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Understanding the super steel offering from SSAB

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SSAB offers high-quality and environmentally friendly steel and wear plates for the Australian quarry industry. 

Downtime is one of the Australian quarrying industries’ long-standing pain points. Often striking at the most unexpected time, it can decimate finances and lead to lengthy delays, necessitating the need for quality parts and wear plates.

Having been in Australia for nearly two decades, SSAB has prioritised understanding the country’s quarry industry needs.

“We are always looking to produce new products and improve the ones we already have. One of the ways we do this is with Hardox 500 Tuf,” SSAB area sales manager – Australia and New Zealand Matthew Spiteri told Quarry.

“Hardox 500 Tuf allows for the optimised design of all kinds of truck and trailer bodies with its unique combination of hardness and toughness.”

SSAB has designed Hardox 500 Tuf to allow quarry sites to haul more, allowing for better site efficiency and more material being shifted to customers.

Spiteri said even a small change, like using a 1mm thinner wear plate, could significantly benefit quarries.

“The examples of savings by upgrading to Hardox 500 Tuf are based on a truck travelling 100,000km per year for six years.

“The increased load capacity and other benefits in operation and production result from changing from 6mm-thick Hardox 450 to 5mm-thick Hardox 500 Tuf,” he said.

According to Spiteri, the weight benefits of reducing plate thickness are easy to calculate.

“Not only does it make the body of the machine 17 per cent lighter, but you need to purchase, store and handle 17 per cent less steel,” he said.

“A 17 per cent reduction in plate thickness reduces welding time and the need for welding consumables.”

Hardox 500 Tuf has a hardness interval of 475–505 HBW (Brinell hardness calculation) for high wear resistance in the most challenging abrasive applications.

The 500 Tuf iteration combines the best features of the Hardox 450 and Hardox 500. SSAB’s clients have used Hardox 500 Tuf in truck and tipper bodies, containers, mining dumpers, buckets, liners, and wear parts in extreme heat or freezing conditions.

The toughness makes Hardox 500 Tuf perform as a structural wear steel, keeping dump bodies in good shape and standing up to impacts from large, heavy objects striking the plate.

“Hardox 450 has been the workhorse for wear applications for a long time,” Spiteri said. “Now it’s time for the next step with the arrival of Hardox 500 Tuf.

“The hardness of this steel has jumped more than 10 per cent compared to Hardox 450. And since wear resistance isn’t a linear phenomenon, the increase in hardness can increase wear life as high as 50 per cent – depending on the abrasive material and operating conditions, of course.

“So if you’re looking for a longer-lasting body, Hardox 500 Tuf is the way to go.”

Whether Hardox 500 Tuf is welded, bent, or machined, customers can expect the steel to deliver predictable performance. Hardox 500 Tuf comes with guarantees for narrow flatness and thickness tolerances and bending performance, ensuring cost efficiency and product quality in the workshop.

Using thinner dimensions means less bending force is required.

“The Hardox 500 Tuf has been on the market since 2017,” Spiteri said. “Our end-users and quarries love the material because of its impact toughness.

“We’ve made sure that our teams are on hand to support our customers who might be upgrading from Hardox 450 to 500 Tuf.”

REDUCING DOWNTIME

While downtime costs vary depending on the business, incident and repair time, the result is a significant cost to the company. Data from a 2022 report on predictive maintenance stated downtime had increased by nearly 50 per cent in all industries surveyed in recent years.

SSAB understands quarries cannot afford to see their downtime increase while no material is being shifted.

This is why the company has invested heavily in its customer service team to help provide technical support to resolve incidents on-site.

Spiteri said this type of support has changed the game for SSAB’s customers regardless of whether they are in metro or remote areas.

“It sounds simple, but local technical support can really go a long way,” Spiteri said. “Technical support comes in all different facets, but whenever the customer needs us, we’ll be there.”

ENVIRONMENTAL CARE

In recent years, environmental considerations like decarbonisation and increased sustainability have been among the most significant shifts within Australian quarrying.

Many multinational and local companies within the Australian quarrying sector have started on their pathway to decarbonising their operations in line with international goals to achieve net zero by 2050.

Manufacturers and producers will be required to work in partnership to achieve this aim, as highlighted by the Cement Industry Federation in its Decarbonisation Pathways for the Australian Cement and Concrete Sector report.

SSAB is also trying to minimise its carbon footprint and reduce global emissions.

“We know that steel production is one of the highest producers of CO2,” Spiteri said.

“Our first step toward minimising CO2 within our steel production is the introduction of SSAB Zero.”

SSAB Zero steel is made of recycled steel and produced with fossil-free electricity and biogas. The result is steel with virtually no carbon emissions.

Spiteri said it’s essential for SSAB to continue providing solutions for the global energy transition to ensure the quarrying industry stays competitive and able to produce the high-quality ore for which it is known.

“I think being net-zero or fossil-fuel-free is a big thing to aspire to, but it’s also a big thing to look forward to,” Spiteri said.

“We’re not just looking at Australia; we’re looking at the entire world. That’s a lot of CO2 we can reduce and a lot of help we give the environment for future generations.”•

For more information, visit ssab.com

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