Hannes Hoffman, regarded as the Technical Father of 3CR12, passed away on the 16th of August 2016 in George after a short illness. Tributes from the stainless steel industry are pouring in after news of his passing.
Hannes Hoffman was born on the 9th of March 1933. He obtained a BSc in Iron and Steel Technology, a BSc (Hons) and MSc in Metallurgy as well as an MBA. After working at Iscor, the University of Pretoria and O’Kiep Copper Co., he moved to Southern Cross Steel in 1973. Here he was the head of Metallurgy, later called the manager of Materials Science. In 1988 he was transferred to New Process Development as manager and in 1995 he became the manager of Research and Development. From 1992 to 1993 he was the president of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM). He retired in 1996.
Hannes will be remembered for his massive contribution to the stainless steel industry. Lucien Matthews offered condolences, saying: “Hannes, Columbus Stainless appreciates your contribution over the years and salutes you.”
He was a mentor to many. Dave Smith remembers working closely with Hannes. He says: “He was always approachable and never held back in imparting his knowledge. Hannes was very old school and held in high regard by everyone. Process changes would be made on the basis of a short memo from Hannes: he was never questioned and never needed to be. If there was a Mr Stainless Steel South Africa, Hannes was it.”
John Tarboton also remembers Hoffman well. He says: “When I first worked in the lab in 1986, Hannes was the go-to person for technical matters on stainless steel in general, but 3CR12 in particular. Hannes would always take the time to discuss the latest theory or to give guidance or suggest what to look out for and what tests to conduct. He was a great mentor for me when I first joined MS&A.”
Rob White confirmed that, “while being technically competent and very driven, he had a very wry sense of humour. I have no doubt that this kept the team together during some of the many exploratory heats where many surprises were encountered. He took what he did seriously but was always sufficiently light hearted within himself to be open to most approaches.”