The Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (SASSDA) recently launched a competition in which entrants need to use SASSDA’s life cycle costing (LCC) app to calculate the long-term maintenance savings that could have been achieved had the Eiffel Tower been constructed from stainless steel.
The LCC app was created in 2016 with an aim to boost the use of stainless steel in the local market. To reduce the total costs incurred during a stainless steel structure’s life cycle period to present values, the product uses the standard accountancy principle of discounted cash flow.
SASSDA executive Director John Tarboton further elaborates that the app calculates a realistic comparison of the options available.
For instance in terms of material selection, it takes into account the reduced maintenance and the longer life span that stainless steel offers.
Considerable time and effort has been put in to developing formulas for the real-time calculation of the LCC of stainless steel, thus requiring minimal entry of key top-line data, before calculating a breakdown of the relevant costs and presenting the results in a convenient email format to be sent to stakeholders.
The competition was designed to bring the functionality of the app to life, with the Eifel tower providing a tangible example. To use the Eifel tower, Tarboton explains that had it been constructed from stainless steel, a fortune would have been saved on maintenance costs.
Moreover, the tower has required painting every seven years, using 50 tonnes of paint each time, taking 25 painters up to 18 months to complete the job.
Inasmuch as, stainless steel had not been invented in 1889, entrants are asked to compare the life cycle costs of steel and stainless steel if the Eiffel Tower had to be built in 2017.
SASSDA also provides all the input data for the app and it only takes a few minutes to enter these into the app and calculate the initial, operating and life cycle costs.
Other parameters in the competition include a choice between a lean duplex and a utility ferritic.
The lean duplex is more expensive and requires cleaning every 20 years to maintain its brilliant aesthetics, however, it is stronger, allowing thickness and hence weight savings.
The utility ferritic is cheaper than the lean duplex, does not require cleaning but would weather to a brown patina.
Entrants then need to calculate and compare what the operating costs would be for the Eiffel Tower for the next 100 years if it were built out of mild steel, and either utility ferritic or lean duplex.
The overall aim, Tarboton says, is to show the invaluability of the app to professionals in the field whilst educating the market on the benefits of stainless steel.