Rajeev Gupta, General Manager-Marketing, JSL, talks to Satish Purohit about the impact of stainless steel applications in shaping building design and construction in India
Could you share some more insight on the possibilities of stainless steel as an architectural material…
Jindal Stainless is the largest manufacturer of stainless steel in the country. We have an annual crude stainless steel melting capacity of 1.8 million tonnes of stainless steel per annum. Jindal has contributed immensely in making India the second largest producer and consumer of stainless steel. Stainless steel traditionally was used for utensils but now it is widely being used for multiple applications in various sectors including Architecture, Building & Construction (ABC), Automotive Railway & Transport (ART), Process Industries, Food processing, Sugar & Distillery, General Engineering etc. In the architecture segment if I talk of, it is gaining usage in facades, railings, decorative items, flooring applications and home décor. We have build up this stainless steel display van to showcase various possibilities of using stainless steel in the household segment. In a house, right from water applications to home décor to kitchen to utensils, stainless steel can add value due to its inherent benefits e.g. hygiene, anti corrosive, doesn’t require paint, have long life and is most durable. SS Sheets are now available in various colours (which is done thru PVD process), various etched textures which can contribute in improved aesthetics. With this display, We are creating an awareness for consumers and show casing the possibilities in stainless steel.
Steel is an important building material. Where do you think steel is headed as far as prices are concerned? In terms of innovations what do you foresee in the next four-five years?
I will answer this question in four parts.Normally when we say steel, it is in actual stainless steel. The term ”loha” used in general is basically the mild steel. Normally people confuse between the same. Lot of buildings are getting made in steel (mild Steel) & in stainless steel now. If we take an example of rebar, which generally is made in mild steel is also getting made in stainless steel. Due to anti corrosive property, especially in the coastal areas it can give a reasonably good life & can enhance the life of structure.
Secondly in terms of cost of stainless steel, there is a perception that stainless steel is very expensive. With availability of various grades in stainless steel, right grade should be used for right application. Depending on the type of application & the atmospheric conditions, the choice of stainless steel grade can reduce initial costs. In Architecture applications, there are many other costs e.g. installation, painting, maintenance, repair etc & has an impact on overall cost of project. Stainless Steel can play an important role in reducing these overall costs & hence can reduce life cycle cost drastically. There is no point in going for a product which is cheap but doesn’t last long.
Third, it is strength, which is an important parameter in architecture. With the usage of stainless steel, thickness of the sheet used can be reduced by at-least 20-30% while maintaining the same strength.
Lastly, Aesthetics play an important role in architecture applications. As mentioned earlier, Stainless Steel is available in multiple colours and finishes. Accordingly, it can make the final product look aesthetically beautiful. No doubts, in many of the architecture applications i.e. kitchens, facades, railings, sculptures etc, stainless steel is adding beauty with strength.
Stainless steel is becoming an intrinsic part of new upcoming buildings, five-star hotels, commercial kitchens etc. With the recent trend, people are replacing their old gates & railings with stainless steel. Many new applications like stainless steel roofing is picking up. With this trend, we are sure you will see increased usage of stainless steel in many areas in near future. Worldwide stainless steel is growing at a much faster pace of 5.5% YOY in comparison to other materials for last three decades.
With the rise of prefabricated buildings, industrial sheds and structures there will be a certain increase in the use of stainless steel. When you use the traditional rebar,you shift to stainless steel, what is the difference in the cost?
The price varies with stainless steel grade, finish, thickness, colour etc. of sheet used. With right combination, initial investments will increase by marginal percentage only.
If you have to give an estimate by how much has it improved the life of a particular structure with other things remaining the same?
Stainless steel, as I mentioned earlier, is being used for various applications in construction segment. Life of the product increases manifold with the right combination of various factors mentioned above. We have examples where life observed is more than few decades and still buildings are in a very good shape. Many of the world wide iconic buildings e.g. Disney Concert Hall, Chrysler Building, Empire State building have used stainless steel and has seen life of many decades while maintaining the same beauty and aesthetics. In India also, stainless steel is used for making Gandhiji’s Charkha, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Head Quarters, Tendulkar’s Bat etc.
You mentioned about flooring applications, are you talking about industrial flooring are there residential applications as well which involves steel…
Stainless steel can be used in two aspects w.r.t. flooring in architecture applications. First, it can be used in food processing industries where hygiene plays an important role. It is easy to clean and maintain hygiene in the floors of these industries with the usage of stainless steel. Secondly, as stainless steel has more strength, it can be effectively used for industry applications where applications demand the same and accordingly it can help in reduced maintenance year over year.