parks to be strictly managed to minimise water use.

 No new landscaping or sports fields may be established, except if irrigated only with nondrinking water.

LEVEL 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS (AMENDED)

Page 3 of 3

 For users supplied with water in terms of special contracts (notarial deeds, water service

intermediaries or water service providers), the contract conditions shall apply.

NOTES:

Failure to comply will constitute an offence in terms of the City’s Water By-law, 2010 (amended

2018). Other restrictive measures, not detailed above, as stipulated in Schedule 1 of the Water Bylaw, 2010 (amended 2018) still apply. Visit our webpage Know your water regulations for further

information.

Visit our website to find out how to apply for exemption from water restrictions. All exemptions

valid under Level 5 remain valid under Level 3 water restrictions.

To apply to install and use an alternative water system visit: http://cct.gov.za/AIBNl.

Water pressure continues to be reduced to limit water leaks, prevent pipe bursts and to

encourage a more optimal use of water, and such may cause intermittent water supply.

For further information visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater or contact us at

water@capetown.gov.za or by sending an SMS to 31373 or WhatsApp to 063 407 3699



Here's to a prosperous 2019
2019/01/22

We ended 2018 on a festive note, with our annual Christmas Party and a festive party it was!!! From handing out certificates to eating our hearts out all thanks to Bruce’s Catering.

After over 35 years of loyal service to Roemer’s it is with sad hearts that we said goodbye to Michael Theron our production foreman, who is now retired. As a thank you, we had Matt Arend Timepieces make a special gift for Michael, a custom Roemer’s watch. We wish him all the best and hope that he now enjoys this well-deserved rest!

2018 was an exciting year, with us acquiring a new furnace and a new building. We have expanded the ground floor of the factory, making some great breathing room. Mr Weiner did training with our staff and we are very please to say that they all achieved above 80% in the assessments. This high standard is what we pride ourselves in and it overflows into our production, with QUALITY always on our mind.

We are all looking forward to a busy 2019 and would like to encourage all our customers to please fill in our customer survey. We are in the process of upping our standard of service and your feedback will help us grow and provide the best to you!

Here’s to a Prosperous Year!



Closing 2018
2018/12/03

Policy support needed for development of sustainable alternative energy sources
2018/11/21

Although natural gas is about 60% cleaner than coal in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, it currently contributes only 1.5% of the country’s total primary energy needs. Even though the National Development Plan (NDP) aims to delink economic development from environmental decay and carbon-intensive energy, while promoting social advancement, there is still no natural gas-focused policy in place.

The Department of Energy’s objective is to increase the contribution of natural gas in the South African energy mix by 2030 in order to provide affordable energy services to all citizens and industries. This is aligned with the NDP goal to achieve a low-carbon economy by 2030 and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

SOLAR DEVELOPMENTS

It is critical to move the solar PV industry forward, said Ballack, which could happen through transparency in utility processes by municipalities and available information that is accessible to business, to take advantage of solar PV opportunities.

South Africa only has two solar panel manufacturing facilities in the country left, since three have closed down in the last few years.

It is necessary to optimise the energy mix ratio to ensure the availability of affordable clean fuel, optimal energy efficiency, technology and skills transfer, job creation, energy independence and security of supply.

“Natural gas can compete as a primary energy carrier, along with solar, wind, nuclear and coal, as well as a secondary energy source, competing with LPG and other petroleum fuels.”

Read the full article here…



City of Cape Town relaxes water restrictions, tariffs to Level 5
2018/11/12

The City of Cape Town has made the move to relax current water restrictions from Level 6B to Level 5 from October 1, Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson announced.

After suffering from the worst drought in recent history, Cape Town's dams are nearing 70% of storage capacity – a significant improvement from the 38% capacity recorded at the end of the previous winter.

"The very low supply storage resulted in the imposition of Level 6B water restrictions in February 2018," Neilson said.

"The enormously positive response from Capetonians when called upon to reduce water usage, as well as advanced pressure and water management programmes by the City, saved the day and Cape Town avoided the worst-case scenario."

The key elements of Level 5 restrictions are as follows:

  • An increase in the personal water use limit from 50 litres per person per day to 70 litres per person per day.
  • A resetting of the overall City water usage target from 450 million litres per day to 500 million litres per day
  • A relaxation of restrictions for commercial and industrial water users from a 45% to a 40% usage reduction
  • A lowering of tariffs


Residential tariffs (excluding VAT)

  • 0 – 6 kL: Down from R28.90/kL to R21,19 kL
  • 6 – 10,5 kL: Down from R46/kL to R34,43/kL
  • 10 – 35 kL: Down from R120,27 to R52,39/kL
  • Above 34k L: Down from R1 000/kL to R300/kL


Commercial and industrial tariffs

  • Down from R45,75/kL to R37,50/kL


Executive Director of Informal Settlements, Water and Sanitation Gisela Kaiser clarified that the City was not encouraging Capetonians to increase their water usage.

Read more



Custom and Safeguard Duties on Hot-Rolled Steel Plate
2018/10/22

On 20 October 2017, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa initiated an investigation into the creation of rebate provisions on ordinary customs and safeguard duties applicable to certain primary steel products not manufactured locally.

The current tariffs under Tariff Subheading 72250.40 are as follows:

  • The general rate of ordinary customs duty applicable is 10% ad valorem.
  • The safeguard duty applicable is 12% which is liberalised to 10%, 8% and free of duty on 11 August 2018, 11 August 2019 and 11 August 2020, respectively.

The commission found that the products under Tariff Subheading 7225.40 (among others) are not manufactured locally, thus the ordinary and safeguard tariffs raise costs unnecessarily.

The Commission has recommended the creation of a temporary rebate provision on ordinary customs and safeguard duties on certain hot-rolled steel plate, classified under the above heading, among others.

Please keep a look out to see how this will impact Roemer's Customers.



Africa's metals, engineering cluster needs to do more to attract investment
2018/10/17

Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) chief economist Dr Michael Ade has declared Africa’s metals and engineering sector open for business.

Ade was addressing delegates on the second day of Seifsa’s fourth annual Metals and Engineering Indaba, in Johannesburg.

 

Read more…



China's at 'peak steel' right now, top iron-ore shipper says
2018/10/10

The world’s largest steel market is about to go into reverse. Production in China will peak in 2018 and then shrink next year as local demand drops, according to forecasts from the Australian government, which says the shift will add to headwinds for core ingredient iron ore.

Mainland steel production is “forecast to peak in 2018,” the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science said in a quarterly report on Tuesday. After topping out at 886 million metric tons, output is expected to drop to 861-million tons in 2019 and hit 842-million in 2020, the department said. Over the same time frame, local demand is seen contracting by 34-million tons.

Read more…



December Closing
2018/09/14

Our factory will be closed for our Annual Holidays on Friday 21 December 2018 and will re-open on Thursday 17 January 2019

 

We will be running a skeleton staff on Thursday 10 January 2019 and Tuesday 15 January 2019 from 07:30—13:00

 



BizTrends2018: A brave new world for South African stainless steel manufacturers
2018/08/28

#BizTrends2018: A brave new world for South African stainless steel manufacturers

Here are some of the 'hot spots' in the local stainless steel sector over the next year...

1. Africa Is Still Rising!

Mozambique will be a ‘hot spot’ for the local stainless steel industry to focus on for international exports in 2018 as it will finally see the launch of a liquid natural gas plant between Pemba and Palma in northern Mozambique. This is an offshore project, backed by Eni, which was signed with commitment from the Mozambican government on 1 June 2017.

Another onshore project is being undertaken by Anadarko, where other ancillary projects, including hotels, housing and hospitals, will be developed alongside the project. This also means the ancillary port in Pemba will now start its development plan, which will take just five months to complete from signing. Other top countries to focus on in 2018 in terms of potential for local stainless steel exports are Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Madagascar.

2. Solving SA's Water Woes One Stainless Steel Pipe At A Time

Stainless steel has the potential to play a larger role in rectifying SA’s current water woes and easing the dire water crisis South Africa finds itself in, during 2018. The potential for stainless steel water supply installations in the municipal area is potentially huge. Globally, as much as 35% of all treated water is lost to leaking piping systems with that figure rising to 41% in South Africa. This has prompted a stainless steel test project to get underway in Paarl between the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda), local municipal authorities and South African manufacturers in search of the most environmental and economic solution for the country’s water-wise future.

Looking ahead, 2018 will see a renewed focus/ramping up of local production of corrugated stainless steel pipe for both external (service) and internal (domestic) pipes. Manufacturers have had meetings with Johannesburg Water in terms of external usage and they also plan to work more closely with the Institute of Plumbing SA to sell the tube also for domestic applications through retail outlets

3. Against The Odds

Despite a slew of dire South African macro-economic indicators, the local stainless steel industry continues to battle on and, in certain instances, even defy expectations. Proof of this is that despite the current crop of tough macro-economic conditions, our latest member-based Short Track survey revealed surprisingly positive sentiment, with 48% of Sassda respondents now having a positive response to the current order situation, which represents the best figure seen since the survey began. After two consecutive years of double digit contraction, we therefore expect the stainless steel sector to stabilise i.e. more-or-less no growth/contraction with the potential for recovery in 2018.

4. Proudly South African Pots!

South Africa’s hollowware sector (pots, pans, cutlery etc.) has felt the effects of an influx of Chinese imports over the last five/ten years which has all but smothered local production. The good news is that a couple of new local manufacturing concerns will come on line in 2018. The most exciting is Le Morgan which has refurbished a KwaZulu-Natal plant and has already produced 2,500 pots with a view to ramping up production by May 2018, when a range of imported, world-class additional machines arrive in South Africa to beef up its local facility. It’s hoped that this will see the reintroduction of proudly South African stainless steel pots pans and cutlery in kitchens across the country.

5. Digital Manufacturing

South Africa’s local stainless steel industry will continue to incorporate digital innovation into its production processes. This against the backdrop of the Fourth Industrial Revolution phenomenon where a product is no longer enough in and of itself and the realisation that there needs to be something extra. It could be bespoke designs, being a global technology leader in a certain field, having an associated indispensable service attached to the products or allowing for the complete customisation of the product.

A practical local example of this type of innovation is a locally developed world-first technology from Star Weld which has particular relevance for the food and beverage processing sector. Local producer Steve Hutchinson has developed a robotic welding technique which has relevance for wine, dairy and agro processing sectors in particular, and will represent a huge step forward for the local industry in 2018.



World Steel in Figures 2018
2018/08/21

World Steel in Figures 2018 now available
29 May 2018 Brussels, Belgium

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has published the 2018 edition of World Steel in Figures. The publication provides a comprehensive overview of steel industry activities, stretching from crude steel production to apparent steel use, from indications of global steel trade flows to iron ore production and trade.

Edwin Basson, Director General of worldsteel, said, “I am hopeful that our positive outlook for steel demand will remain. The Short Range Outlook for the next 18 months suggests 2018 growth of 1.8% followed by 0.7% in 2019. Steel demand is benefitting from the broad and favourable global economic momentum affecting both the developed and developing world at the same time. The worldsteel programmes in the automotive, construction, packaging and rail sectors all aim to maintain the role of steel as a versatile product without which modern society cannot remain sustainable.”



Looks like another DRY summer
2018/08/14

Low rainfall hampering dam level recovery - City of Cape Town

 

he City of Cape Town on Monday said it was concerned about a water consumption increase from 505-million to 519-million litres per day and urged residents to continue with water saving efforts to protect Cape Town’s fragile dam system.

In a statement, the City said it has been a dry start to August, with some areas receiving just a quarter, or at most a third, of the long-term average rainfall for those areas. This has slowed down the rapid recovery of Cape Town’s dams which was experienced at the start of the winter months.

“Over the past few weeks, rainfall has been below average and this has drastically slowed down the recovery of the dams supplying water to Cape Town.

“We are in a much-strengthened position currently with consumption continuing to hover near the 500-million litre mark, as opposed to this time last year where we were consuming 608-million litres per day. In addition, dam levels this time last year were at 31.9% of storage capacity,” said the City’s deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

“However, we need to ensure that we all continue our water-saving efforts, especially in light of the low rainfall received over the last few weeks. We need to protect the water in our dams and ensure that we continue to build a buffer for the hot summer months ahead.”

He said water restrictions and the associated tariffs were also helping to preserve the water that the dams have.

“Until the National Department of Water and Sanitation deems it safe to begin a stepped reduction of the current water restriction levels, restrictions and the associated tariffs will remain in place. We thank all of our residents for their ongoing support and, as a City, we will continue with our advanced pressure management programme to keep water usage as low as possible," said Neilson. 

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/low-rainfall-hampering-dam-level-recovery---city-of-cape-town-2018-08-14



Information Regulator in South Africa
2018/07/17

The Information Regulator is a new regulator that has been created by the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act). POPI gives the Information Regulator teeth – it has extensive powers to investigate and fine responsible parties. Data subjects will be able to complain to the Information Regulator and it will be able to take action on behalf of data subjects. It will regulate both POPIA and PAIA. It reports to Parliament and is the South African equivalent of the Information Commissioner in the UK.
Has the Information Regulator been established?

Yes, it began its work on 1 December 2016. The sections of POPI that relate to the Information Regulator have already commenced and Treasury has also budgeted for it.
Have the office bearers been appointed?

The President of South Africa officially appointed the office bearers on 26 October 2016 with effect from 1 December 2016. As part of the process, the National Assembly recommended the appointment the office bearers on 7 September 2016. And before that Parliament invited everyone to nominate people and shortlisted candidates for Parliament to appoint as members of the Information Regulator.

The office of the Information Regulator will be made up of Adv Pansy Tlakula as the chair, Adv Cordelia Stroom and Mr Johannes Weapond as full-time members, and Prof Tana Pistorius and Mr Sizwe Snail as part-time members. The recommendation has been referred to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. Adv Pansy Thakula should be given the opportunity to see what she can achieve as the chair of the Information Regulator.
Action you can take

  • Be alerted to any new developments by subscribing to our newsletter.
  • Find out more about the regulator and how to comply with POPI yourself by attending a POPI Act Workshop.
  • Find out how we can help you with POPI compliance.
  • Get specialist subject matter expert support to empower you to implement POPI by joining the Michalsons POPI Compliance Programme.
  • Comply with POPI by getting Michalsons to do some action items for you.


Where will the Information Regulator be?

It will have one central office in Gauteng and will have about five permanent office bearers. The Information Regulator needs to publish POPI regulations at some point for POPI to finally become effective, and it has a website.
What are the responsibilities of the Information Regulator?

The Information Regulator essentially has to protect data subject against harm and ensure that their personal information is protected by responsible parties. Similar to the Public Protector, the Information Regulator can hold responsible parties accountable for not complying with POPI.

The responsibilities include:

  • educating responsible parties on the conditions for lawful processing;
  • ensuring that responsible parties process personal information lawfully;
  • ensuring compliance with the conditions for processing information;
  • monitoring and enforcing POPI compliance by public and private bodies
  • handling with POPI complaints by data subjects;
  • the responsibilities in Part 4 and 5 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.


What you must do with the Information Regulator

Some responsible parties must get prior authorisation from the Information Regulator before they can process personal information, but those that need to are quite limited. See section 57 for those that need to. There is a good chance that you do not need to get authorisation. If you are not sure, we can help you to work out whether you need to get authorisation or not. Remember, it is a criminal offence if you do not get authorisation when you should have and there is the possibility of a fine or up to 12 months imprisonment. But by far the greater risk is that you might not be able to process personal information. It is not currently possible to get this authorisation, because the regulator does not have the process in place.

The Information Officer of each public and private body (and everyone has one) must be registered with the Information Regulator. Again this is not currently possible.

Image courtesy of the South African Government (May 2014) pursuant to a Creative Commons licence. We have not changed the image.
By Michalsons| February 13th, 2017|Categories: POPI and Data Protection|Tags: information regulator, PAIA, POPI Act, POPIA



Govt commits to saving jobs in steel industry
2018/06/20

The South African government said on Tuesday that it will continue to work with the steel industry towards averting job losses in the sector, adding that it has put in place measures to save the steel industry from collapsing.

This emerged when officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (the DTI) briefed their relevant portfolio committee on the status of the steel industry and interventions that government was deploying to assist the industry stay afloat.

“Following the establishment of the task team, there are numerous short to medium term measures that have been put in place to support the steel industry. These include an increase in the general rate of customs duty on primary steel products to 10% and safeguard measures for a period of three years on hot rolled coil and plate products," Naidoo said.

The department also reflected on the US's Section 232 duties against steel imports, saying that it will continue advocacy efforts with the US counterparts focussing on trade and investment relations.



What is a Guillotine?
2018/06/27

What is a Guillotine?

Why would my business use a Guillotine?

A paper guillotine or cutter is a mechanical device used to cut or trim large stacks of paper or documents at the same time.

How to use a Guillotine  

They were first pioneered in the mid-nineteenth century. There are many different types today but all feature some form of blade and a flat surface on which to place the paper.

What types of guillotines are available?

There is a wide array of guillotines or paper cutters available on the modern market. These range from small, inexpensive, manual devices for personal or classroom use to large, electronic, commercial-grade machines for print finishing and production environments.

Here are some of the most common types or paper cutter available:

Arm Cutters: These are basic manual models with a blade mounted on a hinged arm. The arm is attached to a flat base upon which the paper is placed. The blade is hand-operated and brought down manually to slice through the paper. These models are not designed for regular high-volume use, and while they may be fine for very occasional cutting, they can only slice through a small number of sheets at a time before they start fraying the edges.

Rotary Paper Cutters: Rotary cutters are different from other cutters and guillotines. Unlike most other types which use a straight blade, these models have a circular blade which is encased in a cutting head or slider. The user positions the paper on the base, most models have a positioning grid or ruler on the base, and slides the cutting head along a bar, slicing through the paper as it goes. These are much more precise than arm cutters and are used widely by photographers for cutting small sets of photos. They are not designed for high-volume regular use.

Manual Guillotines:Guillotine cutters are much more reminiscent of the execution device from which they get there name. They are designed for high-volume regular use and they can cut large stacks of paper. With the manual version, you just set the paper on the cutter, position it correctly, lock it in place using a clamp and pull the handle. This drops a weighted blade onto the paper. The volume of paper you can cut will largely depend on the weight behind the blade.

Electronic Semi-Automatic Guillotines:These models are similar in appearance to the manual guillotine but the main difference is that the blade is powered. This means that the device can generally cut through much larger quantities of paper. The most common types of power used in these devices are electrical or hydraulic.

Electric Fully-Automatic Guillotines: Fully automated guillotines allow you to cut through vast amounts of paper. These cutters have both a fully-powered clamp and blade. They tend to be used more by commercial operators such as printers, print finishers, publishing houses and other businesses who deal with thousands of sheets of paper per day.

Electric Fully-Automatic Guillotines: Quickly becoming the norm for large commercial operations, these cutter provide all of the benefits of fully-automatic machines with the added speed and accuracy provided by a digital interface that allows users to quickly and precisely define the cut position. The position of the paper is dictated by an exact measurement input by the user.

These are just the broad categories of paper cutters available. Within each type you will be faced with a whole host of features and specifications that you will need to consider. Things like blade size, cut speed, power consumption, safety features, maintenance and many other factors are likely to impact on your decision...

What are the benefits of a guillotine?

Investing in a good quality guillotine can deliver lots of benefits to your business. Whether you are a small office who produces a limited number of professional documents or a massive print finishing operation cutting thousands of items a day, there is a cutter out there to suit you. The benefits are:

Accuracy and Consistency: A guillotine lets you cut a large number of documents in the same way time and time again. This is particularly important when dealing with colour prints that incorporate bleeds.

Cut Quality: You won’t get the same type of crisp, clean and consistent cut with a scissors. A good guillotine lets you put a nice edge on your beautiful document.

Speed: A good guillotine will help you cut large quantities of paper very quickly and safely.

Cost: The improved efficiency that a cutter will bring has a positive impact on costs. With the reduction in man-hours needed to cut your paper, you will have recouped your investment in no time.

These are some of the general benefits that a good guillotine can bring your business but there may be more depending on the type and scale of the specific guillotine you choose...

Speak to us for advice on your guillotine needs…

 

Source: https://www.neopost.ie/service/frequently-asked-questions/what-guillotine



Staff Changes:
2018/06/07

As of 1 May, we welcome and congratulate Natasha Vermaak on her promotion to Office Manager.

We also welcome Chanell Reynolds into our team as of 6 June; she has taken on the role of Customer Relations Officer and Receptionist.

Feel free to ask for either one of these ladies should you need any assistance with your manufacturing and/or sharpening needs.



Bohler Increases
2018/01/11

Click here to view the Document



South Africa is without doubt an irreplaceable producer of chrome ore globally...
2017/12/11

However, in ferrochrome, South Africa has been forced, through mainly negative power factors, to cede its one-time No 1 global position to China, which last year produced 43% of world ferrochrome output compared with South Africa’s 33% of world output.

Last year, South Africa produced a below-capacity 3.5-million tonnes of ferrochrome compared with China’s 4.6-million tonnes.

South Africa has a capacity to produce 4.2-million tonnes of ferrochrome a year, but has been producing in the range of three-million tonnes to 3.7-million tonnes because of electricity and price constraints.

This year, South Africa expects to produce 3.9-million tonnes of ferrochrome, with half-year production hitting the two-million-tonne mark.

Read more



Update on Water Restrictions
2017/12/04

With no end in sight to the current drought in the Western Cape, we encourage all our customers and suppliers to SAVE SAVE SAVE over the festive season.

We found that even with our 90 second showers, using grey water to flush and water the garden, we still have a very high usage. A big tip we can offer is to store your washing machine water in a drum and manually set your machine. The presettings seem to use far more water than needed. We use stored water to do chores around the house, such as washing windows and cars, washing floors and watering the garden...

Read more…



2017 Holiday Shutdown
2017/11/20

A peaceful Festive Season to all our customers!

Our factory will be closing for our Annual Holidays on Friday 22 December 2017 and we will re-open on Thursday 18 January 2018.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for your valued support.

We will be running a skeleton staff on Wednesday 10 January and Tuesday 16 January 2018 from 7:30 to 13:00.

 



Stainless steel LCC brought into 21st century with app
2017/10/24

According to sassda, one of the biggest obstacles to the specification of stainless steel in certain applications is the misperception that it's more expensive in comparison to other initially cheaper options...
The concept of life cycle costing (LCC) when specifying stainless steel has been around for decades. Unfortunately, it was not widely adopted by specifiers (e.g. engineers, quantity surveyors, architects etc.) and materials tended to be compared mainly on the basis of initial costs. In the early 1990s, Sassda, in partnership with Euro Inox, produced a computer program to calculate the total life cycle costing. That program has now been brought into the 21st century with the development of the LCC App for both android and iOS.


The app has all the functionality of the Sassda LCC program, but is much more accessible and follows the move of users from desktop computers to mobile devices. Via the app, Sassda hopes to help the industry realise the true benefits of stainless which will lead to them specifying it more regularly, in an even wider range of applications.

Read More



Seifsa supports Empowered Engineering and Manufacturing initiative
2017/09/21

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has partnered with Smart Procurement Worldto launch the Empowered Engineering and Manufacturing initiative, which is aimed at driving economic transformation and industrial progress in engineering and manufacturing.

“The purpose of this initiative is very much consistent with that of our Small Business Hub, which renders expert services to small, medium-sized and microenterprises at a more discounted fee than normal and offers a service to large companies that sees us project managing their enterprise and supplier development programmes for a fee so that they can improve their broad-based black economic-empowerment scores,” Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said on Wednesday.

Read more…



Seifsa, unions ink three-year wage agreement
2017/08/27

For the first time in a decade, the metals and engineering sector has settled a three-year wage agreement without resorting to industrial action, the Steel and EngineeringIndustries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) said on Wednesday.

While none of the parties who signed the agreement are “entirely” happy with the end result, which, after four months of negotiations, resulted in a 7% increase for the current year, effective July 1; a 6.75% increase for the second year; and a 6.5% increase for the third year, they “can live with it”.

Read more…



Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink...
2017/08/17

After 50 years of good service, the emergency water pipes finally gave out and rendered the factory a soggy mess. 

On Monday morning, we came into a flooded factory! 2cm of water covered the floors and it took the better part of the morning just to get the water out.

Unfortunately, many blades were also damaged in the 'shower' and succumed to rust in the brief time that they were exposed. It goes to show how damaging water can actually be.

We have been able to replace and fix all the damaged stock and equipment, which also meant a total refurbishment of the distribution board for that area, but within a few hours we were back to business as usual.



Safeguard duties on hot-rolled steel coil and plate officially come into force
2017/08/11

Safeguard duties of 12% have been officially placed on hot-rolled coil (HRC) and plate entering South Africa following publication of the August 11 Government Gazette, which amends schedule two of the Customs and Excise Act.

The safeguard duties have been signed by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and will be imposed in addition to the 10% duties already governing the products

The safeguards, which were approved by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa earlier in the year, affect HRC and plate imported from all countries.

The rate of safeguard duty will remain at the 12% level until August 10, 2018.

The 12% duty represents the first year of a three-year safeguard, which South Africa has also communicated with the World Trade Organisation. In the second year, the duty will decline to 10% and, in the third, to 8%.

Read more



What is Stainless Steel...
2017/08/01

Having a lookaround on the internet, trying to decide what I should post for this week's news feed, I came across a great article from the International Stainless Steel Forum www.worldstainless.org 

It is a very basic overview of stainless steel, it's history and it's uses:

What is stainless steel ?
Stainless steel is the generic name for a number of different steels used primarily for their resistance to corrosion. The one key element they all share is a certain minimum percentage (by mass) of chromium: 10.5%. Although other elements, particularly nickel and molybdenum, are added to improve corrosion resistance, chromium is always the deciding factor. The vast majority of steel produced in the world is carbon and alloy steel, with the more expensive stainless steels representing a small, but valuable niche market.


What causes corrosion?
Only metals such as gold and platinum are found naturally in a pure form - normal metals only exist in nature combined with other elements. Corrosion is therefore a natural phenomena, as nature seeks to combine together elements which man has produced in a pure form for his own use. Iron occurs naturally as iron ore. Pure iron is therefore unstable and wants to "rust"; that is, to combine with oxygen in the presence of water. Trains blown up in the Arabian desert in the First World War are still almost intact because of the dry rainless conditions. Iron ships sunk at very great depths rust at a very slow rate because of the low oxygen content of the sea water . The same ships wrecked on the beach, covered at high tide and exposed at low tide, would rust very rapidly. For most of the Iron Age, which began about 1000 BC, cast and wrought iron was used; iron with a high carbon content and various unrefined impurities. Steel did not begin to be produced in large quantities until the nineteenth century. Carbon steel can be defined as an alloy of a small content of carbon combined with well refined iron. Despite its various additions stainless steel still behaves as steel, it is not like the nickel alloys that are really alloys of a number of different metals, iron only being one. Even highly alloyed stainless steel grades such as 316 are a minimum of 62% iron. Carbon steels without any protection will form a coating of rust which will in a sense protect the rest of the steel. So constantly removing the rust exposes a new fresh layer of steel to be attacked. This is called general corrosion. Various coatings will impede the rusting process, in particular painting, coating with zinc (galvanised steel), and epoxy resins. Another lateral way of reducing corrosion is to put corrosion inhibitors into the solutions that would otherwise cause iron to corrode. One of the most common examples of this is the corrosion inhibitors added to the coolant used in cars.

The unique advantage of stainless steel
For a wide variety of applications, stainless steel competes with carbon steels supplied with protective coatings, as well as other metals such as aluminium, brass and bronze. The success of stainless steel is based on the fact that it has one unique advantage. The chromium in the stainless steel has a great affinity for oxygen, and will form on the surface of the steel at a molecular level a film of chromium oxide. The film itself is about 130 Angstroms in thickness, one Angstrom being one millionth of one centimetre. This is like a tall building being protected from the rain with a roof the thickness of one sheet of ordinary copy paper. This layer is described as passive, tenacious and self renewing. Passive means that it does not react or influence other materials; tenacious means that it clings to the layer of steel and is not transferred elsewhere; self renewing means that if damaged or forcibly removed more chromium from the steel will be exposed to the air and form more chromium oxide. This means that over a period of years a stainless steel knife can literally be worn away by daily use and by being resharpened on a sharpening stone and will still remain stainless. Silver plated cutlery will eventually wear through to the base alloy, but stainless steel cutlery cannot wear through. Manhole and access covers in the water treatment and chemical industry are widely made out of both galvanised steel and stainless steel. In normal use galvanised steel can last many years without corrosion occurring and in these cases there would be little advantage apart from aesthetic reasons to switch to stainless steel. Where stainless comes into its own is where the galvanised coating is constantly being worn away, for example by chains being dragged over it, or constantly being walked over, or where very corrosive chemicals are being randomly splashed onto it. This leads on to the important point that the initial investment cost of producing a component or fabrication in stainless steel will always be more expensive that using ordinary steel, not just because of the higher cost of stainless steel, but also because it is more difficult to machine. However it is the better life cycle costs of stainless steel that make it attractive, both in terms of much longer service life, less maintenance costs, and high scrap value on de-commissioning.

The development of stainless steel
The inventor of stainless steel, Harry Brearley, was born in Sheffield, England in 1871. His father was a steel melter, and after a childhood of considerable hardship, he left school at the age of twelve to get a job washing bottles in a chemical laboratory. By years of private study and night school he became an expert in the analysis of steel and its production. Having already established his reputation for solving metallurgical problems, Brearley was given the opportunity in 1908 to set up the Brown Firth Laboratories, which was financed by the two leading Sheffield steel companies of the day. This was a highly innovative idea for its time; research for its own sake on the problems of steel making.

In 1912 Brearley was asked to help in the problems being encountered by a small arms manufacturer, whereby the internal diameter of rifle barrels was eroding away too quickly because of the action of heating and discharge gases. Brearley was therefore looking for a steel with better resistance to erosion, not corrosion. As a line of investigation he decided to experiment with steels containing chromium, as these were known to have a higher melting point than ordinary steels. Chromium steels were already at that time being used for valves in aero engines. Iron has an atomic weight of 56, chromium 52, so chromium steel valves are lighter than their carbon steel counterparts, another reason why they were adopted so quickly by the emerging aircraft industry. Using first the crucible process, and then more successfully an electric furnace, a number of different melts of 6 to 15% chromium with varying carbon contents were made. The first true stainless steel was melted on the 13th August 1913. It contained 0.24% carbon and 12.8% chromium. Brearley at this time was still trying to find a more wear-resistant steel, and in order to examine the grain structure of the steel he needed to etch (attack with acid) samples before examining them under the microscope. The etching re-agents he used were based on nitric acid, and he found that this new steel strongly resisted chemical attack. He then exposed samples to vinegar and other food acids such as lemon juice and found the same result. At the time table cutlery was silver or nickel plated. Cutting knives were of carbon steel which had to thoroughly washed and dried after use, and even then rust stains would have to be rubbed off using carborundum stones. Brearley immediately saw how this new steel could revolutionise the cutlery industry, then one of the biggest employers in Sheffield, but he had great difficulty convincing his more conservative employers. On his own initiative, he had knives made at a local cutler's, R.F. Mosley. To begin with, Brearley referred to his invention as "rustless steel". It was Ernest Stuart, the cutlery manager of Mosley's who first referred to the new knives as "stainless" after in experiments he had failed to stain them with vinegar. "Corrosion resisting " steel would be really the better term, as ordinary stainless steels do suffer corrosion in the long term in hostile environments. Other claims have been made for the first invention of stainless steel, based upon published experimental papers that indicated the passive layer corrosion resistance of chromium steel or patented steels with a 9% chromium content intended for engineering purposes. Brearley's contribution was that having come to a conclusion by purely empirical means he immediately seized on the practical uses of the new material. Within a year of Brearley's discovery, Krupp in Germany were experimenting by adding nickel to the melt. Brearley's steel could only be supplied in the hardened and tempered condition; the Krupp steel was more resistant to acids, was softer and more ductile and therefore easier to work. There is no doubt that but for Brearley's chance discovery, the metallurgists at Krupp would have soon made the discovery themselves. From these two inventions, just before the First World War, were to develop the "400" series of martensitic and "300" series of austenitic stainless steels. The First World War largely put a halt to the development of stainless steel, but in the early 1920s a whole variety of chromium and nickel combinations were tried including 20/6, 17/7 and 15/11. Brearley fell out with his employers regarding the patent rights to his invention of stainless steel, and he left to join another Sheffield company, Brown Bayleys. His successor at the Brown Firth Laboratories was Dr W.H. Hatfield, who is credited with the invention in 1924 of 18/8 stainless steel (18% chromium, 8% nickel) which, with various additions, still dominates the melting of stainless steel today. Dr Hatfield also invented 18/8 stainless with titanium added, now known as 321. Most of the standard grades still in use today were invented in the period 1913 to 1935, in Britain, Germany, America and France. Once these standard grades became accepted, the emphasis changed to finding cheaper, mass-production methods, and popularising the use of stainless steel as a concept. This tended to stifle the development of new grades. However, after the Second World War, new grades with a better weight-to-strength ratio were required for jet aircraft, which led to the development of the precipitation hardening grades such as 17:4 PH . From the 1970s onwards the duplex stainless steels began to be developed. These have far greater corrosion resistance and strength than the grades developed in the 1920s and are really the future for the increasing use of stainless steel. 

Product characteristics
Stainless steel can be selected for use compared to other materials for a number of different reasons, not just its resistance to corrosion. These include: ƒ Its aesthetic qualities: it can be polished to a satin or mirror finish. ƒ "Dry Corrosion" occurs to steel at higher temperatures where it oxidises or scales up. Stainless steel is far more resistant to this than ordinary carbon steel and grades such as 310 (25% chromium 20% nickel) were specifically developed for use at high temperatures. ƒ Non-contamination of the liquids stainless comes into contact with, because there is no coating to break down and dissolve. ƒ Weight savings: as thinner sections can be used, more innovative design structures can be used, with cost savings on foundations and platform weights. ƒ Many anti-corrosion coatings are fire hazards or the materials themselves have a low melting point.
Applications
The most everyday use of stainless steel is obviously in cutlery. Very cheap cutlery is made out of grades 409 and 430, with the finest Sheffield cutlery using specially produced 410 and 420 for the knives and grade 304 (18/8 stainless, 18% chromium 8% nickel) for the spoons and forks. The different grades are used as 410/420 can be hardened and tempered so that the knife blades will take a sharp edge, whereas the more ductile 18/8 stainless is easier to work and therefore more suitable for objects that have to undergo numerous shaping, buffing and grinding processes. Very large amounts of stainless steel are used in food production and storage. The most commonly used grades are 304 and 316. Typical uses would be dairies, milk storage, ham curing, frozen and salted fish storage. Whereas 304 is used for normal temperatures and acid concentrations, 316 is used for harsher environments. For example 304 is used in cheese production, but where salted ham is being prepared 316 is used. For low concentrations of phosphoric acid (one of the constituents of cola) 304 is used, but at higher temperatures and concentrations 316 is used. Food slicers are made out of 420 and 440. Very often in food production stainless is used not because the food itself is corrosive but the use of stainless allows for faster and more efficient cleaning. For example in ice cream production 316 is specified so that strong anti-bacteriological cleaning and rinsing systems can be used. One of the great advantages of stainless steel is that imparts no taste to the food that it comes into contact with. This has created one interesting anomaly. Traditional winemaking uses barrels of oak. The newer wine-producing nations use very large vats and storage containers of stainless steel as this gives them far greater economies of scale. However in conventional winemaking the acid of the wine dissolves some of the wood to give an "oak" body taste. Using stainless steel vats oak chips deliberately have to be put into the vats to create the same effect and satisfy traditional wine drinkers. The pumping and containment of oils, gases and acids has created a large market for stainless tanks, pipes, pumps and valves. The storage of dilute nitric acid was one of the first major success stories for 18/8 stainless steel as it could be used in thinner sections and was more robust than other materials. Special grades of stainless have been developed to have greater corrosion resistance. These are used in desalination plants, sewage plants, offshore oil rigs, harbour supports and ships propellers. Architecture is a growing market. Many modern buildings use stainless for cladding. When reinforced concrete first started to be used it was considered that the carbon steel used would not rust as cement, obviously derived from limestone, is alkaline. However, constantly using grit salt on bridges can change the pH to acidic thereby rusting the steel which expands and cracks the concrete. Stainless steel reinforcing bar, although initially expensive, is proving to have very good life cycle costings. The low maintenance cost and anti-vandal characteristics of stainless provides a growing market in public transport, ticket machines and street furniture. The nuclear power industry uses large quantities of stainless, often specified with a low cobalt content, for both power generation and radiation containment. Special louvered ventilation shafts are made, which are designed to be used in emergencies to seal off plants for years if necessary. Steam and gas turbines use stainless because of its corrosion resisting and heat resisting qualities. Especially clean melted stainless is used for medical implants and artificial hips. A great deal of medical equipment - such as orthopaedic beds, cabinets and examination machines - is made as standard from stainless because of its hygienic and easy-clean qualities. Pharmaceutical companies use stainless for pill funnels and hoppers and for piping creams and solutions. Cars are making increasing use of stainless steel, primarily for exhaust systems (grade 409) and catalytic converters, but also for structural purposes. With greater attention being made to achieving low long term maintenance costs, less environmental impact and greater concern with life cycle costs, the market for stainless steel continues to improve.



How to Identify Metals
2017/07/24

Spark testing is a method of determining the general classification of Ferrous (Iron containing) materials. Non-Ferrous materials, such as copper or aluminium, do not give off a spark. Spark testing normally entails taking a piece of metal, usually scrap, and applying it to a grinding wheel in order to observe the sparks emitted. These sparks can be compared to a chart or to sparks from a known test sample to determine the classification. Spark testing also can be used to sort ferrous materials, establishing the difference from one another by noting whether the spark is the same or different.

The type of spark emitted is determined by the carbon content of the metal, and not by the hardness, thus a soft and hard piece of the same material will emit the same spark. As a guide, low carbon materials emit long streams with low bursts and high carbon material emit short streams with high bursts.

Spark testing is used because it is quick, easy, and inexpensive. Moreover, test samples do not have to be prepared in any way, so, often, a piece of scrap is used. The main disadvantage to spark testing is its inability to identify a material positively; if positive identification is required, chemical analysis must be used. The spark comparison method also damages the material being tested, at least slightly.

Should it be difficult to determine whether a piece of steel is stainless or not, an acid test can be done; the acid will not etch on the Stainless Steel, but will on other types of steel.

Another method of determining steel type is to do a hardness test where a corner of the steel is flame hardened to the desired temperature and the hardness tested by use of a file of know hardness.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SPARKS

 See Picture

TYPES OF STEEL FOUND AT ROEMER’S GRINDING WORKS

There are many different codes for naming steels, such as the AISI code, EN code, DIN code and the list goes on. Roemer’s uses the European standardised EN code for recognising steel as most of our steel is imported from Germany.

As a guide, we use the following method for identifying our steel:

-         Air Hardened:              lots of short sparks with high bursts and lots of splitting, orange in colour

-         High Speed Steel:        short sparks with few bursts, red in colour

-         Tool Steel:                    medium to long sparks with fewer bursts, yellow in colour

-         Stainless Steel:            longer sparks with fewer bursts and large splits at the end light yellow in colour

-         Mild Steel:                   bright and everywhere with many sparks and long splits at the end

The major types that we use are:

Air Hardener: 1.2379 (Name: X153CrMoV12; AISI type: D-2)

A high carbon, high chromium steel which is extremely high in wear resistance, but not as tough as other lower alloyed steels.

Composition: C - 1.55 %; Cr – 12%; Mo – 0.8%; V – 0.9%

Specific Gravity: 7.6g/cm3

Working Hardness: 58 – 62 HRC

High Speed Steel: 1.3355 (Name: HS18-01; AISI type: T-1)

A high Tungsten steel, with high hardness, strength, toughness and heat resistance making it excellent for cutting

Composition: C – 0.78 %; Cr – 4%; W – 18%; V – 1.1%

Specific Gravity: 8.7g/cm3

Working Hardness: 63 – 66 HRC

Tool Steel: 1.2842 (Name: 90MnCrV8; AISI type: O-2)

A durable steel with excellent wear resistance and the ability to hold a cutting edge.

Composition: C – 0.9 %; Mn– 2.0%; Cr – 0.4%; V – 0.1%

Specific Gravity: 7.85g/cm3

Working Hardness: 58 – 62 HRC

Stainless Steel: 1.4034 (Name: X46Cr13; AISI type: 420)

A high corrosion resistance in water and steam; used for surgical blades and in the food industry.

Composition: C – 0.45 %; Cr – 13.5%

Specific Gravity: 7.6g/cm3

Working Hardness: 51 – 53 HRC

Stainless Steel: 1.4112 (Name: X90CrMoV18; AISI type: 440B)

High hardness and corrosion resistant in a wide range of environments.

Composition: C – 0.9 %; Cr – 18.0%; Mo – 1.1%; V – 0.1%

Specific Gravity: 7.6g/cm3

Working Hardness: 54 – 57 HRC



Mid-year Awards at Roemer's
2017/07/19

In June, we mentioned that we had embarked on a training program at Roemer’s. Since then, we have completed and successfully assessed the majority of our staff in areas ranging from basic safety like carrying steel to more complex tasks such as grinding or milling.

On Friday 14 July, we held our first mini awards ceremony. It was a hit! We had pizza and cooldrinks floating around, smiles on faces as certificates were handed out and a general feeling of pride and cheer. Everyone made an effort to achieve during the training process and it definitely showed…each staff member attained at least 80% in at least 1 course and everyone was able to take home a certificate.

We would like to specifically congratulate Henry, Hilton and Manuel, who achieved the most certificates and showed the most impressive work and growth over the last 6 months in our training program.

Mr Errol Weiner, our course facilitator and creator, is not kind when it comes to assessment. With his 50+ years of experience at Roemer’s Grinding works, he is very particular and insists that short cuts are not taken and that work is completed to the highest standard; the Roemer’s standard where “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”. This has driven our teams to want to do better and even in the short 6 months that this project has been running, we have seen remarkable improvement in their work ethic as well as in our product.

On that note, we were also proud to celebrate an entire month of no customer come backs. We are hoping to keep this record going…

Courses going forward:

Although each staff member is expected to be competent in their area of work, we encourage all our staff to branch out and try their hand in all areas of the factory. Although the courses are Roemer’s specific, the skills are universal and Mr Weiner is more than happy to teach and share his vast knowledge.

We are working on a small side project, bringing in some of the old domestic knives Mr Münch made in his day. Keep an eye out for a progress update and potentially a course offered to the public in the coming months…



News

Unchanged Interest Rates Bodes Well For Businesses in The Metals And Engineering Sector
2019/05/29

Johannesburg, 23 May 2018 – The South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB’s) decision to keep the repo and prime rate unchanged at 6.75 percent and 10.25 percent respectively augurs well for beleaguered businesses in the Metals and Engineering (M&E) sector, especially given the current state of the economy, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said today.

Speaking after this afternoon’s announcement by the Reserve Bank, SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said businesses in the M&E cluster of industries continue to face headwinds, amid increasing operational expenses, stalled domestic demand, a weaker exchange rate and volatile margins.

“The generally weaker exchange rate, increasing logistics costs and rising input costs compound the cost of doing business locally. Moreover, there is additional pressure on local businesses coming from the external trading environment as a result of constricted global growth expectation due to trade war risks. If global growth expectation is lowered due to the global trade war, it is difficult to avoid systematic risks, especially to smaller economies. It also becomes very difficult for exporting companies to find new markets,” Dr Ade said.

He said that the sensible decision by the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members to leave interest rates unchanged augurs well for local firms at the micro level – including small and medium enterprises which are very sensitive to interest rate changes – and exporting companies.

In conclusion, Dr Ade said the stable interest rate trajectory enables businesses to plan future production processes and make trade decisions with a reasonable degree of certainty. He said the positive effects on the cost of doing business in the broader manufacturing sector will invariably have a positive impact on the margins of struggling companies.

Dr Ade said the decision by the MPC was also expected to go a long way towards boosting local consumer demand for final manufactured goods, given that consumers now have a slight reprieve on their personal budgets. It also bodes well for the M&E cluster’s intermediate manufactured goods, which are principally driven by derived demand dynamics.

Source



Happy Ramadan to all our Customers
2019/05/07

Increase In Inflation Does Not Bode Well
2019/04/24

Increase In Inflation Does Not Bode Well For Beleaguered Businesses In The Metals And Engineering Cluster – Says SEIFSA

Johannesburg, 17 April 2019 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) is concerned with the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today which reflects an increase in the general level of prices for goods and services, against the backdrop of existing volatility in fuel prices, SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said this morning.

According to the Stats SA data, the annual CPI was 4,5 percent in March 2019, up from 4,1 percent in February 2019. The index increased by 0,8 percent month-on-month in March 2019.

“The latest inflation data is of great concern to beleaguered businesses in the metals and engineering sub-sectors and the broader manufacturing sector, which are facing continuous headwinds including rising intermediate inputs costs. Moreover, over-indebted consumers are not afforded a reprieve from oscillating petrol prices and a general rise in the prices of goods and services underpinned by a weaker rand and a difficult economic environment,” said Dr Ade.

He added that consistent and unpredictable fuel prices, increasing intermediate input costs and passive domestic demand impacts negatively on the margins of businesses, also negatively affecting profitability. Dr Ade said the difficult operational environment faced by businesses is of great concern, and the added pressure in the form of higher CPI figures is worrisome. A constant rise in the general level of prices which decreases the purchasing power of the rand does not augur well for broader manufacturing which imports the bulk of its inputs.

Dr Ade said it is also disconcerting to see that CPI data is now delicately poised at the mid-point of the South African Reserve Bank’s official inflation target range of 3 percent to 6 percent.

“Given this context, businesses still have to closely monitor petrol prices, the volatile exchange rate and the unpredictability in electricity supply, as upside changes of these variables may lead to additional costs with compounding inflationary effects,” Dr Ade concluded.

Source



Happy Birthday to our Director
2019/04/08

Roemers would like to wish Wolf a

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

We hope the year ahead is wonderfully successful!



Some Fun Facts
2019/04/02

Metals have been around for centuries, valued for their strength, durability, versatility, and electrical conductivity. Metal is used in industrial and architectural fabrication such as using sheet metal and other forms in building construction, bridges, tools, machinery, electronics, plumbing, HVAC, automobiles, aircraft, military equipment, and more. About 75% of all elements on the periodic table are metals.

  1. Iron is the most abundant metal on earth—and it also makes up much of the Earth’s core. The most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, however, is aluminum.
  1. Silver conducts electricity better than any other metal.
  1. Noble metals—such as precious metals silver, gold, and platinum— resist oxidation and corrosion in moist air.
  1. Alloys contain two or more elements mixed together, usually two metals or a metal and a non-metal.
  1. Mercury has the lowest melting point of all metals—and it’s the only metal that’s liquid at ordinary room temperature and pressure.
  1. At 3,400 degrees C, tungsten has the highest melting point of any metal in pure form. (Although carbon remains solid at higher temperatures, it changes to a gas rather than melting into a liquid).
  1. Iron is galvanized by dipping it into molten zinc. The galvanization process helps prevent rust.
  1. Up until the Middle Ages, there were only seven known metals: Bronze, iron, gold, copper, silver, lead, and mercury.
  1. Almost 69% of all steel—more than 80 million tons—is recycled in North America each year. That’s more than aluminum, paper, plastic and glass combined. Steel’s magnetic properties make it easy to separate from the solid waste stream into the recycling stream.
  1. Steel was first used for skyscrapers in 1883.
  1. The Eiffel Tower is about six inches taller in the summer than in the winter. Why? Because steel and iron expand when heated.
  1. Have you ever noticed how often brass doorknobs and handrails are used in public buildings? That’s because brass, a copper alloy, is naturally antibacterial. (But you should still wash your hands!)
  1. Explosion welding is a powerful process that can join nearly every kind of metal together, which most other welding methods cannot do.
  1. If two pieces of uncoated metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together. It doesn’t happen on Earth because the atmosphere puts a thin layer of oxidation between the surfaces. The oxidized layer actually acts as a barrier, preventing adherence.

Source



High Speed Steel
2019/03/27

Characteristic properties of all high speed steels are:

  • Superior woking hardness
  • High wear hardness
  • Excellent toughness
  • High retention of hardness and red hardness

Influence alloying elements on the steel properties:

Carbon: produces carbides, increases wear resistance, carries matrix hardness.

Tungsten and Molybdenum: Improves red hardnesss, retention of hardness and high temperature strength of  matrix, from special carbides of great hardness.

Vanadium: Forms special carbides of supreme hardness, increases high temperature wear resistance, retention of hardness and high temperature strength of  matrix.

Chromium: Promotes deep hardening, produces readily soluble carbides.

Cobalt: Improves red hardness and retention of hardness of the matrix.

Since it is possible to achieve specific properties by carefully balancing these alloying elements, we are able to get a combination to suit almost any type of application.

Source



Load Shedding
2019/03/20

The last week had Cape Town at Level 4 load shedding, which resulted in 7,5 hours per day with no power.

Roemers, however, was only sligtly affected, thanks to our solar power facilities and generator...other SME's however, had more of a problem...

Businesses in South Africa have spent the past week struggling to operate amid rolling blackouts that affect their operations for as many as five hours at a time.

The power cuts by cash-strapped utility Eskom, which provides about 90% of the country’s electricity, are a “hugely damaging reality check,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday amid a fifth straight day of blackouts.

The reductions may cost the country as much as R5 billion rand a day, according to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, a civil-society group.

Bloomberg visited some businesses during blackouts to see how they were coping with the situation.

 

Suzanne van Weely said she is throwing out as many as 15 loaves of unbaked bread daily - about a 10th of what she produces at her Supercalifragilistic bakery and coffee shop in Linden, Johannesburg.

“People don’t get the things they want and they walk out,” Van Weely said. With fridges shut down, cheesecakes, mousses and trays of tiramisu “are going off. It’s all stuff that costs money to make,” she said.

Across the road, trading at her father Ronald’s store, Magnificent Paints and Hardware, is at a standstill. When the power goes out, his regular customers - local contractors - stop working and so do his orders and sales.

Three of his six delivery trucks are parked in the yard while he sits in a back office lit only by a rechargeable lamp and the light from his smartphone screen.

“The power outages are way too long,” he said. “Four and half hours is way too long - most people work for eight hours so more than 50% of the workday is lost. They should make it two hours then we can at least get some business done.”

Around the corner, the screens on electronic fuel pumps at the Linden Garage gas station are blank. While owner Marco Dalle Ave jokes that his old mechanical pumps were seemingly more advanced and better suited to rolling blackouts, he is worried about turnover and having to pay staff.

“If you can’t operate, you can’t make money,” he says. According to him, a generator would cost more than R100 000 rand - which he can’t afford.

Francois Labuschagne, who also can’t afford a generator, said electricity shortages are killing business at Print2Go, his printing shop.

“It is like the economy has just been cut in half - half of the economy is operating half of the day and it is not like there is a plan,” he said. “As a business owner, this is a ridiculous situation, we’ve got staff to pay - if the business goes under then staff lose their jobs.”

While the Rembrandt butchery has a back-up generator, power cuts still have a devastating effect, said Marco Huisamen, its manager.

With petrol prices close to record levels, running the generator is expensive and doesn’t provide nearly enough energy to keep all the lights on, fridges cold and meat band saws working all at once.

Source



Update on Water Restrictions 2019
2019/03/12

LEVEL 3 WATER

RESTRICTIONS (AMENDED)

Page 1 of 3

The City of Cape Town has amended Level 3 water restrictions to allow for various relaxations

effective from 1 March 2019 until further notice.

SUMMARY OF KEY CHANGES:

 Watering restrictions have been relaxed to allow the use of:

o dripper, drip line or soaker hose irrigation on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays

o sprinklers or a hosepipe fitted with a self-closing spray nozzle on Saturdays

 Watering using a bucket or watering can is still allowed and watering hours are still restricted

to before 09:00 or after 18:00 for a maximum of one hour per day per property irrespective of

the watering method used.

 There is no change to the restriction level and Level 3 tariffs remain in place.

 The overall city water usage target of 650 million litres per day and the personal water use

limit of 105 litres per person per day remain in place.

LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS (Amended March 2019)

Restrictions applicable to all customers

 Watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water allowed only before 09:00 or after 18:00

for a maximum of one hour per day per property as follows:

o on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays using dripper, drip line or soaker hose

irrigation or using a bucket or watering can

o on Saturdays using sprinklers or a hosepipe fitted with a self-closing spray nozzle.

 Sports facilities, parks, schools, learning institutions, nurseries, customers involved in

agricultural activities, users with historical gardens and customers with special requirements

can apply to the Director: Water and Sanitation for exemption from the above.

 No watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water within 48 hours of rainfall that provides

adequate saturation.

 Borehole/wellpoint water must be used efficiently to avoid wastage and evaporation.

Borehole/wellpoint water users are strongly encouraged to follow the same watering times

as applicable to municipal drinking water use detailed above.

 All City borehole and wellpoint users are expected to comply with all National Department of

Water and Sanitation regulations pertaining to borehole/wellpoint usage, including the

notice in the Government Gazette No. 41381 (Vol. 631) of 12 January 2018.

Borehole/wellpoint water use must be metered and all users are required to keep records

and have these available for inspection.

 Permission from the National Department of Water and Sanitation is required in order to sell or

buy borehole/wellpoint water.

LEVEL 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS (AMENDED)

Page 2 of 3

 All boreholes and wellpoints must be registered with the City and must display the official City

signage clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. Visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater for

information on how to register.

 All properties where alternative, non-drinking water resources are used (including rainwater

harvesting, greywater, basement water, treated effluent water, spring water and surface

water) must display signage to this effect which is clearly visible from a public thoroughfare.

 Topping up or filling of swimming pools with municipal drinking water allowed subject to 1)

the pool being covered with a non-permeable solid pool cover when not in use and 2) the

recovery of backwash water and the use of rainwater for pool topping up where

practically possible.

 No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal drinking water

allowed. Water users, such as abattoirs, food processing industries, care facilities, animal

shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs (health/safety related only) must

apply for exemption.

 The use of municipal drinking water for ornamental water fountains or water features is

prohibited.

 Customers are strongly encouraged to install water efficient parts, fittings and technologies to

minimise water use at all taps, showerheads and other plumbing components.

 Customers with special requirements can apply to the Director: Water and Sanitation for

exemption.

Restrictions applicable to residential customers

 All residents are required to use no more than 105 litres of municipal drinking water per person

per day in total irrespective of whether you are at home, work or elsewhere.

 Washing vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats with municipal drinking water is only allowed if

using a bucket. Washing with non-drinking water or cleaning with waterless products or dry

steam cleaning processes is strongly encouraged.

 You are encouraged to flush toilets with greywater, rainwater or other non-drinking water.

Restrictions applicable to non-residential customers

 Commercial car wash industries must comply with industry best practice norms regarding

water usage per car washed and recycle or reuse a minimum of 50% of water used.

 Informal car washes to use only buckets and not hosepipes.

 Washing of vehicles, trailers, caravans and boats with non-drinking water or cleaning with

waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes is strongly encouraged.

 Spray parks to be strictly managed to minimise water use.

 No new landscaping or sports fields may be established, except if irrigated only with nondrinking water.

LEVEL 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS (AMENDED)

Page 3 of 3

 For users supplied with water in terms of special contracts (notarial deeds, water service

intermediaries or water service providers), the contract conditions shall apply.

NOTES:

Failure to comply will constitute an offence in terms of the City’s Water By-law, 2010 (amended

2018). Other restrictive measures, not detailed above, as stipulated in Schedule 1 of the Water Bylaw, 2010 (amended 2018) still apply. Visit our webpage Know your water regulations for further

information.

Visit our website to find out how to apply for exemption from water restrictions. All exemptions

valid under Level 5 remain valid under Level 3 water restrictions.

To apply to install and use an alternative water system visit: http://cct.gov.za/AIBNl.

Water pressure continues to be reduced to limit water leaks, prevent pipe bursts and to

encourage a more optimal use of water, and such may cause intermittent water supply.

For further information visit www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater or contact us at

water@capetown.gov.za or by sending an SMS to 31373 or WhatsApp to 063 407 3699



Here's to a prosperous 2019
2019/01/22

We ended 2018 on a festive note, with our annual Christmas Party and a festive party it was!!! From handing out certificates to eating our hearts out all thanks to Bruce’s Catering.

After over 35 years of loyal service to Roemer’s it is with sad hearts that we said goodbye to Michael Theron our production foreman, who is now retired. As a thank you, we had Matt Arend Timepieces make a special gift for Michael, a custom Roemer’s watch. We wish him all the best and hope that he now enjoys this well-deserved rest!

2018 was an exciting year, with us acquiring a new furnace and a new building. We have expanded the ground floor of the factory, making some great breathing room. Mr Weiner did training with our staff and we are very please to say that they all achieved above 80% in the assessments. This high standard is what we pride ourselves in and it overflows into our production, with QUALITY always on our mind.

We are all looking forward to a busy 2019 and would like to encourage all our customers to please fill in our customer survey. We are in the process of upping our standard of service and your feedback will help us grow and provide the best to you!

Here’s to a Prosperous Year!



Closing 2018
2018/12/03

Policy support needed for development of sustainable alternative energy sources
2018/11/21

Although natural gas is about 60% cleaner than coal in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, it currently contributes only 1.5% of the country’s total primary energy needs. Even though the National Development Plan (NDP) aims to delink economic development from environmental decay and carbon-intensive energy, while promoting social advancement, there is still no natural gas-focused policy in place.

The Department of Energy’s objective is to increase the contribution of natural gas in the South African energy mix by 2030 in order to provide affordable energy services to all citizens and industries. This is aligned with the NDP goal to achieve a low-carbon economy by 2030 and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

SOLAR DEVELOPMENTS

It is critical to move the solar PV industry forward, said Ballack, which could happen through transparency in utility processes by municipalities and available information that is accessible to business, to take advantage of solar PV opportunities.

South Africa only has two solar panel manufacturing facilities in the country left, since three have closed down in the last few years.

It is necessary to optimise the energy mix ratio to ensure the availability of affordable clean fuel, optimal energy efficiency, technology and skills transfer, job creation, energy independence and security of supply.

“Natural gas can compete as a primary energy carrier, along with solar, wind, nuclear and coal, as well as a secondary energy source, competing with LPG and other petroleum fuels.”

Read the full article here…



City of Cape Town relaxes water restrictions, tariffs to Level 5
2018/11/12

The City of Cape Town has made the move to relax current water restrictions from Level 6B to Level 5 from October 1, Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson announced.

After suffering from the worst drought in recent history, Cape Town's dams are nearing 70% of storage capacity – a significant improvement from the 38% capacity recorded at the end of the previous winter.

"The very low supply storage resulted in the imposition of Level 6B water restrictions in February 2018," Neilson said.

"The enormously positive response from Capetonians when called upon to reduce water usage, as well as advanced pressure and water management programmes by the City, saved the day and Cape Town avoided the worst-case scenario."

The key elements of Level 5 restrictions are as follows:

  • An increase in the personal water use limit from 50 litres per person per day to 70 litres per person per day.
  • A resetting of the overall City water usage target from 450 million litres per day to 500 million litres per day
  • A relaxation of restrictions for commercial and industrial water users from a 45% to a 40% usage reduction
  • A lowering of tariffs


Residential tariffs (excluding VAT)

  • 0 – 6 kL: Down from R28.90/kL to R21,19 kL
  • 6 – 10,5 kL: Down from R46/kL to R34,43/kL
  • 10 – 35 kL: Down from R120,27 to R52,39/kL
  • Above 34k L: Down from R1 000/kL to R300/kL


Commercial and industrial tariffs

  • Down from R45,75/kL to R37,50/kL


Executive Director of Informal Settlements, Water and Sanitation Gisela Kaiser clarified that the City was not encouraging Capetonians to increase their water usage.

Read more



Custom and Safeguard Duties on Hot-Rolled Steel Plate
2018/10/22

On 20 October 2017, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa initiated an investigation into the creation of rebate provisions on ordinary customs and safeguard duties applicable to certain primary steel products not manufactured locally.

The current tariffs under Tariff Subheading 72250.40 are as follows:

  • The general rate of ordinary customs duty applicable is 10% ad valorem.
  • The safeguard duty applicable is 12% which is liberalised to 10%, 8% and free of duty on 11 August 2018, 11 August 2019 and 11 August 2020, respectively.

The commission found that the products under Tariff Subheading 7225.40 (among others) are not manufactured locally, thus the ordinary and safeguard tariffs raise costs unnecessarily.

The Commission has recommended the creation of a temporary rebate provision on ordinary customs and safeguard duties on certain hot-rolled steel plate, classified under the above heading, among others.

Please keep a look out to see how this will impact Roemer's Customers.



Africa's metals, engineering cluster needs to do more to attract investment
2018/10/17

Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) chief economist Dr Michael Ade has declared Africa’s metals and engineering sector open for business.

Ade was addressing delegates on the second day of Seifsa’s fourth annual Metals and Engineering Indaba, in Johannesburg.

 

Read more…



China's at 'peak steel' right now, top iron-ore shipper says
2018/10/10

The world’s largest steel market is about to go into reverse. Production in China will peak in 2018 and then shrink next year as local demand drops, according to forecasts from the Australian government, which says the shift will add to headwinds for core ingredient iron ore.

Mainland steel production is “forecast to peak in 2018,” the Department of Industry, Innovation & Science said in a quarterly report on Tuesday. After topping out at 886 million metric tons, output is expected to drop to 861-million tons in 2019 and hit 842-million in 2020, the department said. Over the same time frame, local demand is seen contracting by 34-million tons.

Read more…



December Closing
2018/09/14

Our factory will be closed for our Annual Holidays on Friday 21 December 2018 and will re-open on Thursday 17 January 2019

 

We will be running a skeleton staff on Thursday 10 January 2019 and Tuesday 15 January 2019 from 07:30—13:00

 



BizTrends2018: A brave new world for South African stainless steel manufacturers
2018/08/28

#BizTrends2018: A brave new world for South African stainless steel manufacturers

Here are some of the 'hot spots' in the local stainless steel sector over the next year...

1. Africa Is Still Rising!

Mozambique will be a ‘hot spot’ for the local stainless steel industry to focus on for international exports in 2018 as it will finally see the launch of a liquid natural gas plant between Pemba and Palma in northern Mozambique. This is an offshore project, backed by Eni, which was signed with commitment from the Mozambican government on 1 June 2017.

Another onshore project is being undertaken by Anadarko, where other ancillary projects, including hotels, housing and hospitals, will be developed alongside the project. This also means the ancillary port in Pemba will now start its development plan, which will take just five months to complete from signing. Other top countries to focus on in 2018 in terms of potential for local stainless steel exports are Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya and Madagascar.

2. Solving SA's Water Woes One Stainless Steel Pipe At A Time

Stainless steel has the potential to play a larger role in rectifying SA’s current water woes and easing the dire water crisis South Africa finds itself in, during 2018. The potential for stainless steel water supply installations in the municipal area is potentially huge. Globally, as much as 35% of all treated water is lost to leaking piping systems with that figure rising to 41% in South Africa. This has prompted a stainless steel test project to get underway in Paarl between the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda), local municipal authorities and South African manufacturers in search of the most environmental and economic solution for the country’s water-wise future.

Looking ahead, 2018 will see a renewed focus/ramping up of local production of corrugated stainless steel pipe for both external (service) and internal (domestic) pipes. Manufacturers have had meetings with Johannesburg Water in terms of external usage and they also plan to work more closely with the Institute of Plumbing SA to sell the tube also for domestic applications through retail outlets

3. Against The Odds

Despite a slew of dire South African macro-economic indicators, the local stainless steel industry continues to battle on and, in certain instances, even defy expectations. Proof of this is that despite the current crop of tough macro-economic conditions, our latest member-based Short Track survey revealed surprisingly positive sentiment, with 48% of Sassda respondents now having a positive response to the current order situation, which represents the best figure seen since the survey began. After two consecutive years of double digit contraction, we therefore expect the stainless steel sector to stabilise i.e. more-or-less no growth/contraction with the potential for recovery in 2018.

4. Proudly South African Pots!

South Africa’s hollowware sector (pots, pans, cutlery etc.) has felt the effects of an influx of Chinese imports over the last five/ten years which has all but smothered local production. The good news is that a couple of new local manufacturing concerns will come on line in 2018. The most exciting is Le Morgan which has refurbished a KwaZulu-Natal plant and has already produced 2,500 pots with a view to ramping up production by May 2018, when a range of imported, world-class additional machines arrive in South Africa to beef up its local facility. It’s hoped that this will see the reintroduction of proudly South African stainless steel pots pans and cutlery in kitchens across the country.

5. Digital Manufacturing

South Africa’s local stainless steel industry will continue to incorporate digital innovation into its production processes. This against the backdrop of the Fourth Industrial Revolution phenomenon where a product is no longer enough in and of itself and the realisation that there needs to be something extra. It could be bespoke designs, being a global technology leader in a certain field, having an associated indispensable service attached to the products or allowing for the complete customisation of the product.

A practical local example of this type of innovation is a locally developed world-first technology from Star Weld which has particular relevance for the food and beverage processing sector. Local producer Steve Hutchinson has developed a robotic welding technique which has relevance for wine, dairy and agro processing sectors in particular, and will represent a huge step forward for the local industry in 2018.



World Steel in Figures 2018
2018/08/21

World Steel in Figures 2018 now available
29 May 2018 Brussels, Belgium

The World Steel Association (worldsteel) has published the 2018 edition of World Steel in Figures. The publication provides a comprehensive overview of steel industry activities, stretching from crude steel production to apparent steel use, from indications of global steel trade flows to iron ore production and trade.

Edwin Basson, Director General of worldsteel, said, “I am hopeful that our positive outlook for steel demand will remain. The Short Range Outlook for the next 18 months suggests 2018 growth of 1.8% followed by 0.7% in 2019. Steel demand is benefitting from the broad and favourable global economic momentum affecting both the developed and developing world at the same time. The worldsteel programmes in the automotive, construction, packaging and rail sectors all aim to maintain the role of steel as a versatile product without which modern society cannot remain sustainable.”



Looks like another DRY summer
2018/08/14

Low rainfall hampering dam level recovery - City of Cape Town

 

he City of Cape Town on Monday said it was concerned about a water consumption increase from 505-million to 519-million litres per day and urged residents to continue with water saving efforts to protect Cape Town’s fragile dam system.

In a statement, the City said it has been a dry start to August, with some areas receiving just a quarter, or at most a third, of the long-term average rainfall for those areas. This has slowed down the rapid recovery of Cape Town’s dams which was experienced at the start of the winter months.

“Over the past few weeks, rainfall has been below average and this has drastically slowed down the recovery of the dams supplying water to Cape Town.

“We are in a much-strengthened position currently with consumption continuing to hover near the 500-million litre mark, as opposed to this time last year where we were consuming 608-million litres per day. In addition, dam levels this time last year were at 31.9% of storage capacity,” said the City’s deputy mayor Ian Neilson.

“However, we need to ensure that we all continue our water-saving efforts, especially in light of the low rainfall received over the last few weeks. We need to protect the water in our dams and ensure that we continue to build a buffer for the hot summer months ahead.”

He said water restrictions and the associated tariffs were also helping to preserve the water that the dams have.

“Until the National Department of Water and Sanitation deems it safe to begin a stepped reduction of the current water restriction levels, restrictions and the associated tariffs will remain in place. We thank all of our residents for their ongoing support and, as a City, we will continue with our advanced pressure management programme to keep water usage as low as possible," said Neilson. 

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/low-rainfall-hampering-dam-level-recovery---city-of-cape-town-2018-08-14



Information Regulator in South Africa
2018/07/17

The Information Regulator is a new regulator that has been created by the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act). POPI gives the Information Regulator teeth – it has extensive powers to investigate and fine responsible parties. Data subjects will be able to complain to the Information Regulator and it will be able to take action on behalf of data subjects. It will regulate both POPIA and PAIA. It reports to Parliament and is the South African equivalent of the Information Commissioner in the UK.
Has the Information Regulator been established?

Yes, it began its work on 1 December 2016. The sections of POPI that relate to the Information Regulator have already commenced and Treasury has also budgeted for it.
Have the office bearers been appointed?

The President of South Africa officially appointed the office bearers on 26 October 2016 with effect from 1 December 2016. As part of the process, the National Assembly recommended the appointment the office bearers on 7 September 2016. And before that Parliament invited everyone to nominate people and shortlisted candidates for Parliament to appoint as members of the Information Regulator.

The office of the Information Regulator will be made up of Adv Pansy Tlakula as the chair, Adv Cordelia Stroom and Mr Johannes Weapond as full-time members, and Prof Tana Pistorius and Mr Sizwe Snail as part-time members. The recommendation has been referred to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services. Adv Pansy Thakula should be given the opportunity to see what she can achieve as the chair of the Information Regulator.
Action you can take

  • Be alerted to any new developments by subscribing to our newsletter.
  • Find out more about the regulator and how to comply with POPI yourself by attending a POPI Act Workshop.
  • Find out how we can help you with POPI compliance.
  • Get specialist subject matter expert support to empower you to implement POPI by joining the Michalsons POPI Compliance Programme.
  • Comply with POPI by getting Michalsons to do some action items for you.


Where will the Information Regulator be?

It will have one central office in Gauteng and will have about five permanent office bearers. The Information Regulator needs to publish POPI regulations at some point for POPI to finally become effective, and it has a website.
What are the responsibilities of the Information Regulator?

The Information Regulator essentially has to protect data subject against harm and ensure that their personal information is protected by responsible parties. Similar to the Public Protector, the Information Regulator can hold responsible parties accountable for not complying with POPI.

The responsibilities include:

  • educating responsible parties on the conditions for lawful processing;
  • ensuring that responsible parties process personal information lawfully;
  • ensuring compliance with the conditions for processing information;
  • monitoring and enforcing POPI compliance by public and private bodies
  • handling with POPI complaints by data subjects;
  • the responsibilities in Part 4 and 5 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.


What you must do with the Information Regulator

Some responsible parties must get prior authorisation from the Information Regulator before they can process personal information, but those that need to are quite limited. See section 57 for those that need to. There is a good chance that you do not need to get authorisation. If you are not sure, we can help you to work out whether you need to get authorisation or not. Remember, it is a criminal offence if you do not get authorisation when you should have and there is the possibility of a fine or up to 12 months imprisonment. But by far the greater risk is that you might not be able to process personal information. It is not currently possible to get this authorisation, because the regulator does not have the process in place.

The Information Officer of each public and private body (and everyone has one) must be registered with the Information Regulator. Again this is not currently possible.

Image courtesy of the South African Government (May 2014) pursuant to a Creative Commons licence. We have not changed the image.
By Michalsons| February 13th, 2017|Categories: POPI and Data Protection|Tags: information regulator, PAIA, POPI Act, POPIA



Govt commits to saving jobs in steel industry
2018/06/20

The South African government said on Tuesday that it will continue to work with the steel industry towards averting job losses in the sector, adding that it has put in place measures to save the steel industry from collapsing.

This emerged when officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (the DTI) briefed their relevant portfolio committee on the status of the steel industry and interventions that government was deploying to assist the industry stay afloat.

“Following the establishment of the task team, there are numerous short to medium term measures that have been put in place to support the steel industry. These include an increase in the general rate of customs duty on primary steel products to 10% and safeguard measures for a period of three years on hot rolled coil and plate products," Naidoo said.

The department also reflected on the US's Section 232 duties against steel imports, saying that it will continue advocacy efforts with the US counterparts focussing on trade and investment relations.



What is a Guillotine?
2018/06/27

What is a Guillotine?

Why would my business use a Guillotine?

A paper guillotine or cutter is a mechanical device used to cut or trim large stacks of paper or documents at the same time.

How to use a Guillotine  

They were first pioneered in the mid-nineteenth century. There are many different types today but all feature some form of blade and a flat surface on which to place the paper.

What types of guillotines are available?

There is a wide array of guillotines or paper cutters available on the modern market. These range from small, inexpensive, manual devices for personal or classroom use to large, electronic, commercial-grade machines for print finishing and production environments.

Here are some of the most common types or paper cutter available:

Arm Cutters: These are basic manual models with a blade mounted on a hinged arm. The arm is attached to a flat base upon which the paper is placed. The blade is hand-operated and brought down manually to slice through the paper. These models are not designed for regular high-volume use, and while they may be fine for very occasional cutting, they can only slice through a small number of sheets at a time before they start fraying the edges.

Rotary Paper Cutters: Rotary cutters are different from other cutters and guillotines. Unlike most other types which use a straight blade, these models have a circular blade which is encased in a cutting head or slider. The user positions the paper on the base, most models have a positioning grid or ruler on the base, and slides the cutting head along a bar, slicing through the paper as it goes. These are much more precise than arm cutters and are used widely by photographers for cutting small sets of photos. They are not designed for high-volume regular use.

Manual Guillotines:Guillotine cutters are much more reminiscent of the execution device from which they get there name. They are designed for high-volume regular use and they can cut large stacks of paper. With the manual version, you just set the paper on the cutter, position it correctly, lock it in place using a clamp and pull the handle. This drops a weighted blade onto the paper. The volume of paper you can cut will largely depend on the weight behind the blade.

Electronic Semi-Automatic Guillotines:These models are similar in appearance to the manual guillotine but the main difference is that the blade is powered. This means that the device can generally cut through much larger quantities of paper. The most common types of power used in these devices are electrical or hydraulic.

Electric Fully-Automatic Guillotines: Fully automated guillotines allow you to cut through vast amounts of paper. These cutters have both a fully-powered clamp and blade. They tend to be used more by commercial operators such as printers, print finishers, publishing houses and other businesses who deal with thousands of sheets of paper per day.

Electric Fully-Automatic Guillotines: Quickly becoming the norm for large commercial operations, these cutter provide all of the benefits of fully-automatic machines with the added speed and accuracy provided by a digital interface that allows users to quickly and precisely define the cut position. The position of the paper is dictated by an exact measurement input by the user.

These are just the broad categories of paper cutters available. Within each type you will be faced with a whole host of features and specifications that you will need to consider. Things like blade size, cut speed, power consumption, safety features, maintenance and many other factors are likely to impact on your decision...

What are the benefits of a guillotine?

Investing in a good quality guillotine can deliver lots of benefits to your business. Whether you are a small office who produces a limited number of professional documents or a massive print finishing operation cutting thousands of items a day, there is a cutter out there to suit you. The benefits are:

Accuracy and Consistency: A guillotine lets you cut a large number of documents in the same way time and time again. This is particularly important when dealing with colour prints that incorporate bleeds.

Cut Quality: You won’t get the same type of crisp, clean and consistent cut with a scissors. A good guillotine lets you put a nice edge on your beautiful document.

Speed: A good guillotine will help you cut large quantities of paper very quickly and safely.

Cost: The improved efficiency that a cutter will bring has a positive impact on costs. With the reduction in man-hours needed to cut your paper, you will have recouped your investment in no time.

These are some of the general benefits that a good guillotine can bring your business but there may be more depending on the type and scale of the specific guillotine you choose...

Speak to us for advice on your guillotine needs…

 

Source: https://www.neopost.ie/service/frequently-asked-questions/what-guillotine



Staff Changes:
2018/06/07

As of 1 May, we welcome and congratulate Natasha Vermaak on her promotion to Office Manager.

We also welcome Chanell Reynolds into our team as of 6 June; she has taken on the role of Customer Relations Officer and Receptionist.

Feel free to ask for either one of these ladies should you need any assistance with your manufacturing and/or sharpening needs.



Bohler Increases
2018/01/11

Click here to view the Document



South Africa is without doubt an irreplaceable producer of chrome ore globally...
2017/12/11

However, in ferrochrome, South Africa has been forced, through mainly negative power factors, to cede its one-time No 1 global position to China, which last year produced 43% of world ferrochrome output compared with South Africa’s 33% of world output.

Last year, South Africa produced a below-capacity 3.5-million tonnes of ferrochrome compared with China’s 4.6-million tonnes.

South Africa has a capacity to produce 4.2-million tonnes of ferrochrome a year, but has been producing in the range of three-million tonnes to 3.7-million tonnes because of electricity and price constraints.

This year, South Africa expects to produce 3.9-million tonnes of ferrochrome, with half-year production hitting the two-million-tonne mark.

Read more



Update on Water Restrictions
2017/12/04

With no end in sight to the current drought in the Western Cape, we encourage all our customers and suppliers to SAVE SAVE SAVE over the festive season.

We found that even with our 90 second showers, using grey water to flush and water the garden, we still have a very high usage. A big tip we can offer is to store your washing machine water in a drum and manually set your machine. The presettings seem to use far more water than needed. We use stored water to do chores around the house, such as washing windows and cars, washing floors and watering the garden...

Read more…



2017 Holiday Shutdown
2017/11/20

A peaceful Festive Season to all our customers!

Our factory will be closing for our Annual Holidays on Friday 22 December 2017 and we will re-open on Thursday 18 January 2018.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and thank you for your valued support.

We will be running a skeleton staff on Wednesday 10 January and Tuesday 16 January 2018 from 7:30 to 13:00.

 



Stainless steel LCC brought into 21st century with app
2017/10/24

According to sassda, one of the biggest obstacles to the specification of stainless steel in certain applications is the misperception that it's more expensive in comparison to other initially cheaper options...
The concept of life cycle costing (LCC) when specifying stainless steel has been around for decades. Unfortunately, it was not widely adopted by specifiers (e.g. engineers, quantity surveyors, architects etc.) and materials tended to be compared mainly on the basis of initial costs. In the early 1990s, Sassda, in partnership with Euro Inox, produced a computer program to calculate the total life cycle costing. That program has now been brought into the 21st century with the development of the LCC App for both android and iOS.


The app has all the functionality of the Sassda LCC program, but is much more accessible and follows the move of users from desktop computers to mobile devices. Via the app, Sassda hopes to help the industry realise the true benefits of stainless which will lead to them specifying it more regularly, in an even wider range of applications.

Read More



Seifsa supports Empowered Engineering and Manufacturing initiative
2017/09/21

The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has partnered with Smart Procurement Worldto launch the Empowered Engineering and Manufacturing initiative, which is aimed at driving economic transformation and industrial progress in engineering and manufacturing.

“The purpose of this initiative is very much consistent with that of our Small Business Hub, which renders expert services to small, medium-sized and microenterprises at a more discounted fee than normal and offers a service to large companies that sees us project managing their enterprise and supplier development programmes for a fee so that they can improve their broad-based black economic-empowerment scores,” Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said on Wednesday.

Read more…



Seifsa, unions ink three-year wage agreement
2017/08/27

For the first time in a decade, the metals and engineering sector has settled a three-year wage agreement without resorting to industrial action, the Steel and EngineeringIndustries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) said on Wednesday.

While none of the parties who signed the agreement are “entirely” happy with the end result, which, after four months of negotiations, resulted in a 7% increase for the current year, effective July 1; a 6.75% increase for the second year; and a 6.5% increase for the third year, they “can live with it”.

Read more…



Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink...
2017/08/17

After 50 years of good service, the emergency water pipes finally gave out and rendered the factory a soggy mess. 

On Monday morning, we came into a flooded factory! 2cm of water covered the floors and it took the better part of the morning just to get the water out.

Unfortunately, many blades were also damaged in the 'shower' and succumed to rust in the brief time that they were exposed. It goes to show how damaging water can actually be.

We have been able to replace and fix all the damaged stock and equipment, which also meant a total refurbishment of the distribution board for that area, but within a few hours we were back to business as usual.



Safeguard duties on hot-rolled steel coil and plate officially come into force
2017/08/11

Safeguard duties of 12% have been officially placed on hot-rolled coil (HRC) and plate entering South Africa following publication of the August 11 Government Gazette, which amends schedule two of the Customs and Excise Act.

The safeguard duties have been signed by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and will be imposed in addition to the 10% duties already governing the products

The safeguards, which were approved by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa earlier in the year, affect HRC and plate imported from all countries.

The rate of safeguard duty will remain at the 12% level until August 10, 2018.

The 12% duty represents the first year of a three-year safeguard, which South Africa has also communicated with the World Trade Organisation. In the second year, the duty will decline to 10% and, in the third, to 8%.

Read more



What is Stainless Steel...
2017/08/01

Having a lookaround on the internet, trying to decide what I should post for this week's news feed, I came across a great article from the International Stainless Steel Forum www.worldstainless.org 

It is a very basic overview of stainless steel, it's history and it's uses:

What is stainless steel ?
Stainless steel is the generic name for a number of different steels used primarily for their resistance to corrosion. The one key element they all share is a certain minimum percentage (by mass) of chromium: 10.5%. Although other elements, particularly nickel and molybdenum, are added to improve corrosion resistance, chromium is always the deciding factor. The vast majority of steel produced in the world is carbon and alloy steel, with the more expensive stainless steels representing a small, but valuable niche market.


What causes corrosion?
Only metals such as gold and platinum are found naturally in a pure form - normal metals only exist in nature combined with other elements. Corrosion is therefore a natural phenomena, as nature seeks to combine together elements which man has produced in a pure form for his own use. Iron occurs naturally as iron ore. Pure iron is therefore unstable and wants to "rust"; that is, to combine with oxygen in the presence of water. Trains blown up in the Arabian desert in the First World War are still almost intact because of the dry rainless conditions. Iron ships sunk at very great depths rust at a very slow rate because of the low oxygen content of the sea water . The same ships wrecked on the beach, covered at high tide and exposed at low tide, would rust very rapidly. For most of the Iron Age, which began about 1000 BC, cast and wrought iron was used; iron with a high carbon content and various unrefined impurities. Steel did not begin to be produced in large quantities until the nineteenth century. Carbon steel can be defined as an alloy of a small content of carbon combined with well refined iron. Despite its various additions stainless steel still behaves as steel, it is not like the nickel alloys that are really alloys of a number of different metals, iron only being one. Even highly alloyed stainless steel grades such as 316 are a minimum of 62% iron. Carbon steels without any protection will form a coating of rust which will in a sense protect the rest of the steel. So constantly removing the rust exposes a new fresh layer of steel to be attacked. This is called general corrosion. Various coatings will impede the rusting process, in particular painting, coating with zinc (galvanised steel), and epoxy resins. Another lateral way of reducing corrosion is to put corrosion inhibitors into the solutions that would otherwise cause iron to corrode. One of the most common examples of this is the corrosion inhibitors added to the coolant used in cars.

The unique advantage of stainless steel
For a wide variety of applications, stainless steel competes with carbon steels supplied with protective coatings, as well as other metals such as aluminium, brass and bronze. The success of stainless steel is based on the fact that it has one unique advantage. The chromium in the stainless steel has a great affinity for oxygen, and will form on the surface of the steel at a molecular level a film of chromium oxide. The film itself is about 130 Angstroms in thickness, one Angstrom being one millionth of one centimetre. This is like a tall building being protected from the rain with a roof the thickness of one sheet of ordinary copy paper. This layer is described as passive, tenacious and self renewing. Passive means that it does not react or influence other materials; tenacious means that it clings to the layer of steel and is not transferred elsewhere; self renewing means that if damaged or forcibly removed more chromium from the steel will be exposed to the air and form more chromium oxide. This means that over a period of years a stainless steel knife can literally be worn away by daily use and by being resharpened on a sharpening stone and will still remain stainless. Silver plated cutlery will eventually wear through to the base alloy, but stainless steel cutlery cannot wear through. Manhole and access covers in the water treatment and chemical industry are widely made out of both galvanised steel and stainless steel. In normal use galvanised steel can last many years without corrosion occurring and in these cases there would be little advantage apart from aesthetic reasons to switch to stainless steel. Where stainless comes into its own is where the galvanised coating is constantly being worn away, for example by chains being dragged over it, or constantly being walked over, or where very corrosive chemicals are being randomly splashed onto it. This leads on to the important point that the initial investment cost of producing a component or fabrication in stainless steel will always be more expensive that using ordinary steel, not just because of the higher cost of stainless steel, but also because it is more difficult to machine. However it is the better life cycle costs of stainless steel that make it attractive, both in terms of much longer service life, less maintenance costs, and high scrap value on de-commissioning.

The development of stainless steel
The inventor of stainless steel, Harry Brearley, was born in Sheffield, England in 1871. His father was a steel melter, and after a childhood of considerable hardship, he left school at the age of twelve to get a job washing bottles in a chemical laboratory. By years of private study and night school he became an expert in the analysis of steel and its production. Having already established his reputation for solving metallurgical problems, Brearley was given the opportunity in 1908 to set up the Brown Firth Laboratories, which was financed by the two leading Sheffield steel companies of the day. This was a highly innovative idea for its time; research for its own sake on the problems of steel making.

In 1912 Brearley was asked to help in the problems being encountered by a small arms manufacturer, whereby the internal diameter of rifle barrels was eroding away too quickly because of the action of heating and discharge gases. Brearley was therefore looking for a steel with better resistance to erosion, not corrosion. As a line of investigation he decided to experiment with steels containing chromium, as these were known to have a higher melting point than ordinary steels. Chromium steels were already at that time being used for valves in aero engines. Iron has an atomic weight of 56, chromium 52, so chromium steel valves are lighter than their carbon steel counterparts, another reason why they were adopted so quickly by the emerging aircraft industry. Using first the crucible process, and then more successfully an electric furnace, a number of different melts of 6 to 15% chromium with varying carbon contents were made. The first true stainless steel was melted on the 13th August 1913. It contained 0.24% carbon and 12.8% chromium. Brearley at this time was still trying to find a more wear-resistant steel, and in order to examine the grain structure of the steel he needed to etch (attack with acid) samples before examining them under the microscope. The etching re-agents he used were based on nitric acid, and he found that this new steel strongly resisted chemical attack. He then exposed samples to vinegar and other food acids such as lemon juice and found the same result. At the time table cutlery was silver or nickel plated. Cutting knives were of carbon steel which had to thoroughly washed and dried after use, and even then rust stains would have to be rubbed off using carborundum stones. Brearley immediately saw how this new steel could revolutionise the cutlery industry, then one of the biggest employers in Sheffield, but he had great difficulty convincing his more conservative employers. On his own initiative, he had knives made at a local cutler's, R.F. Mosley. To begin with, Brearley referred to his invention as "rustless steel". It was Ernest Stuart, the cutlery manager of Mosley's who first referred to the new knives as "stainless" after in experiments he had failed to stain them with vinegar. "Corrosion resisting " steel would be really the better term, as ordinary stainless steels do suffer corrosion in the long term in hostile environments. Other claims have been made for the first invention of stainless steel, based upon published experimental papers that indicated the passive layer corrosion resistance of chromium steel or patented steels with a 9% chromium content intended for engineering purposes. Brearley's contribution was that having come to a conclusion by purely empirical means he immediately seized on the practical uses of the new material. Within a year of Brearley's discovery, Krupp in Germany were experimenting by adding nickel to the melt. Brearley's steel could only be supplied in the hardened and tempered condition; the Krupp steel was more resistant to acids, was softer and more ductile and therefore easier to work. There is no doubt that but for Brearley's chance discovery, the metallurgists at Krupp would have soon made the discovery themselves. From these two inventions, just before the First World War, were to develop the "400" series of martensitic and "300" series of austenitic stainless steels. The First World War largely put a halt to the development of stainless steel, but in the early 1920s a whole variety of chromium and nickel combinations were tried including 20/6, 17/7 and 15/11. Brearley fell out with his employers regarding the patent rights to his invention of stainless steel, and he left to join another Sheffield company, Brown Bayleys. His successor at the Brown Firth Laboratories was Dr W.H. Hatfield, who is credited with the invention in 1924 of 18/8 stainless steel (18% chromium, 8% nickel) which, with various additions, still dominates the melting of stainless steel today. Dr Hatfield also invented 18/8 stainless with titanium added, now known as 321. Most of the standard grades still in use today were invented in the period 1913 to 1935, in Britain, Germany, America and France. Once these standard grades became accepted, the emphasis changed to finding cheaper, mass-production methods, and popularising the use of stainless steel as a concept. This tended to stifle the development of new grades. However, after the Second World War, new grades with a better weight-to-strength ratio were required for jet aircraft, which led to the development of the precipitation hardening grades such as 17:4 PH . From the 1970s onwards the duplex stainless steels began to be developed. These have far greater corrosion resistance and strength than the grades developed in the 1920s and are really the future for the increasing use of stainless steel. 

Product characteristics
Stainless steel can be selected for use compared to other materials for a number of different reasons, not just its resistance to corrosion. These include: ƒ Its aesthetic qualities: it can be polished to a satin or mirror finish. ƒ "Dry Corrosion" occurs to steel at higher temperatures where it oxidises or scales up. Stainless steel is far more resistant to this than ordinary carbon steel and grades such as 310 (25% chromium 20% nickel) were specifically developed for use at high temperatures. ƒ Non-contamination of the liquids stainless comes into contact with, because there is no coating to break down and dissolve. ƒ Weight savings: as thinner sections can be used, more innovative design structures can be used, with cost savings on foundations and platform weights. ƒ Many anti-corrosion coatings are fire hazards or the materials themselves have a low melting point.
Applications
The most everyday use of stainless steel is obviously in cutlery. Very cheap cutlery is made out of grades 409 and 430, with the finest Sheffield cutlery using specially produced 410 and 420 for the knives and grade 304 (18/8 stainless, 18% chromium 8% nickel) for the spoons and forks. The different grades are used as 410/420 can be hardened and tempered so that the knife blades will take a sharp edge, whereas the more ductile 18/8 stainless is easier to work and therefore more suitable for objects that have to undergo numerous shaping, buffing and grinding processes. Very large amounts of stainless steel are used in food production and storage. The most commonly used grades are 304 and 316. Typical uses would be dairies, milk storage, ham curing, frozen and salted fish storage. Whereas 304 is used for normal temperatures and acid concentrations, 316 is used for harsher environments. For example 304 is used in cheese production, but where salted ham is being prepared 316 is used. For low concentrations of phosphoric acid (one of the constituents of cola) 304 is used, but at higher temperatures and concentrations 316 is used. Food slicers are made out of 420 and 440. Very often in food production stainless is used not because the food itself is corrosive but the use of stainless allows for faster and more efficient cleaning. For example in ice cream production 316 is specified so that strong anti-bacteriological cleaning and rinsing systems can be used. One of the great advantages of stainless steel is that imparts no taste to the food that it comes into contact with. This has created one interesting anomaly. Traditional winemaking uses barrels of oak. The newer wine-producing nations use very large vats and storage containers of stainless steel as this gives them far greater economies of scale. However in conventional winemaking the acid of the wine dissolves some of the wood to give an "oak" body taste. Using stainless steel vats oak chips deliberately have to be put into the vats to create the same effect and satisfy traditional wine drinkers. The pumping and containment of oils, gases and acids has created a large market for stainless tanks, pipes, pumps and valves. The storage of dilute nitric acid was one of the first major success stories for 18/8 stainless steel as it could be used in thinner sections and was more robust than other materials. Special grades of stainless have been developed to have greater corrosion resistance. These are used in desalination plants, sewage plants, offshore oil rigs, harbour supports and ships propellers. Architecture is a growing market. Many modern buildings use stainless for cladding. When reinforced concrete first started to be used it was considered that the carbon steel used would not rust as cement, obviously derived from limestone, is alkaline. However, constantly using grit salt on bridges can change the pH to acidic thereby rusting the steel which expands and cracks the concrete. Stainless steel reinforcing bar, although initially expensive, is proving to have very good life cycle costings. The low maintenance cost and anti-vandal characteristics of stainless provides a growing market in public transport, ticket machines and street furniture. The nuclear power industry uses large quantities of stainless, often specified with a low cobalt content, for both power generation and radiation containment. Special louvered ventilation shafts are made, which are designed to be used in emergencies to seal off plants for years if necessary. Steam and gas turbines use stainless because of its corrosion resisting and heat resisting qualities. Especially clean melted stainless is used for medical implants and artificial hips. A great deal of medical equipment - such as orthopaedic beds, cabinets and examination machines - is made as standard from stainless because of its hygienic and easy-clean qualities. Pharmaceutical companies use stainless for pill funnels and hoppers and for piping creams and solutions. Cars are making increasing use of stainless steel, primarily for exhaust systems (grade 409) and catalytic converters, but also for structural purposes. With greater attention being made to achieving low long term maintenance costs, less environmental impact and greater concern with life cycle costs, the market for stainless steel continues to improve.



How to Identify Metals
2017/07/24

Spark testing is a method of determining the general classification of Ferrous (Iron containing) materials. Non-Ferrous materials, such as copper or aluminium, do not give off a spark. Spark testing normally entails taking a piece of metal, usually scrap, and applying it to a grinding wheel in order to observe the sparks emitted. These sparks can be compared to a chart or to sparks from a known test sample to determine the classification. Spark testing also can be used to sort ferrous materials, establishing the difference from one another by noting whether the spark is the same or different.

The type of spark emitted is determined by the carbon content of the metal, and not by the hardness, thus a soft and hard piece of the same material will emit the same spark. As a guide, low carbon materials emit long streams with low bursts and high carbon material emit short streams with high bursts.

Spark testing is used because it is quick, easy, and inexpensive. Moreover, test samples do not have to be prepared in any way, so, often, a piece of scrap is used. The main disadvantage to spark testing is its inability to identify a material positively; if positive identification is required, chemical analysis must be used. The spark comparison method also damages the material being tested, at least slightly.

Should it be difficult to determine whether a piece of steel is stainless or not, an acid test can be done; the acid will not etch on the Stainless Steel, but will on other types of steel.

Another method of determining steel type is to do a hardness test where a corner of the steel is flame hardened to the desired temperature and the hardness tested by use of a file of know hardness.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SPARKS

 See Picture

TYPES OF STEEL FOUND AT ROEMER’S GRINDING WORKS

There are many different codes for naming steels, such as the AISI code, EN code, DIN code and the list goes on. Roemer’s uses the European standardised EN code for recognising steel as most of our steel is imported from Germany.

As a guide, we use the following method for identifying our steel:

-         Air Hardened:              lots of short sparks with high bursts and lots of splitting, orange in colour

-         High Speed Steel:        short sparks with few bursts, red in colour

-         Tool Steel:                    medium to long sparks with fewer bursts, yellow in colour

-         Stainless Steel:            longer sparks with fewer bursts and large splits at the end light yellow in colour

-         Mild Steel:                   bright and everywhere with many sparks and long splits at the end

The major types that we use are:

Air Hardener: 1.2379 (Name: X153CrMoV12; AISI type: D-2)

A high carbon, high chromium steel which is extremely high in wear resistance, but not as tough as other lower alloyed steels.

Composition: C - 1.55 %; Cr – 12%; Mo – 0.8%; V – 0.9%

Specific Gravity: 7.6g/cm3

Working Hardness: 58 – 62 HRC

High Speed Steel: 1.3355 (Name: HS18-01; AISI type: T-1)

A high Tungsten steel, with high hardness, strength, toughness and heat resistance making it excellent for cutting

Composition: C – 0.78 %; Cr – 4%; W – 18%; V – 1.1%

Specific Gravity: 8.7g/cm3

Working Hardness: 63 – 66 HRC

Tool Steel: 1.2842 (Name: 90MnCrV8; AISI type: O-2)

A durable steel with excellent wear resistance and the ability to hold a cutting edge.

Composition: C – 0.9 %; Mn– 2.0%; Cr – 0.4%; V – 0.1%

Specific Gravity: 7.85g/cm3

Working Hardness: 58 – 62 HRC

Stainless Steel: 1.4034 (Name: X46Cr13; AISI type: 420)

A high corrosion resistance in water and steam; used for surgical blades and in the food industry.

Composition: C – 0.45 %; Cr – 13.5%

Specific Gravity: 7.6g/cm3

Working Hardness: 51 – 53 HRC

Stainless Steel: 1.4112 (Name: X90CrMoV18; AISI type: 440B)

High hardness and corrosion resistant in a wide range of environments.

Composition: C – 0.9 %; Cr – 18.0%; Mo – 1.1%; V – 0.1%

Specific Gravity: 7.6g/cm3

Working Hardness: 54 – 57 HRC



Mid-year Awards at Roemer's
2017/07/19

In June, we mentioned that we had embarked on a training program at Roemer’s. Since then, we have completed and successfully assessed the majority of our staff in areas ranging from basic safety like carrying steel to more complex tasks such as grinding or milling.

On Friday 14 July, we held our first mini awards ceremony. It was a hit! We had pizza and cooldrinks floating around, smiles on faces as certificates were handed out and a general feeling of pride and cheer. Everyone made an effort to achieve during the training process and it definitely showed…each staff member attained at least 80% in at least 1 course and everyone was able to take home a certificate.

We would like to specifically congratulate Henry, Hilton and Manuel, who achieved the most certificates and showed the most impressive work and growth over the last 6 months in our training program.

Mr Errol Weiner, our course facilitator and creator, is not kind when it comes to assessment. With his 50+ years of experience at Roemer’s Grinding works, he is very particular and insists that short cuts are not taken and that work is completed to the highest standard; the Roemer’s standard where “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”. This has driven our teams to want to do better and even in the short 6 months that this project has been running, we have seen remarkable improvement in their work ethic as well as in our product.

On that note, we were also proud to celebrate an entire month of no customer come backs. We are hoping to keep this record going…

Courses going forward:

Although each staff member is expected to be competent in their area of work, we encourage all our staff to branch out and try their hand in all areas of the factory. Although the courses are Roemer’s specific, the skills are universal and Mr Weiner is more than happy to teach and share his vast knowledge.

We are working on a small side project, bringing in some of the old domestic knives Mr Münch made in his day. Keep an eye out for a progress update and potentially a course offered to the public in the coming months…