Achievement Award


For the market development of 3CR12, 3CR12 Coal Wagons, Stainless Steel Tank Containers and Stainless Steel Wine Tanks

don maxwell


Don Maxwell has been awarded the Achievement Award in the 2014 Stainless Steel Awards for the market development of 3CR12, as well as his life time contribution to development in coal wagons, tank containers, wine tanks and the South African stainless steel industry.

Don worked for Anglo American as a metallurgist from 1958 to 1960. He then joined Iscor in Pretoria and worked in research from 1960 to 1964. In 1964 he joined Rand Mines.He was appointed Sassda’s acting part time honorary secretary.

In 1964 he was involved in the technology to ‘make low carbon stainless steel’ – direct from rock – from low cost chromite ores.

In 1965 he was presented with a Sandvik Saw by the Chairman of Sassda, Eric Stansfield, for his services to Sassda.

He joined RMB Alloys in 1969 and later Southern Cross Steel where he was assigned to Frank Bath to work on the Southern Cross project.

In 1969 he was sponsored by Rand Mines on an MBA programme and left to work for Elgin Metal Products as marketing manager.

He returned to Southern Cross in 1971 as Sales Manager until 1973 and then became Manager of Market Development at MS&A from 1973 to 1982. From 1983 until 1995 he was the Managing Director of 3CR12 International of MS&A and then Columbus Stainless. In 1995 until his retirement in 1998, he was the General Manager Market Development at Columbus Stainless.

In 1972 Don Maxwell initiated the wine industry development programme where he persuaded the wine industry to replace mild steel wine tanks with stainless steel tanks (KWV and Nederburg Estates adopted this and today stainless steel has become the standard material of choice) 430 ferritic stainless steel was also introduced into the sugar industry by Ian was used in plate form anywhere in the world.

But 430 proved difficult to cut and became brittle when welded. Don Maxwell together with Eric Smith decided to take a chance on developing a stable dual phase – or duplex 12 Cr steel but it would take too long via the laboratories – so together with Ian Elsdon-Dew they persuaded the sugar industry to accept a ‘fit for purpose’ steel with a Cr variation of 12% to 17% to allow them to experiment. This got the team off the ground with full scale production trials – while Hannes Hoffman, Ken Dewar and Dave Martin patiently hunted for the magical second phase martensite in the laboratory which led to the development of 3CR12.

The name was developed – 3CR (stood for chromium containing corrosion resisting) 12 (stood for 12% of chromium) and so the name 3CR12 was born.

In 1997, Don presented a paper at Marichem 97 on 316L Tank Containers which was well received and enabled South African Tank Container manufacturers to maintain a global leading role.

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