Finnish conglomerate Outokumpu, also a world-leading stainless steel producer, opened its doors in March for a major customer and industry event at its plant in Melbourne. Outokumpu’s local operation is Australia’s only dedicated cold rolled stainless steel coil service centre, and one of three service centres in Asia Pacific, the fastest growing region for the company in the world.

With a reported $10 billion in sales last year, Outokumpu dominates the global market for one of the most ubiquitous materials found throughout the built and manufactured environment. Its stainless steel is used to build cities and urban infrastructure, water and energy plants, factories, consumer goods, medical supplies and transportation machinery and systems.

Stainless steel is a preferred material choice for its corrosion resistance, durability, strength, hygiene, recyclability and aesthetics. According to Outokumpu Australia Managing Director, Peter George, Australian industries are among the smartest when it comes to application of stainless steel.

Describing the Marina Bay Pedestrian Bridge in Singapore as a stunning work of architectural and engineering design with Outokumpu Australia supplying the steel, he said that the bridge features high strength and corrosion-resistant duplex to ensure low maintenance and continuing beauty in hot and humid maritime conditions.

Queensland’s largest road and bridge project, the Gateway Upgrade Project across the Brisbane River, also specified Outokumpu steel in the most critical bridge structures - the splash zones of the two main river pylons. Builders Leighton AbiGroup joint venture used stainless steel reinforcement bar in the project because they needed materials that would ensure a design life of 300 years.

In the APAC region, Outokumpu focuses on special grades and has won significant deals recently, including deliveries to Ping An Finance Centre, China’s highest skyscraper and when built, the second highest in the world.

Outokumpu’s Open Day saw an impressive display of a broad range of surface finishes, many of which adorn some of the world’s most famous buildings, including the Chrysler building and One World Trade Centre in New York.

Mr George explains that these landmark buildings are more than just beautiful architectural masterpieces; they also showcase the advantages of high-quality stainless steel and underscore Outokumpu’s position as one of the world’s leading innovators in advanced materials.

Listing out the advantages of stainless steel for modern building and construction, he said that the material has high mechanical strength, resistance to corrosion, excellent aesthetics and cost efficiency, superior performance in extreme climate conditions; and minimal maintenance requirement.

In addition to the low lifetime cost of stainless steel, Mr George stresses the importance of technical expertise and support for customers. Given that the requirements for cost-efficient, high-performing, sustainable buildings are growing, stainless steel suppliers that can offer technical expertise, innovation and end-to-end project support will lead the market.

Mr George says that Outokumpu’s polished, brushed and patterned finishes for wall panels, cladding for buildings, walkways, doors, escalators and other architectural applications attract the most interest from architects around the world.

He explains that architects prefer Outokumpu’s high-strength stainless steels as they make thin structures possible, thus allowing more artistic freedom.

Outokumpu’s stainless steel is also aligned with the current trend towards sustainability in the construction sector. Being durable in the most challenging of conditions, the stainless steel delivers ever longer project lifecycles. Depending on the grade, the recycled content in Outokumpu’s advanced materials is 70-90 percent; Outokumpu stainless steel is also fully recyclable.