Multiple international award wins for Columbus Stainless

Columbus Stainless won a number of awards at the recent ISSF Annual Workshop held in Shanghai, China most impressively an overall Gold Awards in the Safety Awards Programme‘s workplace improvement category.

The initiative invites members to submit good ideas from their Safety Programmes which in this case was a specially designed ladder that improves safety at Columbus Stainless’s weigh bridge gate. It aims to solve the problem that currently faces security guards where they have to scan outgoing material using aluminium A-Frame ladders.

Due to a curb alongside where the trucks park, the ladders cannot be fully opened at the weighbridge area. This means security guards have to lean the ladder against the truck with no support and the distinct possibility that the person on the ladder, conducting the inspection of a truck, could fall from the ladder amongst other concerns.

The solution was to purchase a moveable ladder and modify it so that the guards are not able to fall off if the ladder moves. The frame of the ladder is also now firmly held in place and also features a mechanism whereby when the ladder is against the truck, a red light will shine instructing the truck driver not to move.

Best Development Awards – Silver

In the Best Development Awards Columbus Stainless won a Silver Award for its  solar drier for schools that have established vegetable gardens to feed their pupils. The problem is that these gardens are seasonal which creates supply problems for the rest of the year. The objective was therefore to design a device to increase the lifespan of fruit and vegetables which is where the Organisation Feed a Child came up with the idea of solar fruit dryers. The very simple but practical design is manufactured using the locally invented 3CR12 grade of stainless steel.

The frame is made  from stainless steel with a solid backplate while at the front it is covered with a plastic film to let the sun through creating heat while hot air flows upwards and dries the fruit and vegetables. This leads to no wastage and the optimal utilisation of fruit and vegetables whilst also retaining their nutritional value and increasing their shelf life to 12 months with no refrigeration required. It also makes them easy to handle and clean. Overall, the award stated that this is an excellent example of where a natural resource, namely the sun, people and stainless have been utilised to make a big difference in line with Columbus Stainless’s mission of ”Adding Stainless Quality to Life”.

Sustainability Awards – Bronze

Columbus Stainless also won a silver in the Sustainability Awards for its water recovery plant. This innovation stemmed from the fact that the mill is situated in a dry and water poor area which requires that the water resources from the area are utilised optimally. With this in mind, Columbus Stainless has tried as far as possible to achieve self-sufficiency in the process water supply for its operations and at the same time, run the operation as a zero effluent site. Key to this is the ability to recover water from effluent for reuse purposes.  An effluent management system was therefore implemented, where all effluent is treated rather than discharged with the aim of the treatment process recovering as much water as possible allowing for reuse.

This has resulted in overall water recovery of approximately 95%. Columbus Stainless’s ability to receive water from storm water runoff and treated effluent has meant that during the last six years on average 75% of the process water make up requirement has been obtained from these sources. Not only does this mean that the mill only needs to draw a quarter of its requirements from local water resources but the fact that there is no need to discharge any effluent, means the local water resource quality is not affected by the plant’s operations.