Thursday, May 6 2021

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Activate: The story of a R&D journey for more than two decades

Update: April, 15/2021 - 08:00

All new technology has its own story that goes hand in hand with research and development, yet taking more than two decades for R&D like BlueScope’s Activate® technology is barely seen in the industry. Surprisingly, the 'abnormality' in the Activate® R&D enables this unique technology to set a 'new norm' in Viet Nam’s alloy-coated steel industry. The story of researching and developing Activate® told by Mr. Daniel Parker, Process Development Manager, BlueScope Innovation unveils underlying know-how of this very technology.

Mr. Daniel Parker, Process Development Manager, BlueScope Innovation

It is common sense that the market is constantly changing and so is technology. What inspired BlueScope to develop Activate® - a technology that can still claim “best-of-the-best” regardless of more than 20 years of testing?

At BlueScope, we understand that our success depends on our customers choosing us. That’s why we work closely with them to create value and trust, share ideas and bring the benefits of innovative, sustainable products and services to their own businesses and projects.

We have manufacturing operations in 18 countries, and sales offices in other locations around the world. Through this supply network, around 14,000 BlueScope people serve thousands of customers worldwide. That’s to say we have in-depth understanding of customers’ needs and our customers, as end users, have always been looking for ways to expand the lifespan of their plant/workshops/buildings, maximising their investment. This is where our Activate technology fits in.

So why did it take BlueScope more than 20 years to invent the Activate® technology?

In order to ensure the new generation of COLORBOND® steel and ZINCALUME® steel with Activate® coating technology lives up to the highest expectations in durability, we conducted a comprehensive testing programme that included accelerated laboratory corrosion tests, as well as real-world outdoor exposure tests. Over a 20-year period, more than 8,000 profile panels have undergone Q-Fog cyclic testing and salt spray testing in laboratories. A further 10,000 panels have been tested in 22 different exposure sites in Australia and around the world. The Activate technology is covered by over 20 patent applications that have been filed worldwide, related to the unique and effective microstructure in our new technology that differentiates it from any other product on the market.

Additionally, during the product development stage, 50 building sites comprising a wide range of applications, as well as five purpose-built test structures, have been tested in real-world conditions and in severe marine environment. The new technology has also been validated by 3rd party testing and benchmarked against the latest coated products around the world through the French Corrosion Institute, proving that COLORBOND® steel with Activate® technology is highly durable, especially at the cut edge, and more resilient to scratches and scuffs during construction.

What makes Activate® technology corrosion resistant? Is this technology is a good fit for challenging environments in the industrial or coastal context?

The key factor behind BlueScope’s patented ACTIVATE® technology lies in the unique composition and microstructure of 4 phases including Aluminium - Zinc and two strategically positioned magnesium compounds.

 

With the unique composition and microstructure of the 4 phases, our new generation COLORBOND® steel and ZINCALUME® steel create a self-sealing effect that greatly improves corrosion resistance at cut edges, screw holes, and scratches. This mechanism improves the protection of projects in difficult environments such as marine and polluted industrial sites, enabling them to withstand the test of time. And of course it’s a good “candidate” for any projects in Viet Nam from benign environments to more challenging environments close to marine or industrial areas.

Vingroup chooses COLORBOND® steel for their Vinfast Factory and its complex areas

Since its launch in 2019, has Activate been widely applied by investors?

Our Activate® technology was launched in Australia in 2013. After six years of presence in a variety of global projects, NS BlueScope Vietnam made a business decision to introduce this very technology to Viet Nam’s market as a breakthrough to improve our product quality, thereby accelerate the growth of the country’s construction industry.

Kizuna IZ has experience in using Colorbond® steel for their ready serviced factories for more 10 years. When Activate technology was launched in 2019, they confidently chose new generation COLORBOND® steel for their new project Kizuna 3

C.P. Group chooses Colorbond® steel for many factories

As our Activate® technology sets a new standard in Viet Nam’s alloy-coated steel industry, it is welcome by prestigious investors across several sectors. We are now having big world-class factories such as Vinfast, Kizuna, FM Logistic, C.P., Masan applying our new coating technology in Colorbond® steel or Zincalume® steel. We believe they will be the trend setters in the industry with our solutions.

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