Stainless steel is an indispensable part of our everyday lives atwork, at home or at leisure. The foundations for its global usewere laid 100 years ago. On October 18th 1912, a patent was grantedfor the production of articles requiring high resistance tocorrosion. This was a quantum leap in material research, and it wasfollowed two months later by a patent for the production ofarticles requiring high resistance to corrosion through acids andextreme strength. After four years of development work in Krupp's laboratories, thephysicist Professor Dr Benno Strauss and his co worker Dr EduardMaurer found the formula for non rusting steels which areinsensitive to water and humidity. |
The steels in use at that timewere either chromium or nickel steels, which were difficult toprocess and susceptible to corrosion. The addition of specificamounts of chromium and nickel, heat treatment and a reduction inthe carbon content resulted in the patented V2A material. Thismaterial 1.4301 was the first commercially produced stainless steeland still accounts for more than a third of the stainless steelproduced worldwide. These were the origins of the NIROSTA (from theGerman nichtrostendender Stahl non rusting steel) brand, which wasregistered in 1922. Gradually, the austenitic grades were followedby the development of the other members of the stainless steelfamily ferritic, martensitic and duplex grades.
The burgeoning chemical industry of the early 20th centuryespecially needed steels with high resistance to acids, but the newmaterial was also used in the food industry and for household whitegoods. At the industrial exhibition in Malmö in Sweden in1914, products of stainless steel were presented to the public forthe first time. In 1919 a further patent was granted in the medicalfield for the "production of artificial internal parts for humanand animal bodies made of stainless steel". The new material alsobecame increasingly popular with architects. The Chrysler Buildingin New York (built 1928-1930) was the first to feature stainlesssteel roof cladding, which still shines like on its first day.Stainless steel was also used in the facade of the world's tallestbuilding, the Burj Kalifa in Dubai which was opened in 2010.
Since the 1950s in particular, flat rolled stainless steelmaterials have been used wherever high dependability, functionalityand hygiene are required. Today, roughly 120 stainless steel gradesare available in a variety of sizes and finishes. With differentchemical compositions depending on application, they are used inthe construction, automotive, medical, pharmaceutical, food, energyand chemical industries as well as in environmental and marineengineering. Global annual demand for stainless steel increasedtenfold from three to 30 million tons between 1970 and 2010.Stainless steel is also 100% recyclable and therefore highlysustainable.
A future without stainless steel would beinconceivable. The activities of the Inoxum Group, part of ThyssenKrupp AG, aredivided into two segments: the Stainless Steel segment stands forthe worldwide production, processing and distribution of stainlesssteel flat products. The High Performance Alloys segment bringstogether the production and distribution of high-performancematerials such as nickel alloys, titanium and zirconium. The InoxumGroup includes companies with plants in Germany, Italy, Mexico,China and the USA employing roughly 11,500 people.
One of thesecompanies is Krefeld-based ThyssenKrupp Nirosta GmbH, whichsupplies stainless steel flat products in a broad range of grades,sizes and finishes. On January 31st 2012 ThyssenKrupp AG announcedthe combination of Inoxum and Outokumpu, a global stainless steelcorporation with headquarters in Finland. The combination issubject to regulatory approval. The transaction is expected to becompleted by the end of 2012. Source - BYM News.
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