Steeling the limelight

Steeling the limelight

What do six “strong men”, a crazy crane operator and a monster machine man have in common? They’ve all tried to put a dent in SSAB’s versatile Swedish steel wear plate, Hardox. And none have succeeded.

Founded in 1978, SSAB has successfully developed into one of the most profitable steel producers in the world today. As custodian of the reputation of Swedish steel, which has enjoyed the distinction of unmatched strength and quality around the world for over a century, SSAB takes its role seriously.

Continuous development, branching into new applications and markets, and ensuring quality and durability have become the markers of SSAB’s success, and its Hardox range is no exception.

An all-round wear resistance plate, Hardox comes in seven different grades for a variety of applications. From demolition tools to liner plates, hammers to knives, measuring bins, skips, hoppers, buffer bins and industrial grade buckets, if hard-wearing strength is required, chances are you will find Hardox.

Hardox 450 is ideal for making transport applications lighter due to the combination of hardness, strength and toughness. Light enough to offer maximum payload, but tough enough to withstand any load, and offering good bendability and weldability to boot, the development of Hardox 450 has opened the way for SSAB to dominate the tipper market in Europe.

But despite this success, SSAB still wants to showcase its product, if for no other reason than it is so unbelievably impressive – and because the proof is in the pudding, as they say. It’s one thing claiming your product is indestructible based on complicated computer simulations, it’s quite another to subject said product to everything you can throw at it. Literally.

Hence the creation of the “Bring it on” show, a show dedicated to the attempted destruction of a Hardox 450 container.

According to James Greenfield, the presenter of the show, operators familiar with Hardox say that it is the hardest
and toughest steel in the world, and it can stand up to virtually any kind of destructive force.

“If you’re looking for steel that can withstand extreme conditions, apparently there’s only one, and that’s Hardox,” he says, “which is why we’re here to put it to the test.”

Enter Anders Johansson, one of the strongest men in the world, and a few of his equally burly friends. Johansson stands over six ft tall, weighs in at 138 kg of pure muscle, and holds the world record for lifting 442 kg. But will the Hardox container pose a challenge?

After hours of hitting the container’s sides with sledgehammers, steel tipped poles, man-sized electric drills and even a battering ram, only the paint on the container is damaged, otherwise there is not even a hint of a dent or scratch.

But pitting man against metal might not be entirely fair, even if the man in question is Johansson’s size.

So, the next episode of the “Bring it on” show features machine against steel in the form of a crane capable of lifting 24 t, 60 ft into the air.

Claes Lowgren, wear technology engineer at SSAB, comments to Greenfield before the testing begins that he does not believe the crane will best the Hardox container. “We have developed these plates over the last 30 years”, he says. But the proof lies in the pounding, and the crazy crane operator is certainly up to the challenge.

First, a huge sack of rocks, gravel and metal scraps is dropped into the container from a height of 60 ft, eliciting nothing more than a slight shudder. A car soon follows, not once but again, and again, and again, until body and chassis are coming to pieces, particularly as the crane operator has deliberately dropped it onto the container’s side edges, hoping to cause damage there, but with no luck.

Frustration sets in, and his next step is to pick up the container itself, lift it into the air and allow it to plummet to the ground. One would expect the impact to cause cracks, dents, anything, but the container remains perfectly intact.

It is lifted again, and this time dropped onto the corpse of the car, flattening it instantly, but again resulting in no visible damage to the container.

Finally allowing the crane operator to give up, two SSAB employees check the container by filling it with water and watching for leaks. Not a single drop escapes, and there is not a dent to be seen. It’s now
2 – 0 to the Hardox container, but there is still more to come.

The third instalment of the the “Bring it on” show involves a man and his monster machines, including an excavator and a fork lift. After ramming the container repeatedly with the excavator, the driver switches to his forklift and carries it to the top of a mine dump. The hill is made up of course gravel and rocks, and is both high and abrasive.

Dropping the container, the driver watches it tumble down the hill 17 times, until finally he emerges from the cab of the forklift victoriously, expecting to see a squashed container at the foot of the mine dump. No such luck. Other than a bit of dirt and paint damage, the Hardox 450 container has once again proved its mettle.

So what’s the secret behind Hardox performance? Basically, the characteristics of a Hardox wear plate come from a combination of hardness, strength and toughness. As a result, Hardox can stand up to sliding, impact and squeezing wear. This goes beyond wear resistance, allowing operators to protect their equipment investments and work more effectively.

In truck bodies and containers,
Hardox 450 ensures a longer lifetime and highly predictable performance. Its high strength and hardness often allows for a thinner plate, enabling a higher payload and better fuel economy.  In short, with Hardox in your body, you’re ready to bring it on day after day, year after year.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publication in southern Africa.
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